Thursday, February 4, 2016

Keep looking.....

 Our search continues. If the Universe is trying to teach me patience, I wish the lessons would end now, I got it, thanks! I have never been through such a futile process in all my life. We have been looking for a house for three years now. 99% of the houses in our price range are not being kept up  properly and by the time they go on the market there are so many repairs, it is beyond my realm of possibility.

We have seen houses with rotting wood, decks falling apart, gutters so full of leaves and debris they are bending, leaky plumbing, holes in walls, houses smelling of cigarettes and overpowering cleaning solutions, filthy carpets, rooms that are architectural nightmares when trying to place furniture, tiny bathrooms, dirty bathrooms. Honestly, the way people live.....  clean your damn house!

We just looked at this place. Kudos to the photographer that posted pics on the realty site. The photos made the house look inviting and a definite possibility. The reality was, the horses were beautiful and friendly, and the barn they lived in was nicer than the house the owners were living in. I could have arranged my furniture in the barn easier than in the house of many angles.

The house was wood, wood and more wood. None of it cared for. You gotta do some maintenance on a house made of wood, I'm sorry, you just do. Wood rots. House fall down.

There was not an easy way to get from here to there in the house either. Nearly every room was on a different level. The stairs going to these levels were intended I feel sure for Hobbits. Winding and narrow and how the hell do you get furniture up them?  Stairs also at every entry so getting the twelve bags of groceries I usually bring home every other week would save me a gym membership for sure. The worst thing for me was the overwhelming smell of cleaning solution. I hate going in these houses that people clean real quick and leave this smell behind. It burns my eyes, makes my head hurt and the smell lingered in my hair on the ride back home reminding me of the house I really did not like.

Staging a house is very important when trying to sell it. Gerry and I worked for weeks and weeks getting our house ready to go on the market. We painted, we cleaned the carpets, we replaced toilet seats, light fixtures, packed away art and clutter, and when we have a showing I simmer cloves and cinnamon on the stove right before we leave. We have had tremendous feedback on the look of our house. The only negatives for us are the master bedroom not being on the first floor, the small size of the bedrooms, the laundry space is dumb, mostly all the things I also don't like about this house. But at least it's clean and presents well. I don't get these people that live in filth and show it off for others.
That farm we went to see a while back was ridiculous and the farmer said "I cleaned up for you", HA! Really?!?!  OMG!

I am convinced that people designing and building houses have never cooked or tried to arrange furniture in a room. When I stand in a kitchen I want to be able to get to my sink while someone else is at the stove and have room to move. I want cabinets that are deep enough that my larger plates fit in them. I don't really want to look at a home improvement showroom of cabinets in a kitchen either. These walls of cabinets are killing me. Then there are the rooms with windows in the oddest places, room configured where the is no space to center a bed, a dresser, a TV..... I gotta have some symmetry and some balance. Builders, what are you thinking !?! And the most frustrating thing is the path you take from car to kitchen with groceries. Does anyone ever give this a thought? I have yet to live in a house where I could get out of my car and walk into my kitchen with heavy bags and not have to sit a rest a bit after unloading my car or change clothes from getting soaked in the rain.

I'm not looking for a palace here. I just need a house that is well cared for, rooms that will hold my great grandmothers furniture, display some prized artwork, a kitchen that is functional, and an entrance that doesn't require good cardiovascular health. I would also like a nice laundry room. The other day my realtor said I should just find a piece of land, put all of my furniture out on it, and build up a house around it all. She might be right!

So, the search continues........ bleh.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Strike Three

Loan origination fee $500
Due Diligence           $400
Contractor                 $200
Inspection                 $420
We put a halt on the septic inspection and pumping, the pest inspection and water testing...

Money spent so far just to get to the place where we have discovered there are more issues with this house than we care to take on, so we are withdrawing our offer. Here we go again.....

The first two houses we made an offer on and lost were out of our hands. This is our decision and one we have spent three days deciding on. Our poor realtor. I know we are making her nuts. But it is what it is. We just don't have the money to throw at this house to make it what we want it to be. So we are passing, moving on.

This has got to be one of the worst house searches I have ever been through. Gone are the days when you could roll your costs in at closing. We have been four hundred dollared to death. Competing in the Chapel Hill market is a nightmare. There are too many people moving here. We are really struggling to find something decent and affordable.  If we find something, we have to get in line to make an offer, or we have to write a letter offering our first born child as earnest monies.

