Saturday, March 31, 2007

Can you stand another house post?

Here is where we are currently... Our realtor rejected the bank's counter offer on Friday morning. I spoke with her for some time yesterday afternoon. We have decided to go up a little on our offer if the bank will agree to push the closing date out a little farther. The realtor said she thought that we should let the bank think they lost us for at least from Friday morning to Monday some time. If another bid comes in - it has to come through our realtor's office to be submitted. We would have a chance to get our bid put in. She also told us that she did these monthly reports for the bank where she shows what comp prices are going for, where she thinks they should price it, etc. She submitted her most current one on Thursday. She said that in it - she strongly suggested a price reduction on this house. She said that whoever makes that decision may take a day or two to reflect her suggestions and we should not up our bid too quickly. For right now, we are going to take her advice and see what happens next week.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Friday Feast (late)

What are you proud of?

Easy, boring answer - my kids. Of course they make me proud - they ARE MY KIDS! A little more interesting answer - Tim and I. Yep! I am proud of us! We started out young, had a lot of obstacles, found our way, sometimes lost our way only to find a new way, and when I went to bed last night and saw him sleeping there - I felt like I couldn't believe how much I loved this man. So, I am proud of US!

What is the best thing you’ve ever won as a prize?

I can't seem to remember winning any prize worthy of writing about. I do remember that my sister bought me a scratch off lottery ticket for my birthday once. Then she remembered she was in Illinois and I was in Florida. I wouldn't be able to cash it in, if I won. She decided to keep it and scratch it off. Ummm... she won $50 on it! I still tell her that she owes me $50 because she intended that to be MY lottery ticket.

Name something you do that is a waste of time.

I would say I waste time on the computer. I don't believe ALL of it is a waste of time. I learn a lot, I have many cyber friends that enrich my life. Then there are those times when I just don't want to get out of my rocking chair and do something. I can waste away a whole lot of time reading a whole lot of nothing.

Main Course
In what year of your life did you change the most?

My life changed the most when I was 17. Not because I became a mother. You would think that would be it, huh? Nope. My dad got seriously ill that year and continued to be ill for the next 9 years until he passed away. My dad was a strong guy. He always seemed so tall and big to me. When I was 17, he withered away to nearly nothing. I stayed home with my dad and Timmy and homeschooled my senior year of high school. I am glad I got to stay with my baby. It wasn't the plan. The plan was to return to the brick and mortar school. Then my dad got sick. My mom went from working part-time to working full-time. Somebody had to care for him during the day. That was me. As awful as it was, I am thankful for the lessons I learned. I am thankful that I got to spend about 18 months learning about what it was to be a mom and learning what it meant to be a daughter all at the same time. I grew up quite a bit when I was 17.

Where is a place you consider to be very tranquil?
All of St. John is pretty tranquil, but there is this one beach that I just loved so much on our last trip. It is called Hawksnest. It has some really beautiful rocks where the water reaches the beach. Some big enough to sit on and others just small and scattered. I sat on one of the big rocks and watched the water with all of its beautiful colors roll in over and over again. It was just so peaceful. I could have planted myself there for a whole day. BUT... my dh is not a beach lying (laying?) person. He is a get in the water, snorkel, get out of the water, leave sort of guy. I did get to enjoy it for awhile though. I think about it now when I am feeling stressed beyond belief.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

More house news...

