The Joys of YouTube

Props to jrob for pointing the awesomeness of these two “Power Thirst” ads.

In other news, I have finally closed on the house, and I’m planning on moving the weekend of the 18th. Unforseen expense:

I’m sitting there signing the big scary stack of papers and Paper Lady says “so, should we just email this to your house?” And I was like, “hey, you know…I don’t think I have a mailbox yet.” I checked last night when Jen and I went over to hang material in the windows (for that “someone lives here, please don’t break my windows” look) and, yep. No mailbox. Oh well…if that’s the only unforseen expense, I’m getting off pretty easy. (But you know it won’t be the only unforseen expense.)

In other news, when I called the parents to share the closing news, my mom was like, “don’t buy anything….make a list of what you need.” I jokingly said that they were more than welcome to buy me a washer and dryer, and she was like, “well, dad and I had discussed that.” Pardon? Sweet! Cause, you know…the less money I spend now, the closer I am to having the giant fence. The giant “you can’t see if I’m here or not/you will have a harder time breaking into my car” fence.

Cautiously Stoked

The results are in on the home inspection. He found a bunch of things, but they were mostly small. The two most troubling things being some separated duct work under the house (easy to fix and will probably be done when the new a/c unit is put in) and the fact that the siding on the part of the house that was an addition is masonite. MASONITE, for fuck’s sake. Anyway, the other 2/3 of the siding is aluminum, and I was planning on having all of the siding redone in the next 5 years anyway since I knew it was kind of half-assy and jacked-up. On a related note, does anybody know of any siding companies that sell light pink siding? Mwahaha.

I’ll get the full monty report tomorrow morning, but things look promising so far. Other, smaller, issues include…

  • dishwasher is hooked up to cold water, not hot
  • no trap on washer hookup to keep sewer gasses out of the house
  • some outdoor lights not working
  • a couple open junction boxes in the attic
  • a teensy bit of mold in the crawl space, but it’s less than 10 square feet. “Should be an easy fix,” says inspector guy
  • there’s no weather stripping on the doors
  • the garage barely qualifies as a garage, but we already knew that. It’s totally half-ass, but it’s a place to have photo shoots and spray paint things

So, yeah. I might have a house. Whoa.


Casa De Evil, Part the Second

Readers, I’ve had another contract go through. Let’s not excited; no excitement until after the inspection, which won’t be happening for about a week. There’s some stuff that needs to be done before we bug the inspector (replacing a door and the a/c unit). This house isn’t as sexy on the inside; it’s boob lights as far as the eye can see and there are no doorknobs, air vent covers, or light switch plates because the renovators got bored and stopped before finishing the detail work. This is fine by me because they’re gonna give me some money for these things and…well, it’s an opportunity to shop. Be afraid, readers. I am so totally not afraid to bust out some of THIS:

YEAH! Except I would pick the antique pewter finish. Or maybe not. Wrought bronze does have a certain Steampunkish quality. You know you can get a black porcelain knob? Or cobalt blue? Fuckin’ A! Don’t even get me started on the light switch plates. I’m not saying that I’m gonna do it, but it’s nice to know that I could get a pewter plate that has jewels and fairies embedded in it. Not gonna do it, but it’s nice to know it’s there. What WOULD I do? Well…yeah. Maybe going with bronze would make it less old ladyish? But would that mess up my design theme? Does “Victorian Whorehouse” count as a design theme?

If all this weren’t enough to knock the testicles right off any dude who dares set foot in my house, maybe we should talk about the dressing chamber. I had some pause about the small closets in House 2, until I had an epiphany: the small bedroom shall not be the music room. The piano shall go in the bedroom (as God intended), and clothing, makeup, shoes and all other sartorial whatnots shall go in bedroom 3. Buying a settee and pretending to be Mariah Carey? Optional.

But I’m still not as crazy as The California Milk Processor Board.

Casa De Evil = perhaps not.

See, readers? This is why we don’t get excited. The House, which was supposed to have been inspected not only by the buyers who preceeded me but also by the sellers post-renovation…failed. Hard. I believe the words that the inspector used were “run like hell.” Now we’re only dealing with a question of whether or not to accuse the sellers of intentionally not telling the truth and making them pay for this inspection, which may have been the most costly and complete wank for which I have ever paid 250 dollars (my ill-fated battle with Sprint was HALF that). There is no way this house ever passed a crawlspace inspection. There is no way they missed the fire damage in the attic. These are the same people who said that they’d installed a sump pump. Does “stick it in a side-turned bucket” sound like an installation to you? Me neither.

