2.26.2013

Shit just got real!!!

STOP means SOLD!
Well, shit got real YESTERDAY, but I was too tired/overwhelmed to sit and write anything coherent.  Eh, who am I kidding, I am still tired...still not sleeping well and ran 9 miles, today.  I did have coffee a few hours ago (it was that or go to bed for the night at 5pm), so I can expect a window of artificial alertness for a bit.

Around 3:30pm yesterday we left our (awesome -- if you need to buy/sell a home on the West MI lakeshore, this is your guy) realtor's office with a set of keys to our new home.  Just one set, since these are not the permanent keys.  The builder will have contractors do some finishing projects (drywalling/electrical on exterior basement walls, removing main floor carpeting and replacing with laminate, installing garage door opener and washer/dryer) before we officially move in...so it will probably be at least 3-4 weeks before we REALLY move.  In the meantime we are taking carloads of stuff and stashing upstairs.  Once we are ready for the big move we'll find friends who are willing to work for beer and pizza to help with the heavy lifting.

It's been good to get rid of so much crap.  One would think that living in a small home with minimal storage would mean collecting less junk over the years, but the opposite would be true -- since we don't have a reasonable amount of space (this house has ONE closet and an old school cellar/basement) stuff doesn't get stored with any degree of logic and things get crammed into corners and lost.  In nearly 13 years we've had a lot of things we no longer need/want get buried.  And our kid is a damned pack-rat (he gets that from his maternal grandma...who's a borderline hoarder).  Getting him to pare down his toys has been a challenge...dude, you don't need baby toys and we're not letting you keep every fast food kids' meal made-in-China doo-dad languishing at the bottom of toy boxes for a decade.

I celebrated the signing of our land contract with a 9 mile run, today.  To be honest, I wasn't so much celebrating as dodging an Old Man Winter bullet.  Within a couple hours of finishing some slick snow started really dumping.  We're supposed to get a few inches tonight and another inch or so tomorrow.  I am DONE running in that junk!

I also wanted to get that run in while I have a day with nothing major on the agenda.  Tomorrow I have my final physical therapy session for my right wrist in the AM and then a Girls On The Run/Girls On Track coaches meeting in the evening.  Thursday I get to drive an hour each way with my POS car to have them investigate several things and do an oil change.  If previous trips to have work done are any indication, this could easily take 3-4 hours. *rolling eyes*  Friday at noon registration for the Iceman Cometh mountain bike race opens (no guarantee that my wrist will be up for that, but the race is not until Nov. and I can always transfer my registration, if need be).  Last year it filled in about 5 hours, but those 5 hours were also fraught with ridiculous server issues, so many people attempted registration for hours before successfully completing the process.  So I'm pretty much planning for that day to be mostly wasted.  I'll also try to squeeze in a 5 mile run, perhaps before registering.

Lessee...oh, yeah, I did have a major milestone birthday in there.  40 was a pretty big deal, coinciding with Mardi Gras and having our offer accepted on our house.  We met up with one of my closest friends, Heather, for dinner and drinks at a favorite local bar.  I'll actually miss that bar and our little local grocery store (with an AMAZING beer and wine selection -- it's sort of what they specialize in)...but I'll especially miss my friend.  We met through running and are such kindred spirits -- we even broke our right wrists while mountain-biking within months of one-another.  We will definitely be encouraging her and her soon-to-be hubby to come stay with us after nights of beer and wine on our new deck.

We'll miss enjoying the new brew-pub (Fetch Brewing Company, in Whitehall, MI) that is opening this Summer in our current community, too, but we'll be close to some really fabulous eateries in the Grand Haven/Spring Lake area, and a great brew-pub in Spring Lake.  Old Boys' is about 8 miles from our front door, so perhaps Heather and I need to plan a run to the brewery, then have one of our sober guys pick our stinkin' (literally) drunk asses up.

