Wednesday, April 30, 2008

When you're buying a house, everyone wants to give you advice

People dressed as clowns are pouring out of miniature cars to line up at our door and give us advice about buying a house and home ownership in general.

Mostly, people are giving us good advice. But there a coupla people who clearly think I'm a moron.

Yes, we're getting the house inspected. Yes! Of course! I almost want to hire a sky writer so I don't have to say it ever again. First of all, it's practically the law. Second, every single publication aimed towards first-time home buyers contains a large-print, boldfaced section that screams, "Get a home inpsection, you moron!"

I know people give advice because they care, but - man! - it's a hard pill to swallow, the one where you realize people think you're a moron.

Speaking of our home inspection, we scheduled ours for next Friday, but the sellers are asking us to move it up and I'm not sure we can. After some research, I picked a seriously awesome inspector who I think is top notch. So do other people, it turns out, which is why he's booked up until next Friday. They gave me first available. Anyway, I hope it works out.

I started to freak out a little bit this afternoon about it, but then I went for a bike ride instead. Did I tell you my podiatrist gave me the a-okay for riding the actual bike? Well, he did. In any event, there was proper exercise and no throwing up or crying.

(Kelsey, we will never lose out-loud and in-public weeping to maturity. I mean, really. It's me!)

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

OMG! It's happening! (This time it might be true!)

The house is ours! It's ours!

Other people bid, but they bid lower than we did. We bid the asking price because we knew it was a steal and that other people would bid below asking. I just found out today!

I logged onto the MLS site and they already put it under "Off Market". It's happening for realz!

Not only is it a great house, it's a great party house. We will be able to have the actual BEST parties ever. It's got a great yard and a great basement with a pool table and ping-pong table that come with it! Holy hell! It's happening!

I'm a little disappointed to be moving out of Ward 4, but we're only moving to 6B. It's just around the corner. Ward 6 is the ward of such former dignitaries as former-councilor, former-mayoral-candidate and all-around good guy Mark Lubold. Precinct B is the home of such lady friends as Foofy von Doofy. I'm surrounded by friends! We're surrounded by friends!

I stopped by Scott's work today to tell him the big news and he was basically stone-faced and unaffected. He said, "I'll believe it after the inspection." And, indeed, we'll see what happens after the inspection, but I can't imagine there are any deal breakers a-brewing in this joint. It's all out in the open. The place was empty and spotless. If there were something huge, I think we might have discovered it ourselves.

Anyway, we're still going to need a tear-up-the-floor party and we're going to need to have the floors underneath refinished, but that's no big whoop.

We'll have the inspection next week some time, then we'll have the closing, then we'll have the floors refinished and paint what needs to be painted, then we'll move in!

We are looking to acquire a gas stove and a proper refrigerator. If you've got any leads on either of these things, please let a lady know.

I'm so excited! And not barfing at all.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Homeward bound (maybe)

Well, pals, we put in a bid on a new house. This new one is a stand-alone house on a medium-sized corner lot. We were already booked to see it, and then the price got dropped. We saw it tonight. The realtor told us that he had 10 or more viewings over the weekend. We decided to cut to the chase and put in an offer immediately.

I'm excited, but I'm not anxious. Indeed, I'm a little nervous, but I'm not throwing up. Whatever happens here happens.

I'll tell you, we've seen our fair share of dumps. This place was a refreshing change. We'll keep you posted.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Giant lady feet strike again

I guess this will be both a plantar fasciitis update and a post about my giant lady feet.

As you know, I have giant lady feet. I also have been recovering for about a year and a half from plantar fasciitis. I found that I was having strange pains on the tops of my feet, particularly my left foot, when I wore my work shoes.

People with giant lady feet who are not wealthy have only a few pairs of shoes because shoes cost so goddamned much money. For example, my work shoes, which are very basic mary janes, cost upwards of $150. I've been wearing them since I got the go-ahead from the doctor to wear shoes again last summer sometime.

I realized that the new pain I was having in the tops of my feet was related to my work shoes. I only wear my work shoes three times a week (I work from home two days a week now), but the were still affecting me quite a bit. I decided I needed to buy a new pair of shoes.

I went down to Footprints in Newington, CT., because they actually keep giant lady shoes in stock. I often order giant lady shoes from a catalogue, but when I do, I have to send at least half of what I order back - sometimes more!

I tried on close to 25 pairs of shoes. Most didn't fit me. About a half-dozen shoes sort of did. The sales guy working with me brought out such gems as the taupe orthopedic old-lady shoe that is always number one on the hit parade. I actually said, "You're kidding, right? I'm only 32! I will not even try that shoe on."

