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Thursday, March 29, 2012

I’m actually not going to talk about house-news, because, sadly, there’s just not much worth reporting. So, let’s focus on a different development in the Martin home. I never thought I’d type these words, but here goes: we have…a climber. Kayliana is a total monkey. I know I used to say this about Zachary – quite frankly, I still refer to him often as my Monkey Pants. (Though that’s pore in personality than climbing tendancies). The most exciting climbing that Zach ever did was a one time thing. (Maybe he decided that my freak out reaction just wasn’t worth the brief moments of adrenaline). Way back in September of 2007, I discovered then 17 month old Zachary (one month older than current Kayli), on the dining room table. He had climbed up and was standing – I kid you not – dancing a jig and dumping my mug of lukewarm coffee into my dear old laptop Kara. This was one of the first baths Kara endured. She also enjoyed a dose of chocolate ice cream and either red wine or Diet Pepsi (I can’t remember which and it’s quite possible she did eventually have both) – pretty much all of my favorite things. But that was Zach’s one and only climbing adventure.

Kayliana, at 16 months old, on the other hand, is a lot more adventurous, daring and physical, (crazy? Clumsy?). She’s already sported a slight black eye, a bloody nose and too many bruises and bonks to count. Kayli, several weeks ago – maybe even a couple of months ago now – had climbed up on the dining room table (just like her older brother) and was sitting calmly in the middle of it not dumping – nay, not even spilling a drop – but casually sipping out of my full glass of water. (Thank goodness it wasn’t a full glass of wine as we know those do have the tendancy to be a common sight in this kitchen).

She is now CONSTANTLY climbing. She’s a furniture mover – moving stools or chairs to better boost herself to the next level of excitement. My mom briefly suggested REmoving all the chairs for a while (and then remembered when you’re staging your house for selling that’s not an option nor really is living a chairless life that do-able). Plus, Kayli might just upgrade to couch moving then.

I once heard about the grandchild of my mom’s friend. He was also of this climbing, chair-moving pedigree. One day his mom walked into the kitchen to find her toddler sitting calmly…ON TOP OF THE REFRIDGERATOR!! Is this my fate?

We’ll have to invest in Depends or anticipate frequent near heart attacks. If you know Mike, you know that he has the tendancy to be extra uber EXTREMELY cautious and nervous about our childrens’ safety. You’d think we’d be getting used to Kayli’s predisposition for living on the edge. We’re not.

Yesterday, Kayli, unbeknownst to me, had climbed up in her high chair/booster seat thing and was standing and dancing when she fell straight down to the floor breaking the fall with…her forehead. Nice big ‘ol egg.

A few days ago, Kayli was standing on one of the couches. She was actually about to sit down when her foot caught and she pitched straight forward in a death drop to the edge of the coffee table. At the last moment, she managed to get her hands out in front of her and do a chest press off of the table otherwise she SO would’ve split her forehead open and that SO would’ve been such a pain. I mean, think of the blood stain on our freshly shampooed carpet! video

Thursday, March 22, 2012

So, right when I think things have gotten kinda crappy, a little lametastic and I spend my blog time whining about the injustice of it all, things get…just a little bit (A LOT) worse.

Stupid cranky old crusty anti-social neighbor lady who lived across the street from us moved out. We knew that the for sale sign was imminent. On Tuesday morning (pretty much write after posting my previous whiney, woah-is-me blog post), I looked out the window and saw the white sign swinging ever so gently in the breeze. Mike and I eagerly hopped on-line to look up the price. Hoping that she’d be priced insanely high making us look even better! (Especially considering that we’re already “priced to sell.”)

“Are you even kidding me?”

“That’s gotta be a typo.”

