That was meant to be read in an exhalation of breath, as in a sigh. Seven months ago, when we started dreaming about this day, I always imagined the excitement would be seeping from every orifice of my being when we signed the papers. I imagined I would come to this blog and scream on Facebook, WE SIGNED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! in that exact manner, but no.
We signed. In a small office facing the street. Four large bodies cramped up against the desk, trying to make light of such a horrid, but supposedly fun situation, trying not to sweat on each other, wishing that we’d been offered water when we came in.
I still find myself holding my breath a little bit. Waiting for that call or notice from someone that something else has gone wrong. The churning in my stomach is still there, not like the really impressive bank account balance we once had.
I’d like to say that next week at this time, we will have our keys. But I can’t. Not yet. All I know right now is that we signed.
So the end is approaching, not quickly, but approaching nonetheless. We were hoping to get our call to sign today but that didn’t happen so we are assured that it will be Monday. Darn weekends keep getting in the way. To bide my time, I’ve been reading blogs on saving money and budgeting and being the good little housewife that I’m supposed to be. But I have a question. Do people really DO this? Do people really make their own washcloths, and napkins, and clothes? Do people really wash their aluminum foil and reuse it?
I’m all for saving money. However, it would cost me about the same to purchase my monthly bottle of Kaboom shower cleaner as it would be for me to purchase vinegar and dish soap and make my own. And anyone who knows my son, knows that it is worth it to me (or anyone shopping with him) to spend $1 more on an item than to drive to another store just to get an it cheaper there.
I’m happy to say that we don’t need to save money like that. But I do know we can do better. I do buy paper towels but we don’t use them to dry our hands. I save money by buying cake mix or brownies rather than buying store bought, prepackaged items for our sweets. Could we give up our sweet treats? Yes. Will I? No. I buy our clothes new, but I also sell all of our unwanted items. I’m also a “treasure hunter” and will sell items I find that are worth salvaging.
After four years of digging ourselves out of a pretty deep hole, complete with job layoff, I’d say we are doing pretty well. We have one credit card, to help rebuild our credit, but we try not to keep a balance on it. We also just bought a new furniture set on layaway (to save 20%) with no interest or financing charges. I just pay it off in cash and will make the final payment next week when we get our house. And we got approved for a home loan. I think that’s a pretty big step, especially in today’s market where you pretty much have to promise the blood of your first born to get a house. So yes, if I want to go to the store and get a movie out of the Redbox (with my free coupon!) or stop at the store and buy a soda and some candy, if I want to splurge on a clock I’ve been eyeing for awhile, I will. Will I charge it? Probably not. Overall, I really want to, and plan to start taking money saving steps. However, some things are just okay to spend money on. Life is too short to drink home made soda or live by candle light 🙂
Today, we got THE CALL. We have been officially approved for our loan! It has only taken three months to get our approval. Even after our approval, they need more documents, as “formalities.” It is going to take four days (approximately) to send our files over to the title company so we can sign next week. No matter how long it takes, we are assured that we will be completed by March 15, which is our very last day of our extension. Let’s see…..