It is not what we wanted to hear. They came back with an offer of $1000 less than the last one. That still puts it about $5000 over what we want to ideally pay. We don't know what we will do next. I am very, very torn on whether we should spend more money on this house. My brother-in-law feels it is worth this amount and I do trust his opinion. BUT... we have not sold our house and if we offered more it would mean we would have to take those funds from our savings account. My pay will be ending in April. That means we will be drawing on our savings until we move. It is all so scary. If I had any idea how long it will take to sell our house or how much we will make off of it... that would make our decision easier. Unfortunately, I am not psychic! On one hand, I feel that we are THIS close to getting this house and how can I let a couple thousand dollars stand in they way. On the other hand, I think about how those couple thousand dollars might really be needed down the road. Sometimes it is NO FUN being a grown up! One idea I came up with is going up a little on our offer, but asking them to close at a later date - say June 30th. That gives us more time to try to sell our house and less time of paying that interest only loan on the second house. That is a savings of $$$ that could be put into the offer price. I have no idea if they would consider that or not. I am thinking I should talk to the realtor about it tomorrow. It is so hard to know what to do because I am emotionally attached to this house now. I didn't think that could or would happen so fast. I am constantly wondering if God wants us to be next door to our family. Is He putting me there because he knows how much I love Debi's children and wants me to be there with them? I just don't know the answer to that. I realize that if He wants me there, then that is where I will be. How do I know when I am supposed to bid more or when I am supposed to stop? It is all so very frustrating! I guess I will try to sleep on it and see what tomorrow brings.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Post #200 and how much I like making lists...

First - there is no NEW house news. Sorry. I sure wish there was too. Second - this is my 200th post! Exciting, huh? Third - what I think about making lists. I love lists. I love thinking about them. I love writing them. I love checking them off. I don't know if this is normal or not, but it is me. I have always loved making lists. When I was little, my mom would take me to Grimm's (Leann - is that how you spell Grimm's? I can't really remember anymore.) Anyway, it was a little local drug store that we could walk to from our house. They had a Hello Kitty display. It had all sorts of little note pads and paper. I was in absolute heaven looking at these. From time to time, my mom would treat me to pick one of these much wanted Hello Kitty items. I would always pick the ones that were either paper or pencils or both. I had no use for the hair brushes, fake make-up or mirrors. Bring on the paper supplies! At first, I would love them so much I did NOT want to write in any of it. I would take the little slips of paper out of the tiny package. Then I would take the delicate envelopes out and look at them over and over again. I couldn't decide WHOM I should write a letter to on my very special paper. In time, I got more and more Hello Kitty paper. This is the first I can remember of making lists. I would make pretend "play school" lists, chore lists (huh? I didn't have any real chores.), and other lists. I continued making lists on and off all through growing up. I think once I got married I started making more lists, but it didn't really take full blown effect until I started homeschooling 8 years ago. Ahhhh... there is nothing like making homeschooling lists! You can list curriculum you want to look at, curriculum you want to buy, lists about how to schedule curriculum, and it just goes on and on. I also started doing household cleaning lists with Debi many years ago. We were always looking for the perfect way to stay on top of all the tasks that needed to be done in a household. Yesterday, I was sitting at co-op and I had my handy, dandy notebook with me. I began my lists. I made a list of many of the odds and ends I would like to get done on the house by Sunday. Then I made a grocery list and dinner list. Today, I was working through my work list and I decided that I just must blog about it. I am tired of blogging about did we get the house or didn't we. Okay, here is my last list confession. I am known to actually do a task NOT ON THE LIST and then ADD IT TO THE LIST, just so I can get the happy feeling of checking it off! Sick, huh? Ahhhh... it is the little things that make me happy!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

House update...

I got a call from the realtor lady this afternoon. She said the bank came back with an offer on Sunday, but she was having a medical procedure done on Monday - didn't get it till today. And... they came down about $5000. Still not enough for our price. She didn't even let me respond - she just went into, "This is what I want you to do. I want to resubmit the last bid again and note very clearly that this IS your HIGHEST and BEST offer." She said that sometimes you just have to keep resubmitting the same amount to let them know that they really aren't going to get you to go up. I have no idea if that will work, but seeing as that was the most we could bid... I guess this will have to do. The realtor also said she was putting in 5pm today as the deadline. Ummm... it is 10:38pm and we haven't heard anything. I guess we will see what tomorrow holds. Keep praying for the right thing to happen. Thanks!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Pictures from brownies and co-op last week...

