Wednesday, August 28, 2013

House hunting

If you haven't heard already, we've been house-hunting for a while.

It hasn't been easy because we were working with very strict parameters:
- location - we didn't want to leave our current city
- at last X bedrooms
- at least 2.5 bathrooms - a half bathroom is a powder room, it has a toilet and a sink but no tub or shower.
- attached garage for at least 1 car - detached garages are common in older houses in our area
- open layout for the living areas
- good-sized kitchen with plenty of cabinets - we count 23 full sized cabinet doors in our kitchen plus a couple more small ones and 4 drawers. We figured that we needed something that comes close else we'd have a hard time finding storage for our kitchen stuff.
- cooking range has to be gas and not electric - this is hubby's requirement
- bedroom locations - at least 3 should be on the same level
- a good-sized backyard - big enough for Swe-cha to play in but small enough so hubby doesn't have a hard time mowing the grass.
- direction the house faces in - We're not supposed to get a north-facing house according to my mom
- enough closets

And these were the nice to haves:
- built ins (who doesn't like built-in shelves ?)
- covered patio or covered bbq area in the yard
- backyard that has a shady spot in the afternoon

To top it all off, we were also working within a limited budget.

And so, several months after I first made a call to the realtor, we are under contract*.

There are still a few items that we need to work out with the sellers and in fact, the entire process has made us feel like we're on a roller coaster. We would be on cloud nine one day and be planning our move and then the next day, we'd find ourselves consoling each other that it's okay if we lose this house, we don't need it anyway. I've been wanting to pack since our offer got accepted in July but I haven't started yet because it's been a month since that day and we're still going back and forth with additional stipulations.

I've been writing draft after draft about our house-hunting activities and chronicled most of the houses that we've seen. Obviously, they never made it to the final stages and never got published because, until now, there wasn't really anything to tell.

And *that*, my readers, is what's been keeping us extremely busy these days. While we're waiting to find out how this house purchase is going to pan out (will the sellers agree to our stipulations ?)... we've started getting the condo ready for sale. We won't put it up on the market until after we move but now is a good time to start getting the little things done - fix dripping faucets, window screens, fresh coat of paint, update the few remaining light switches and wall plugs that I didn't get to during the great DIY streak in April 2009 when we updated our powder room, painted the living room, fixed the wall behind our stove and updated electrical switches and plugs. We stopped when we found out we were expecting because elders told us that we weren't supposed to touch the house while we were pregnant and afterwards, taking care of a child doesn't really leave one much time to DIY stuff around the house. We still look back on that month of completed projects with fondness, I tell ya.

It would be good if we enjoyed our handywork before we leave.


* The different stages of buying a house are:
- making an offer - this is when you find a property that you like and make an offer
- attorney review - this is when the sellers accept your offer and attorneys from both sides (if you are working with one) sort out the sales contract
- under contract - this is when a final contract is signed and several things happen (see below). The contract can then be re-negotiated based on the results of these activities.
--- inspections and tests
--- appraisals
- closing day - this is when both parties complete the sale, the sellers get paid and the buyer becomes cash-strapped again. =)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Desperate Measures

I've been wanting to have my hair cut for the longest time but I just couldn't find the time.

Between us making an extra effort to bring Swe-cha out during the weekends and our house-hunting activities, plus the fact the my neighborhood suking salon closes by 6p on Saturdays and isn't open on Sundays - I could never find the time to go! As for weekdays, forget it as I'm always in a hurry to get from work to pick up Swe-cha from daycare.

Today, we kept Swe-cha home as he was having a very bad cough and didn't sleep well last night. Hubby stayed home with him so I didn't have to hurry home for daycare pickup. I dropped by a local restaurant to pick up dinner (takeout) and while it was being prepped, it dawned on me that Swe-cha's salon was just across the street! Desperate times call for desperate measures, I thought, so I went and took a peek, pointed to myself and asked, "do you do haircuts on adults ?" The girl nodded and I got my haircut.

There were 3 toddlers and 2 grade-schoolers having their hair cut around me and I didn't really care. All I felt was relief as the lady snipped off layer after layer of hair from my head. I felt very light and happy that I don't have to have my hair in a ponytail anymore - it was giving me a headache (the ponytail), I swear.

Yes, I sat on a regular salon chair as the airplane and the train seats were already occupied ;-)

I was well-behaved and did not cry - one toddler was bawling.

And, yes, they offered me a lollipop (after the lady saw me staring at the candy jar while paying my bill), I declined. They didn't have any stickers (I would have taken a sticker home with me if they had it).

Lastly, I watched cartoon channel while having my hair cut. It was fun.

The trim cost me $25 + tip which is much lower than the $50+tip I usually spend on my usual salon. Not bad at all.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

When all roads lead to this

No, this isn't a mushy post.

It's just that once again, my life is our lives are a testament that when you pray for something, you must be willing to wait before getting God's answer and when the time comes that you finally get the answer, you'll realize that everything - all the delays, rejections, and disappointments - all lead to the perfect ending.

I guess this post is sorta cryptic but things will be clear when you see what I'm talking about. I have this intense need to write/post something to record this moment as I will surely want to go back to this moment in the future to savor the feelings. Unfortunately, I do not feel that we're in a position to make an official announcement as we still have a long way to go before we get to the final stages.

But that (make the announcement) is something we'll definitely do... in time :)