They put a Chanel suit on a crackwhore and tried to tell me it was Jackie Kennedy.

Did I mention that the soil in the back yard is graded so that water runs TOWARD the house rather than away? Or the termite damge in the floor joists? Or the faulty wiring in the attic? Really, tell me when you’d like me to stop, because I have 41 pages. FORTY-ONE. I’ve also got a suspicion that they only put a deck on the back to cover the portal to hell that is probably underneath.

They have wasted my time, my real estate agent’s time, my loan broker’s time, my parents’ time, and my house inspector’s time. They have lied and then said something like, “oh, yeah….we said we were WORKING on that, not that it was done,” when caught. They have pissed me off, told half-truths, and wasted 250 dollars of my money. They have broken my heart. Twice.

May the dogs of karma hunt them down and place termites in their houses.
May they lie awake at night thinking about what they’ve done.
May they develop male pattern baldness.

Commence Hair Falling Out.

Remember three weeks ago when I REALLY wanted a certain house, but somebody came in and outbid me? No, wait. Some total dick came in and outbid me. Yes, that person is a dick. How dare he stand in the way of Princess getting what Princess wants. 😉 Well, Realtor Lady just called all excited to tell me that the contract fell through and The House is back up for sale. Remember how I said that I couldn’t pay list price AND closing costs? Well, now that I’ve changed loan agents (long story) and someone has been silly enough to approve me for 120,000 (wtf?), I can pay those closing costs. But can I REALLY do something that’s roughly 114,900? Do I really want to go there?

I had Loan Lady run the numbers. After insurance, taxes, and whatever, my payment would be 809 a month. Physically possible, startlingly enough, now that I’ve got a steady stream of freelance work. But is that stream REALLY steady? And what if I get laid off? Granted, it would kick ass if The Master Plan worked out and I got a new job making 5 grand more a year. I would be aces all day long. But am I sure enough about my portfolio to fucking SIGN THINGS?

Worst case scenario, I would have to sell the house. I’m 90% sure the house is going to appreciate, given its close proximity to Gallatin Rd. I’m also sure that I’m not above taking a job on the weekends if things get really bad. I just…well, fucking A. I need a crystal ball. Honestly, I don’t know how my parents did this multiple times. They must have 8 pairs of brass balls stashed away somewhere.

10 Tips for Real Estate Agents and House Flippers.

As someone who’s shopping for a home, I thought I’d write an open letter to the real estate agent community. Just a few little tips for these troubling times in real estate. Smooches.

1. Don’t Bullshit Me.
Do not list “stained glass window” in your listing, only to let me drive all the way to East Nashville to find out that it’s a stick-on decal that LOOKS like stained glass. Ugly stained glass, I might add. Do not say that the bathroom is tiled and let me find out that it is, in fact, hollow plastic tiling. “New roof” and “patched roof” are not the same thing. Doing things like this makes you look like a dick, and makes me wonder what else you’re lying about. It makes me not only NOT want to buy your house, it makes me want to punch you in the dick.

2. Don’t Bullshit The System.
Do not upload a second copy of a picture that’s already on your web site just so the listing will appear as “new photo alert” in my email. Also, do not change the price of the house 3 dollars so that it appear as “price change alert.”

3. Pictures = important.
How are you going to expect me to drive all the way across town when you can’t even be bothered to take some pictures of the interior of the house? Maybe the interior is completely jacked-up? Either way, I’m either not going to bother pursuing the house, or I’m going to visit the house and SEE how jacked-up it is. The truth is going to come out, so it might as well come out in a fashion that doesn’t involve me driving for 20 minutes.

4. If I drive out there, make sure I can get in.
It is exceedingly irritating to take time off work and schedule an appointment, only to get to the house to find that the person who was supposed to be home is now NOT home…even through I set an appointment. Seriously, do you want to sell this house or not? Cause it seems like you don’t.

5. Bother to make the house presentable.
If I were a listing agent and someone came to me and said, “hey, I want to sell this house, but I have piles of crap everywhere,” you know what I’d say? “Rent a storage unit and call Professional Organizer Person.” OK, so the listings in my price range aren’t exactly the kind that one would want to pay to have professionally “staged,” but you could at least bother to not have a giant, rabid pit bull caged up in each room of the house. Just make SOME effort.

