Friday, April 29, 2011

Our offer was accepted!!!!!!!

Source in bottom right corner

So, the above picture is roughly how I feel right now. Light, happy, a few butterflies. Our realtor called this morning and said "I hate to say this, but you were right." I asked him why, and he said, "the seller accepted your offer without making a counter-offer." I was stunned. I had fully expected her to counter our offer, because we sent her an offer that was $10,000 below list price AND we had asked for a $5,000 seller subsidy on top of that. So technically we're getting the house for $15,000 under list price.

I was at work at the time, otherwise I might have done a happy dance right then and there. And luckily, as if he knew what was going on, Eric had just signed on to AIM, so I didn't even have to try to wake him up via phone call [an impossibility, especially when his phone is in the other room.... whereas I wake up to a phone call or text message even if the phone is in the farthest corner of our apartment from our bed]. He also couldn't believe it for a few minutes. And then it hit us, we're officially under contract for our house! The house I've been mentally moving into and gardening in since I first saw the place. It's going to be ours!!!!!! [Pending an inspection, appraisal, loan application, and all of the many other tasks looming ahead of us prior to our closing on the 31st of May, but really, who's thinking about those things... well, ok, that would be me].

My mother has already offered to come help us move in, paint, and get the garden started. Right now (if you'll remember my previous post) the yard is one empty rectangle of lawn. My in-laws have expressed similar interests, and I told them that they were more than welcome to come visit and help once my mother has vacated the guest room. She has dibs, because she's been planning to come help ever since we started talking about finding a house.

Hopefully, I'll be able to keep this thing updated now that I have something so exciting to write about. Here's wishing myself good luck. :)

Thursday, April 28, 2011


So yesterday I finally got an answer about a few last questions we had about the offer. I sent our realtor all the paperwork and we've officially submitted our offer. So kind of scary, but also extremely exciting. I'm already mentally gardening and moving in. I started packing in my mind while looking at our living room last night. But I hate waiting for something to happen! I want to know. I'm thinking the seller will come back with a counter-offer, but I want to know.

In other, more geeky news, the printer I ordered on Sunday arrived yesterday. It's an all-in-one, large format (it prints 12"x12" paper) wireless Brother printer. It's huge! And the box it came in was even bigger. But I got it out of the box and got it set up. Our wireless internet stopped working a few weeks ago, so we haven't been able to use our Wii to watch Netflix. And the printer couldn't find our wireless network either. So I finally figured out what was wrong with it. Our router's wireless was turned off. I'm not sure how it happened, but I turned it back on, and our network popped up again. I got the printer onto our wireless network and printed a test page from my computer via the wireless network. I was so happy and felt so wonderfully nerdy! That also means I'll be able to watch Netflix while playing on my computer. It's funny how the little things in life make such a difference.

One of the biggest reasons I'm so excited about moving into a house of our own is that I'll finally have a craft room to which I'll be able to shut the door and just leave my projects laying out whenever I want. Leaving out my projects usually leads to me actually finishing or at least continuing to work on them. The problem is that our cat has a love afair with paper and plastic. He has chewed up several photos before I finally became wise to his ways. Another thing a craft room with a door will accomplish is that I will have a place to put houseplants without having to fear for them disappearing in between my cat's teeth. Eric insisted on buying a large potted palm at our local Giant the other day, on the theory that the cat wouldn't be able to destroy it all in one day. So far he's been proven correct.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Offer #2

Well, the perfect house from the last post didn't work out quite like expected. Apparently there were several other people who thought the same thing we did. Oddly enough I'm not in the least disappointed. DH, on the other hand, really wanted this to work out. But I had several reservations, like the lack of driveway and the distance to the Metro. Other than that, it was great. But we'd actually found a house a few weeks before that I can't get out of my mind. It's on the smaller side, but it's really well maintained. It's close to the Metro, has a driveway, and all the stuff we wanted.

Including storage in the basement and a dishwasher. It even has a fenced yard that is just waiting for us to put our stamp on it. We've been using it as our "yard stick of perfection," and measuring all other houses against it.

The kitchen is a bit on the small side and it might get crowded once we start having kids, but I know we can make it work. I already have a plan for how I want to arrange the furniture. That was one of my other problems with the first house, the layout was less than ideal, and I couldn't figure out how everything would work with the furniture.