These were our first thoughts. Our second thoughts were more like this, “What the @$#@#(%*@#($*@(#$*@#(%@&(!#$@* That’s @#$*(@#)@$*)@#*%* ‘cuz @#$*(@#*%(@*#)%* and then @#$%*(@#$(*@%(*@#%^^&( so @#%(*@#(%*@#%)*”

Her house is priced nearly $50,000 less than ours. A nearly identical home. Now, there is a VERY major difference: walking into that house is like hopping out of a time travel machine and stepping foot in the foyer of 1976. We’re talking fuzzy pee-yellow wallpaper, poo-brown cabinets (do you see a body-function theme here?), vomit-colored carpet, thin flimsy whistling windows, etc. So, yes, a good $50k, EASILY, could be pumped into that home in upgrades, but, BUT…it still TOTALLY messes things up for us, and it just makes no sense whatsoever.

The house is priced $25k less than the tax appraisal value, but because they’ve priced it so insanely low, this STUPID LOW PRICE HOUSE (SLP-House, for short) will ruin us when we sell and have to get a bank appraisal. Our homes are similar eras, sizes and floor plans, so they will use her house as a comp in calculating our home’s value. ARGH. Grrrr.

Yes, there are some pro’s to this situation: sure enough, there’s been a flurry of real estate activity over there so naturally people pull one of our flyers as well, and we have had three showings since Tuesday morning (at least one of which was basically since they were already across the street so they called at the last minute to see if they could see ours too). Another pro: not everyone wants a fixer-upper, so if they see the pee-poo-vomit ‘70s SLP House and then come across to ours, our home automatically looks and feels newer, brighter, bigger, and better. But still…still…the whole thing has made us feel a bit like we’re swimming upstream now.

When I picked Zach up from the bus stop today, I told him that there was literally a line of real estate agent cars along the street just waiting their turn to visit the SLP House. Without skipping a beat, he said, “Were they doing the car conga line dance? You know ‘dah-dah-dah-dah-dah’ and then they open the doors instead of sticking their feet out! Dah-dah-dah-dah-dah-open doors, Dah-dah-dah-dah-dah-open doors,” He sange and danced his way home.

If only life were always as fun as it is in the mind of a five year old.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

It’s not that I’ve lost faith and hope; it’s just that I’m getting a little tired of this house-selling business. And, yes, I know that in the big picture, especially in this market, being for sale for 3 ½ weeks is NOTHING. But I really was so hopeful, so optimistic (so foolish?) and thought that we’d sell really quickly. We had SO many showings early on. We were constantly told, “You’re priced to sell…The house is staged great…It shows great…There’s hardly any competition out there…It’s well maintained…You’ll sell quickly.” And yet here we are. Show me the money!

Last week, however, a little miracle did happen – or so I thought. On Tuesday afternoon there was a showing here. I prayed harder than I’ve prayed yet that those people be THE people that would want to buy our house. Then on Wednesday, I was driving out to our church (St. Joseph – see previous blog for all my current thoughts on St. Joe). I had to pick something up from the office and I thought, ‘Well, sure wouldn’t hurt to light a candle by St. Joe’s statue while I’m in there.’ I was contemplating these very things when I got a phone call from our realtors saying that the Tuesday visitors were VERY interested and would most likely be making us an offer. Now if you’ll recall, we had until Sunday to receive/negotiate/accept an offer in order to continue negotiations on the home that we wanted to buy. Perfect!

We heard on Thursday that the offer would be coming in Friday evening. So, we waited. Friday night there was a showing here, so we took the kiddos to the park, went to dinner and came home all giddy and hopeful. The phone rang. We were so excited to see that, again, it was our realtors…calling with the good news?! Yeah.

Actually, no. The potential clients changed their mind at the last minute. They decided to make an offer on a short sale instead of our home. And oh, while, we’re bummed out, “Unfortnately,” Kathy explained gently, “We’ve also heard from the listing agent [for the house on which we’d made an offer], and they’ve had another offer come in – it’s noncontigient, so most likely they’ll accept it.” Double whammy. We went from it all working out seamlessly, to none of it working out at all.

