Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mi Casa es... MI CASA!!!

Front yard on inspection day in late April.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How We First Met the House

It was a rainy Saturday morning in March.  My Mom left our apartment after her spring visit just an hour or so prior.  We met our realtor in the parking lot of a convenience store out in the "country." We toured one house, gave it a no, toured a second house, gave it a no, then drove by a third house and our curiosity was sparked.  There was no time to schedule a showing that day, but we petitioned for one ASAP and got one scheduled for two days later.  As we drove away, after only seeing the outside in the rain, Matt said something to the effect of "I think that may be my favorite house already." I was thrilled. 

Two days later when we pulled up in the sunshine Matt looked kind of shocked while stepping out of the car.  He had in his mind we were going to tour the house next door.  He was looking at the wrong property two days prior!  But that concern was quickly forgotten.  Once in the door we both had a good feeling.  I knew we were in a house that could be for us.

When we left an hour later, another couple arrived to take a THIRD look at the house.  They thought it could be for them too!   Our flags went up.  We found out they were indeed going to present an offer to the sellers two days later, so we jumped in the game.  Both our offers were presented at the same time and were extremely similar, but the seller chose ours because, as our realtor put it, "they liked you guys better!"  I like to think this is due to a cover letter we presented along with the offer to let the sellers know a little about us :-)

Since then it has been a long but pleasant experience.  Tomorrow, ten weeks later,  it comes to an end when we get the keys at 10:00am!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

We Are Buying A House!

Before there was an "under contract" sign hanging in a yard...
Before endless papers needed to be signed and faxed...

We were weighing the pros & cons between "townhouse or single family" and "buy now or rent one more year."  Here's a little glimpse into our house hunting experience.  

We started in March of '10, but quickly learned we needed to save more if we were going to own in this part of the country.  So we established a relationship with a realtor referred to us by a family friend and waited another year.  In March of '11 we were good to go, so the hunt began.  I did a lot of pre-viewing while Matt was at work.  Crossed off some.  Revisited others.  All in all we didn't have to look at dozens and dozens of properties like I imagined we would.  It was similar to what one see's on TV and completely different too.  (By the way, my submission to be on House Hunters didn't pan out, but they did consider us and that made me just as happy!)  

We definitely learned to love what you could afford, and the scenario ended up being much better than I once imagined.  Before next week's reveal of the money pit perfect house for us,  take a look below at the homes that peaked our interest more than others:

The only two story home on our prospective list was crossed off fast.  Had a boxy and manufactured feeling, no storage and no dishwasher.  Looks are deceiving on this one, that's all I'll say.  The corner lot wasn't inciting either.  
Despite resembling an upgraded mobile home, this one would have stayed on the list longer had it a second bathroom.  The master walk-in closet with window, landscaped fenced backyard with patio and upgraded kitchen made us consider going back to being a one toilet household... but we snapped back to our senses.  Fast.  

This split personality was relatively spacious, had a deck and heated workshop/garage in a semi-private backyard.  But it was on a busy street, smelled like urine, had only one bathroom, an asphalt backyard and... perhaps the most bizarre sight in all our house hunting... a urinal in the laundry room. 

Though this booger had good bones and a good price, we stayed in it for all of five minutes.  Too much work to do inside.  And bad location, for us at least.  Someone else may love that it is directly across the street from a hardware store.  And gas station.   And pizza place.  And a nail salon.  And your mom.  You get the idea.
Now we're getting closer.  This charming rancher had small but capable bedrooms, a flat fenced yard, fireplace, sunroom and a basement to work with.  But no "it" factor for Matt.  After thinking about it more, I soon felt what he felt.  Or didn't feel. 

This cutie was a game changer for us.  Though it was t-i-n-y inside, it was immaculate.  Wouldn't have to lift a finger after moving in.  New windows, great flooring, two full baths (both of which were updated; the master having a jacuzzi tub, huge walk in shower & double vanity) fireplace, patio, and overall adorableness oozing out of it's everything.  Except it was t-i-n-y.  No storage.  No third bedroom.  No convertible basement.  But it was immaculate!  This house helped us realize we value square footage over updates.
 Little rancher #5 (notice a theme?) was the first house we contemplated putting an offer on.  The screened porch had me at hello.  As did the hardwoods, two amazing large updated bathrooms and ginormous finished walk-out basement.  Matt was enamored with the two story garage/shop wired with electric and heat.  But in the end, the miniature bedrooms and hard to define living/dining spaces made the sparkle wear off.  

This is the second to last house we viewed and something about it appealed to me very much.  Though it needed updates, it had larger rooms, two bathrooms, storage and plenty of living space.  The private wooded backyard was beautiful, but the long steep drop into a creek left no room to play or grow grass.  Matt had a hard time with the split personality.  Luke warm feelings from both of us weren't good enough, so onward we looked...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Younts Go To The City

My Mom and her sister could not be any more different from each other.  While my Mom wants to wear  dresses and touch up her pedicure while watching HGTV, my aunt wants to fish in her blue jeans and flip through a Cabela's catalog.  I identify more with my Mom's interests.  Despite them (& us) being cut from a completely different rug, we love each other so much and always have a fun time together.  Last week was a whole new kind of fun.  Abandoning their instincts to go natural and experience the great outdoors on their summer vacation, the Yount family came to the city!  They got to stand where George Washington stood and and experience so much of our country's history!

