August 26, 2015

Romance and Real Estate - The One.

If you missed my post yesterday, you can get caught up here. Okay, now that you have some backstory (and have been made aware of how melodramatic I can make things) I offer you, part two of this saga.

After the crushing breakup I endured (and described in absurdly romantic detail in yesterday's post) I went back to my old ways. I felt I had no choice but to obsessively check out the typical real estate dating scene. I shopped around to see what eligible houses were on the market. I even did the online thing for a while. But, there was just one problem.

I was already in a serious commitment with another mortgage. Constantly nagging in the back of my mind was this question of how and when to end my current relationship. Do I break up with this house banking on finding the perfect match for me just in the nick of time? Do I wait to find the perfect match, and then quickly try to break my first commitment? What if no suitor came for the old house, could we afford to juggle two relationships at once? Would we have anything left to give the new house, if all of our time and energy was tied up with our old love interest? Would that really be fair to either house? But, above all, would I be willing to risk losing the perfect house because I was still tethered to the one that didn't really have my heart?

It took a lot of soul-searching (and by that I mean our realtor told us what to do.) So, we decided that we would finally end the 9 year relationship we have poured so much into, and just have faith that the right thing would come along at the right time. This began what they call the "staging" phase of the breakup.

For those of you who haven't been in the game for a while "staging" is when you hide all your previous relationship baggage to make your  self  house look more appealing. This is all but impossible when you have five kids. (Jay, at age two and a half, is particularly unhelpful during this phase. He would literally unpack every box that I packed. In real time.) We were storing furniture and toys and off-season clothes in our friends' attics and garages... like we needed to involve casual relationships with even more houses, it was just getting sleazy.

And right when I declared that I could not possibly hide or discard or miraculously evaporate one more thing, our friend Joe casually solved all of our problems. He let us know that some of our friends from church were looking to rent a house. People we know, and love, and trust, could potentially rent our house! No more staging. No more partial-packing. No more selling and then not knowing and hoping something would be available. It was going to be good for us, good for our friends, and we felt like instead of just walking out on the house that has treated us so well over the years, we were able to find a suitable partner for our house. It was like the most perfect arranged marriage in real estate history.

And since we have  zero  extensive experience as landlord and landlady, we feel  foolish and terrified confident we know precisely what we are getting ourselves into. Seriously though, there isn't even enough room to go into all the details of how God orchestrated such a perfect, enchanting match with our tenants, Peter and Emily Gavenda. Once we were comfortable with the blossoming romance between them and our house, we felt like we could finally move on.

With the conclusion of the staging phase, came what must be the real estate equivalent of speed dating. Countless disappointments, several false alarms, and the dreaded open houses (singles mixers?) and just when I almost swear off hunting for the perfect mate altogether... we find, The One.

It was love at first sight.

When we pulled onto the street Tom said "I don't want to live in this neighborhood... I will just always be jealous of whoever lives in that awesome white house."

And then we realized that our date was WITH that awesome white house.

And then we met and fell in instalove with that awesome white house.

And we just knew. We knew we would make an offer. And so we confessed our love and made an official proposal that night. I know, I know... it's not always a good idea to rush things this early in the courtship. But, the house had only been single for three days, and another floozy was already on his tail. And though another suitor was interested in making an offer, the awesome white house - already a faithful companion -  would not be seduced by the empty promises of another. This house, my house, is different from all the other fickle, triflin' shacks out there. This house chose us... accepted us... loved us back so instantaneously, the other offer was dismissed before it even arrived. (That does not happen. Unless your love is already so magical that it transcends the very laws of real estate.)

It's everything we hoped it would be, and more. It makes me look back at those old French doors, throw my head back, and laugh maniacally. Because, I snagged the better house. The perfect house. It's not insecure like other houses - with the flashy updated kitchens and bathrooms. My house is comfortable in it's original subway tile and drop ceilings. (Sure, the drop ceiling has to go, but... houses can change right? I can change  him  the carpet.) My house doesn't need all the bells and whistles, because just like the perfect guy, it's got character, strength, integrity, and crown molding throughout. My house wasn't so full of himself that he was over priced or all gussied up, he wasn't out to score a quick sale either. He was just solid, sturdy and maaaan... is he built.