Kathy went on to say that while she knew I’d really liked that home and certainly loved aspects of it, she never really felt that I was head-over-heels in love and that it was necessarily “The One.” I know she was saying this to try to cheer me up, that we just haven’t found The One yet. I explained that I’ve been forcing myself to guard my heart. I don’t want to feel again the way I did about the Mountain House. I don’t want to see our children, our grandchildren playing in the yard until we’re signing the papers, THEN I’ll really let myself dream. But in the meantime, I did LOVE a lot about this last house. I’d mentally landscaped the yard. I’d gone for runs out the door and through the neighborhood. I’d decided where furniture would go. I’d let myself believe that it could possibly be The One. So, yes, I’m disappointed, but I do know enough now to realize that until it works out, until we’re unlocking the front door with our very own key, it’s not The One.

But I’m getting tired. I’m getting shop-worn, so to speak.

Our realtors held an open house here on Sunday hoping to drum up business. They were actually a little dubious about doing one explaining that very few open houses prove fruitful. Usually those that stop in are neighbors or curious lookiloo’s just driving by but not in the market for a home purchase at this time.

Again, Larry and Kathy came back with good news. They were floored with the amount of people here. At least 12 couples came tromping through our home and all of them seemed very positive. One of the groups here was an agent and his clients who now have visited us THREE TIMES. I say poop or get off the pot already! Make us an offer or stop visiting! Maybe third time’s the charm….??? But so far, yet again, all this good news and happy optimism has brought no results. No showings have been scheduled. No potential offers coming in.

Then, yesterday, I saw on line that our potential The One had, in fact, accepted their offer and the home is now “Pending” for other people. Not The One. Where are you, The One?! The wait is killing me. And where are the people meant to buy and live happily ever after in our home? I want this to be for them as much as I want another house to be for us!

Deep down in my gut, in my soul, all the way down to my toes I KNOW that it’ll all work out. I know that it hasn’t worked out yet because there’s something even better out there for us. I’m just ready for it to work out now! On MY TIME. I’m a toddler stamping my foot with my hands on my hips. Me, Me, Me. Mine, Mine, Mine. Kayliana’s recently embraced the art of toddler tantrum throwing, so I feel like I have a personal tutor. I’m sure she’s proud of her protege. I’ve gotten quite good.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

We’ve made an offer on a house!! Their counter was kinda of like, “Um, yeeeah, we’ll pretend you didn’t just do that.” They didn’t drop their price by a penny and they dropped our contingency. We have until Sunday to respond. Which means that in order to continue playing ball with these people, we HAVE to receive, negotiate, and accept an offer on our house in the next four days. Impossible? Possibly. Likely? Sure! We dropped our price and we’re praying like crazy. Thinking, visualizing a good outcome. Basically doing everything besides weird sacrifice rituals. As Catholics, nay merely as people selling a home, we’ve also been asked plenty if we’re going to bury a statue of St. Joseph “upside down...12 inches underground…in the back yard…facing the house…” or some such specific silliness.

I’d heard about this tradition but have never researched it. This practice is a little bizarre – as many things that once had actual religious meaning but have since been turned into more of a superstitious one. There are “St. Joseph, my Real Estate Agent” kits; “St. Joseph Home Selling” kits. They even have ones called "EcoJoe." That's right, "He's a natural! Won't harm the Earth!" One resource says the practice began when European nuns buried medals of St. Joseph on land they hoped to aquire for a Convent. The practice has turned into a profitable market where even real estate agents purchase the little 4-inch plastic Joe’s in bulk to provide to their clients. There’s even a website where you can have St. Joseph help sell your house on-line. (i.e. It’s just another real estate marketing website).

Here’s what I make of this: some people need to DO something when they feel helpless. I get it. Trust me, my prayers during this process (as during the adoption process) have definitely been ramped up and a bit more, “Um, yeah, God, so can you please answer THIS specific request in THIS specific way…” Despite knowing that God’s will WILL be done whether it’s exactly what we want or not. Another way of saying this (less religious-y if you prefer) is, as we know, things aren’t always up to us. What happens, happens. I do believe that we have some control of our destiny (as in, think positive thoughts? Yes. “Ask and ye shall receive.” Totally! I mean it IS in the Bible, afterall. But we also must trust that God knows what’s best for us. And it’s not always what WE think is best for us).