6. Your Photoshopping isn’t fooling anyone.
If there’s a big stain on the carpet, people are going to find out when they look at the house. Don’t Photoshop it out of the pictures. If you MUST Photoshop it out of the pictures, do a good job at it. Use the clone tool instead of the blur tool. If the stain on the carpet is dark red and NOT blood, tell me what it IS.

7. Don’t half-ass the renovation.
I know nothing about renovating, and even I can sniff out when “tile” is really vinyl. I will bend down and feel the floor, and I will feel the “tile” in the bathroom. I will feel the “stained glass.” I notice when you do a sloppy paint job. Have some pride in your work as well as your wallet, and don’t put industrial low-pile berber in a house.

8. “Bars on windows” is not a feature, no matter how many exclamation points you put after it.

9. “Walk-in closet” means that a grown man could walk into it, not my cat.

10. Just say no to Boob Lights. They’re not that much cheaper than good lights, and they look half ass. And like boobs.

Back on the Horse

Readers, when will I learn? In my attempt to get back on the house horse, I have compiled yet another list of houses. I have gotten clearance to take a half day of vacation at work to go see said houses. Shoot me in the face.

No, really. Shoot me in the face. Just make sure you finish the job, as I’m not so keen on walking around sans face. One of this month’s downloads is a song about a guy who wants to kill himself but can’t quite get up the nerve to do it. Thus, he hires a hit man. Just saying.

Last night, I had a dream that I was at a giant mall with my best friend from Georgia. There was an accident in the KB Toys that caused a giant block of foam to grow forth from the rectangular opening of the toy store. The crowd of shoppers scattered, running for their lives as the brick grew to fill the entire mall, right up to the door of Macy’s, where it stopped abruptly. In the stock room of Macy’s, there were tour bus-style cubby-bunks set up all the way to the ceilings; from the looks of things, everyone from the mall had been living there for some time. I looked behind me, but my best friend had gotten lost in the shuffle (she does this frequently). I waited for a bit, but eventually Real Estate Lady said, “she’s gone…go back to your bunk” and so I went back.

Then, the flood reached the store room. When things cleared, everyone had lost almost everything they had. It was chaos everywhere, as people sifted through soggy belongings and tried to find their kids. I looked around my cubby, and all I found was a shoe, an old wig, and some scraps of crown molding. Wait. Diah’s bunk. The one we shared to watch movies. The one we decorated with vintage carnival posters. Oh no…

I ran over to it, and everything was gone, flushed away. Amid the cries of lost children, quick flash memories ran through my head. I came to and started collected scraps of carnival posters from a wall where we’d painted art deco lettering. I took them back to my bunk where I boxed things up and waited for relief workers.

Weekend: God Is In The Details

I’ll spare you the plot summary of the weekend because, frankly, I wrote a big, long post and then the browser freaked out and I lost it all. Let’s cut the BS and get straight to the issue at hand: the house, part III.

I went back for a more detailed look at the house in question. Jonathan, with his eye for…well, bothering to look in the attic, went with me and he found some things that I never would have thought to look for. I found a bunch of little, nitpicky things. I thought long and hard. I just can’t do it.

I like the place when I’m standing in it, but then I think about all of the little, incredibly half-assed things that the renovators did, and it makes me feel like they didn’t have any pride in their work. If they half-assed the doors jambs and kitchen cabinets, they may also have half-assed the wiring or plumbing. Frankly, I don’t want to get to the stage when I pay a house inspector 300 bucks, only to find out that everything was done in the cheapest possible way. I don’t want to have to present the seller with a list of “here’s what you have to do” and then have to police them to make sure they don’t half-ass the fixes. I like the place when I’m in it, but my gut says “this will be drama and you should walk away.”

So that’s what I’m doing.

Real Estate Lady is probably going to want to set me on fire, since this house really is nice. It’s one of the nicest ones I’ve seen. I just don’t feel it. I smell drama, and my drama sensors are surprisingly good.

It’s like going on a first date with a guy who seems nice, has a job, and doesn’t live in his mom’s basement…but he stares at you intensely when he talks to you. It’s not proof that he’s got bodies stashed in his crawl space, but it doesn’t exactly make you want a second date, either. It’s like going in for a major haircut and getting a stylist who interrupts you. That person is about to cut 20 inches off of your hair and isn’t listening to what you want. Get out of the chair and leave.