So we never got our key. It has been a rollercoaster of emotion. Excitement, dismay, disappointment, caution. Why can’t it all be over? I wasn’t going to post on here anymore until we were for sure going to have our key, but I thought, why not? Then someday, if/when we ever do have a house, we can look back and relive? the process. Not sure why I’d want to. So here is how it goes:
We were supposed to close on January 25, which was a Friday. We got the call on Monday that said that the laws had changed on January 1 (and it’s taken three weeks to let us know??) and now I could no longer be left off the loan, and my credit score, which had been teetering on borderline, had dropped too low, partially because of an old bad debt that I had been disputing for two years with Dell. To just hurry the process up, we came to a settlement with Dell, called the lender to find out if a settlement would suffice, and was told yes. I was also told to defer my student loans, for the thousandth time and pay off my Capital One card. So $2000, we are told we need “official” documents stating these issues have been resolved. A snapshot of the online dashboard is not enough. So we had to wait two weeks for the statements to be updated so they could get a rapid rescore and find out if my scores had gone up their measily 4 (yes 4!!!) points so that I could be in the clear again. That Friday comes and the statement is ready and our lender drops a bombshell. He’s going to Mexico for the entire week on vacation and we are going to wait until Capital One updates the credit reports so that they don’t have to pay for a rapid rescore, so Monday. Monday and Tuesday both come and go without so much as an email from our lender. He’s in Mexico sipping Margaritas and we are here rummaging through boxes just to find the ibuprofen. And we can’t get a hold of him because his phone does not work in Mexico. Finally we get an email on that Thursday that says the score is good and he is sending all the information in and ordering loan docs and we should be closing early next week. Frantic because we are coming up short on funds since we had to pay all that off, I borrow $1200 from my dad (which is like cutting on both arms for him) and put it in the bank. I get an email early this morning, Saturday, and our lender says there is no guarantee that we are going to close this week, instead, we should plan for March 15, two more weeks. What???? Nothing has changed since three days ago and now. Why are they tacking two more weeks on the end of this? I sent him an email and complained and asked why it was taking so long, blah, blah, and he doesn’t address a single thing, just apologizes for the “disappointments.” We forwarded even more bank statements, and more pay stubs today. Next they are going to want Gryph’s heart coated in gold. And since we are still coming up $30 short (it hasn’t hit the bank yet but will come through Monday), now we have to wait till Monday to show we have the full amount for the down payment. So our 45 day escrow has turned into 90.
So after all that, I don’t know if we’ll get the house. I’ll be really upset if we don’t, since we’ve invested so much time, emotion, and money into this house. We’ve planned our entire lives up till now, as well as our entire future for this house. But at this point, I’m kind of over it. I can’t keep stressing about it anymore.
So we are approximately four days from getting our key. Maybe sooner. We happened by there this afternoon after church and the back door was unlocked, so of course! we let ourselves in to show my parents. Wow. Is this the same house I’ve been doting over for five months? Where did those cracks come from? How come the carpet is so dirty? Has that wallpaper always gone all the way up to the ceiling? OMG, why are there dents in the stove? Oh, what hideous lights!!! Okay, so I’m getting nervous. And overwhelmed. There is going to be A LOT of work to be done in the coming weeks. We will have our rental through the month of February (does it have to be the shortest month of the year?) so we have about four weeks to work on the house before we HAVE to be moved in. First major project is paint. The house is blue. The tile is blue, the grout is blue, the bathtub is blue. The walls? Well, they are yellow. Can we say 1987 flashback? So we have about 2000 square feet of yellow walls that need paint. And about 30 foot ceilings that need paint. Yikes. 10 gallons and $300 later, hopefully we’ll be covered, literally.
So almost a month ago, I get one of those calls that no one ever wants to get. I won’t get into details here but my gramma is now gone, a few days before Christmas. So needless to say this entire month has sucked. To put it mildly. The day of my gramma’s viewing and the day before her funeral, I get a call that the appraisal has come in too low on our house. My world had already felt like it was caving in all around me, and now this? I NEEDED this house. I needed it for the new life I desperately craved, for the distraction I was longing for in order to cope with this horror that was now my life. How could my gramma have been taken away from me and now this too? All in the same week? I began feeling terrified of everything. You know how you always think, it won’t happen to me? I was now the opposite? Oh, God, what are you going to put me through next?? It was over in my eyes. Throughout this entire ordeal I just kept thinking, I just need to get through the funeral, then I can focus on my house and get out of this hell I’m living. I just needed to occupy my mind. So the funeral came and went and still no word on the house. I began looking for rentals and/or other homes, desperate to move. I did a ton of research online and basically, we only had a few options.
1. Ask the bank to take the appraisal price. In our case, only $8000 less.
2. Ask the bank to meet in the middle, with us paying $4000 and the bank paying $4000.
3. Paying the entire difference in cash.
4. Backing out of the deal.
If you’re not understanding, our lender (or any lender) will not fund a mortgage for more than the appraisal price. It made sense to me that the selling bank would take less but it was anyone’s game at this point. Two long weeks passed, as we waited, nearing our closing date, sure we were going to miss it. Then today…..