Thank God Gerry and I are on the same page and not arguing over all the details, that would make it all the worse. It seems when we are in house search/purchase mode, we really come together and agree. We like the same style houses and both agree on price negotiation, so things go much smoother. I can't imagine going through this and having constant disagreement. It is such a stressful process.

So here we go, onward and upward. I have reached an age where I just sigh and accept loss, change, disappointment, pick myself up and face another day. Going through Wesley's move to California has  really changed my perception of loss and pain. I got through that, I can get through anything.

Good news is, my arm has reached a very tolerable level of pain, I can tell my physical therapy is working. I don't cry anymore when I think about Wesley, I have been promoted in my job and got a raise, and giving up this house is not the end of the world. It was a fine house, not my first choice, not my favorite place, it would have been good enough, but I'm not heartbroken over giving it up. Just tired of the search, want to unpack boxes and get on with my life.

Looking forward to Spring......

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Cross your i's and dot your t's

These two are no dummies! Yesterday, I woke up to an email from our realtor saying we had lost the house, that another offer had come in and the seller had accepted it. Oh hell no! Not after what we have been through with the other two farms we lost to absurd circumstances.

It seems that due to a ministerial mistake (I learned that word yesterday from our attorney), the greedy seller's realtor tried to slip in a better offer after we had signed a legally binding contract. She thought she was being clever. What are the odds on the day we docu-sign our contract another buyer is looking at our house and presents a better offer.

I couldn't call the realtor because she wouldn't have heard me over Gerry's screaming and the stream of profanities that was pouring from my mouth.  I might have set the record for saying Mo.. Fu..
(you know)

I set the caps lock on my email and sent our reply. The note started with WE ARE FURIOUS! We checked our contract, thank God for time/date stamps on email. The  other offer came in AFTER we had signed an agreement with the seller. Guess what? you can't take another offer and call the first one off once you sign a contract,  idiot. Do you think we are stupid? Call the lawyer.

We got in touch with a real estate attorney. Explained the situation. His reply back to us:
"this is bullshit". He wrote a very assertive letter with the words  Specific Performance and I strongly urge you, etc.  The seller's agent quickly responded, "we will honor your contract". Damn straight you will! Don't mess with us, we are tired of looking!

So, who knows what today will bring. Never in my life has it been so difficult to buy a property. If we ever get in this place we are inclined to hunker down and never leave. It used to be so easy. What happened?! Like they say, you gotta have a ticket to get into Chapel Hill..... bleh.

At least justice won out. I'm just glad Gerry and I were on top of it, and pushed our realtor to fight back. You gotta fight back, we don't just lie down and accept defeat that easy.

Onward and upward.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Here we go.....

We are feeling good about this new direction. Once we gave up the idea that a pasture and a barn and an organic farm were our future, everything fell into place and became so easy. Funny how you can think you want one thing and the Universe has a completely different plan for you!

Our offer has been accepted, we have a contract underway, loan approval is done, a green builder is going to meet with us to discuss affordable renovations and we are seeing a light at the end of this long damn tunnel we have been traveling through for the past three or so years.

The house is smaller than what we live in now, there is zero storage, no attic, no garage, no outbuilding, so we have to get creative. More purging to come. We are going to lose one room, mostly the room I kept all of my "stuff" in, so I have some goodbyes to say to things that I have kept for a rainy day. 2015 was a year of letting go and saying goodbye, 2016 will be our year of moving forward and new beginnings. 

Looking forward to the road ahead!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Stay tuned, we might be moving..... Yikes!

We made an offer. Not a farm, but a forest. We will be gardeners, not farmers.....
I keep forgetting to show the newest Anna Branner cups in the house. One is Wesley's but she forgot to pack it, so I am using it for now. She will be back for it......  we will probably be in a new house by then.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Animal spirit guides

When Gerry and I were first married, we bought a Mohawk flat water canoe, then we were hooked on paddling and we bought a Mohawk whitewater boat. We paddled all the time. Once we drove to Wyoming and Montana with our Mohawk boat on top of our Izuzu Trooper., paddled across String Lake at the base of Mt. Moran in the Tetons and camped at a canoe in campsite. Paradise. Then we had Wesley and felt like her drowning in the river due to our foolhardy paddling episodes would suck. So we sold the boats.... I still miss those green boats.

Sometimes we would play in the rapids, surfing and trying our best to paddle upstream, just because....
It was hard, challenging, sometimes fun, but completely futile. I had kick ass biceps back in those days though. And I wonder why I have this shoulder impingement....