It was a hoot having two teenagers around.  Andrew (16) and Shelby (13) bunked in the living room and were troopers all week.  The gang was here for seven days; five of which we ran around  Annapolis and Washington DC until we couldn't run anymore.  The other two days were spent relaxing around the apartment up at the pool or watching a movie.  Other than starting the dishwasher almost daily instead of weekly, the only "challenge" of having six people under one roof was keeping enough milk in the fridge!

Speaking of food, the eatin' was good.  Steve & Jean enjoyed their coffee on the rooftop patio almost every morning and the whole crew enjoyed a couple dinners up there too. 
 Adventurous Steve ordered a soft shell crab sandwich for lunch!

 The kid in all of us slurped up every drop of our milkshakes on the hottest of hot afternoons,
We "adults" celebrated Jean & Steve's 18th wedding anniversary over seafood downtown overlooking the water while the iPod loving teenagers were happy at home with their electronics and leftovers.
  Discovered and fell in love with a neighborhood place in DC complete with charming host,

Subway tile, painted brick, mood lighting, tufted seats, (can you see the lady in pink that is wondering why in the world I am taking a photo with her in it?),
 And a pastry chef that makes homemade pop tarts!

Andrew managed to dodge family photo ops with comical regularity...

Staring down the barrel of a cannon and protecting his mom from a giant shark jaw was more his style,

Sweet Shelby was always game for photo ops and even enjoyed taking many photos herself,

And much to all our liking, we found nature within the city limits,
Bugs at the Natural History Museum
A hidden waterfall
Oooold trees on the Capitol lawn
Beautiful big hydrangea blooms
Vibrant little fishies at the Natural History Museum
While still having fun at the man made sights,
Washington Monument
Viet Nam Memorial
Enormous escalators out of the Metro
Neat street scenes
Thinking of Grandad at the WWII Memorial
Fantastic view from Arlington Cemetery
 Matt and I sure had fun over their family vacation and I believe they had a good time too!
Thanks for staying in our "hotel" this summer Aunt Jean, Uncle Steve, Andrew & Shelby!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

MORE Summer Vacation Visitors

Jason & Erin are good friends from Austin who were trying to fly standby to Ireland, but when that plan began to not look promising, they detoured to see us!  To help their minds make the necessary vacation transition, we immediately took them downtown to an Irish restaurant.  They reminisced about their first trip to Ireland over fish & chips and Irish Soda Bread.  Our waitress even had a genuine Irish accent :o)

As our visit with them continues this week, soon I'll post a re-cap of our adventures last week with the Younts.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Summer Vacation Visitors

My Mom has a sister, she has a husband, they have two teenage kids and we have visitors!

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Ordinary Things, Like Crooked Lime Green Thread

Where do I want to go with this post?  It's 11:00pm and I was comfy in bed, but the writing bug hit.  I was thinking of how this darn blog gets the best of me sometimes.  A lot of times.  I can't keep up with it.  Or it can't keep up with me.  I don't know which.  I like the idea of making my new blog posts chronologically accurate, but that ever present concept on my to-do list seems to never get crossed off.  "Update the blog and make it good" is a self-induced pressure I'd like to live without.  And most of the blog ideas on my to-do list revolve around trips and events.  Things that are out of the ordinary.  And in that, my every day ordinary gets lost. 

Growing up I was very diligent about writing ordinary things on my 365 Kittens A Year calendar.  Every night I jotted down a couple lines about what I did each day.  Everything from when I had ballet class and Cameron had a baseball game to how long we jumped on the trampoline after school and what Mom cooked for supper.  Later my tastes changed and records were kept via 365 Days In France, but a calendar was always there hanging beside my bed with a pen attached and writing in it was part of my nighttime routine.  I loved knowing all those days were not lost in time.  Something from them has been recorded forever, therefore I could remember them better.  The art of recording events to evoke memories, no matter how brief or detailed, is a wonderful practice. 

After college I completely fell out of that practice and have been kind of disappointed about it since.  I think I thought this blog would fill some of that void in a new-fashioned way.  And I guess it kind of does.  I do have to be careful to not share too much on this very wide world wide web though.  Of course it's wise to reserve some thoughts for my paperback "Dear Diary" entries, but in the meantime I'll unleash more unleashable things here one the ole blog.  And will include things that don't always need chronological documentation.  The small things.  The ordinary things.  Because those things eventually paint a big extraordinary picture.  

With that said...

Last night I mended.  Full out sewed by hand with needle and thread.  Not a huge feat for some, but definitely a note worthy occurrence for me.  Last summer a hole in Matt's shorts pocket became so large his keys would fall straight through.  I stashed the defunct shorts in a bag with other "to mend" items.  None of the items got mended... until last night when a second hole appeared in the pocket of a second pair of shorts.  I was SO temped to take them to someone else to fix.  But I used my better judgement and conjured up images of my Mom busting out a needle and thread with ease, so I set up shop next to a lamp on the couch and went to town on those bad boys.  Lo and behold, crooked lime green stitching never looked so good inside white pockets :o)