Monday, June 30, 2008

Odds and ends

I'm sure you will all be shocked to hear that we're still dealing with house stuff. :P Lots of packing and cleaning have been going on in the apartment. We also went in this morning to sign the loan papers, which is one step closer to closing. We're still on target to close on the 8th and at this point it can't come soon enough! We're ready to move already!!

I'm too mentally exhausted to write paragraphs that flow into one another, so I'll do the rest of this bullet-point style:

* Pictures of the new place are coming... just not for awhile. The listing with pictures is still easily found online and while it sounds crazy, I just don't want anyone in the internet world to put two and two together and figure out where we're living. If I know you IRL, I'll be sending you an email with pics soon. Promise!

* We spent HOURS looking at and measuring patio furniture this weekend. Frankly, I'm sick of it. However, I think we found something that will fit in the miniscule area around the pool, will be bright and summery enough to cheer up the current "concrete jungle" look of the backyard and won't put us into the poor house.

* As if looking at patio furntiure wasn't thrilling enough, we also starting looking at paint for the bedrooms, bathroom and basement. They are currently lovely shades like deep lilac, light orange, yellow and, my personal favorite, chartruse. Blah! Jim and I obviously see colors a bit differently, because even though we are in agreement that the rooms should be painted neutral colors, we still had issues deciding on the right shades of "white." :/ This one was too yellow, this one was too green, this one was just too... ew. Good times folks, good times.

* Our DVR at the apt has died. :( Although, I guess this is excellent timing seeing as how a) it's summer and there isn't all that much on tv and b) we're moving in 2 weeks. Although, it also means that I'm chained to the tv Wednesday nights from 8-10 and Thursday nights from 9-10 so I don't miss any SYTYCD. It's the one show I'm completely obsessed with this summer and they don't rerun the episodes or have them online.

* Speaking of SYTYCD, how great are the guys this season?!? I'm loving Josh, Will, Twitch and Mark so much! I'm also loving Chelsea, Kaytee and Carrington, however, I worry that I only love these gals so much because their partners are so amazing. Oh, and that lyrical hip hop routine that Chelsea and Mark did last week... I got goosebumps and almost started crying. Granted, the subject matter hit home, but still. So great. [I truly could go on and on about some of the amazing performances already from this season, but I'll save that for another post]

* I've had my eye out for a simple empire waist jersey dress for casual weekends for months. However, everything I try on is either too clingy, too short, makes me look pregnant, etc. I was passing by NY & Co. last week before dinner with my inlaws and remembered R saying she sometimes finds work clothes there. I popped in for a minute and while I didn't find anything for work, I did find the perfect (for me) summer dress and it was on sale! Sleeveless, flattering v-neck, can wear it with a regular bra, hits right above the knee, heavy enough fabric that it doesn't cling, straight enough cut that I don't look pregnant ... see, basically perfection! I picked it up in brown in the store and then proceeded to order 2 more online in bright summery colors. I kid you not, I'm totally living in this thing this summer. :)

So yeah, I guess the last couple of weeks haven't been all that exciting. I'm looking forward to getting all this house stuff settled and getting back to a routine of some sort. One more week, one more week....

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Buying a house = Insanity

CW: You know Amber, you've been looking sad and tired the last few weeks.
Me: Yeah, we're buying a house....
CW: !! You don't need to say anything else. Totally crazy, isn't it?

For those of you who haven't bought a house yet, I'd like to post a PSA. It's waaaaay more work that you think it is. No really. From the time you sign that purchase agreement, it's nonstop activity. Inspections, appraisals, faxing and mailing paperwork back and forth, endless phone calls to a variety of people, the list goes on and on. Every day you sign a little more of your life away. It's all stressful and overwhelming, but in the end, I'm sure we'll think it's all worth it. For now, I'm just hoping for a full night's sleep sometime over the next few weeks.

Then there is the lending issue. Folks that are trying to buy a house today are paying, and paying dearly, might I add, for the mistakes of the past. That pre-approval letter with your pretty loan terms from the bank? Yeah, it's worth less than the paper it's printed on. Loan programs are changing daily with lenders, agents, and buyers often times not knowing which way is up from one day to the next. I wish I was exaggerating, but I'm not. And no, we're not the only ones dealing with this. We have several friends going through the exact same thing. I'd say all of us are well qualified to receive a loan with good terms (good income, credit history and savings), but the banks are making it more and more difficult to come by.

