Friday, December 14, 2012

Moving, part 1

As I mentioned in previous posts, this past month has been an extremely busy month.  What I failed to mention was that the past 4 1/2 months have been extremely busy.  Busy but totally worth it.

It all began early this summer.  We have been wanting a bigger house, with more room for our growing kids, for a few years.  Soon after the twins were born, the desire for more space really started to burn.  But with the housing market at an all time low, and due to other circumstances, the time was not right.  We always knew our current home would be a "starter" home, but we didn't realize just how long we would need to be patient.  We have really learned how to "wait on the Lord."  What we thought would be just a few years in that house turned into 7 1/2 years.  It was an emotional few years for us- yearning for something we wanted, but not being able to obtain.  But we learned that the Lord does things in His time. 

In mid June of this year, some circumstances happened that allowed us to seriously think that getting a new (or new to us) house would be possible.  We very cautiously started looking at homes.  I say cautiously because we weren't 100% positive that we could make this happen, and didn't want to get our hopes up too much. 

After looking at several places, after hours and hours of research and talking to lenders (by Ben), and after much prayer, we felt confident that this was a course we were confident with (and supposed to be) pursuing.

In late July, we decided to get serious.  Of course right as we are ready to hit the streets running, we find out our real estate agent was out of town and would be gone for more than a week.  Have I ever told you I'm not a patient person when I want something? 

While our agent was gone, we scoured the internet looking for potential houses in our price range.  We had a small list of houses we wanted to go see as soon as our agent was back in town.  We even drove by a few of the places on our own, just to see what the neighborhoods were like and the curb appeal of the house.  We were able to cross some of these houses off our list, and became more excited about a few others.

The night that our agent got back into town, we came across a house on the internet that was just down the street from us- same neighbor hood, same ward even.  We had actually found this house a week before and had driven by it but didn't know if it was worth looking into- there were a few things that we didn't love and thought that the already great price on it must mean something was significantly wrong with it.  What we found that night was that the price of the house and been lowered significantly.  That definitely piqued our interest!  It was definitely worth just looking at.  We emailed our agent the address and info and asked if he would be able to show us the house the next day.  He emailed back right away and said the next day would be fine.  We were very excited.

As soon as we walked into the house, I remember feeling this really calm and excited feeling, all at once.  This was the first house we had looked inside with our agent (we had looked at model homes of new neighborhoods for a few weeks).  I could picture our family in this home almost immediately.  We absolutely loved it.  We spent a few hours there that first day, trying to see and absorb as much of this house as we could.  Did it have everything on our checklist?  No.  There were some things that we swore in a new house that we had to have that we would be sacrificing (a 3rd car garage, a finished yard, etc).  But we loved so many other things about it that it didn't matter.  We had found our dream home.

The house was a short sale and with the recent drop in price, we knew we would need to act quickly in order to get the home.  We signed papers and put in an offer that night.

Being a short sale, we had no idea when our offer would get accepted and when we would be allowed to move in.  We had heard the horror stories of short sales, but decided to proceed forward and have faith that everything would work out if it was supposed to be.

The waiting was hard.  And long.  But I've heard of people waiting longer and having more difficulties, so we felt pretty fortunate.  But remember... I'm not very patient!  Any day we could have heard that we got the house, but days turned into 3 months.  During the summer we did the inspection on the house (yes, before we even knew that our offer had been accepted).  With it being a short sale, there were many contracts and forms to sign from the previous owners' bank.  With every form signed, we knew we were getting closer and closer to the end.

  On Halloween, we finally received notice that our offer had been accepted and everything was in order to proceed to close on the house. We had already had an extremely busy summer with prepping our house to rent, and now we had to finish all our projects and start packing up the house to move.

The closing process was extremely stressful.  Our bank did a fabulous job of closing quickly and efficiently.  The previous owners' agent and their bank (which is notoriously slow and unpredictable in short sales) were the stressful part.  Communication between their agent and their bank with our agent was horrible.  We never all seemed to be on the same page.  Our closing date changed a few times and with Thanksgiving, Chloe's birthday and baptism all within just 2 weeks of each other, I was panicking that we wouldn't close and move in time for these big events (most importantly Chloe's baptism).  It all worked out in the end, though (more details on the week of the move to come soon).

While we waited all summer for our house, we kept plenty busy.  There was so much to do to prepare our house and yard to be rented out.  We got to work right away and had something (or a few things) to work on each week, meshed in with family vacations, school starting, etc.  It was truly exhausting.

Our first big project was painting the trim on the outside of the house.  The kids desperately wanted to help.  I was not desperate for their help...

Ben let them each paint a few strokes (as I looked on in panic and dread, watching paint drip all over the porch), before he took the brushes away and sent them all off to play.

Ben and I finished the job in 90+ degree heat.  It was so hot that day in early August.

The next weekend we spent an entire day and evening out in the back yard weeding and cleaning.  Ben power washed the entire house over the course of a few weeks.

While we had the power washer, Ben decided to clean off Daisy's dog house, which was covered in algae and dirt.  Chloe wanted a turn and decided to spray her name into the dog house with the power washer.

Later that same evening, we power washed our back patio and got it all clean.

Then we re-stained it a nice red color, similar to what it was when we moved in 7 years ago.