It has been awhile since I posted some general day to day pictures. I have been so wrapped up in house stuff, I just haven't found the energy to come here and be too creative. I snapped some pictures with my handy dandy camera phone last week. It doesn't take the best quality pictures, but it works good enough for a few of those quick shots I may not have ever gotten otherwise. I still would love a tiny digital camera I could keep in my purse... maybe someday!

Savannah's brownie troop posing for a picture for the homeschool yearbook.

Our annual "playground shot" for the yearbook. We almost forgot "Puppy" in the picture. Savannah has had Puppy in the picture for the last few years. Puppy is their mascot.

Savannah's brownie leader also teaches art at our co-op. They were doing sand art outside last week. I was chit-chatting away, when I turned around and saw that she had set Sebastian up with his very own art project! Awwww... his first real art class!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Some house news...

It is not the news we were hoping for. We got the counter offer today. It was about $10,000 more than we ever thought it would be. The realtor feels it is too much. She said the bank has an appraisal and they are wanting to stick close to that. She has an email and a phone call into them telling them that this is a good offer. We decided to up our bid by $2,500 and half of closing costs. That is our limit of what we can do without selling this house. It is the most we want to spend knowing that we will have to make repairs and want to build a garage. It is still $10,000 less than what they are asking us to come up with. They barely came down on their asking price at all. They only went down $2,000! Our offer will go in tomorrow. They got another offer, but it does not have a pre-qual letter. So, it won't be submitted without that. I guess we have done all we can do. I really don't know what else we could or should do. It just does not make financial sense to spend more on this house. It is funny how tied to a house you can become without even buying it! Crazy! I am sure it will probably be next week before we hear about our counteroffer. Another weekend! Crazy!

Something good out of something sad...

As I said in my last post, I have been lacking in writing. I told you about all the physical things that have been keeping me busy. That is all very true, but there has been the emotional things that have been keeping me busy too. Sunday afternoon we hit a wall so to say. I won't give all the yucky details here since this is supposed to be my "happy" place. I will say it included me, Tim, and Timmy and lots of yelling. This has been something that has been brewing for a few months. Timmy really doesn't want to move. I know this and his dad knows this. He is 18 and he sees his friends as his entire life. I moved to Florida when I was 18 and remember how very painful it was to leave my friends. I really do feel for my child. I understand his pain. Of course, Sunday's fight didn't start with "I don't want to move". It started with a typical household chore and moved onto the battle. In the end, Tim and Timmy stormed off and I was left. I decided to take my emotional energy and stucco windows. Timmy stayed with his friend that night. All night, I was missing him. Now he stays at friends at least 4 nights a week, but this night was different. He was gone because he was angry. He has some friends getting an apartment on April 1st and they have offered to let him join them. This terrifies me! So many thoughts go through my head. I called my mom as I often do on Monday morning. Before I knew it, my tears were flowing. How could I let my baby move into an apartment and then LEAVE him and move 8 1/2 hours away? How can I let him go? Will Sebastian ever know just how wonderful his brother is? Will he have enough money? Will he go to school full time? Will he just work at Chick-fil-A forever? How do I let my baby stay in another state? I had him when I was 16 and let's face it - he has been with me more than half of my life. If you take out the years you don't even remember because you are a baby - he has been with me for so long. I began to sob. Then this is what happened... Savannah came rushing in and put her arms around me. She hugged me tight and kept telling me that, "God has a plan for all of us, mom. He loves you and me and Timmy and all of us. He will take care of us. He has a plan for us." Just like that she said what I needed to hear. I heard her say it to me. I was proud of her to tell me this. It wasn't until this morning that her words came back to me again. I realize how happy I am that she knows this and believes this and lives it. Some good came out of some really sad stuff. As far as Timmy staying or going... I don't know what will happen. I picked him up at work on Monday and I talked with him. I told him some facts the way they were, not as my child, but as an adult that I needed help from. He told me he didn't know what to do. I even came to the conclusion that I could keep breathing if he stayed here and went to school. There is a school option here that we don't have up there or at least the cost is much better here. I just don't know what will happen. I guess many parents go through this when their first turns 18. I just really wasn't prepared for it. I still can't get my mind around keeping them with you for 18 years. Taking care of them, worrying about them, loving them, and then POOF! They are 18 and no longer in your life everyday. It is a very hard thing to take in. I guess I will just keep remember Savannah's hug and her great wisdom that "God has a plan for us!"