For fun I just ordered these barstools (4) -- since it may be a while before we spring for a full dining set and our living room will mostly be moved immediately down to the basement (making room for better stuff to be ordered and delivered and installed in place upstairs):
To go in this kitchen:
The paint above is sort of a dark terracotta/burnt sienna.  The orange stools will really bring that out.  We may through some LED tube lights up above the cabinets, too.

Decorating is such a hoot!  Even our upstairs has some ideas that I will post when it's not way past my bedtime...

2.12.2013

Go Big AND Go Home!

So recently we began the search for a new home. Like less than 2 weeks ago, recently. We figured it could take a while, since there really aren't all that many properties on the market where we are looking to move.  The fall of the local real estate market has had a LOT of folks simply give up trying to sell or gunshy to put their homes on the market in the first place.  5 days ago in the middle of a snowstorm we went through a home that was a bit above our budget and a few hundred sq. ft. larger (1972 sq. ft...same year DH was born!) than what we really feel we need, mostly for shits-n-giggles.  But it pretty much nailed ALL of our must-have criteria (3 stall garage or some other space for bikes, central air, basement, good insulation, 3 bdrm, 2+ bath, laundry near bedrooms, minimal work needed).

Needless to say we spent the weekend completely paranoid and petrified that someone would put an offer on it before we'd have the chance to (even though it has literally been on the market for a year to the day--not sure how this is possible). DH even went to an open house there on Sat. to stalk the house some more and was told that they'd had 4 showings in as many days. Neither of us has had a good night's sleep ever since seeing this place.

.39 acre and a simply stunning and private piece of property in a small family-friendly subdivision with only 23 lots, including a few that will likely not sell because of small size (the one to the right of ours is maybe .25 acre) or vicinity to busy road.  There are tentative plans for a 2nd phase of about the same # of lots, from the look of things.

Can you blame us for being so tense? And the interior is just as beautiful. It's a brand new model home for a small development not far from DH's work. Asking price was only about $10k above several smaller 10 year old homes in need of updating or with floor plans and features that we didn't care for.

Our realtor in the background chillin'.  Wish we could keep the giraffe...
Yesterday we put in an offer for $10k below asking price AND requested that the carpet on the main living floor be removed and more of the high-end laminate be subbed in its place, to make the downstairs almost entirely uniform flooring (nice with cats and messy kid to not have to deal with too much carpeting). We also asked that the exterior basement walls be drywalled, washer/dryer upstairs, and garage door opener for main large door.

Today (my 40th birthday and Mardi Gras, incidentally!) they agreed to our requests ($6k+) and $5k off of asking price. What a steal!!!

A window for each cat.
As a model home this place has nearly every structural upgrade...extra garage stall, decorative windows, flooring, etc. We couldn't build this house for what we will be paying. It would likely cost at least $10-20k more!

Because we are doing a land contract (short-term financing through the seller, rather than a bank), closing is in less than 2 weeks, rather than the usual 4 weeks. None of the projects we're having done will start until after closing, though, so we likely won't do an official move until closer to April--which is fine, since it's too much of an icy/snowy/slushy mess now to try to drag everything from one household into a new one.

Once we are out of this fixer-upper we'll have the space to do some basic renovations before selling it to someone who really will make good on vows to fix it up.

2.03.2013

Changes are a-foot

Last week was a week of exciting developments!

4-eyes!
On Tuesday I had my eyes examined and was fitted with new glasses, which I picked-up on Friday. My new script is quite clearly stronger than my script from 2 years ago (OMG, I had no idea how mediocre my unaided vision was!) and my new frames actually fit my face, so I shouldn't have to deal with headaches from the temple pieces pressing into my skull or have them sliding down my nose, constantly.  My newer pair also has larger lenses, so I have a much larger field of vision unobstructed by the frames.

And I think they're kinda stylin'.  Again I went with a modified cat-eye style.  I think I did a pretty good job choosing frames, considering my eyes were dilated and I really couldn't see details.  These have 2 tiny rhinestones where the temples attach, as well as very subtle etched "flame" details.  One thing I couldn't see when choosing frames was the brand -- my chosen frames are Harley-Davidson brand, of all things!  I think they're sorta funky and sophisticated, at the same time.  And the back side of the frames are a zebra pattern, which is only visible from certain angles.  A fun little surprise.