Anyway, we've been debating back and forth about this place. And we couldn't seem to come to decision. But since the first house didn't work out, and we still haven't seen anything else to measure up to this one, we've finally decided to put in an offer. I'm extremely excited!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Putting in an offer today

Front of the house
So, we saw a house this Sunday that we liked. And it's amazing how quickly things happen sometimes, but our realtor called us that night to tell us that two other people/couples/families had expressed an interest and would be putting in offers for the house. And if we wanted it, we had to move fast. Not even having sketched the house, let alone measured, or thought about anything, we had to make a decision on whether or not we actually wanted to put in an offer, and if yes, how much. It's slightly above our comfortable price range, but with two other offers, we had to make sure to come in at a reasonable amount. It's at the very top of what we had set as our range, go figure.

Main room when you come in the front door
However, the house itself is so worth it. It even has enough space that we could rent out the basement as a 2 bedroom/1 bathroom apartment to someone we knew. It has a kitchen sink and room for a microwave and mini fridge down there too, but we would probably end up having to share our kitchen with whoever rented the basement. The information sheet said 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms. But in terms of what I know about bedroom "specs" (which admittedly isn't much), it looks more like 6 bedrooms to me, if the ones in the basement count. The main floor has hardwood floors throughout, which we love. You can get a taste of those in the picture of the Main room.
The drool-worthy kitchen
The kitchen is amazing! Especially with a chef in the house, the kitchen was really important to us. It even has a double sink and a dishwasher, which we were looking for. And since it has a built-in microwave, DH can't even complain about that. (He has some sort of personal vendetta against microwaves because they heat food by "shaking" the molecules. I don't know what he thinks heating it up on a stove does.) We might be able to fit a small bistro table in the kitchen, but it's definitely not an eat-in kitchen. From the kitchen you get down to the basement with 2 bedrooms, a wet bar area/"pseudo second kitchen", a bathroom, and brand new washer, dryer, furnace, and hot water heater. And new carpet. I'm not sure how I feel about said new white carpet, but at least it's new.

Back of the house
The backyard can also be accessed from the kitchen and it has a more gentle slope than the front yard, which has a hill. It also features a nice shed which we could use for gardening and storing various equipment and bikes. The only problem is that you need to climb three steps to get to the door, which as Eric pointed out might be a problem with a lawnmower. The back of the house has a covered patio, perfect for summer dining and grilling. We could even sit out there in the rain or during a nice summer thunderstorm and enjoy a glass of wine or something. There's two bedrooms and a bathroom on the main level, one of which may end up being our master bedroom for now. As my mother pointed out, we can always rearrange everything once our situation changes (aka once we have kids). The other downstairs room may end up being our living room/entertainment room, because there's really not enough room in the "main room" for a dining and entertaining area.

One of the three bathrooms
The attic is also finished and has one large open room (which could count as a bedroom since it has a closet and windows), another smaller bedroom, and the third bathroom. At first we thought of that as a potential master suite with craft room, and put the guest bedroom downstairs. But we weren't sure if that was the best arrangement for us right now. My mother said to put guests and our computers up there, for now (see earlier point about rearranging). All in all, I'm very excited about it, but it's going to take a bit more thinking and hopefully they accept our offer. If not, it's back to the drawing board, and DH for one will be very sad to see the last of that kitchen.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Blog Makeover

So, my blog is getting a bit of a make-over. Primarily because the old one felt way too dark and depressing. I didn't feel like it was inviting anyone in to read and comment. It also made for some depressing entries, because, let's face it, if the blog is dark and brooding, why shouldn't my posts match?

As you may have noticed, I've fallen a bit behind with my 30 Days of Lists. Never fear, I plan to continue, but definitely at my own pace, since the actual prompt is long since done.

There's been a lot of stuff happening in my life lately and I haven't had the chance to share it with much of anyone. Our house hunt continues, maybe more on that once I am at home and can post a few pictures. My job is going superbly well. DH and I had an altercation last night, but as always were able to patch things up rather quickly [after I retreated to the bathroom and he retreated to a friend's house for some much needed time to reflect on what happened and why, followed by the obligatory "talk" to explain why we thought it had happened and what we could have done differently]. The cat is still superbly silly and has returned to sleeping curled up in bed next to me. He had a good long sulk for kicking him out of the bedroom while my sister was there, and wasn't ready to believe that he could go back into the bedroom once she was gone [my sister is mildly allergic to cats, primarily to cat dander in her bed].

