Dotted Line

Today we wait for the call from the escrow office telling us it’s time to come sign the loan docs. I’ll run over to the bank and get a cashier’s check and watch our savings account dwindle then meet Mr. Darcy to sign, sign, sign.

I’ll run over to Home Depot to order our washer and dryer and get more boxes and bubble wrap.

Then tonight we will say good-bye to our tenants and introduce them to the new managers at a little meet & greet party in the building.

Tomorrow we get the keys.

In between, we pack and I try to not lose my mind.

This is happening.

Our house with the sold sign on it. Eeek!

** We sign at 2pm today and then wire transfer the money. HOORAY!**

Home Is Wherever I’m With You

It’s been sneaking up on me.

I’m walking out the door and as I turn to lock it, I stop to watch how the light comes in and floods the rose-colored carpet.¬† I turn the key and walk down the halls, out through the stained glass door with the big rose etched on it. I step down the marbled entrance stairs where there is a triangular piece out of place from where it broke a few years back. I turn the corner to the driveway and see the tow signs on the side of building where someone crossed out and added letters so it says Los Manos. I back out and drive away into my day.

Every day is closer to the last.

I’m headed home from the office and the drive is automatic for me. I think about how I will have to learn a new route, that my timing will be off for a while not knowing the way like I do now. I’ll find a new grocery store and get lost in the aisles. It’ll be harder for me to get to as many dance classes. We’ll have to make a point of going to our favorite restaurants instead of just, on the spur of the moment, walking to one of them from our apartment. I’ll miss the familiarity of my neighborhood which only six years ago was a complete mystery to me.

This neighborhood is where I became a Seattleite.

The cats are confused as the boxes pile up. Are these our new toys? They wonder and climb. Soon we’ll be up to eyeballs in boxes. The shelves will be empty. The walls bare. And we’ll be sleeping in our bed, in our first apartment together, for the last night. Typing that makes me tear up.

I’ve been avoiding feeling sad because I don’t like good-byes or endings.

Mr. Darcy is often the one who can access his emotions easiest in this relationship. As we were packing a box the other night he stopped and said, “I need a hug.” I tried to brush it off as him being a sap (he’s frequently a sap) but I envy that he can feel sad and ask for comfort. Me? I make a plan. A list. I forge ahead. No time for feeling! Let’s get this done! It’s a ruse. You knew that though. And so does he. Especially when I tell him I’ve scheduled my tears for around noon on June 8th (when we’ll likely be leaving this place for the last time).

I’m trying to make room amidst the feelings of excitement and joy while I feel the fear and sadness because they are all here and they are true even in their contradictions.

I’ve loved this apartment. As Mr. Darcy aptly tweeted the other night, “I’m going to miss this apartment. This is where I found love. The BIG one.” (See the sap level I am dealing with?) It’s true – this is the place where we had our first kiss, where he first told me he loved me, where we fought and made up and have chosen each other every day. This place is the beginning of our love story. I pack up our belongings and tuck away the many memories of this well-loved place so I can have them with me always.

Home isn’t necessarily just a place but it’s also the life and people that inhabit it. With Mr. Darcy, Dot, and Dash, I’ll always be home no matter where we are.

The only pregnant we are is pregnant with possibility.

Last week Mr. Darcy got a call about a job.

It was one of those situations where this company was sitting around talking about this new sci-fi game they want to create when a lead guy picked up a book put out by Mr. Darcy’s current employer and said, “We need to get THIS guy.” This guy as in, my incredibly talented fiance, Mr. Darcy. The book is full of his amazing concept drawings.

Pretty high compliment, right?

So he went to what he though was going to be a 30 minute initial interview that would hopefully lead to a longer interview the following week but it turned out to be a two hour conversation that ended in a job offer. When he got home I was full of questions. He looked a bit sheepish and said, “Well, I didn’t get $_____.” $__________ is the amount I told him was the bare minimum of what his talent was worth (he’s been paid pretty poorly so far). I said this not for us, because I want us to have more money but because in my opinion Mr. Darcy doesn’t always advocate for his worth and I really want him to get paid what he deserves.

I tried to shrug it off thinking, well, if this work environment is better than his current one then we all win and it doesn’t matter if he’s not making more. He’s been pretty depressed because of the toxic nature of his workplace and it’s affected our life together. I really just want to see him happy in a place that appreciates him and allows him some creative freedom.

