Monday, January 28, 2013

My Theory on Winter and Why it's Terrible

So it's the end of January and this is about the time the winter doldrums really begin to set in.

Eff you, doldrums. Eff you.

I have a theory about why this is. I've been watching a lot of Big Bang lately, which is probably why I'm developing theories and shit. My theory is that the winter doldrums set in right about now because this time of year is very stupid. Hear me out. 

The beginning of winter brings us Christmas. It brings us delicious, decadent food, time with family and friends, out of town guests, presents, beautiful decorations, and very season-specific music. It's a Thing. People LOVE Things, especially in America. We love for everything to become a Thing. Christmas is one of our favorite Things.

Hyperbole and a Half
January rolls in and we're all, "Imma lose 250 pounds! Imma organize my ENTIRE HOUSE IN THIRTY-ONE DAYS! Imma learn that skill and write that book! This is MY YEAR!" It's exciting. It feels like renewal. There are White Sales, which we jump all over because you cannot enjoy a massive weight loss or a magazine-styled house without crisp bed sheets and fluffy towels. January, cold as it is, feels like hope.

Where I live, January also often brings the first big snow of the season. Sometimes we get one in December, but even then, January brings the first snow days for the school kids and usually some kind of exciting, stock-up-on-provisions-because-we're-all-going-to-die PANIC. It's dumb, but it's kind of fun, as long as I don't have to drive in it.

For me, my birthday is also in January, so I look forward to that. I am a fan of both cake and presents, so it's really a pretty big win for me.

Original, un-defaced source
And then February looms on the calendar. And it's like, "Yay...February..." What does February bring? Prescient groundhogs and Superbowl commercials. That's about it. I hate football, so even the game is pretty meaningless to me. February brings more of the nasty cold we got in January, but the novelty has worn off. We don't want to leave the house because it's cold and wet outside, but then we get cabin fever from being so cooped up and we begin to crave warm breezes and flowers poking out of the ground. I even start to crave rain, for the simple fact that it's not snow or ice. And the thing about February is that it's not like spring is right around the corner. No, where I live we could see spring in March...or May. There are no guarantees.

Granted, last year was a bizarrely mild winter (the school kids had no snow days at all, which is unheard of), and so far this year has only brought slightly more wintery weather. We're seeing unseasonable highs (and I'll take them!), but it's still too cold and damp for the park or the zoo.

So we hunker down, put on another pot of coffee, and glare at our friends' Facebook photos of them sitting on warm beaches while we pull our sweaters a little tighter around us. I grit my teeth and tell myself that putting our savings toward a beach vacation means not putting it towards building our dream house and that gives me perspective for about seven seconds.

And then I just want my bathing suit and umbrella drink.

Pretend it's sunny and that umbrella is poking out of a really big frozen margarita...

How are you forcing your way through the winter grossness? Is there something you love about the season that makes the grayness more bearable? 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Three Months to Sale Time...

It's been almost a year since I had my "ah-ha" moment and Husband and I decided that 2013 is the year we finally sell this house and move on with our lives. As we draw nearer to our planned listing window, shit's kinda gettin' real and we're basically terrified.

According to all the numbers I'm coming up with, our house is worth between 3-5k less than what we owe right now (and significantly less than what we paid for it in 2003). That's not horrible compared to what a lot of people are looking at these days, but the idea of selling for less than what we owe is a little painful. I mean, a few grand are not worth putting our dreams on hold...but still. That's assuming we can even get what the house is worth in a sale. People don't want to pay appraisal; they want to negotiate.

So our plan is this: Go ahead with all the planned repairs and updates on our list. That includes a few expensive things, like a new roof (though we have "people" who are able and willing to help us with the work), mold eradication in the crawlspace (I know, right? Ew...), and new (cheap) carpet in at least one area of the house. We'll also tackle the relatively inexpensive but necessary "little things," like finishing up trim work, repainting a bunch of stuff, and putting new vinyl down in the laundry room (the floor in there is unacceptable, y'all).

Once we've got that stuff finished, we're going to have an inspection done to head off any further problems so there are no surprises that could cost us a sale. We'll decide what to do about any issues from there. Then we'll have an appraisal done.

We're also going to make a (top-secret) list of things we are willing to offer a buyer in negotiations and set aside a budget specifically for that.

Depending on what the inspector and appraiser say, we may be holding off one more year. I hate the sound of that. I hate the idea of staying here in this neighborhood that I hate, fixing shit while other stuff keeps breaking, putting off our dreams even further. But I hate the idea of financial ruin even more, so we're going to keep taking it slow and do what's best for us, even if it's not what we want to do.

So as of right now, that's kind of our plan. It's a lot of "hurry up and wait," because the big things like the roof cannot be done until March, when we have our tax return in the bank and Husband can take a week off from school and work over his Spring Break to do the work. Until then, we're slowly continuing to declutter, pack, repair things, and hope for the best!