After re-seeding some of the grass and giving it a few weeks to grow in, this was our finished product in the back yard.  Every time I see this picture I am reminded of the hard work we did and the hours and hours it took to do it.

Our freshly painted and power washed house in front

 We painted the inside of the house all summer and fall long.  As you can see, many of the walls desperately needed a new coat of paint.

2 naughty little twins and their naughty handy work made painting a necessity!

Ben got to set up and use his Little Giant ladder multiple times in the painting process (inside and out).

We spent many a hot summer night painting the walls after the kids had gone to bed.

And then tragedy struck.... One fateful day in mid-September while talking to my sister on the phone, we had an unfortunate accident.  Ben had taken Chloe backpacking/camping over night and I was home with the 3 other kids.  While talking on the phone, they started to get really loud and I couldn't hear, so I went and locked myself in my bedroom so I could finish my conversation with my sister.

Not more than 10 minutes later, the door to my room flies open, and there are all the kids, now inside my once locked bedroom.  Mitch is frantically trying to tell me something.  I see that he is holding the plastic ink holder of a ball point pen in his hand.  I tell my sister I need to go, to see what has happened.

I stepped out of my bedroom to find this- ink!  Ink all over my "getting ready to rent" carpets.

All over my "getting ready to rent and freshly painted" walls.

My kids have always (not allowed, but still do it) used ink holders from pens to pop the locks on locked doors.  Usually, some part of the pen is lost and we have to end up throwing the pen away.  This day, Mitch apparently found a bigger pen whose ink holder did not fit in the hole in the knob very well.  After shoving it in there, the ink holder became damaged and started to leak.  I'm guessing he panicked (or thought "Whee!  This is fun!) and ran downstairs with the pen.  He must have also been flicking and swinging the pen because there was ink all over the ceiling and high, vaulted parts of the walls.  Yes, my freshly painted walls.

I am already very paranoid about dirty carpets.  I try very hard to keep mine clean and as nice looking as I can with 4 small children.  This accident about sent me over the edge.  I cried many tears that morning.

I cried harder when I tried to clean it up.  The ink just spread and multiplied.  This was truly my worst carpet nightmare.  My one question was HOW??  How in the world could one pen cause this much damage?  How in the world could Mitchell walk all over the house with it?  How would we ever rent this house out now?  And how was I ever going to be sane again?

With Ben not even in cell phone range, I panicked even more.  I had very little supplies that would be useful in cleaning up a mess of this magnitude, and I was in no shape to be out in public.

When Ben was finally in cell phone range (which felt like days), I told his of our emergency and had him stop at the store on his way home.  He came home with 5 or 6 different carpet cleaners and 5 or 6 bottles of rubbing alcohol.  He took the kids to Chloe's soccer team pictures while I stayed home and cried and scrubbed.  And scrubbed.  And scrubbed.  By the end of the day, I had a killer migraine from the crying and the chemicals.  It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.  

 At one point in the day, I was sure I would never be able to get it all out.  We ran to Lowe's to get quotes on new carpet and pad for the entire house.  This was NOT an expense we were planning on right before we moved.  A big expense.  I was so stressed.

We decided there was no use in replacing it until after we'd moved out, and in the mean time we could keep working on the carpet.

Over the next 2 months, I did many, many rounds of scrubbing on that darn carpet.  It got lighter and lighter each time.

But still looked horrible for a long time.

And each round of scrubbing usually induced a migraine.  I even tried safety goggles and a face mask to help combat the horrible headaches but it did little.  But if I could save us hundreds of dollars, I was sure going to try.

The walls where the ink splattered had to be repainted.  How ironic was it that the ink mostly got on walls that had already been painted, and not on ones waiting to be painted?

In the end, we decided to not replace the carpet.  After our hard work in scrubbing it, and getting it professionally cleaned, it looked good enough (90% better, if not more in some areas).

And then there was more painting.  And more.  And more.

To paint the living room, we had to move furniture all over the place to accommodate it.  Our house was in disarray for days (we ended up having to repaint that room as well, due to the paint drying all streaky and weird).

  Chloe had to have our weekly piano lesson in all the craziness.

But bless my kids' hearts.  When they weren't making (permanent) messes, they picked up on the stress and pitched in.

Leah took it upon herself to sweep the kitchen one day.

Mitch saw a spot on the carpet and tried scrubbing it out.  (Sweet pay back, Mitch, sweet pay back).

We slowly packed for weeks and weeks, trying to decide what stuff we could live without for awhile, and what stuff to save until the end.  Lexi loved hiding in the boxes. 

 Pretty sure she is something I couldn't live without for awhile!

Our busy summer was just a preface for the actual move, and moving in.  Stay tuned.


Amanda said...

I can't wait to read the next post. I actually forgot about that fateful day and the ink until I saw the pics. I remember how sad I was that Mitchell's life may be ending so soon.....:) I remember crying when Steve spilled milk on my carpet, I can't even imagine ink! You guys should be proud of how hard you worked to get your house on the market. Did it make you want to stay after everything was so pretty and fresh?! Can't wait to see more pics of the new house.

Tara said...

A busy month for sure! Look at all you accomplished. It's amazing that you're still standing. And every time I saw you, you were still smiling, too.

Can't wait to see pics of the new house...

SuburbiaMom said...

So busy and yet I appreciate you guys having us over before we left! Glad it's behind you!