Well, perhaps more later.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Shutdown Avoided

Well, the Democrats and Republicans managed to play chicken with 800,000 people's jobs until an hour and a half before the deadline. They signed a stop-gap measure that would allow the government to remain open until they could vote on the larger bill early next week. At the end of the day, they agreed to cut funding by about $38 billion dollars which is closer to what the Republicans wanted and meant the Democrats had to give a little. And the Republicans agreed to drop the riders that would have eliminated funding to Planned Parenthood and EPA regulations for air and water. Federal funds to PP don't even fund abortions, just the other services they offer that is important for women's health, but I think it was the Republican's poster child for their anti-abortion campaign, because most people know about the organization. But they did get Congress to agree to vote on the PP and health care law repeal separately next week.

I think Obama put it best when he said, to paraphrase, that these issues need to be discussed, but not as part of the budget.

So the two sides compromised. Each side gave a little. But playing chicken until the last minute was so not necessary.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Government Shutdown?

So, for everyone living in and around Washington, DC or who has a loved one working in a government agency, you've probably heard about the potential government shutdown.

Most people ask two questions: why is it happening and how is it going to affect us?

The why is easy: Freshmen Republican/Tea Party Congressmen (read right-wing conservatives) are butting heads with the Democratic house and President over the federal budget. The Rebublican's biggest worry is cutting the budget, abortion and EPA regulations (including emissions standards). The Democrat's biggest worry is cutting the DOD budget instead of social programs, continuing to fund women's health, and keeping environmental regulations that impact respiratory health in place. In other words, they can't agree on where to cut funding. Republicans won't budge on the Planned Parenthood (abortion v. women's health) issue, because all they see is their abortion and family planning services instead of looking at the broader pictures which admittedly includes those services but also includes preventative care for women of other types (cancer screening, gynecological exams, etc.). They also want to decrease the scope of the government, hence their desire to cut social spending and EPA regulations.

Democrats on the other hand don't want to cut social spending and would rather cut most of the deficit from the DoD budget. The Pentagon receives over half of the yearly federal budget (therefore the easiest place to cut funding). Some of that money goes to paying our soldiers, something I'm very much in favor of. Other money goes towards Research and Development and the production of up-to-date weapons systems, again realistically I don't have a problem with this, although I do have problems with war in general so idealistic I guess I oppose this. However, another large portion goes towards making defunct weapons systems that then get sold to our allies (and potential future enemies)... I think that's a problem. Sorry, I'm making this personal. I just meant it to be informative. They also see Planned Parenthood as a way for poor women to get preventative health care. EPA regulations are in place for multiple reasons, the biggest human impact is respiratory illnesses which tend to rise in countries that have a lot of air pollution. There are probably many smaller issues, but these are the big reasons being touted on both sides as to why they cannot come to a consensus.

Personally I think it's all bullshit... the Democrats seem to be budging on the budget cut issues but not on EPA regs and PP, Republicans don't seem to be budging at all. There has to be some compromise in the middle! My biggest pet peeve is that the Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority leader still find time to talk to the press. Someone should lock them all in a small room and make them fight it out until they come to an agreement. No food, no water, and certainly no pay.

What this means for the rest of us: Well, the most real aspect is that 800,000 people are going to temporarily lose their jobs. All federally funded agencies and portions of agencies will shut down. Congressmen, the President, and their staff will continue to get paid (big baloney, if you ask me- although to be fair, they may refuse that pay on principle). The animals at the National Zoo will continue to get fed. The Post Office will remain open, although their passport services will be suspended. The IRS will shut down, but taxes are still due by April 18th, deductions will still be made from accounts if you owe the IRS money, and tax refunds will still happen if you file electronically. Some portions of various agencies will remain open if they are funded by something other than federal appropriations (interest income, private money, etc.). Federally funded libraries, museums, and trash collection will shut down. Schools apparently will not. Whether or not those furloughed employees will receive backpay once this is all figured out is still up in the air.