I realize this sounds like major whining on my part, but that's really not what I'm trying to do. Yes, we're lucky that we're in a position to buy a home in this market. However, I am so frustrated and at times, down right angry that we're being put through the ringer like this. Especially when just a short time ago the ridiculous practice of loaning people money with stated income only and crazy financing terms was quite common. Of course we're putting money down and no, we don't mind proving our income and reserves, but the hoops that we're being asked to jump through (an ever increasing down payment, multiple months of bank statements, etc) and still not being guaranteed anything is INSANE.

Okay, vent over. Well, at least for now. :/

On the upside, my mom was in town this weekend. We ate some good food, did some window shopping, hung out with my brother for a bit and then she was a doll and helped me start packing up the apartment. Our place is a complete disaster area right now and my routine is all kinds of messed up, but I know in a couple months, things should be back to [a new kind of] normal.

I'd say the saving grace to all of this is 1) everytime I drive up to the new neighborhood, it just feels like home (to me, that is almost priceless) and 2) I keep envisioning myself in the new kitchen and I get all giddy, kinda like a kid in a candy store.

Alright, back to more paperwork....

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The weekend in purchases

Strawberries
Hubs was at the farmer's market on Friday afternoon and picked up a huge package of fresh strawberries. Mmmm! And what to do with those lovely little berries? Make ice cream, of course.
Wrap Sweater
After seeing how adorable Miss Diabolina looks in them on a weekly basis, I finally went back to Image and gave them another try. I originally didn't think they worked on me because they were so long in the front, but I figured I could have a tailor chop off the bottom. However, a salesgirl came running over when I tried it on, wrapped it up all pretty on me and well, I think it looks pretty cute! I bought one in off-white and am planning on going back next week to see if I could find one in a teal or pink. Later that night, we went out for drinks with Mr. Metro. I paired the sweater with a black slim fitting tank, dark jeans and lots of silver accessories. I felt totally on trend, but still like me. I have a feeling it's going to get a lot of use this summer and fall.

Food Processor
After weeks of looking at different models online, I finally decided on one that would match the rest of our appliances and was reasonably priced. Williams-Sonoma seemed to be the best price and I was just waiting for a free shipping coupon code and I then I was going to order it. On a spur of the moment run to Costco, I thought I'd just double check their appliances to see if they had one for a good deal. In fact, not only did they have one for $50 less than I was planning to pay, but it was the exact same model I originally wanted! I couldn't believe it!

Then, I turned around and saw the immersion blender I'd been eyeing for months for a steal. So, I scooped that up, too. Both pretty stainless steel appliances for less than the original price of the food processor. So awesome.
And to christen the new food processor? A reduced-fat cheesecake recipe from America's Test Kitchen. It looks pretty, but we'll see how it tastes tomorrow.
A HOUSE!
Seriously, we're still in shock. There is a lot more to this story, but the short version is we put an offer in on a house on Friday night and they accepted on Saturday. We opened escrow today and if all goes well, we close on July 8th. So exciting and crazy and scary and fun! Like most houses, there are some things that we're going to have to work on, but the thing I'm most excited about? The kitchen is much larger than what I'm used to, newly remodeled with a ton of cabinet and counter space and an island. !!! Words can't describe how happy this makes me! :D

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Perspective

Thanks everyone for the kind comments on my last blog post. I've also had some email conversations with a few of you and your words really helped me feel better. You know who you are, but thank you again.

Monday night Jim came home early and we went out to dinner to talk and decompress. A plate full of ribs and some tri-tip helped a little. Yesterday I took a mental health day and just hung out at home, thinking about things and trying to get a little perspective on the last few weeks. All in all, I'm feeling a lot better. Aside from the ultimate disappointment of the situation, there are so many good things that came out of it.

I finally admitted some things to myself that I had been scared to do before. Because sometimes when you finally own up to what you've been feeling for months, it means you actually have to do something about it. Surprisingly, it was a relief and Jim was more than supportive. I also realized that I have someone who is looking out for me in the business world. In an age where everyone is out for themselves, it was so refreshing to realize that someone, a female right around my age, no less, is keeping an eye out for me. For that, I am beyond grateful.

And lastly, I got a huge boost of self-confidence, which I think will bode well for me over the next few months. I made a few new connections and presented myself in a way that not only was I proud of, but also, I found out later, really impressed some people. Besides making me feel good, who knows where that will lead in the future.

For now, I feel centered again and it's time to figure out a game plan for the next few weeks. It's on!

Monday, June 2, 2008

:(

So, that stuff I was waiting to hear back about on Friday? Not good news. :( I'm totally bummed out, even though I figured this would be the result. I'm trying to find a silver-lining, which is not that hard to do as there are several good things that have come from all of this. But, I still need to have a good cry about it when I get home.

Happy Monday folks.