I must say, however, that my friendship with good ‘ol St. Joe has definitely gotten tighter. He’s my bud. He’s my pal. He might be tired of hearing from me. We DO go to St. Joseph Church, so I feel like I should have a special ‘in.’ Now, to clarify, contrary to popular belief, Catholics do not PRAY to Saints. We ask the Saints to pray for US. People often ask friends and family to pray for them, right? So why not ask those who are REALLY close to the source of answers? As in, those awesome people who are chillin’ in Heaven with God. Makes sense to me.

I recently asked our priest, why, as we sell our home, it’s often suggested that we ask St. Joe for help. Why not just petition all the Saints? The more, the merrier, I say. I don’t need to play favorites, you can all pray for us! I understand that St. Joseph is a rockstar when it comes to home and family life. He did have kind of a big task: ‘By the way, Joseph, your son is actually the Savior. No pressure.’ But why just go to him? Well, obviously, we don’t have to and haven’t. But, as Father Todd put it, contacting St. Joe directly is like sending him a personal email rather than just putting a generic request on facebook or sending out a big forward email or tweeting your followers (not that I have any. I don’t tweet). But St. Joe may listen and pray for us more fervently if we ask directly and often. And I sure am sending him plenty of those direct prayer request mental- emails. Thankfully none have bounced back with an “Undelivered mail; return to sender” notice. He’s receiving ‘em!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

The house is still for sale. A couple of nibbles but no big bites yet. Of course, it’s only been 12ish days, so it’s alright, but…it’d be awfully nice to sell soon! The most frustrating aspect of having to quickly vacate the premises for showings is the few times that we’ve ended up having no shows. We get the place all prettified, move on outta here only to find out that the ding-bats decided to not actually visit our home. VERY annoying. And yesterday I got a realtor’s call: “Yes, I know this is short notice, but we’re in your neighborhood. Can we come see your home right now?” I paused for a moment thinking about it and decided, sure! We can make that work.

“Can you just give us about 15 minutes to clear outta here?” I mean, my gosh, I do have three children. Any parent knows that on a good day it takes several minutes to get out the door. Plus, we’d just gotten back from the bus stop so were in the middle of afterschool snack. I didn’t think 15 minutes was asking too much. I probably could’ve done it in seven if need be, but wanted to give myself extra buffer.

“No, I’m sorry,” he said. “That’s much too long. Nevermind. Maybe we’ll come another time and give you PLENTY of notice. It’s just that some people WORK and aren’t home during the middle of the afternoon, so it’s not a problem.”

Wow. Whatevs. I don’t want you meany-pantses buying our house anyway.

Anyway, more and more I see how this process is so very similar to the adoption process. People have judged me, people have mocked me when I’ve made this comparison, but it’s true. Obviously, buying a home is NOT identical to adopting a child, but still…the biggest similarity lately is how we have to get our hopes up but not TOO much but just ENOUGH. This is so reminiscent of being shown a birth mom’s or foster-to-adopt child’s profile. You have to let your heart feel it. You have to envision this little person in your family. You have to start to love them a little on the off chance that it is “the one.” We’ve had this with a couple of homes now, where we get excited and think, “Oh, this is totally the one; it’ll totally work.” I can totally picture us there, so I think it must be The One! But then either it doesn’t end up working out or (like currently) we have to just sit and wait and hope that no one else gets it before we can. (In this market, it’s better to wait until we have an offer on our home before we make an offer on another home. So we wait.)

It’s also so frustrating having no idea what the timing will be. I feel a bit restless, like a caged animal. I can’t plan making dinner since someone may call right when I’m in the middle of cooking or they’ll want to be here right at dinnertime. I can’t start packing the house since I have no idea when we’ll be moving, and I can’t make a huge ‘ol mess with crap ‘n boxes everywhere.

