It has certainly been quite the while and so much has happened – all of it together being the cause of my absence from the whole blogging thing. I hear all the time of other writers and songwriters whose life experiences are great fodder for their writing. With me, the more overwhelmed I get emotionally the less likely I am to write about it for awhile. In this case a couple of months.. but hark! I return.
First of all, our darling daughter started preschool on August 23rd. She’s 3 and a half and it’s time to get her in there with all the other little bitties.. and my-oh-my what an experience THAT was. We’ve been hearing and commiserating over the years with many of you when you took your kids to their first days of preschool; about all the crying and screaming and how you all felt like monsters and could hardly stand it. Well, it’s been like every other thing people tried to tell us when we decided to become parents – we had no idea that the crying and screaming and feeling like monsters would be like THIS! It was horrible! It had us questioning every decision we’d made as parents since she was born, along with questioning our own values as human beings, for god’s sake! What were we doing?? Why did we all do this to our beautiful children? Who says she has to go to preschool? Is there some kind of law? Why, oh why?? Good god, she’s ruined for life! All because I want my 3 hours to myself in the morning to begin unscrambling my brain from the previous 3 and a half years of home child-care. I am an awful, awful, AWFUL parent. Sob, sob…. How could I enjoy my time off when all I could do was pace around the house waiting for 11 o’clock so I could pick her up and see that she was ok, she wasn’t scarred for life, she hadn’t cried hysterically the whole 3 hours..
And that was just me, and that was the abbreviated version. You should have seen Valerie. She took Skyleah to school the first few days and then I had to bench her. It was just too hard on both of them. Skyleah’s always had an easier time separating from me.. but it was still so hard to watch those little eyes tear up as I took her to her classroom door. I felt like a dragon. But now she’s well into it – by the second week she was a lot better and had made herself a little friend (Cecelia) and now when I take her we sing songs on the way there and she skips merrily in the classroom door.
She may not be scarred for life but I sure as hell am.
And while all this was going on we were in the midst of trying to sell our house, as many of you know. Neither of us had quite been able to settle into our current home for a myriad of reasons, Valerie’s quite specific and mine more nebulous. So we’ve spent a good deal of time over the last… well, it may well be a year or more, really, good god… trying to figure out what to do about it. At first we just thought we’d remodel so we hired a designer and spent a few months coming up with a fabulous new layout. Then we found out how much all of what we would want would cost and nearly had a heart attack. So we downscaled a bit. Then a bit more. Then we decided that no matter what we did we’d still have spent more money on this house than we could ever recoup when we sell. So we decided to put it on the market.
This was decided before our 6 week trip to New Zealand and it was my bright idea to get the house ready to go on the market while we’re away so we wouldn’t have to deal with showings. I just didn’t take into account the house sitter Lothario and his “misunderstanding” of my instructions to keep the house ready to show. So we couldn’t put the house on until we got back.
So we get back and the house goes up for sale shortly thereafter. Over the ensuing months we have upwards of 40 showings, with at least 6 seriously interested parties whose only objection seemed to be, in our opinion, a rather irrational fear of foundational issues with the house. We had an engineering report on hand to allay these fears – there had been some work done in 1992, but it was successful! – but none of these potential buyers would be swayed. Oh, and there was one lady who looooved the house but couldn’t deal with the traffic noise coming from Kipling Ave. She came back, I kid you not, 5 times. Never made an offer.
Meanwhile, we’re out a couple of times a week looking at houses ourselves. I know we looked at 150 houses all together. None of these had nearly the view we have where we sit right now, but all were in some way or another “bigger/better”.
Well after a few months of this we were pretty fried. Keeping a house in showing condition while you’re living in it is reeeeeally hard and stressful and inconvenient. So we threw up our hands and said “screw it” and took it off the market briefly while we reconsidered renovation. Well, it only took a few days for us to remember why we’d decided not to do that so we turned around again and refreshed our listing, dropping the price $10K.