Anyway, none fit so well as this one hideous pair that I ended up buying. Price tag: $130. I would never have bought the shoes if my mary janes weren't hurting me so badly. I just wanted a pair of shoes for work.

(Aside: I cried out loud on my way out of the store, so mortified was I at my shoe prospects. I had to weep for a while in the car before I could get it together to drive home.)

I have worn sneakers to work before. I have a note from my doctor so that I can. Thing is, I hate wearing sneakers to work. In a world where nearly everyone wears suits and high heals, I really felt like I stuck out in my sneakers. I hated wearing them!

So I got these new shoes. I work them three days last week. Guess what? They don't actually fit me! They made my feet hurt in new and different ways!

Guess what else? I can't take them back. Once worn, Footprints doesn't accept returns.

Mother fucker!

Now I'm back on sneakers at work, which is what I should have just done from the beginning. My pride got in the way of that.

I also need to make a new appointment with the podiatrist to find out why the top of my feet are hurting now. Free with my visit through the podiatry office comes a rousing lecture on how I need to lose some weight, so you can imagine how much I'm looking forward to this.

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Thar she blows!

I had a situation last weekend that was pretty terrible.

We went to see Juno at Pleasant Street. If you haven't seen it, I recommend it. It's a fine piece of cinema. Anyway, we were in the little theater. There were these college students in front of us who seemed nice enough, I suppose. They were acting a little like college students, but seemed mostly benign.

After the show was over, we were getting up to leave. We were looking around to be sure we got all our crap. We noticed that the college students left a mess of candy wrappers and a half-full bag of popcorn all over the ledge. I cleaned it up.

I expect this kind of behavior at Showcase (which doesn't make it right), but I don't expect it at Pleasant Street, which is a small non-profit movie house. The little theater probably fits 30 people in it, at most. If you mess the place up, the person who is going to clean up after your lousy ass is also the person who's taking your ticket at the counter, and perhaps even running the projector. It's not okay to leave your trash around. It's just not.

Had the young people been there, I would have told them that very thing. Alas, they were gone.

I hadn't eaten a proper meal just yet. We were planning to eat after the movie. And maybe not eating played a role in what happened. I don't know. All I know is that we were outside trying to figure out where we were going to eat, when Germy said, "Hey, there are the litter bugs now."

I turned around and it was them. And that's when I shouted, "Oh, it's you!"

And they were looking at me with eyebrows that said, "It's us, what?"

"You left your trash in the theater. That's just not acceptable behavior. This is not what we do when we go to the theater."

First they denied it. Then when I gave specifics, they said it was an accident. I said, "Right. An accident."

Then they said something about wondering how acceptable it is to speak to strangers the way I was speaking to them. Then there was shouting coming out of other people's mouths (Scott vs. college students) and I started to realize what I had done. So I turned around and walked away.

When we got to Siam Square, I was weeping out loud. Marge had to escort me to the lavatory because I was coming undone. Thankfully, they serve food at Siam Square, and soon I turned back into a normal person.

The thing that's weird about this is that I was disgusted by they're behavior when I was cleaning up after them, but if you had asked me if I thought I would blow up at them if I saw them, I would definitely have said, "No way." But then, moments later, I was so filled with righteous indignation that I was not able to stop myself from letting them know how we behave in a society, while not behaving in a fashion fit for society.

I'm an animal. And a human. I'm a Huminal.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Songs in a bottle

Last night, Scott was making a salad and I was trying to figure out what we could possibly eat with it. It's slim pickin's in our cabinets right now. We're not broke or anything (thankfully); I just don't have time or energy to make a proper trip to the grocery store. Whatever.

Anyway, I ended up pulling two almost-empty bags of potato products out of the freezer. There were Trader Joe's oven fries and Stop & Shop's tater nuggets. I presented the idea of mixed potato products to the Count, he was in, I put them on the pan and into the oven. He moved out to the dining room and started singing a song.

It was to the tune of Time in a Bottle, a song I'm not all that familiar with, except that it's a tune Scott comes back to again and again when he makes up songs.

He makes up songs on the spot basically all the time. I have to tell you the truth: half the time I don't even listen to what he's singing because he's constantly singing these made-up songs to tunes I don't know. Also, sometimes it's a tune I know, but I don't recognize it because, well, Scott has anything but perfect pitch.

So I was only half paying attention, washing some dishes, when I heard Scott from the other room singing on the top of his lungs: "There never seems to be enough ketchup for all the tater tots you want to eat..."

This morning, I was talking to him from the bathroom while he was in the kitchen. He started singing a song about his Auditory Hallucination Girlfriend, which featured the line, "She's out of sight!"