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

No REAL news...

Who is out there checking in to see if we heard about the house? I know my sister is - I can see the Arkansas ip address on my stat counter. She is my most faithful reader! LOL! The answer is we don't have an answer. NOPE! NO ANSWER! We did learn that the bank would not even consider the other people's offer because of their lack of decent earnest money. That means we are the only offer they are considering. We thought we would hear back today, but it is after 6pm and I haven't heard anything. I have been really busy working on house stuff. Sunday and Monday I put new stucco around the windows. Tim had to chip it out to put in new windows awhile back. I painted half of the patio and painted the sides of the windows yesterday while Sebastian sleeping. This morning, Savannah and I packed her room. Let's just say there was a whole lot of stuff packed into that one room. This afternoon, I vacuumed the pool and finished the patio. That is the main reason for my lack of interesting writing or at least posting some cute pictures. I do have some that I would like to share, but I think it may be later rather than sooner. Stay tuned...

Friday, March 16, 2007

Fixing house progress - painting the pool...

Doesn't the empty pool look YUCKY? Gross!
See his lid headlight on his head? He loves this thing for working at night. He also bought the spotlights a few months ago so he could work in the dark! He is nocturnal!

Here it is with a pretty blue color! Much better!

A few weeks ago we got the pool ready to paint. I tried to drain it one afternoon by myself and couldn't figure out the filter thing. I spent HOURS trying to get it to drain and finally gave up. Tim comes home and turns this valve I never knew was there and poof! It drains in a couple hours. The next night we get the paint and tape and other stuff. I put the kids to bed around 9:30 that night and was getting ready to watch a movie. Tim had taped off the tile earlier that evening and he asks if I want to sit on the swing while he does all the cutting in. Then he was like - or do you wanna help me get this painted and done in a few hours? What? It is like 10pm! I decide what the heck. Might as well get it done. We started painting around 10:30pm and and were done between 1am and 1:30am. It was actually a great time to do it. It was cool out and the kids were out of the way. We had a lot of fun getting it done too! Tim said he wished he could do all the house projects at that time of night. Too bad it isn't always practical. Now the pool is a pretty blue color. I went to vacuum it this week and broke a piece of the filter. Tim is going to ban me from touching the filter ever again. Hopefully, he will fix it this weekend and it will be all done!

More house stuff...