But then he smiled and said, “They offered me $_________!” And it was about $18,000 more than he currently works and a lot more than I told him was his bare minimum.

Whoop! Woo! Holla!

But then we had to figure out what to do about the house loan. We’re in the middle of underwriting which means they are picking apart every little detail of our financial life. Any wrong move could jeopardize our loan which neither of us wants. I won’t sugar-coat it – there was a heated argument while we waited to hear from our lender about timing and approach. It wasn’t one of our finest moments but we have since recovered. We are, after all, under multiple stressors. Buying a house, planning a wedding, moving, training our replacements at the building, and now, starting a new job.

Mr. Darcy gave notice and he starts at his new company on June 4th. Three days before we close on our house. Four days before we move. To say that will be a big week for us is an understatement.

Yes, 2012 is shaping up to be a very big year for us.

 

Movers: Better Than Therapists at Saving Relationships

We heard yesterday that there is a potential issue with our closing date. The seller has not owned the house for 6 months and there are laws against “flipping” (when someone buys a house, fixes it up, sells it for more) that require that ownership time frame minimum. Most lenders don’t have an issue with this but apparently ours does. We specifically went with a broker so we could have access to different banks and now we’re potentially in a situation where we might have to switch loan officers to get this deal done in time. We should know more today or by Monday. Best case scenario, our broker figures this out with the bank. Worst case scenario, we have to switch loan officers and banks and maybe not get the rates we’ve locked in. Buying a house is stressful! (Not a newsflash!)

Meanwhile, the seller is fixing all the things we asked (which includes a new roof!) and we while we are waiting we are buying furniture. I can’t help myself! There’s nothing to do during this time but dream up home decor ideas and waste countless hours on research ideas Pinterest. I’ve been looking for bargains because I know we’re going to need furniture. Do the math: we’re going from a one bedroom apartment to a four bedroom house with two living rooms.

The other day while perusing Craig’s List, I came across this gem:

And I bought it. Two guys helped me load it into my car and for the rest of the week I drove around with it, not wanting to deal with moving it. But last night Mr. Darcy and I finally pulled it out, got it onto the driveway, and promptly got in a tussle about the best way to move it. There was a freezing wind whipping about and as we stood there staring at the dresser with our hoodies zipped up tight, we came to a standstill on how we should move it from the driveway to all the way around the building and into the storage room.

I finally ran and grabbed the dolly so we could have some leverage (Sizzle good idea: +1) and Mr. Darcy suggested using a blanket to cushion it (Darcy good idea: +1). But then we stood there freezing our butts off and arguing back and forth about the best way to load the damn thing onto the dolly, both so afraid of scratching it. I’m telling Darcy to just MAKE A DECISION and he’s trying to accommodate me and we’re getting nowhere so we turn the dresser on its side and get it to the other entrance where we managed to get it down 2 steps, through a doorway, down 2 more big steps and into the storage room (which is technically the building’s maintenance room where the water heaters and miscellaneous supplies are but is currently where we are storing all our future-house purchases).

We did it! Hallelujah!

But then I started thinking that if this was some sort of pre-marital test, we had failed. We don’t collaborate very well when it comes to things like this. Hell, we had many back and forths about the Christmas card design which made me hesitant when Mr. Darcy said he wanted to design our wedding invitation- not because he’s not super talented (he is!) but because we tend to see things very differently. The fact that we agreed on colors for our wedding in a 1 minute conversation still astounds me.

All this prompted me to tweet: If moving that piece of furniture from my car to the storage room was some sort of pre-marital test, I think Mr. Darcy & I failed.

To which Mr. Darcy replied: I beg to differ. No scratches, no dings, no damage. And the furniture is fine too. ūüôā

Which is one of the many reasons I am marrying him.

And why we are hiring movers.

Many on Twitter agreed that moving and moving furniture specifically has tested their relationships. My favorites are: Abby who said everyone gets a free pass when moving or assembling furniture, or making gravy (Gravy! I love it.) and Badgerreader who said that wallpaper was her parents undoing (besides packing).

That got me thinking about what set my parents off and I distinctly recall the culprit being: Christmas lights.

What about you? What seemingly mundane or trivial thing sets off an argument in your relationship? Or what was it in your parents relationship?

Inspected

Yesterday we spent the morning at what we hope will be our new home while the home inspection and sewer scope took place.

