Category Archives: life

The Ebb and Flow of House Buying – Seattle Bubble FTW

The last post I did, I spoke about our desire to buy a new house.  This (if you’ve been a long-time reader) is something we’ve been working on for a very. long. time.   See here.

We got back on the horse, entered the fray, and have been house-hunting like mad fools in a parade.  My goal – as has always been my goal – is to a find a house with a backyard for the boys to play.  The houses in our price range seem to get snapped up like fish in a shark-bowl.  I don’t know how many houses we’ve seen, loved, and have been gone before we know it.  Our real estate agent – bless her heart – is a gem of a woman who is calmly and efficiently guiding us through this process (as she has been doing for the past 2 years).

Finally, this past weekend we went to two new houses that had just come on the market.  The first was a minor train wreck of all train wrecks.  As my oldest announced (very loudly), “This house is ugly.” Quickly we shuffled them out.  And on a hail mary, went to go look at another house that was brand new.  And fell. in. love.

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It was terribly trendy (MCM), incredibly small (1000 sq ft), and absolutely perfect for us.  It was a stunning light-filled, open space with the piece de resistance

605168_13_0this backyard.

This perfect, perfect, perfect backyard.  Where my husband and I could drink our coffee on the weekends and watch the boys play.  Where they could climb in their own personal (safe!) jungle.  Where we could all garden.  Where we could run free.

We put an offer in.  We put an offer in for $30k over asking price, waived inspection, and included a sweet letter begging them to pick us.  Telling them their house would be loved, cherished, and adored.  Our agent met the owner, and he loved us.  Loved the idea of the boys running free.  The only reason they were selling was for health issues, and they wanted – above anything else – for the house to be loved.

We were a shoo-in…

…and were immediately out bid by someone who put an offer in for substantially more than us and waived it all.

I guess emotions don’t stand a chance against an additional twenty-thirty thousand dollars.

It’s a game, this real estate market.  It’s a game that one day – ONE DAY – we’ll win.  Until then, we’ll sit tight in our little house and continue to look…and save…and hope…

ETA:  If you get a chance and want to read a beautiful story of REAL ESTATE WORKING OUT FOR THE POORS!!! go here.  It’s the best.
ETA (again):  Well obviously we’re not poor.  None of us are.  We have roofs, food, internet for god’s sake.  We have running water.  When I say “poor” I mean compared to people who can afford to buy real estate now.  With hundreds of thousands in their checking account, they can plunk down cash for investment houses to demolish and rebuild.  Against that…hell yeah we’re poor.  But against starving children…take my credit card number.  Here you go.  SAVE THE BABIES AND THE ANIMALS.  (when I have spare money, it goes here.)  (don’t watch any of those videos without tissues.  seriously.)
 

March to Spring

A long time ago, a friend of mine started a company.  ”I’m bored,” she said.  ”A bored me is a scary thought,” she said.  She poured time and money and more time and more money into a project that she was proud of, but in the end didn’t take off (as most start-ups don’t).  Still, I find that descriptor very apt for myself as well.  A bored me is a scary me.

So let me just put this out there:  I’m bored.

I’m at what feels like a stalemate in life, and my friend was right:  It’s scary.  You know why?  Because I want to change EVERYTHING.  When I’m at a stalemate, I start thinking about everything that has gone wrong and get 1. Bitter and 2. Anxious for Change.

Change!  Change, change, change.  I need it right now.  Nothing is going quite right.

We’ve been waiting over a month to get a preapproval letter from our Broker to see how much we can afford to buy.  It’s getting tiring.  The position that was promised to my husband for the past 3 months has been rescinded.  And my parents decided to spur of the moment come into town – which caused a literal anxiety attack and incredible stress for the past week.  Things need to breathe…things need to change.  And of course, things need to get better.

So here’s my list of things that would make my life better (from easy to attain to…well, not).

1.  A dresser.  Because we have none in our house and instead have clothes piles.

2.  A wall mounted TV and credenza.  Because then we could actually have the TV against the wall and a place for all the kid’s toys to go in.

3.  New Business.  I have plans for two (letterpress store and consulting).

4.    A New job for my husband.  

5.  New House.

You notice how towards the bottom things sort of got…unattainable?  Yeah, me too.  So, how about this one?