We could get only so far upstream then the current would shoot us back down the river.  Our search for a new property this past three years has been very much like our paddling upstream. I was driving over Jordan Lake this evening and this came to me.  We have looked and looked, found two places we loved, lost them to cash offers, we found another farm that was a disaster, we couldn't get in the car and drive away from that place fast enough.  There is nothing new listing and if it is, we can't afford it. Like they say, you gotta have a ticket to get into Chapel Hill. It is so expensive around here.

Today, we went and looked at a fixer upper in a very beautiful wooded neighborhood. Its not on a farm, in fact there is very little sun so who knows if vegetables can grow here at all. But its on 6 acres, very private, land can be cleared for a garden, and chickens are allowed.  It is a weird passive solar home with concrete floors, huge windows in every room and the bedrooms have lofts, very odd but somehow sort of cool....

Light pours in this house from every room. I love this, I live in a very dark house, and while I love my cozy darkness it is hard to get motivated to crawl out of my pajamas on cloudy days.  I need some light.

The kitchen is a mess and needs some serious TLC, but what a dream, to gut a kitchen and make it what you want it to be. This would be a very easy renovation. I would love to buy from a restaurant supply place and have a restaurant kitchen. Industrial stainless steel with wood fired pottery. I'm loving the thought of that!

The driveway is long and winding through the woods, very private, but it's not a farm.....

HOWEVER:  It IS across the street from Jordan Lake, which is a very huge water basin between Pittsboro and Raleigh. A wildlife extravaganza. Its where Gerry is photographing the eagles.

The eagles...... I believe as the Native Americans do, in animal spirit medicine. I have had profound experiences with animal symbolism and always look to the Native American explanations of animal medicine whenever something is going on and there is an animal noticeably around.

Like, the day Wesley graduated high school, three vultures flew directly over my car, then Wesley came up to me at the door and said on her way there three vultures fled right over her car. The vultures were my totem all through her college years, coming to me every time there was a dilemma and giving me answers. There were always three of them. Three of us, three of them....

The week that Wes was to move to California a family of deer came one day and laid down in our yard all morning, I have never seen them do that. Then, the morning she was to leave, the mom came into the yard, alone, and stood there watching us, as if she was telling us we would all be ok. It was incredibly symbolic and comforting as I said goodbye to Wesley. There was also an episode once with a dolphin when Wesley was searching for some much needed answers....  it's really weird and powerful and I believe that shit!

So, my point is, the other day when I was down at the river with Gerry, it was a mystical kind of day. The eagles flying and calling to each other, the weather gray and cold and I wondered if the eagles were sending me their medicine. Today as I crossed the lake I wondered about them again and I came home and read about eagle spirit medicine. There was a lot that related to where Gerry and I are right now, but the thing that gave me some chills was a sentence that said if an eagle comes to you as a spirit guide it will lead you to water, because that is where the eagle is happiest and gets it's strength. Interesting that this house is pulling us because it is across the street from this beautiful lake. Maybe the eagles are bringing us to this house and we were never intended to live on a farm.

Maybe instead of having goats, I'll get a canoe!

Saturday, January 9, 2016


Quiet Jaunary. The rain continues to fall, the temperature has dropped. Our house is dark with soft gray light filtered through the shades and draperies. I left the white twinkly lights from Christmas, they make everything feel so cozy.

I look forward to crawling in my bed at night, under the quilts, the soft worn sheets are a comfort. I wake up in the morning to cloudy skies, skeleton shapes of the bare trees. Soft light. Dormant state of mind. Hibernation.

I'm reading, listening to music, making pots of soup with warm cornbread, drinking good roasted coffee from California. It is a slow month. It's good to slow down and breathe deeply. Reflect.....

Writing in new journal pages, keeping the words positive and more joyful. I filled enough pages with complaints last year to last me for awhile.

Gerry and I looked at another farm last week. These barns were the best thing on the property. There were too many negatives, although the old farmer was just about ready to give us the place or pay us to take it. I can walk in most any house and instantly visualize the renovation. I walked in the house on this farm and my mind went completely blank. I could see no way, except to tear it down. We continue to look...... but oh these barns, just what I would love to have. Can't you just see a weaving studio? A guest cottage?

We have a large nesting sight of bald eagles near our house. Gerry got up before sunrise the other day and spent the day at the river photographing them. Later in the day he came and got me and took me down there. I think we counted eight of them. Young ones and moms. We are so fortunate to have them near us, even more fortunate that people with good sense saw the need to save this species. They are magnificent.

It was nice to sit by the river and be still. Everything is so dead, so dormant. But the river was alive. There were seagulls and herons and ducks. And the eagles. Why is water so healing I wonder? It soothes my restless soul.....

It is a good new year