Sunday, July 12, 2009

Well, still a bit peeved, I have to admit...

I have somewhat gotten over the shock of having to sell our house for so low. And in a way, I've managed to be grateful (partially) and excited (a little) about at least the blessing of getting it off our hands. Marce and I went to Lowe's last weekend and spent some of the money we will be receiving on carefully planned updates for the house. A few new ceiling fans/light fixtures that will work better and look nicer, a number of odds and ends, a new screen door for the back kitchen door, and even plants. Marce warned me it was not a good time to plant annuals, but I insisted. I spent a couple of hours working on them early one morning soon after the shopping trip and was very pleased. Previously, we had just some gladiolas in the three nice little spots out front of the house, surrounded by nice rocks/boulders, and they had flowered and soon died. And for a number of weeks, that's what we had: brown, dead gladiolas. Yikes. So I planted the annuals and they looked so much nicer! Now, of course, they've wilted terribly and are not looking too happy. We also bought some bushes for right around the front walls of the house and a pretty tall jasmine for the entryway. The boxwoods, of course, look fine, but the hydrangea is wilting terribly just like the annuals. I hope that at least that stays alive and perks up eventually; I don't know what will happen with the annuals. But better than dead gladiolas, I say! Oh well.
So our trip to Lowe's was kind of my acknowledgement of celebration time. We also picked out new countertop (just a basic Formica) for the kitchen, which we've been planning on doing whenever the house sold. So we picked out something nice and were eager to get that done. Well, the installation guys came over to give an estimate, and a day later Lowe's called. The guy there is very nice and helpful. He tells me the estimate: a bit over THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS! We had been thinking it would be maybe $1600. Ha! Our kitchen is kind of wacky and complicated, with a corner sink. (Drat you, home designer from 20 years ago!! I definitely don't recommend a corner sink -- awkward, only one person can get to it at a time, etc.) So the installation is gonna cost a huge amount. Michael, the guy at Lowe's, says he'll get back in touch with me on Monday about possibly some Corian counter. If we're going to pay that much for Formica, we'd be better off paying the same or a bit more for good countertop. I had to agree.
But after thinking about it, I think we'll just have to can that project for now. It's just not in the budget, as much as I had planned on that being the big expenditure. Just not gonna happen. I'm disappointed because the counter in there now is cracked in two different spots -- foot-long cracks. But we'll just have to make do and cover them up as we've been doing.
Because we've had car issues. We had to do our scheduled 5,000-mile maintenance on the van, and it needed new tires too. Marce particularly wanted to get that done now before we drive all the way to Utah next month. So we did that and the maintenance stuff. Cost a good chunk of cash, but it had to be done. And I even had a 15% off coupon from the dealership, so it saved me some at least! Then this week, I was at work, taking my break, and running to Target and Lowe's during that time. After I came out of a short stint inside Lowe's, couldn't start the van. Jumper cables, mine and someone else's who was kind enough to help, didn't help. Tow truck did. His little self-contained box got me started. Then I had to just take the van straight to the dealership. I lost 2 1/2 hours of work time dealing with all that. Urrgh. I went back that evening for a couple of hours and got more done, even though I had just wanted to relax and kick back that evening. Had to get my pages done. So I had to then add the cost of a new battery to the van's damage done to my bank account.
Then, a mere day and a half later, we took the car in to get service done. It's been in need for a while, with a check-engine light on and just not running quite right. So, hey, let's take care of it now. I knew it wouldn't be cheap, but of course, one of the issues is going to cost us $700 to fix, along with some other less-expensive repairs. For a grand total of over $1,000. Yay. That I found out a mere half-hour before I got the call about the $3,000 countertop estimate.
Pricey week. So I'm feeling less excited about the house sale now, seeing as how I'm having to can the project I really wanted to do and still thought I could do, and having to route cash into the cars instead. URRRRrrrgggh.
I really was hoping to have some fun. The fun has been whittled down significantly, bit by bit, as time has worn on this year, and as stuff has happened just this past couple of weeks. So I'm a bit peeved again. I would say I'm a bit angry at the "universe," as they say. We've had to deal with so much crap (pardon me...) this past year that I had thought somehow it would be balanced out karmically. Somehow. But no.
So in a few weeks, we will be free of a monkey on our back in Alabama, but we will be stuck with a cracked kitchen counter and well-running cars that cost us. I wrote earlier this week on Facebook that I shuddered to think what more would happen. I'm just about full up on crappy stuff and very empty on the neat, happy, exciting stuff. OK, universe, I'm ready. Bring on the good news!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Cause for celebration... supposedly.

So I've been waiting 11 months to sell our house in Alabama. Not at any point in all these months have we gotten even one offer. Until last week. It was exciting to hear from my agent on Monday that someone had put in an offer at last! My excitement was even shorter-lived than the lifespan of a fly because I found out how low the offer was. The buyer wanted $15K less than our asking price, PLUS $5K closing costs. Eeeeeeeeek! So we countered. Had to accept the closing costs because apparently that's what's going in this real-estate market right now. But not that low of a price. Then the week went by, with no response from the buyer. There was still some other interest, however. A lady wanted to buy it but is still in the process of getting all the mounds of paperwork in order for a VA loan. I was hoping she would get it all together and be able to put in an offer, one that was reasonable. Still, no luck. Then Sunday I got a call from the agent saying we'd gotten a counter from our lowballer. He'd come up $7K, at least. But I knew even before our agent told me the breakdown that that wouldn't be what I was hoping for after all came out in the wash. We're going to end up with very little in our pockets, at least compared to what the price was, and what we spent on it 3 years ago. This guy is getting a heck of a deal.
So honestly, rather than celebrating, Marce and I both are feeling quite glum. I can speak for myself, and in many ways him as well, probably, by saying that my reigning emotion right now is anger. Disappointment is a big one, but mostly I'm angry that I don't have real cause to celebrate right now. And I've endured a really stressful year, just holding on and holding on and managing to do so mainly by holding on to the hope that there would be a good payoff at the end. And now I've reached the end of this hideously dark tunnel to find that the light isn't a big roaring bonfire but a little match struck and already popping out. It's a huge letdown, and I'm angry.
Yep, that's right.
Those of you who still read this blog on occasion, and then that part of you who just know how I appear on the outside most of the time, will probably be a bit shocked by this admission. I'm cheery, optimistic and generally am good (at least outwardly) at finding silver linings. But frankly, I'm mad. I'm hopping mad. I'm angry at Fate for her cruel twist. yeah, there are people out there in way worse situations. And I sympathize. I do. I am sorry for being selfish, but for a few days I'm holding a pity party to at least allow my anger a bit of free rein in hopes it will dissipate after a good run around the corral.
Yes, I'm glad that this huge trial will soon be over. Knock on wood. Glad that this monkey will finally be off my back. I'm a bit relieved. But I so wanted to celebrate. And a small measure of relief does not a good party make.
My main hope now is that the sale will go smoothly these next 4 or 5 weeks and that it can truly be behind us. That somehow despite the lack of festive feelings on my part right now, that eventually the stress that has haunted us for months (and this is all right on the heels of the difficult year that was brought on us by the legal and financial issues of Charlotte's adoption) will go away for a while. That we can have at least a breather, a time to enjoy life and each other and to scale back on work taken on to pay extra bills, etc., to just relax and have some fun. 'Cause we truly deserve it.
And I do hope that will be the end of my griping.
This is the pity partier, signing off.