Sunday, June 17, 2007

A Month Of Sundays

Happy Fathers' Day to all the dads out there! Here at Lilymania, we are going to play catch up while the man of the house snoozes. (He and Bug - his first born and also the only child at home this weekend- stayed up until the wee sma's playing PS3, so it may be quite some time before they awaken.) The plan was to make the Dad Of The House a lovely breakfast - until we realized we'd packed up the kitchen and the oven won't be fixed until Wednesday! Plan B: IHOP.

Who knew that selling the house would be the EASY part??
Turns out that buying a house is an adventure in crazymaking. We have been looking at houses, online and in person, since April. We have seen dozens of houses. We have learned a LOT about each other - and about our realtor. We found a house that would work. We went to see it three times. Sweet Hubby left with the kids to get back home. I stayed with VBGF to help close up her classroom and get her grades in. Robbie the Realtor said she had two more houses for us to see. The plan was that unless either of these two houses trumped it, we'd put an offer on the one we'd seen three times. Wouldn't you know that both houses trumped it? There was a clear top choice though. This house - oh man! We loved it. LOVED it. Naturally, the list price was 30K above our upper limit. Here is where the fun came in.

We spent the better part of the week (=Tuesday morning through Friday afternoon) "negotiating". The first step was to offer 20K less than list price. They countered by going down 2K and wanting both triple the earnest money we offered and triple the cost of repairs contingency. That was weird. They wanted a LOT of our money and they wanted us locked into the contract even if there were repairs of ten grand. Danger Will Robinson! The house was built in '56. We said back - meet you half way on the price but that's ALL the earnest money we've got and we'll up the cost of repair contingency a little bit (NOT to ten grand!) Mind you - these people are in Chicago, Sweet Hubby is back in TN, and the realtors, VBGF, and I are all in NC. Getting answers and signatures and initials is not the smoothest of processes. We went back and forth and back and forth - and finally arrived at a verbal deal. Yay! Minor celebration ensued. Robbie the Realtor told us we couldn't really celebrate until it was all signed. We waited for the signatures. Signatures were not forthcoming. Major sadness and anger ensued. Turns out the young couple could not "afford" to sell their house at the price they verbally agreed to. Note - they were already getting a discounted commission rate. Their realtor said she was in shock and this had never happened to her and she was so sorry - but she could only relay what her clients said. We thought about it. We all decided that this was the right house for us. We raised our offer up to their original counter offer. They still couldn't afford it. Our realtor was irked and said that the sellers were not acting in good faith during the whole of this process. Their realtor agreed! What to do? Walk away? Make an offer on one of the two other houses that would work (just barely) for our family? We decided that we'd make one final effort and offer the list price. [There were other weird contingencies this couple tried to throw in, but all of those details are too tiresome to go into. At one point it truly seemed like the sellers were not hip with the whole concept of what selling entails (i.e. releasing ownership of the house for an agreed upon price).] At long last, however, all documents were signed and faxed (we made them sign first before we wasted time faxing again) and celebration recommenced. (Robbie the Realtor told us we could celebrate 75% - that there was still the home inspection to get through.)

More of the story -
We saw that the house had been listed in April for 90K more than the list price for which we bought it. Somewhere near the end of all the negotiating, our realtor turns up the fact that before that it was listed for 75K more with a different realty company. I guess we should feel like we got a deal, but really? I think they were smoking crack if they thought they'd get their original list price. Yes they did updates (oh, wait until you see the pictures in a minute!) - but the house is still 50 years old and has very little curb appeal (according to R the R.) We did get a deal because we got a house we love, that suits us all, that is close (walking distance on sidewalks!) to the schools and public library and community center, AND that we could afford (even if it's a bit of a stretch!) Keep your fingers crossed for us until July 18th!!

Here are a few of the previously promised pictures!
First, Mayhem and the Princessa as they tested for their black belts. This picture was taken at the beginning - about a half an hour into the three and a half hour test. They are both still so nervous they look like they're about to hurl. The posters on the walls behind them are lists and lists of the techniques they are being tested on.

I have fantastic movies of their freestyle sparring match and grappling match. They are not usually paired in class because they are siblings so it was surprising to have them fight each other during the belt test. The sensei was both amused and impressed. The Princessa didn't slow down one bit when Mayhem sent her earrings flying and Mayhem didn't let up even when the Princessa snagged and ripped out the ties on his gi (you can see them dangling in the pictures.) This is a picture of their final test element: to hold their belts straight armed, out in frontof them (not below their chins or above their foreheads) for 3 full (and very long) minutes.
Here is their first formal bowing out as black belts. Yay!!!!

Next - Chaos is 15! We celebrate with decorated birthday cookies instead of cakes and everyone gets to pick their own theme. Chaos likes skulls.

He also likes the two new holes in his head. One of his closest friends (Nate) got Chaos a scholarship to go to camp. Nate is super excited that Chaos gets to go. Me? Not so much. It's a Baptist summer camp - away for a week. I talked to the youth minister and explained that my son was Catholic and I did NOT want to send him if he was going to be told that his baptism didn't count or that he wasn't a real Christian. The nice youth minister said that didn't happen. ("Since when?!!!" was my sister's response to that.) We'll see. I've explained to Chaos that by choosing to go, he has accepted responsibility to modify his behavior, dress, and attitude to fit within the boundaries of a much more conservative group. He says he still wants to go. I think it will be good for him to follow through on a choice like that, but I'm also a little worried about it. (Can you tell?)

And finally - I have to show off my new kitchen (squeals with delight!) Look at the skylight! Do you see the coolie, cool purple, lavender, and lilac glass mosaic above the range? Have you ever seen an island that big? It's either 9 or 10 feet long!
This is the other end of the kitchen. The black is chalkboard. Painted right onto the wall. Ok - it's weird and not really well done - but it's the only thing I don't just love, love, love about the kitchen. Havoc, however, thinks it's perfect! He can't wait to write out his menus.
Give you one guess as to what he now wants to be when he grows up!
Peace (and keep those fingers crossed for us, please!)


Richard said...

Wow. Gotta love house-buying.

My fingers are crossed!

Richard said...

Next time I see you (!), I'll tell you about the people who sold me our house--and weren't out of it when I showed up with my truck! Good times.

St. Ann said...

Wow. I can't wait to descend - er, I mean - visit. :-) Tell Havoc you can also paint a wall with magnetic paint - so he can tack his recipes up while he cooks!