Almost immediately we had yet another serious buyer wanting to look at the house. Unfortunately the morning before they were to come for a showing I had noticed a little backing up of drainage in our basement drain. Hmmm.. I’d noticed that a couple of weeks earlier but had people out to look at it and thought it was fixed. So I call them back and they come look again. I won’t bore you with all the details… well actually, yes I will: It turned out that there was, inexplicably, standing water in our sewer line. How the hell..? The plumber says he thinks we need to replace about 8 feet of sewer line right outside the living room window. That’ll be about six thousand dollars. Oy. So the day he comes to do that in his little earth-mover, he discovers (of course) that it’s worse than he thought. Our sewer line has no “fall”. Somehow with the fixing of the foundation and with the expansive soil we’re blessed with our sewer line rather leveled itself out. So now we’re talking full sewer line replacement. Fourteen thousand, seven hundred and fifty dollars, US. I am being informed of this while there is a very nice couple walking around inside our home considering buying our house. So we’re pricing the house at $15K less than we paid for it and now we’ll be giving another $15K parting gift if they’re interested in it – and IF they offer our asking price.
Well, these folks did come back and they did make us a respectable offer! Not asking price but respectable! Wahoo! They absolutely love the house, this is their retirement dream-home! We’re under contract! We fly to Ken Caryl Valley and select a house for ourselves that is danged near everything we want and, per Valerie’s dream, in the Valley which is best of all! We make them an offer, but it’s contingent on the closing of the sale of our house. The same day they receive another offer that’s not contingent! Oh no! There are 2 days of drama in which we are sure they’re going to accept the other offer, worry, fret, worry, wring hands, and then…! On Valerie’s birthday they accepted OUR offer!! We’re in! Finally it’s all over, we’re out of this house and into a new one in Valerie’s dream location. Happy Birthday indeed!!
… um, what? What do you mean our buyers want to bring out their own engineer to look over our house? You’re kidding me?! Well… we’re confident the foundation is in good order so fine, all that ridiculous hysteria was always about a lot of nothing, so bring the engineer on out.
… um, what? The engineer says there IS something going on with the foundation?!? WHA-AT?!?
Yes, friends and neighbors, it turns out that there is a slight bowing in of the basement walls. We have to repair it, to the tune of upwards of ten thousand dollars, if we ever want to sell this house. Our happy little buyers fled. We had to terminate our contract on the house in the Valley. We decide to just stay here until there might be a slight possibility of recouping all this money, 5 years, 10 years, whatever. Shit.
(All this is happening while our daughter is screaming and clutching at Valerie who is trying to drop her off at preschool.)
But wait! It doesn’t end there! There’s more!
Before we’d refreshed our listing and put the house back on the market this final time we’d gotten in touch with another designer who we really liked and gave him $3000 as a deposit. Well, when we decided to scrap the renovation yet again we called him and asked him to put it on hold. Then a few days later we called and said that we understood that there would be some work he’s already done on the design, but we’d like the balance back. It takes about a week to hear back from him, but he assures me he’ll tally everything up and get back to me the next day. He doesn’t. A week later I call him again, no answer, I leave a message. I wait another week, calling and leaving messages and getting freaked out. Finally after almost a month Valerie sends a more conciliatory email to him and he responds saying that he’d had to close his business! He doesn’t have our money. Oy. But he feels horrible about the way he handled everything and he’s willing to help us out any way he can to make up for it.
So out of all this we have a designer we like who does have good ideas and, since we’re staying here, we will be renovating. That is, of course, after we get the basement stuff handled. Oh, and after we replace the furnace that the inspector red-tagged for a cracked heat exchange. Plus replace the water heater which is old and on the verge of going out but which really needs to go because it vents upward and we need one to vent out the side of the house to facilitate our renovation design.
Cha-ching… cha-ching… cha-ching…
I’ll be getting back to the whole AIDsy rock star thing later…