The inspector was really thorough and took the time to explain everything he found in detail to us in such a way that made us feel informed and not at all dumbed-down to. He said a couple times, “This is a beautiful house” and our agent even said she would buy the house (and she rarely, if ever, says that). It was nice to hear that validation from two people who work with houses day in and day out. I think it’s safe to say that Mr. Darcy and I fell a little more in love with it. We measured rooms and windows and dreamed up which furniture would go where and what furniture we’d need to buy.

The main living room with amazing windows & light.

Second downstairs living space- both with wood burning fireplaces.

The inspector did say that the roof had been pressure washed and thus, the shingles were in bad shape. He recommends replacing the roof entirely so we’re going back to the seller to ask for that plus a fix of the dryer vent which is apparently made from unsafe materials and could be a potential fire hazard. There are some other roof-related things that we’ve combined into the roof estimates we’re getting on Tuesday.

Fingers and toes crossed the seller will meet us on this because we already folded closing costs into our loan and with the home inspection, sewer scope, and appraisal costs, we’re over $1,000 on those fees. I just keep reminding us whenever we start to panic as our bank account goes down and down and down, that we are investing in our future.

Front of the house. The railings need a coat of paint and to be sealed. There's also room to plant flowers. I'd like to spray paint the screen door white to match the white of the windows (same for railings).

This house is move-in ready which ultimately saves us bundles of cash. Sure, we’re going from a one bedroom apartment to a four bedroom house with two living rooms and a yard which means buying furniture but luckily I’m a bargain shopper and love garage sales, thrift stores, and craig’s list. Like this gem I found for $60 at Goodwill this weekend:

Plus, I love fixing up old furniture, sewing pillows,¬† and hand-making things. BONUS: I will have a room entirely for me and my crafting with an area for meditation and yoga. I’ve already started decorating it in my mind. Just like Mr. Darcy has started to plan out his Nerd Den.

That left corner area will be where Mr. Darcy sets up his art and nerditry.

We’re excited. When we’re not panicking about money. And thankfully the sewer scope came back clean (well, not literally because EW). There is a large tree on the side of the house and a couple of stumps that, if removed, could help alleviate roots growing into the pipeline. We’re just glad there were no blockages.

Even the kitchen kind of grew on me while I was there. It's small but efficient. It's dark but there are lots of beautiful cabinets. I think I'll manage.

We even walked over and introduced ourselves to some neighbors who were out doing yard work. They are probably in their 30’s too and have lived in the neighborhood about 3-4 years. They said it’s a quiet street and they don’t know why more people haven’t found out about the neighborhood and moved there. It’s still close enough to town but you’re out in tranquil suburbia. It was nice to be at the house for a couple of hours to see people walking around, driving by, in their yards doing maintenance.

I can see us settling in quite nicely there, having friends visit on vacations, throwing backyard bbqs and dinner parties, building up the fence so we can adopt a dog, having a child who plays freely out in the yard and later, as a teen, slams their door in frustration at us then blares their music, and the cats roaming the place in search of the perfect patch of sunlight.

If all goes well, we could close on May 22nd. Keep thinking good thoughts, please.

Adventures in House Hunting

After saying that we’re going to let house hunting take a back burner for the next month or so, we still went through with our scheduled appointment with our real estate agent last Sunday. We had about 10 houses on the list and figured it wouldn’t hurt to get in some viewings. The market is picking up and when we are ready to buy, we’re going to have to act fast to get in to see the good ones.

We whipped through the first few viewings because they were not for us. So many of the older houses we are drawn to have terrible layouts. This is becoming a real issue actually and we’re starting to be open to looking at different types of homes not just homes built before the 1950’s. Those older homes have impossibly small bedrooms and quirky kitchens and have been oddly updated.

We are honest with ourselves- we do not want a fixer upper. Not the kind that will take a total overhaul or require us to gut a kitchen. So it was kind of funny when we entered an old house that had two small bedrooms, a beautifully updated bathroom, nice built-in adjacent to the fireplace and small dining area and kitchen. But the kitchen sink was set in the counter at an angle facing a corner. And it was a tiny sink even though the kitchen itself had been updated. There was a big back porch off of that with a sunken hot tub and a yard that went on and on. I mean, we could have gotten married back there- if we wanted to get married when we’re in our mid-40’s because it would take that long to complete. There was a basement that claimed it had 2 more rooms but it was dank and the small windows let in very little light. I wouldn’t even subject Darcy to having his nerd room down there let alone a guest staying with us. Despite all that we could see the potential and got slightly excited.