I don't yet need bi-focals, which is good...look at the grays/platinum creeping in!  And the lines between my brows (recently started using some anti-wrinkle creams...*sigh*

On Weds. I had my first physical therapy appointment for my wrist.  It went quite well.  The therapist did an assessment and found that I have pretty limited flexibility and my overall strength is still quite weak.  She gave me some stretching and strengthening exercises and therapy putty to work with.  On Friday I was back for a 2nd session that included 20 minutes with my arm in a whirlpool.  I am slowly making progress, but I think it will still be at least 3 weeks before I can consider riding a bike.  My fat bike may be the only bike I can ride outdoors for a while, since it has grip shifters and good brakes.  I think my road bike will not be ridable for me for a while, since I still cannot downshift well AT ALL with my right hand.  On the trainer I am really struggling to do that.  And braking would likely be very poor.  Granted, we won't really have roads that are very ridable for probably 6 weeks, so perhaps by then I will have the necessary strength and dexterity to ride with drop bars and stiff SRAM shifters and brakes.

I still can't rotate my palm up much beyond perpendicular to the horizon, either.  That really frustrates me.  It's as if there's a limiter in my arm.

Running is going quite well, at least.  I feel like I'm pretty much back to the fitness level I had pre-crash.  Aside from some heavy snow and intense cold I am really enjoying my miles on-foot.

In really BIG news, we are starting the new home search!  We want to relocate closer to DH's job, our biking friends, and a district we'd like DS to attend for HS.  It's actually a district I substitute taught for for 2 years before we moved up here, almost 13 years ago.  Word on the street is that they are desperate for subs, so next Fall I'd plan to be available for subbing 4 days/week.  Subbing is nice, since it's flexible, full of variety, pay is decent relative to the level of responsibility, and the hours are great--no nights/weekends/holidays/Summers.  I could always be home when DS is home.

Panorama from DH's phone
DH and I have both ridden by the house we like and are pretty much smitten.  On paper it looks perfect.  It's 15 years old, 2 stories + partially-finished basement (1700+ sq. ft. above grade and another ~400sq. ft finished in the daylight basement) has a 3-stall garage (generally not something found on homes under 2k sq. ft. in this area) for cars AND BIKES, over 1.25 acres, some hardwood floors, 3 full baths (1 for each of us!) and is on a short private road with only 4 other homes.  All those woods means low-maintenance yard without need for lots of mowing.  We are turned-off by sprawling subdivisions by the massive lawns and lack of privacy (and knowing that a lot of these homes were tossed-up in a matter of months by quantity-over-quality developers during the housing boom 10-15 years ago).

There are some things we would update over time (replacing all carpeting with bamboo and/or ceramic tile, kitchen update, paint), but otherwise is in really nice move-in condition.  I especially love that the entire upstairs is a master suite with a glass block shower and a library/office/den where DH would work from home more undisturbed than he is when he attempts to do that in our current cramped house.

We hope that it's just as nice in-person as it is "on paper."  It's so different from all the other "McMansions" in the area.  We have another home we're planning to look at (we're hoping to check both homes out in 3 days), but it's in a subdivision.  It has a lot of wood flooring, which is its main appeal.  Other than these 2 homes there aren't a lot of offerings that aren't on treeless lots with minimal privacy, lacking in our must-have features, or way over our size/budget or in great need of work.

It would be perfect for family to visit, too.  With the 3 full bathrooms we could easily have my 'rents, 2 siblings and their SOs and 2 kids visit for Christmas and not feel too overcrowded.  Right now no one in the family has a home with enough space and toilets to do this.  Christmas in hotels isn't terrible, but it would be more relaxed in a home.

If all goes well we could potentially be in a new house well before Summer...it's such an exciting proposition after nearly 13 years in a fixer-upper that I loathe.  We would finish a few projects here and put it on the market once we're out.  We're more likely to unload it when it's not full of our clutter (tiny house with only 1 closet = our crap all over the place).