Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Week 2 of "Rome" Ownership

Week 2 of new home ownership was interesting. It definitely would have been an easier to have stayed in town and settled in, rather than heading out for vacation, but that vacation was desperately needed.

Projects started:
1. Purchased about half of the blinds for the second floor (following rejection of the Budget Blinds scary quote). Note - not installed yet. Sorry for any inadvertent shows neighbors!
We need to pick up the rest at another Lowes/HD that has more in stock.

2. Much stalking of Overstock.com, Lowes, HomeDepot, Build.com, etc. etc. websites to select ceiling fans, rugs, lights, etc. So far, we haven't pulled the trigger on any purchases. Repeated process for actual live store visits.

3. Selling of our old bedroom set. It won't fit in the guest bedroom, and we bumped up to a king, so it was off to the local yardsale site for our pretty cherry queen set. Hopefully being picked up tonight! We need to clear out the storage unit by tonight lest we be charged another month, so the dining room set will have to come home with us until it also sells.

4. Hung big TV over fireplace.

5. Majority of boxes are unpacked.  Maybe 75%?

6. Purchased sample knobs and pulls to try out

7. Dealing with the seventh circle of hell that is Comcast. This has overtaken my poor husband's life. 30 hours and counting to get our service turned on, and account corrected. The long story involves identity fraud, horrible employees (one of whom was reportedly fired), and a generally incompetent organization. So many hours were wasted on the phone instead of dealing with house projects, I can't even begin to express our (his) frustration.

The to-do list is overwhelming. Some high priorities:

1. Install garage door opener
2. Anchor all "tippable" furniture to the walls, so as to not crush children
3. Install blinds in most critical places (LOL)
4. Seal grout
5. Purchase Munchie her big girl mattress and bed.
6. Hang rest of wall-mounted TV's
7. Finish drawer knob/pull selection, purchase, and install in kitchen and baths (for future reference, it's a pain to open kitchen cabinets using a spatula).
8. Grow some damn grass. In case you were planning to pick up a sprinkler this fall, good luck. Those are sold out at every Lowes and HD in the Philadelphia region. We are currently rotating the one hose and sprinkler we own in a pitiful 1-2 spots per evening cycle. At this rate, we'll have snow before grass.

Living in the house has also frustrated the hell out of my perfectionist Hubs. You see a lot more when you're crawling/climbing around to unpack and work on it! Not much of the finishing work is up to his standards. Paint splotches, drips, globby crap on trim work, squeaky fireplace hearth, shoddy drywall spots, etc. etc. etc. This is all after we went over everything at walk-through and thought we had caught everything!
It's all making him (me) completely crazy.

Our PM remains awesome, and has been on top of our ongoing issues. Most pressing is the swampy mess to the right of our house. The drainage swail between our house and the neighbors was never graded properly. Both of our sump pumps drain into the swamp, and the water is just pooling. Yay for Zika laden mosquitos!  We saw the surveyors there on closing day, and stakes are in, but nothing has happened yet. Only benefit I see is that we don't need to water that side of the house! (So much sarcasm).

This post has been a bit snarky, and I don't intend it to be. We really are thrilled to be in the house. It's just starting to feel a little more like "ours", and I feel blessed to be in such a lovely (big!)space.
The projects in front of us are daunting (and expensive, hellloooooo), but exciting too. This really is an amazing time in our family's history, and I go to sleep exhausted and happy thanks to this house.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Week 16: Closing & The Big Move!

Week 16: August 29 - September 4

It finally happened, and it still feels surreal! In true Fab fashion, it was not without drama. (sigh).

Our good friends had offered to take Munchie off our hands so we could close and move in peace. So I met them to hand her over Monday morning. Thank the Lord for friends. All of this madness would have been a lot harder with her underfoot!

Closing Day
Hubs, our realtor, and I met at the Ryan title company office on Monday, August 29 at 11 a.m. in Blue Bell, PA with our cashier's check, extra blank checks, and ID's in hand. We've been through two other closings and several re-finances and expected it to take an hour or so, max. Maybe shorter since Ryan, NVR/ Homeside, and the title company are ALL THE SAME DAMN COMPANY.
I was wrong.

Delay #1
We got through signing about half of our paperwork before we realized that the county was listed incorrectly (Berks, we're in Montgomery). Title company woman had to stop us and re-run that paperwork, then have us re-sign everything.

Delay #2
She explains a tax form that gives us the total of the additional tax bill we should expect in 8-12 weeks. Totaling almost $7,000. First we've heard of it. Hubs understandably flips out. I ask the woman to give us five minutes. She steps out. Realtor calls mortgage guy. Mortgage guy points to builder/ sales rep. Title company points to mortgage guy. We can't get ahold of our sales rep to see who she points to, but realize that it's just a waste of time. We completely understand and agree with owing the tax, but strenuously disagree with not being told until the middle of closing. In the end, we understand the reason why our estimated cash to close mysteriously dropped by $5,000 the week before closing....those were tax funds that for some fluke reason of tax schedule, we're paying in a few weeks instead. DEEP SIGH.

Title woman returns, signing continues. At this point, my hunger-induced pregnancy nausea is really kicking in. I ask how much longer we might be here. Woman laughs at me and offers to find me some crackers from someone's desk (I grudgingly decline).