We moved on to see a 1963 home that looked very promising. It’s a short sale which is not ideal but we’re not opposed to seeing them. You just never know. The fence that surrounds the home actually lent itself to a private feel for the yard which seemed like it was easy to maintain- just enough grass to not overwhelm us with the potential upkeep mixed in with gravel and some landscaping that needed to be updated.

This is a nice photo of the front though it’s not as well maintained as they would like you to think.

When you enter the front door, to the left is a doorway into a kitchen. Not a terrible kitchen but it was small and would need upgrading (electric stove top set into the counter- no thanks- plus dark counters and black appliances). The kitchen opened up onto the dining area and the entire wall on that side of the house is windows. There was a narrow-ish deck that ran the expanse of that side of the house making it ideal for parties.

Yes, I do judge potential houses by how entertaining-ready they might be.

There was this very cool fireplace that coupled with the expanse of windows almost sold me right then and there. We have mid-century modern tastes and this would fit with our aesthetic.

Here’s the fireplace with a built-in. And guess what? The bottom level of this house has another one of these fireplaces!

So through this area we head down the hall. There are three doors, all shut, so we open them slowly to see sad little twin beds in each. The house smells of dog and it’s pretty clear that a bunch of dudes live there. Everywhere you look there are skis and snowboards and the furniture is all mismatched and shabby. Each room is sadder than the last though the master is ample enough with a walk in closet and good-sized bathroom. Whoever updated the place liked this particular type of tile that looks like wet stone even when it’s not wet. (Not a fan, personally.) We check that all out and then head down stairs that are covered in very dirty cream-colored carpet.

The downstairs is as big as the upstairs with a very large sort of work space directly under the kitchen, the same style fireplace and big windows with a sliding door that opens to a lawn area. The floor is concrete but it could be painted a cool color with some rugs put down and would be an ample family room. Along the hallway there are more rooms with doors shut. I open one that is packed with stuff, again, stinking of dog. I continue walking and open a door to find nothing in it but a snowsuit laid out flat on the floor. That was it! Just the snowsuit! Like someone had laid down on the floor in it, spread eagle, and then evaporated. It was totally creepy.

There was another bathroom off that hall and at the end was a laundry area and two doors. One led to outside and the other was a mystery. Mr. Darcy is always very curious and will explore every nook and cranny, even the scary ones. We’re standing there with our agent and he opens the door to a pitch black room. He feels for the light switch and when the light illuminates the room, he sees a guy sleeping on a mattress on the floor in the middle of the room. The guy kind of rolls over and Mr. Darcy was all, “Oh! Sorry man!” and flicked the light back off. We all looked at each other and scrambled out of there.

Super creepy.

Despite the creep factor- this house was huge and with some clean up and minor changes to the decor and an expansion to the kitchen, we might be interested. Oh and if they lowered the price from $285,000. Even though it’s huge (maybe too big for us?), it’s priced too high for our taste. We’re going to keep an eye on it and see.

The most surprising thing though was not the creepy guy asleep on a mattress in a room that isn’t technically a room. It was seeing a newer construction home (2011) and actually considering it. I never ever thought I’d be into it. I’ve heard bad things about newer construction homes- shoddy materials and craftsmanship but when one came up we agreed to view it as it was in an ideal location. As we drove into the housing complex I remarked that it reminded me of “Back to the Future” when Marty goes back in time and there is that big billboard advertising a new housing development. The houses are cookie cutter but the place is very clean and well maintained and quiet. I was still skeptical. I like my houses and neighborhoods to have some character.

We walked into the model home and I was like HOLY WOW! The layout was so open and everything was so new and sparkly. It helped that they had staged it immaculately. But OMG the kitchen. I had a kitchen orgasm right there. So much counter space and stainless steel appliances and you could see from the living room through the dining room to the kitchen. The upstairs had a large master and bath with 2 more rooms. But, there wasn’t any storage or garage and the yard was non-existent. We really want a dog and a kid and I think having at least some yard and a space to bbq and entertain outside is ideal for us.

