Wednesday, April 30, 2014

It's Gone!

Less than a half a second letter, that stick connected with my chest.
As of Friday, Jen and Husband are no longer home owners. We closed on our house, passed on the keys, and left a little gift behind for the new owners. It feels weird, after eleven years, that I am no longer allowed to go into that house anytime I want. It's not mine. Someone else owns all the rights to it. I guess I could try, but I feel like the new owners might not be cool about it.

Some people are really touchy.

Back when I started this blog, my intention was to chronicle our home building and moving process, with lots of life-stuff and the things I find in my weird brain mixed in. I laid out our Super Awesome Plan and we got to work on it immediately. Putting it in list form was key. I work very well with lists.

I'm extremely proud to say that we have officially checked off numbers one (admit we have a problem), two (get out of debt), three (purge the toxins), five (ready the house for sale), and six (sell this bitch). We altered our plan and five became four and four became seven, probably, and it was all very exhausting.And technically we still have debt, as we have a car payment and my student loans, but all the credit card debt is paid off. And that was pretty much the main focus of that effort.

So that was a little more than two years ago. We made a plan and we saw it through. And it was literally the hardest thing I've ever done. Harder than maintaining an 'A' average in college while pregnant—twice. Harder than giving birth, also twice. There was a lot of crying, frustration, hopelessness, fear, doubt, etc. Lots. LOTS. that we've passed our first home on to a new family and settled comfortably into the house we're renting, it's time to shift our focus. We get to take a few years off from updating and repairing and worrying about the housing market and turn our thoughts to our future. And the biggest future-y thing on our minds right now is our financial plan.

Talking about personal finance can be a bit tacky, and I maintain my right not to go into great detail, but in the interest of thinking about the future, I do want to talk a bit about our goals.We have many of them.

First and foremost, after the stress of preparing and selling a home, we think we deserve a few months to do nothing big, and the timing is perfect for that with summer break on the horizon. We're going to turn our attention to making our rental house feel more like "home" to us. This will include:

  • Painting the rooms on the main floor a really lovely gray(when we get to it)
  • Painting Bug's room blue (we asked him what color he wanted, which was risky, but it worked out! I was sure he'd say, "Black!" or, "Red!")
  • Finally painting our ugly, black lacquer bedroom furniture (when I feel like it)
  • Making the back yard a fun place for the kids to play and for guests to come enjoy with us (I have some cool plans, but I haven't started on them yet, so I'll share them when I actually do something with them)
  • Taking a week off for a "staycation" (whenever we WANT)

In addition to the house-y stuff, we are also looking forward to:

  • Re-evaluating our budget and savings plan now that we have only one house to pay for
  • Buying Husband a new car, in cash, and not acquiring any more debt
  • Rebuilding our savings with the goal of putting down 20% on our new home

These are the things we intend to accomplish this summer. Well, not saving the 20% down payment in one summer, but starting on it. Slowly.

No big decisions aside from the car, no major purchases aside from the car, no added stress. After years of thinking of nothing except for moving on and putting all of our attention toward that goal, we feel like we deserve a few months to have fun and enjoy life.

Thanks for continuing along on this insane thing with me. I'm beginning to believe we might actually pull this off. You know—as long as I make us a list.

And here are a few more of our "last photos":

Bug and me in the kitchen. I had, um, something in my eye. Ahem.

Daddy and Bug in the kitchen.

I had to coerce her to hug me in Husband's and my old bedroom. Husband put in that overhead lighting.

Bear needed one, final climb in her favorite tree.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

More Favorite Things

I dislike a lot of things. And people. And situations. But also, I like some stuff. Here is some more of that stuff.

Yogi Bedtime Tea

I love to add a little honey and lemon to this and drink it while I watch Downton Abbey on my laptop after Bug is asleep. It keeps me from snacking, which I am wont to do while I watch tv, and it just seems somehow apropos. And it's really delicious. I don't have a tea kettle or any fancy, loose-leaf steeping whatzamahoozits. These little bags do the trick. And maybe it's just a placebo things, but I really do feel like the tea helps me relax and fall asleep more easily.

My Kindle Fire

My beloved Kindle died last fall, so for my birthday in January, Husband bought me a Kindle Fire. I love it. I keep it in my purse most of the time and it's great to have while Bear is in Shakespeare group or her tumbling class. I use it for audio books, too, which is VERY handy when I'm at the dentist or while I'm sewing.

Speaking of sewing...

My sewing machine and new (to me) sewing table

I used my sewing machine a LOT last fall, making handmade Christmas gifts for about half the people on our list. When we moved I had nowhere to put it and it sat in a tote, lonely, while my stack of projects-in-waiting piled up. I recently went on Craigslist and found the perfect table to set up in the guestroom. I can leave my machine set up all the time, except when we have guests, at which time there is a spot for it inside the table.

Amazon Prime and Hulu

When we moved, Husband and I decided it was the perfect opportunity to cancel our DISH service for good and see how we liked getting by with streaming services. It's WAY less expensive, and while there are some conveniences we've had to forgo, it's working really well for us. We have an X-Box and a Wii, so we can stream our shows to both TV's. I usually watch on my laptop with my headphones in. And we can access our accounts on Husband's iPod and my Kindle. And the desktop. It's basically awesome.

Those are some of my current, favorite things. They all make my life simpler and more enjoyable in some way, which is really all I want these days.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Update That is Not Really an Update but Kind of....or Something

As you all (and by all, I mean both...) know, we're in the throes of house-selling hell at the moment. The good news is—and I am knocking on wood here, with every knock-ready body part I have, including my head, which is rather painful and is making me a little dizzy and I should probably just stick to using my knuckles from here on out—we are under contract.

We've been under contract for several weeks, but these things have a way of going south rather quickly for any one of about ninety-three different possible factors, so I have avoided writing about it here because Jinx is a nasty bastard.

Now that we've had our inspection and appraisal and have agreed on a satisfactory deal with our buyers, I feel like I can breathe a little. Not that something couldn't still happen, of course. A good eighty-five of those ninety-three potential Bad Things are still possible in the two weeks and five days before we are scheduled to close. But we ARE scheduled to close, and I need to celebrate that. As of April 23rd, if the Universe doesn't decide to nut-punch us, we should no longer be homeowners. And then we can move on with our financial goals because we will no longer be sinking large amounts of money into a house no one lives in.

Remember when our living room looked like the photo on the left before our yard sale? Good times.

Our buyers have been really great. None of the little hiccups we've encountered in this deal have been their fault in any way, and their inspection requests were completely reasonable and affordable. Imma leave them flowers and cookies in the kitchen when we close.

So that's it for now. I am going to go back to holding my breath for a few weeks. If you notice I've turned blue, just let it be.  I'll take another breath on April 23rd, when the ink begins to dry and the keys have been handed over.