I realize I posted about buying a house and never really came back with what happened next. I don't know if anyone is really dying to know or not, but I felt like I had to post it here. We put in a bid on the "older" home. When I called to tell my very nice realtor, he didn't sound like he loved our really low - trying to get some super deal - bid. Fine. I told him I knew it was really low, but I thought we could try and see what they came back with. He said he would call me back with more questions and get it rolling. He did call back, but he had news I didn't want to hear. Somebody else put a bid on the house. My brother-in-law had told me he saw 3 people go there on Sunday. The one guy got out of the truck with BEER in hand to walk around the house. Yes, my brother-in-law was so very happy to see that! NOT! I have to wonder if when I spoke with the neighbor across the street about possibly bidding - she thought of someone who was interested too. Or maybe I am paranoid. It is very possible. Anyway, our realtor couldn't tell us the other bid amount, but he could say ours was too low. Fine. How low? Did they bid $1000 more than us or $10,000 more. He didn't know. I talked to Tim when he got home and he called the realtor. He asked him how much of the "high low game" could be play. He said he would call and see if he could get any hints. That whole evening we talked and talked it to death over what we should do. Should we bid more? Tim would ask me how much I wanted the house. I just didn't know the answer to that. It is all so emotional. I feel like I could hide in my bed for weeks and not think about this. Part of me wanted that new house. Then I saw this one and I couldn't help but wonder if that was exactly what God had planned for us. I know I talk/write about my sister-in-law, Debi, a lot. Some people may think I write or talk too much. I don't care. She was such a huge part of my life and to be looking at a house right next door to her family is huge. Tim's sisters Karen and Jennifer moved into the house across the street from theirs only 5 months before Debi died. I have always believe that God knew Debi's time and he put them across the street for a very good reason. Now I have to wonder if this house is where we are supposed to be. I just didn't know. I told Tim that I needed him to decide and that we would go with that. He said he felt like we should bid higher and give it a try. The next morning, the realtor called and gave us pretty narrow range to shoot for. We submitted a bid. Yesterday, we heard from the bank sellers and basically they wanted us and the other bidders to submit what they call our "highest and best offer". Our realtor told us that the other bidders did not put down hardly any earnest money and that could be viewed as a problem. They also will finance, where we will use a home equity line of credit that comes in as a cash closing. He told us he felt comfortable with us keeping our bid price the same and possibly upping our earnest money. That is what we did and that new offer went in this morning. Of course, we didn't get an answer today and will have to wait through the weekend. At this point, I feel like we did what would could and now it is just up to God to decide if that is where we are supposed to be. It has been really tough this week. I am nervous about another house without selling this one and nervous about so many other things! I am just going to try to forget it about it for the weekend and see what happens on Monday. Pray for the right thing to happen.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

I am back... FINALLY...