Still, we spent a lot of time there, taking it all in. We even went and saw another model that wowed me even more. The dining room was in the front that opened onto a massive kitchen that flowed into the family room in the back. The upstairs had an office nook and, same as the other unit, had 3 rooms upstairs but with a better layout (in my opinion). As we walked to the actual open houses to see where they were located on the lot, I mentioned how the place had a “Pleasantville” vibe about it- very Stepford Wives with everything looking the same. That was right around the time that the guy working the leasing office at the property mentioned to us that there would be more construction going up across the way but that on the other side there would be no new developments since there was a cemetary there.

Mr. Darcy and I looked at each other and said conspiratorially, “You moved the head stones but you didn’t move the bodies!”

Dude, POLTERGEIST! Um, no thanks.

And yes, we reference movies a lot. We were MFEO. (What movie is that from?)

From here until after March 20th we’re going to just keep an eye on houses coming on the market and our agent will send us gems. If it’s something great, we’ll go out and see it. If not, we’ll just it pass until I’m through this insane period at work. The right house is out there for us and we’ll know it when we see it.

Remembering to Be

I need to say this aloud:

I am engaged.

I am house hunting with my fiancé.

I am five weeks away from my biggest fundraiser of the year at work.

****

HOLY SHIT!

****

The reality of my current situation struck me hard on Saturday as we pulled up to view our first potential wedding venue. Mr. Darcy and I were talking about our stress levels and I totally abandoned him when he needed my support and comfort.

My first fail as a fiancé.

I just realized in that moment that I can’t do all this and not lose my mind. People think since I am an event planner this will all be a breeze. Or they assume since I am usually so organized and together that I will thrive under all the pressure. Or since I’m type A I have already planned our wedding (I have a Pinterest board and an invitation list- that’s about it). The reality is that I can’t do all this at once. If I try, I fear it will break me and completely remove me from feeling any joy- and there should be an abundance of joyful feeling during this happy time. And there is! But not when I am panicking about getting everything accomplished and doing it right.

So I told Mr. Darcy I have to put something on the back burner lest I lose my shit and be a terrible fianc√©. I’ve asked if we can hold off on looking for a house in earnest until after my fundraiser on March 20th. I just can’t successfully look at potential houses, stress about getting all our financial stuff to our broker, lose half a weekend to looking at houses or venues and not go crazy. I need down time on the weekend to recharge for the insanely busy week ahead. I need time to doing fun stuff with friends and family. I want time to just enjoy being fianc√©s. I can feel the joy slipping from my fingers and my shoulders rising up to my ears from pent-up stress. I have had a hard time sleeping past 5am since we got engaged, waking up with ideas for the wedding running through my head interspersed with house hunting thoughts and worries about the upcoming fundraising luncheon (will my youth speakers PLEASE CALL ME BACK ALREADY FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!).

Excuse me. I slipped right there.

My mantra right now is : Be In The Joy. I take deep breaths, I say this to myself, and I look at my darling love who has asked me to spend the rest of his life with him. I try to grasp the enormity of that- the absolute amazement that this man that makes me laugh, feel safe, and feel utterly accepted and cherished wants me. Me! All that other stuff pales in the realization of that.

BE IN THE JOY, damn it.

 

Window Shopping For a House

We went out house hunting this past weekend and every house we saw was a dud.

That’s okay though- we don’t want to like anything right now because we can’t make an offer until about the end of February. Mr. Darcy’s parents generously sent us a LARGE gift of money to use towards our down payment. Technically if we were to bid on a house right now that money would be seen as a gift and we’d be required to put down 20% on the house. So, we’re waiting so that when we do bid our bank statements will reflect that amount in our accounts for the past 2 months and we won’t be forced to put 20% down.

It’s good to be looking though since we’re still wondering about what neighborhood best suits us. We’re surprised that many of the areas we thought would be on the top of our list aren’t contenders right now. Maybe THE house will appear in one of the neighborhoods we haven’t set our sights on. . . we’re open to whatever might come.There were many houses that we just drove by because the neighborhood was absolute shit. Like one was right behind a row of run down restaurants and a nail parlor so all you saw was iron-clad windows and doors and trash strewn about. Gross, no thanks!