Delays #3-5
We finish the neverending signing, but are immediately faced with more delays. Title woman explains that 1. We need "approval" from Homeside that they have everything they need. 2. She needs to run us our copies of the documents, and 3. Homeside (NVR) has not wired the money yet. We had an 11a.m. closing. Not 9 a.m. At this point, we've been in the office for over 2 hours. So throwing out the notion that the bank could have wired the funds the night before....they have had 4 hours during which to do so that morning, but did not. I don't know about you, but if I was 4+ hours late doing a key part of my job, I wouldn't last long.

I am barely holding it together. You just cannot mess with a miserable pregnant woman like this. Hubs and our realtor, being smart men, realize this and are desperately trying to hurry things along. We continue waiting for another half hour or so before the wire transfer is confirmed. Realtor busts out the sparkling apple juice, we chug, and we run the heck out of there. Entire process clocked in at 3 hours.

We have only appliance deliveries scheduled for the afternoon, and figure we have lots of time to get to the house, so we stop for a pizza lunch. I put the first delicious bite into my mouth, and Hub's cell rings. The Best Buy delivery truck is running 2 hours ahead of schedule, and is now sitting in front of the house. We are currently 45 minutes away, and still need to run back to our temp living house (15 minutes in the opposite direction) to grab my car. We tell them we'll be there as soon as we can, throw the slices in a to-go box and run out the door.

We finally get to the house and find Ryan installers replacing the kitchen appliances with the upgraded ones. There's obviously no where to sit, so I plop my nauseous self on the stairs. At that moment, my tush is glad we hadn't upgraded to the hard-woods! Best Buy comes with the washer and dryer and for a while it's like an appliance store exploded in the house. Of course, the fridge was on a DIFFERENT Best Buy delivery truck that we would now be waiting for.

Hubs runs out to do I have no-idea what errands, and in the meanwhile, I unload the Bed Bath & Beyond goodies (new bathroom d├ęcor, towels, etc.), the hand soap and TP into the house. Which is about all there is to do except wait.

When he gets back, we decide to run to our new post office to change our address and get the key to our community mailbox. We get within 1 minute of the post office when Best Buy driver confirms he will be at the house in 5 minutes; and so we turn around and fly back to the house to take fridge delivery.

As fridge delivery guy leaves, our friends arrive bearing hoagies, tomato pie (it's a Philly thing), and drinks. The husband is a pastor, so he walks us through the house offering a prayer and blessing for every room, and leaves us with a beautiful cross to hang over the front door. It was lovely.

As we're finishing up with them, the Budget Blinds woman arrives to show me samples, and give us a quote for whole house faux wood, cordless blinds. Once we choke down the number, she leaves, and we follow.

I know we did some other errands on the way back to our temp living, but I can't remember what they were for the life of me. We passed out unconscious and set alarms early to meet the movers.

Moving Day

Hubs awakens before dawn to pick up his boss's pickup truck, then meet the movers at the storage place at 7 a.m. I go directly to the house to await the Comcast installation guy by 8 a.m. By 9 or so, I get word that the movers are on their way to the house. Their crew boss is waiting for the truck in my living room and gets a call to tell him that they have been pulled off the road by state troopers for a Department of Transportation spot check. I think it's a joke for a while, and when I realize that it's truly happening, I text my state trooper friend to "please call off her friends and let my furniture go!"

They are delayed for about 45 minutes, but finally arrive and quickly begin unloading. I stand at the front door directing them where to bring everything. Hubs is off running mystery errands again.
My lovely and wonderful friend arrived around 11 to help in whatever way she could, and I kept her busy with small tasks as the movers finished up.

Once they left, she and I went to work, and mostly focused on the kitchen, as most of the boxes were destined for that room! We had been too nervous to let the movers place all the boxes on the hardwoods, so we were forced to make trips into the garage for everything. Burning calories(?) My friend took on the designated shelf-liner cutter role and became an expert quickly.
Another wonderful friend stopped by around 1 with Wendy's for us. Have I mentioned how awesome all of our friends are?
Our work continued until an afternoon Raymour and Flannigan furniture delivery.  Our master bedroom mattress, dresser, and nightstands all arrived in good condition. Munchie arrived with the friends who had kept her, and we gave her a tour of the house and her newly arranged playroom! She was thrilled, but didn't stay long. Hubs took her back to our temp living house to sleep; and my friend and I resumed work and didn't stop until after 10 p.m. I tossed and turned on the new mattress all night. The next morning I took my first shower at the house, and despite only having a sample packet of conditioner and bottle of hand-soap to work with, it felt amazing!

Wednesday, crazy Hubs went to work, Munchie stayed with our niece, and my friend and I continued our mission; unpacking and organizing, and managing a second furniture delivery. Mealey's delivered two new family room sofas, a morning room table, chairs, and sideboard, and new "big girl" furniture for Munchie's room. The garage door replacement panel arrived and was quickly replaced, and a random local window guy came to take measurements of the glass in our front door for potential switch out. We made major kitchen progress, and welcomed a visit from another friend bearing dinner for us in the afternoon. Hubs picked up Munchie on his way home from work, which meant the whole family would finally sleep in our new house!

My amazing friend left early Thursday morning, and while Hubs installed our new FrontPoint security system, I threw clothes and swimsuits in bags and packed the car for our Labor Day vacation to LBI. We finally left the house around 2 p.m., and Munchie and I promptly passed out for the ride to relaxation.

The rest of the madness at the house would be waiting for our return.