A few weeks ago, I was feeling like Scott and I had fallen into a nice pattern for living. We loved each other. Great. I was a little sad that I didn't feel sick with the love anymore, but it seemed fine. But then, suddenly, I'm more in love with Scott now than ever and I'm sick all over again with the love.

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Monday, April 7, 2008

So many things

I've been making a list of things I want to blog about. Alas, the time to blog is so hard to come by these days. Here it all is in brief:

1) If you want to sound like a moron, a great place to start is to confuse averse with adverse. Averse means disinclined. Adverse means harmful.

Words that are related to adverse include adversity and adversary. See how words are related? See how you can keep track of them in your head?

Actual people with actual college degrees who work in actual companies that are very big can't seem to get this one right, so it turns out that if you get this one wrong, the only person who will think you're a moron is me.

I'm a terrible person.

2) We've looked at more houses. Get back on the horse and all, you know? Here's what I've discovered about myself: I'm not averse (look! it's our vocabulary word!) to working on a house. I am averse to having no time or money to do anything because I'm working so hard on a house. I don't want to spend my entire life working on a house. I know there will always be niggling details to iron out, but I don't want my life to be a constant house project.

I realized this about myself when we looked at a house on Sunday that had so much potential, but would take years and years and years to right.

I want a house where people have made stupid paint and flooring choices or have maybe put up a stupid light fixture or two. These are the kinds of things I can handle.

I do not want a house that has a hole cut into the ceiling with a ladder in it to provide an emergency exit to the people who live upstairs (who will access this de facto fire escape through what used to be a closet and now is a hollow-core door with a deadbolt). I don't want to make up for people cutting a hole into the floor of the entryway of a formerly grand home, and installing an extremely narrow circular stairway to access a dingy basement. I don't want to have to uncover whatever terrible thing is happening now because someone took out a window and never replaced it and the house has been effectively open to the elements since the last tenant moved out.

These are the kinds of things I'm trying to avoid. These are the kinds of things we saw in just one house.

I think I don't want a multi-family. For a while, I was thinking it was the way to go. Now I think I want a single-family home for us to live in. We will buy a multi-family home that we can fix up and rent out later, one we won't have to live in, but will use as an investment.

That's the ticket.

3) Did you know people still smoke in the house? Yeah, we looked at a house on Sunday that had people smoking all casual-like in the house. They didn't even bother to air the place out for potential buyers. Insane! Especially in houses with kids. What are people even thinking?

4) If you got an invite to the Best Party Ever III!, RSVP already. If you didn't get an invite and want one, say so. This year's movie is Flesh and the Devil, and we've already ordered Herrell's ice cream and hot fudge for our ice-cream-sundae-ing pleasure.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Unfortunate announcement

We're not buying the house. It turns out that it has an underground oil tank. It's still in use and the seller says it's never given her any trouble, so she sees no reason to take it out of the ground. Which is great.

Hmm. Okay. But that's the thing about contamination - you don't know about it until you have to call in the EPA. Seriously, unless a person is constantly monitoring their oil consumption and tank, they would have no idea - NO IDEA - if they had a little leak.

My research indicates that it's $1,500-$2,500 to take a tank out of the ground if it's not leaking. Certainly not pocket change, but doable over time, sure. But here's the rub: if it's leaking, it's $50,000-$100,000 to abate.

Wanna know how to test it? You dig it up and test all the dirt around it. It costs $1,500-ish. The seller says I'm welcome to test it, but that she's not doing anything about it.

So to sum up: I'd have to spend $1,500 to test the tank - in addition to all the other inspections, etc. - to figure out if I want to buy a property, and if it turns out there's contamination, I'm out a whole bunch of money because I'm not buying it.

According to a source, if you're going to dig it up to test it, you may as well take it out of the ground and get rid of it, since it's only a little bit more to do so.

Argh. Whatever.

My lawyer called me with the news just before lunchtime. At lunch, B, D and I had a frank talk about it. D got her Rumsfeld on in earnest and said something to the effect of, "When you buy a house, there are already a number of unknown unknowns. Why would you walk into something with such a giant known unknown?"

She's right! I had to cry a little bit, right there in the cafeteria.

I've taken her advice and the advice of a number of other people who have been giving it to me (solicited and unsolicited). I'm walking away.

I can't lie. I'm sad. But what can a person do? Something else will come along.

(Aside: my lawyer told me that the seller's lawyer told her that this is the second sale they've lost because of the underground oil tank.)

(Aside: my father had a pal who had a leaking underground oil tank. You know when he found out? When his neighbor found fuel oil in his yard. It's a silent contaminent. They had to take all the dirt out of his yard and his neighbors yard to abate it. Back then, home owner's insurance would cover that kind of thing. Now you have to have a separate policy just for the tank.)

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