(Cue heavenly music)
We got the call!!! Not only will the bank accept it, they accepted the appraisal price so we don’t have to come up with the additional money!! So we are back on track, giving the lender more paperwork and information, and we are still scheduled to close in, according to my countdown on my desktop, 13 days, 2 hours, 10 minutes, and 22 seconds…..
I really do need this. This house means so much more to me now than it ever did. Not only is it my dream home, but it is the new life I yearned for. It is the distraction. It is the therapy I needed. I am going to use it as that. It will be my sanctuary. I’m sorry my gramma won’t get to see it. But I know she already has. I know she is proud of me and my big blue house. Now I won’t have to take pictures of the upstairs because she won’t be able to climb them. She’s already there, waiting for us to meet her. I love you Gramma.
To bide my time in this little house, I have been obsessing about creating the perfect look in my new dream home. Right now, my favorite look is distressed, vintage, primitive. I am hoping to create the coziest, lived in look to make our new home comfortable. I’ve been borrowing ideas from Pinterest and various other blogs, like Down to Earth style, which I LOVE!!!
My first big project was a vintage dresser that I picked up for free on Craigslist. I loved it because it had cabinet doors instead of drawers and it was in really good shape. I really wanted to do something with it to make it stand out but after my black dresser redo didn’t really turn out, I wasn’t sure I wanted to paint it. I decided to stain it a dark walnut, but first I had to sand down layers and layers of varnish. NOT FUN!
After several weeks of sanding, the staining was the easy part. I added new hardware that I got at the local hardware store for about $10 total and I’m really happy with the results. I think I want to stencil a gold emblem on the top but I haven’t decided yet.
I really like how the different woods stained different shades. I think it adds character.
It’s finally happened! After 12 weeks of (im)patiently waiting, we got THE call! We got our acceptance letter for our offer in the short sale. That means in 45 short? days, the blue house will be ours! It’s been a long time coming and I know that the next 45 days are going to be even longer, but I know that moment when those keys are passed over to us and we walk into our very own dream home for that very first time, time will stand still. Merry Christmas to us!!!
My new favorite thing, as of late, is upcycling furniture. Awhile back, I came across a small end table and painted it this lovely sea foam green and I loved it. So instead of wanting a new coffee and end table in my living room, I decided I was going to upcycle it.
I have this huge intricate wooden coffee table with a matching end table that were given to us by my mother in law. They are heavy and lovely, but over the years, they have become scratched and worn. The end table has the lacquer chipping off of the top. I have wanted new ones for years. So when I decided that I was going to upcycle them, I wanted to actually know what I was doing first. So I came across this antique dresser with all its drawers and I figured I would use that for practice. I found this pin on Pinterest about how to paint furniture black with the smooth finish. Since we’ve been saving every penny for our house, money to spend was extremely limited. I had two gallons of black paint, one was gloss and one was flat. Nothing in between. So I chose the gloss. When I opened the can, it was completely dried out. Flat it is. I did some minor sanding, removed all 16 of the drawer pulls, complete with screws AND nails and went to work painting. Upon finishing, the black paint was pretty smooth but it was very flat and it was already chipping if something bumped it so I put a clear over it. I ended up having to go buy a quart of clear lacquer because the spray paint didn’t work. Once that clear was on it, it was no longer smooth. As of right now, I hate the project and it’s not even done. I still have the sides of the dresser to lacquer and then put the pulls back in. It’s not smooth at all, it’s too glossy, and the top of the dresser has some damage that can’t be covered with paint. I’m going to finish up the sides and decoupage the top and call it done. Problem is, since we’ve been planning on moving for almost 8 months now, all my stuff is packed and so it’s hard to do any projects. Here is a picture of the dresser before:
Here is the dresser after it’s been painted.:
I’ll add a photo when the top gets decoupaged. Until then. Please enjoy this picture of the fabulously retro chair I picked up. I’ve never recovered a chair but I really want this chair to be great!