We looked at a house that was behind the dreamy house we wanted. It’s set back from the road with its own driveway that almost makes it feel like you are in the country. There is a pond in the front or what appears to be an unkempt pond/swamp and the yard is very grown over with moss. It could be cool or it could be a disaster but either way, it needs a lot of work. We couldn’t see inside the house except for peering in windows since the real estate agent didn’t leave a key. Such is the way with bank owned (not short sale) homes. I don’t really want that house as I would likely spend the rest of our life looking over into the dreamy house and thinking about “the one that got away.”

We stopped by a short sale house which is not something we’re interested in dealing with but it helps to see all different kinds of homes that are on the market. This house had not been upgraded and the basement was unfinished though we never went down there since upon entering the house itself we were struck with a) how freezing it was inside- it was colder inside than outside! and b) how eery it was. There was a very unsettling, sad vibe about the house. The bedrooms had deadbolt locks on them that you could lock from the outside. What?! I was like, “They locked people up in this house! I don’t like it here.” Our realtor was like, “Something bad happened here, I just feel it.” I agreed and we quickly left.

There was one house though that had great curb appeal- which I’ve learned means it’s a house that when you drive up you’re like “that’s cute!” And it was- great details on the front, ample front yard with white picket fence with the house set back from the street. We got up to the front door and WOW¬† you could see the view through the window right away. AMAZING! You could see the water and the cityscape. It had a big deck which would be great for parties. But. . . the layout was crappy, there was no dining room area- it bled into the living room- and the bedrooms were small and oddly laid out. Plus, the basement was not upgraded much and the dark wood paneling and tiny windows made it feel dingy. It just didn’t have enough bedrooms (we want 3 minimum) and there wasn’t a whole lot of wiggle room with the layout to make it work for us. Again, it was bank owned not a short sale. I’m certain it will go fast.

The last house we saw was for sale by owner. He is asking $308,000 and, well, he’s not going to get that. It’s located right under the West Seattle Bridge on ramp and off a very busy, loud street. There is no charm to the neighborhood. The house itself has been upgraded some but it still has an odd layout- you enter into the kitchen which is haphazardly laid out. The master bedroom is off the kitchen and the kids beds were in this strange pass-through room that has stairs that go down to the basement. I could see they tried to fix it up but it was just not for us. The location alone was problematic. I have a feeling that guy is going to learn the hard way that his house is over-priced.

We’re learning more and more what we’re willing to bend on and what we absolutely can’t deal with. We’re more stuck on the flow of the house, the spaciousness of it, and the layout more than anything. There are a lot of people buying up these cheaper houses to turn them over so there is still competition out there and it’ll only get worse as we get into the spring season when all the houses come on the market. But we’ve got our fingers crossed we’ll find the perfect house for us for the right price.

Flushed

I’ve had to pee in my next door neighbor’s bathroom since last night.

Let me explain: Our bathroom is currently unusable except  for the sink thanks to shoddy plumbing in our old building. Our downstairs neighbor alerted us to a dripping sound coming from her walls and condensation that later lead to a leak near the ceiling. I knew it was going to be a big problem. Drips and leaks are not something you ever want to have happen.

So since yesterday her ceiling is ripped out and a portion of her wall is torn out exposing wet, rotted walls and the beginnings of black mold. We aren’t able to use our toilet or our shower until tonight when they’ve (hopefully) replaced the pipes. Apparently whoever owned the building prior did a half-assed job repairing leaks- there is old duct tape and excessive use of caulk. Plus, they set it up so that the¬† toilet pipes link to the shower pipes and that is not good as per the plumber. What do I know about pipes and leaks? I’m an event planner.

Our landlords did not offer to put us up in a hotel and instead of trying to stay elsewhere, sleeping on a blow up bed or something, we decided to just tough it out and stay. Our neighbor is in New Zealand until the new year and Mr. Darcy was smart in remembering that. She’s the hoarder lady but she had recently cleaned up her place so thankfully it’s not scary to go in there. It does, however, suck to have to leave you house to go use the bathroom. And we can’t even flush it because her pipes are connected to the problem. It’s just a better alternative¬† since ours is going to be removed then replaced today.

Related: Once you hear you can’t use your bathroom you will be struck with a feeling of having to pee and it will persist throughout your ordeal. Trust me on this.