Fall Back, Regroup.

Real Estate Lady said that my email made a “huge, huge” difference, but my status of “I have never written an email worth 4 thousand dollars” still stands. At the end of the day, the other person with an offer on the table offered 4500 dollars over list price and I got aced out of The House. So, what next? Circle the second choice house like a shark circling a wounded toddler. It’s an easier “get,” but I need to take a couple steps back and try to see it without it lying in the shadow of the first choice house. It’s like appreciating your new boyfriend without comparing him to your ex. I just need a minute to decompress.

Second Choice house has no fireplace, no sweet fixtures, no walk-in closets, and floors that are less shiny. Buuuut it does have a possible garage (will need a little work), an alarm, newer windows. It also has a smaller living room. And a hall with a straight shot into the kitchen. Half of the door knobs are missing, none of the doors close right, and all of the doors will need to be refinished.

I’m trying to be really feeling this, but I don’t know if I’m not feeling it because I’m not feeling it or if I’m not feeling it because I liked the other one more. I can tell that Real Estate Lady really wants me to like this place (can you blame her? she’s shown me 13 places). I just…I have reservations, and the only piece of advice that 100% of people agree on is “wait until you’re sure.” I’m not sure.

I’m going to look at the place again on Sunday to take pictures and make a complete list of things that would need to be done. On one hand, having to fix the door knobs and such means that I would get to pick out ones that I like. On the other hand, that straight view RIGHT into the kitchen bothers the fuck out of me. I’d have to work out some plan for painting the living room one color and the kitchen another color without having the two looks “wtf” when viewed together. I just don’t want to end up in another place that I don’t like. As is, every day when I come home, I look at my apartment and think, “I hate you.” I just don’t want that to happen again.

We’ll see what happens.

Well, I’m a Psycho. What else is new?

As suspected, The House has two other offers on it. Unfortunately, the two other offers are for list price AND closing costs. The highest I can go is list price with the seller paying closing costs. So, my offer will almost surely get rejected.

My dad suggested that I write an email to the seller to express my appreciation for the house and the work that went into it. Personally, I think that this is kind of psycho. Then again, if there’s something you can do…maybe you should do it? Even if it probably won’t make a damn bit of difference? I decided to let Real Estate Lady make the decision about whether this is a completely insane idea. This is what I sent:
I realize that this is kind of a “psycho girlfriend” thing to do, but I wanted to send an email to express how much I hope that you’ll go with my offer on this house. I know that you probably have two other offers for more money, but I just don’t have four thousand more dollars to cover closing costs. I wish I did; I wish I had ten thousand more dollars to offer, but I just don’t. Since you’re not turning this into a bidding war, I’m hoping that this isn’t solely about money for you. That hope is the same hope that led to writing this email. I don’t have four thousand more dollars, but I do have a ton of appreciation for the amount of work that went into this house.

I’ve already, somewhat accidentally, spent three days picturing my clothes in that huge closet in the master bedroom. The smaller closet? Shoes and crinolines. I’ve spent three days picturing my piano in the dining room, and picturing myself sitting there playing, lapping up the echo that bounces off the deliciously shiny floor. I’ve already pictured white wooden blinds on the living room windows and my cat figuring out how to jump up on the mantle. I’ve already pictured a little pedestal in the alcove that connects all of the rooms. I’ve already pictured myself cutting out dress patterns in bedroom two. I’ve already pictured a shower curtain hanging from the ceiling by decorative chain so as not to be wedged up against the window. I’ve pictured myself cooking tofu in the kitchen and being able to sequester the cat’s litter box in the laundry room. I’ve pictured my friends drinking beers on the patio and swinging on the swing set (you know they would) before heading to the out building for a photo shoot. I’ve thought about the decorative uses of the former window bars that are stashed in the out building.

I’m trying to pretend that the house had been priced in the 120’s, where it maybe should have been. I’m trying to pretend that I never even saw it. Unfortunately, it’s a bit like trying on a dress, seeing that it fits you perfectly, and then finding out that it wasn’t really supposed to be on the sale rack. It’s hard to walk away like you don’t care. You can’t always get what you want, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t try.

Thanks for your time,
Amy (last name)