Ping Pong

There has been a lot of back-and-forth. A lot of back-and-forth.

First there were the multiple offers we had to submit, first in increasing amounts and then, weirdly, in decreasing amounts. (Then they increased again.)

Next, we identified a closing date. Then the seller’s lender specified a different closing date. Then we moved the date up. Then we moved it back. Then it turned out that the seller’s other lender had specified an earlier date. Then the two lenders agreed on a different date. Then we chose a date, and then the current occupant couldn’t move out in time. Then he could.

So you can imagine our surprise when, after signing loan papers and FedExing a very large cashier’s check to our escrow agent, the seller’s lender(s?) announced that there would be no close of escrow until the tenant had moved out.

Why do they care whether the tenant moves out, you ask? Good question. And it turns out that they don’t. They cared that the cashier’s check hadn’t arrived. Except that it had. So we have no idea why they chose to express concern about the check as concern about the tenant’s move-out date.

But in the end, we’re closing on Friday. I hope it sticks.

We’re Movin’ On Up

Not to a deluxe apartment in the sky, but to a three-bedroom, 1-1/2 bath house with an actual garage. Assuming everything goes well, that is.

The home inspection went reasonably smoothly–a few things to address, but nothing insurmountable. Now there are more papers to sign, and a loan to finalize, and a tenant to . . . well, let’s say encourage to move out. So it’s not really a done deal, is it?

Deep Thoughts

Tonight I was telling Mr. Sandwich how I feel like I’m caught in an endless cycle of nonstop activity. Get up, go to work where there is too much work, prepare for meetings (or actually go to them) for my alumni club, meet with the realtor, eat dinner, and go to bed so that I can sleep and start all over again. None of this is restful. Not even the sleep.

So I think I should try meditation. I have some music from Gaiam on my MP3 player, and in the past I’ve found that even a few minutes of sitting quietly can help me relax and let go of the rest of the day.

Now I just need to set aside time for meditation. And make sure that there are working batteries in the MP3 player. And find the MP3 player.

On second thought, maybe I’ll just go to bed so that I can get up and go to work.

A Wonderful Weekend

Saturday morning I ran a bunch of errands. On my way home, I passed Mr. Sandwich on his way out for a long ride. I continued home and lounged around on the bed reading magazines (normally I lounge around on the couch to read magazines, but the carpet was still drying, and the couch had some extra stacks of things to be sorted, with nowhere else for them to go). Mr. Sandwich came back, and we headed up to Santa Clarita for dinner with friends. They grilled steaks and tater tots, and I made a tomato-avocado salad and roasted asparagus. After dinner we played board games and stayed up much too late talking.

On Sunday, we went to the real estate office and signed still more papers to raise our offer. After looking at (and eliminating) a few more houses, Mr. Sandwich and I decided that we couldn’t waste such an unusually clear summer day. We went on a long drive through Malibu, and then across town and along the spine of Mullholland Drive. The views into the valley were stunning (see earlier post for shaky video). And it was the perfect end to the weekend.

“The Worst Bathroom Plumbing Disaster You Can Imagine”

That’s how Mr. Sandwich refers to Friday’s multiple-appliance backup and overflow. And because of how nasty it was, and how well he handled it, from now on this blog will refer to J as Mr. Sandwich. He deserves that respect.

I missed most of it, because I get up and go to work earlier than he does. So Friday morning I was at work when I got a call from Mr. Sandwich. Over the course of the day, and several phone calls back and forth, it became clear that drastic action was needed. He wasn’t able to snake the drains, and neither was the drain specialist, because all of the access points were closed so tight that they had frozen in place.

While waiting for the regular plumber, Mr. Sandwich continued to wrench on one of the access points–until the u-joint broke, sending foul water flooding through the outside laundry room. On the other hand, it stopped backing up through our tub.

The plumbers crawled under the building, cutting and replacing pipe, which was the only way to get rid of the clog. Then the steam cleaner guy came in and cleaned the carpet and bathroom floor. I came home at the end of the day and did a much more thorough job on the bathroom floor and tub, because I was pretty sure that it needed the three-part process of all-purpose cleaner, bleach, and rinsing (BTW, I was right). Then it was on to the kitchen floor, because everyone came in and out through there.

We’re all clean now.

During the afternoon, I got a call from our realtor, saying that they had heard from the seller’s agent. Apparently the bank had decided to approve the short sale, and determined that they would accept an offer of $7000 more than our most recent offer. Our agent said, “If my clients do this, will they get the house?” The answer was yes, but all three of us have a we’ll-believe-it-when-we-see-it mentality at this point. So in between cleaning stages, we faxed over a letter stating our intent to offer more.

Lots of ups and downs. But at least the bathroom is no longer a hazardous waste site, and we have some new pipes.

Gentlemen Prefer Fixer-Uppers…

…but men marry move-in ready. (Anita Loos, I’m not)

The original plan for today was for both of us to take a vacation day, so that we could meet with a financial planner. This was rescheduled from about three weeks ago, when the financial planner canceled on us. Naturally, the financial planner called today to cancel. We’re starting to wonder how badly he wants our business.

So instead, we ran a handful of errands (once again, I owed money to the public library) and drove by a few houses. Several seemed like they would be worth visiting with the realtors, but one stood out–not because it seems like our dream house, but because we like the idea of it.

The house is small, and in pretty rough condition. The lot, however, is enormous–1/2 acre in an L-shape. There are two other houses adjacent, and both of them appear to be empty as well. Our guess is that there was originally a much larger lot, and that two parcels were sold off, while the remaining one and land behind those parcels was retained.

There’s plenty of room to build something fantastic, if only we could afford to both buy and build. And even if you put a larger house on the site, you’d still have a lot of open ground. J said, “You’d have plenty of room to grow organic vegetables,” and I said, “I’d have to quit my job, hire workers, and sell everything at the farmer’s market.” And that’s just not going to happen.

But it does have a certain draw, particularly since the other houses and lots in the area are also a bit ranch-y. It’s a neighborhood that retains a touch of its historic flavor, and both of us find that appealing.

In the end, though, I think J summed it up nicely: “I want to fantasize about it, not marry it.”

Quincy’s BBQ

Quincy’s serves “the best BBQ under one woof,” which is a little cutesy. However, the pulled pork is quite good, and the chicken is really tender. After several trips up and down Ventura Boulevard–and a couple of meals at The Habit (excellent burgers, fries, and onion rings, BTW), we decided that Quincy’s was our next stop. Both food and service were good, and although it isn’t our favorite place in the Valley, it’s not half bad.

Oh, and we put an offer on a house. How’s that for burying the lede?