I realize I have not blogged in almost 2 weeks! I felt like I was really missing something, but I just could not get it together to blog the week before we left to visit South Carolina. I was dealing with the end of Girl Scout cookies and shopping and cleaning and I don't even know what else. It was just so busy and I was so tired. We left for SC on Sunday evening after my mom got off of work. We drove halfway and got a hotel in GA. Miraculously, Sebastian was super quiet for the entire 4.5 hour drive. He was slightly terrified of the hotel room though. He didn't know what to make of it. I asked him if he wanted to get his jammies on and I got a very firm, "NO!". Then I put my jammies on and he sorta got the idea that we were staying there. He went to sleep pretty quickly too. The next morning we headed out with a short stop and Cracker Barrel. I even had them sing Happy Birthday to my mom and Timmy (it was their birthday that day). We got to SC around 4pm and I took the kids by the model house we are/were thinking about building. I thought they would really want to see the house - I was WRONG! They really didn't care. They just wanted to get to their cousins' house. I showed it to my mom anyway and she thought it was very nice. I chatted for a little while with the realtor. She gave me directions to the new subdivision and we were on our way to see our family. Now, my brother-in-law's family has 8 children living their with them (others live away from home now). There are kids and kids and more kids. My kids love this place. We spent the evening visiting and got up early the next morning. My mom, Sebastian and I headed out to look around. First we headed to the new subdivision. We didn't find it, so we headed back to the model. She took us out. The new subdivision is just land. No houses or models yet. I don't know what I expected to see. I live in Florida - on a peninsula - with NO buildable land. It is something very foreign to me. She said most of the lots were half acre, but there were three 3/4 acre lots going for the same price for the first buyers. It was interesting, but somehow just didn't feel right. It wasn't way out in the boonies, but it was a little ways out. Probably a little more than I was comfortable with and I am not really sure why. It was probably only 15 minutes from where the rest of our family is living. Why that 15 minutes seemed like a huge thing - I have no idea. We left there and went to look for a place my mom had saw as a possibility for her. When we found it, it was not what she wanted at all. That was another strike against building in that new neighborhood. Over the next 2 days, we drove and drove and drove and did I say drove? All over the place! Everywhere! They have lots and lots of manufactured or modular homes there. My mom was looking for something like that. We just weren't finding anything that screamed her name. During this time, I decided to look at the house right next door to my brother-in-law's house. It is in foreclosure. My sister-in-law had looked at it for me a few weeks back. She took a ton of great pictures for me. I didn't think it was what I wanted. First of all it is a bi-level. I don't ordinarily like bi-levels. Second - it needs work. Let's just say that there was not a paint can or color the previous owners did not like! Third - it has lots of unfinished things. Fourth - it is lacking all the beloved walk-in closets the new home has. There were lots of reasons for me to not like this house. I looked at all the pictures and told my sister-in-law thanks, but I didn't think it was for us. Then, all of a sudden, I was there and it was next door. It just made sense to look at it. What could it hurt? I walked in and you know what? I didn't hate it! Don't get me wrong... the colors are awful and the basement needs to be rearranged and redrywalled, etc. But, honestly, I didn't hate it. I loved the realtor and it is a lot for me to say that because I have never really liked realtors. He is young and very nice. My mom says I like him because he reminds me of Timmy. I walked around and found the very same problems I listed above, but I still didn't hate this house. Then I asked THE QUESTION... Just how much wiggle room is there on this price? The answer - quite a bit of wiggle room. Hmmm... very interesting. This house is 2400 square feet or so. It has an acre of land either touching the lake at the back end or at least very close. Not sure exactly. It needs work. Lots of work, but not like old work. It was build in 2000. It has good bones, just very bad decorating. The new model home has 24o0 square feet and either a 1/4 acre lot or a 1/2 acre depending on where you build. The 1/2 acre is the one that is farther out than I liked. The 1/4 acre lot is a couple minutes away. This foreclosure house could potentially be $40,000 cheaper than the new model home. You can do a lot with $40,000. Things like build the garage with the lift Tim would love to have, add a screen porch, redo the floors, paint, new kitchen and add the bath downstairs. Oh and furniture! I needed to talk to Tim, but he was working. I hated waiting. I thought he would think I was crazy. He didn't. I still thought and thought and thought. I went to bed with all this running around in my head. Have you ever seen the House Hunters show on HGTV? The girl on there will say something like, "Did our couple choose House #1 - the brand new home with walk-in closets, island in the kitchen, no work, smaller lot closer to family or House #2 same new home on larger lot farther from family or House #3 the fixer upper with great potential, huge yard, great price, next door to family? I wanted to see what the answer was in my dream, but of course I didn't get it. What do you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts! Some people think we would be crazy to live so close to family. My brother-in-law next door and my 2 sister-in-laws across the street. I sorta think it would be nice. Savannah is the same age as her cousin and they both are homeschooled. They could play all the time. Actually, I think we have made our decision to bid on this house. I just need to deal with the financial side of it. We could not put a bid in contingent on the sale of our house because it is a foreclosure. Tim thinks it is worth it to try to buy this house before we sell our current one. That scares the HECK out of me, but I do think it is what we should probably do. Tomorrow, I will make some calls and see what I come up with for financing. Then I will pray and pray and pray that my house sells quickly - well first that we finish the projects in the next 3 weeks and then it sells quickly. So, below are pictures. The first are of the new model home. The others are of the eccentric foreclosure home. Remember... the previous owners liked color - A LOT! I sure hope you all come back to find out what happens next! I am really sorry it took so long for an update. I have other "fascinating" things to share too.

New home

Foreclosure home front


Small deck

Part of backyard - looking towards lake

Master bath

Master Bedroom

Possibly Sebastian's room

Hall bath

Possibly Savannah's room

Dining room

Living room



Basement - sort of an odd mudroom - like I said... some of the walls would be moved.

Playroom in basement

Possibly Timmy's room in the basement

Sort of a laundry room

Unfinished family room in basement