Another similarity: the physical response. Obviously I was pregnant with neither. I did not physically carry Kayliana in my womb. We ARE expecting a house, but it’s not – or shouldn’t be – causing pregnancy side effects. Yet it is (or it’s an excuse to). Cravings. I have been craving Cherry Coca Cola Slurpies. Like crazy. I dream about them. I NEED them. On a couple of nights these slurpies have even replaced my 5pm glass of wine. Thanks to this bizarre craving though, Mike and I might just have come up with our million dollar idea. I’ve heard of “Wine Floats” (like a Root Beer float but with wine. I’ve yet to try one). But we think there should be “Wice-ies” – wine icies. (We’re still working on the title). They’d be like a slurpie or snow cone with wine deliciousness inhabiting that ice crystal goodness. Sounds good to me!
The house is still for sale. A couple of nibbles but no big bites yet. Of course, it’s only been 12ish days, so it’s alright, but…it’d be awfully nice to sell soon! The most frustrating aspect of having to quickly vacate the premises for showings is the few times that we’ve ended up having no shows. We get the place all prettified, move on outta here only to find out that the ding-bats decided to not actually visit our home. VERY annoying. And yesterday I got a realtor’s call: “Yes, I know this is short notice, but we’re in your neighborhood. Can we come see your home right now?” I paused for a moment thinking about it and decided, sure! We can make that work.

“Can you just give us about 15 minutes to clear outta here?” I mean, my gosh, I do have three children. Any parent knows that on a good day it takes several minutes to get out the door. Plus, we’d just gotten back from the bus stop so were in the middle of afterschool snack. I didn’t think 15 minutes was asking too much. I probably could’ve done it in seven if need be, but wanted to give myself extra buffer.

“No, I’m sorry,” he said. “That’s much too long. Nevermind. Maybe we’ll come another time and give you PLENTY of notice. It’s just that some people WORK and aren’t home during the middle of the afternoon, so it’s not a problem.”

Wow. Whatevs. I don’t want you meany-pantses buying our house anyway.

Anyway, more and more I see how this process is so very similar to the adoption process. People have judged me, people have mocked me when I’ve made this comparison, but it’s true. Obviously, buying a home is NOT identical to adopting a child, but still…the biggest similarity lately is how we have to get our hopes up but not TOO much but just ENOUGH. This is so reminiscent of being shown a birth mom’s or foster-to-adopt child’s profile. You have to let your heart feel it. You have to envision this little person in your family. You have to start to love them a little on the off chance that it is “the one.” We’ve had this with a couple of homes now, where we get excited and think, “Oh, this is totally the one; it’ll totally work.” I can totally picture us there, so I think it must be The One! But then either it doesn’t end up working out or (like currently) we have to just sit and wait and hope that no one else gets it before we can. (In this market, it’s better to wait until we have an offer on our home before we make an offer on another home. So we wait.)

It’s also so frustrating having no idea what the timing will be. I feel a bit restless, like a caged animal. I can’t plan making dinner since someone may call right when I’m in the middle of cooking or they’ll want to be here right at dinnertime. I can’t start packing the house since I have no idea when we’ll be moving, and I can’t make a huge ‘ol mess with crap ‘n boxes everywhere.

Another similarity: the physical response. Obviously I was pregnant with neither. I did not physically carry Kayliana in my womb. We ARE expecting a house, but it’s not – or shouldn’t be – causing pregnancy side effects. Yet it is (or it’s an excuse to). Cravings. I have been craving Cherry Coca Cola Slurpies. Like crazy. I dream about them. I NEED them. On a couple of nights these slurpies have even replaced my 5pm glass of wine. Thanks to this bizarre craving though, Mike and I might just have come up with our million dollar idea. I’ve heard of “Wine Floats” (like a Root Beer float but with wine. I’ve yet to try one). But we think there should be “Wice-ies” – wine icies. (We’re still working on the title). They’d be like a slurpie or snow cone with wine deliciousness inhabiting that ice crystal goodness. Sounds good to me!