New hair.  How do you feel about Ombre?

My sister said, “it’s the end of winter.  People start getting itchy.”  I’m definitely itchy.  Thank god it’s spring.

In Support of Support

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The other day a friend excitedly told me about her house hunt and the conversations she had been having with her family. The support and enthusiasm they had for her and her husband was something I’m not used to and, it occurred to me, it is an area that is often overlooked.

I have two small children. Their excitement is palpable; literally, they will run into me with enthusiasm. This enthusiasm isn’t seen as a positive nowadays in a society that values the ability to stay still and listen; circle time is a big deal in preschool. In response to their physical enthusiasm for life that they can contain about as well as a puppy, they’ve received, well, not the best of responses in adults. While I understand the need to contain enthusiasm, I’ve begun to feel it’s an overrated feature.

My friend’s family could hardly contain their excitement at the possibility that she might buy a house.  They told her, “You can do it!”  I was jealous, to say the least.

This wasn’t a “you can pass this test” or “you can clean your room”.  Their words of support and enthusiasm was mired toward life – you *can* accomplish life. You can be successful at life. Those are things not normally said to people.

Most parents are careful to tell their kids that they can do anything they want. The message is that you can be and do whatever you want. If you want to run a Fortune 500 company, you can. If you want to be a writer, you can.  ”You can be whoever you want to be.”  It’s a great message.

The better one?  ”And we know you will be awesome at whatever you choose because we believe in you.”

I’m not a self help guru, but I’ve been thinking more and more on the effects of positivity. It begins with parents. If you weren’t given that positive vibe as a child, it’s hard to work past the negativity to push through the barrier of success. There are great organizations that help youth, now, to see the positives in themselves. As an adult, though, where can I find that vibe that I’ve so been missing in life.

Support networks are critical.  Everyone has their own. My husband is mine. My friends are mine.  Everything else I’m able to power through with sheer will.

The other day, I was editing a letter for my boss.  I mentioned to him that I believed he should rearrange the wording – instead of beginning with what sounds negative, begin with the positive.  Personally, if I hear a negative remark first, that will be the feeling I carry.  ”Start with excitement. End with logic and rationalizations.”  He agreed.  I decided that maybe I should listen to my own advice.

Start with excitement.  Begin with the positive. There’s plenty of time to think through negatives later. 

I may not be able to give myself the pep talks my friend’s family gave her, but if my husband and I can give our kids encouragement, support, and excitement as they go off and conquer life, in the end I will know that we have succeeded.

Max @ Westlake Dec 2013

An Exploring Holiday: Carkeek Park

image (3)I just noticed I haven’t posted in about 2 weeks.  That makes sense, because I’ve been sick for about 3.  This flu season is a wreck!  Forgive my absence?

I’d like to do a real blog post, with link love and dramatic life updates and thoughts and musings about the world, but I’m terribly behind on life things like…work.  Doh.  And our computer, for some reason, runs about as slow as molasses.  ”It’s only 3 years old!,” I cried to my husband.  EYE ROLL.  ”That’s ancient in MacBook language.”.  I’m totally an old fuddy duddy.  I think things should last forever, and miss the days where things did last forever.  (I’m 32.  ANCIENT.)

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Things I miss that last forever:

  • Mercury Thermometers.  (These are illegal now?  But they take your temp without replacing a battery!  And don’t make beeping sounds!)
  • Phones.  Regular, old, telephones that couldn’t tell you what day it was, set a reminder, or tell you you’re pretty – but didn’t need to be replaced every 2 years.
  • Typewriters.  (I have one!  But it’s so old no one makes the ribbon.  Doh.)

I took yesterday off to be with my boys (since the big guy didn’t have school), convinced Daddy to abandon his studies, and went to Carkeek Park.  Amazing place to hike, stand directly above trains, slide down a Salmon, play in the sand, and watch Mr. Bubble Guy do his thing.  If you ever get a chance, Go Play!

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This is a slide. You go in the mouth of the Salmon and come out the butt.

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And, of course, the Bubble Guy who shows up to entertain children for free.  He rocks.  

Bubbleman Jan 20 2014