I woke up this morning to discover that the one house we liked so far in our search went from active to pending. My heart broke a little reading this. The combination of no working bathroom in our current home combined with the disheartening news that the house we started to get excited about was gone pushed me to tears. I’m just so done living in an apartment and being a manager. I’m done handling other people’s problems, complaints and inconsiderate behavior. I’m done feeling cramped, done with switching cars in the driveway so that Mr. Darcy can get out to go to work, done with no kitchen space, no space to throw a party and no yard. D-O-N-E. I’m done in my heart and it makes it hard to enjoy being here. But here is where we are stuck for the next few months (hopefully) as we figure this out.

We were set to meet our realtor this Sunday at that house we had our hopes on to really discuss it in earnest and then to look at some other houses in the area. But the idea of looking now just seems wrong to me. We aren’t in a place to make an offer because we don’t know how much we have for a down payment (it’s being generously gifted to us) and the rules around how long we have to have that money in our account before we can use it. We don’t have the savings we want in our own bank account either and have said we’d like a couple more months of aggressive saving to really feel ok with moving. And yet that house made us feel like we could risk it and take a leap. I knew this could happen. I was warned about it. I just didn’t know I’d feel so sad.

I’ve told Mr. Darcy that I need to hold off on house hunting until we get our financial ducks in a row. We need to know how much we have for the down payment and meet with our broker first before I can feel comfortable looking in earnest. I’m not good at window shopping. I started imaging us living in that house and now I know what it feels like to foolishly dream when you don’t have the financial reality behind it. I’m sure I’ll move past the sadness. I needed a taste of it to be able to temper my emotions moving forward in our search. I just never imagined I’d be crying about it while peeing in my neighbor’s toilet.

Home Run

Sometimes I feel like people think I have it easy since I have this cushy job where I live that affords me the luxury of not paying rent. It’s like they forget that I had to apply and be selected for the position, that I worked for 3 years solo as the manager while holding down another full-time job, that I have had to deal with all the bullshit that comes with managing people in a shared living space. I chose to take this extra job on for financial reasons- who wouldn’t be lured by the opportunity to not pay rent? But I’ve never slacked off and always done this job to my highest standards.The reward of being able to pay down my debt and save is well-deserved. We don’t get places without effort, planning, and commitment. And for the past 4 years, there has been a lot of that for me.

For the past couple months Mr. Darcy and I have been putting into our joint savings what we think the high-end of a mortgage payment might be for us. I didn’t want us to buy a house and all of sudden feel like we had no money- going from paying zero rent to a mortgage plus utilities plus all the stuff that inevitably will break and we’ll need to repair on our dime. Right now we want at least 3-6 more months of aggressive saving before we’d be comfortable moving. A huge bubble of fear rises up in me when I think of leaving the safety net of not having to pay rent. All those years where I struggled financially and ultimately filed for bankruptcy gnaw at me and I can’t always think clearly when that old fearful voice that freaks out about money is yammering on in my ear. (Shut up, fearmonger!)

It’s a big leap going from apartment managing to home ownership. Sure, we’ll no longer have to manage noise complaints among neighbors but we’ll now have to pay out of our pocket when the toilet isn’t flushing properly or there is an electrical problem. We’ve decided that we’re okay with that though. We’re at that place in our life where we’re willing to do take on those risks of home ownership rather than continue to live in a cramped, albeit cozy, one bedroom apartment. We want a yard, a dog, a guest room, a big kitchen with lots of counter space (ok, that’s all me), and a place big enough to throw dinner parties (again, that might be all me). We’re ready to leave the urban life for one that might be a bit more residential. We’re past the days of going out drinking until all hours, stumbling home drunk, and our biggest priority being proximity to clubs. We’re 38 years old. That isn’t our lifestyle anymore.

It’s taken me some time to swallow that truth because I’ve been fighting against getting older. The gray hairs, the laugh lines, the fatigue by 10pm, the idea of going over to a friend’s house for a small dinner party sounding way more appealing than a night at a bar- these are my truth. I used to think I was so behind- having not met my person until later in life, being a financial fuck up for most of my 20’s, not owning a home or having a kid as I get closer and closer to 40- but everyone has their own path and this one is mine. I’m slowly accepting that where we are at- two people who found each other in their mid-30’s who want to get hitched, pop out a kid, adopt a dog, and make a house into a home- is the best place for me.

We met with a realtor last night. We liked her a lot and are going to move forward with her representing us. We’ve been clear that we’re not in a hurry and don’t want to settle for just any house. We’ve got a good situation here managing the building and can take our time to find the perfect house for us. The excitement of what’s ahead is outweighing the fear.