So, that's that. The beginning of a beautiful life together. The engagement is official, and the wedding should be very soon. We are just waiting to get the 'Save the Date' notice, and then we are taking the leap! We would love for you to  help us pull up old carpet and move  join us in the celebration of our beloved union.

My soul mate, my true love, my best friend. 


August 25, 2015

Romance and Real Estate - The Ex

I don't generally like to re-post old blogs. I prefer to wow my readers with fresh crazy each and every time I sit down to write something. However, in this case, I don't feel like I can invite you to really look forward with me until we take a look back. A really embarrassing, pathetic look back.

The following was something I wrote nearly four years ago when we first began our search for a new home. We currently have a beautiful home that we have loved well. But when we first moved in, we only had two little girls and were used to living in a small, two bedroom walk-up outside of Philly. We have  an unreasonable number of children  expanded a bit since then and as those two little girls are now nearing their teenage years, mama needs another half bath up in here.

We have exciting news about moving forward to the next chapter of our lives, the magical 1 1/2 bathroom chapter. But, that post (coming tomorrow) can only be appreciated in the fullest sense if you see how  absolutely crazy  patient, yet excited I have been to finally find the house we plan to stay in for(maybe)ever.

So, come along on the roller coaster ride of my precarious stability, and take a moment to feel bad for my husband while you're at it.

I don't think I have ever really gotten dumped.  Until now.

I can't say for sure, but I am pretty sure that this is how it feels to get good and dumped. Ya see, we put in an offer on a beautiful home that really seemed like it was the best possible home for us. This house was just like the perfect guy: sensible, stable, good-looking, (without trying to impress anyone), met all my earthly needs, had a lot of character, and even a little bit of a sense of humor, humble from the outside, but was really something special on the inside... where it counts. Oh, and like all perfect guys, he had a walk-in butler's pantry.

In fairness, I know it isn't exactly the same as a breakup with an actual human... but, all the major factors are the same. It all started out like young love. There was the awkward anticipation of the introduction, trying to get to know the house while everyone is watching and wondering if we'll hit it off. There's that feeling of being totally head over heels, but trying to play it cool, knowing you need to take things slow, and really try to see things realistically. All to no avail, because there simply are no flaws!

Then, it starts to unravel.

I want to make a commitment, but my Facebook status indicates that I am already a relationship with another house, or worse yet... that "it's complicated" because I need to sell by owner so I don't lose all my equity. All of this is just too much for the dream-guy-house, because he's totally ready to settle down, and he's a real catch, and he knows what he is looking for and if you don't snatch him up... some other unattached babe is gonna snag 'em with an offer that isn't contingent on breaking up with her other house first.

And this leads to the ultimate demise. Suddenly there I am, making these empty promises that I swear I'll break it off with this other house, that this other house means nothing to me... that the house I currently own was just there for me when I needed a place to stay... it isn't love! I just need a little time to let that house down gently!  Please, I beg, I just need a little time!

I am acting a desperate fool, and he just moves on like our time together meant nothing to him.

In keeping with the common denominators of a heart wrenching breakup:  I cried for an embarrassingly disproportionate amount of time, I had trouble sleeping, woke up clinically depressed and without any desire to eat or hope for future happiness. I emailed his buddies (aka the realtor) and asked to convince him to give me another chance. (Sorry tom, that is actually true.) I, impressively, was able to change every subject of every conversation back to the house, I spent most of the day looking at pictures of the house online, then "went to the post office" which is PATHETIC for "I really drove past the house just to see if the house was home." I have pouted like a betrayed dumpee, and spent every spare second looking online for a house to rebound with. I just want to hurt him the way he hurt me. I want him to realize what he is missing. And when he sees me pull my U-haul down a DOUBLE-wide driveway, he will look at his puny single-wide and wish that he never let me slip through his beautiful pocket-doors.

With leaded glass.