Friday, August 28, 2009

Final Approval!

Our realtor called last night to let us know that we've received final approval from the underwriters on our mortgage! I believe that this is what I've heard people refer to as the "clear to close." According to our mortgage officer, the final closing paperwork is now in the process of being drawn up!

In our contract with the bank (because, if you remember, it's a bank-owned home), we agreed to close on September 15th. However, it sounds like nothing has technically been scheduled yet, so it could be slightly sooner than that. Frankly, Shawn and I would be happy with the 15th, because the only advantage we can see to doing it sooner is that we'd have a few extra days to get in there and do some work. Our lease at the apartment doesn't end until October 6th, so it's not like we're really in a hurry to get things done between closing and moving, though. And closing earlier means that we pay more in loan interest at closing. So...if we have a say in the matter, we'll stick with the 15th as our closing date. :)

In non-house news....not much has been going on this week. We went bowling last night. There were about 15 of us from church who went, so that was fun (even though I'm really not a good bowler!). I should've practiced first on the Wii. :) I've bought the materials to make a "home improvement binder"...I'll post pictures once I actually get it started. I've also been getting started on my online teaching job....I had four students enroll on Monday, and so far, one of them has done one assignment. I was wondering how quickly high school students jump into starting their online classes...I guess that's my answer!

Today is Shawn's last day of work before vacation! We leave first thing Monday morning for Hawaii! :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Where Did Summer Go?

We've been having a beautiful summer this year! Sure, we had that week of super hot temperatures, but other than that, it's been pretty much perfect for the last couple of months. Despite the stereotype of Seattle weather, it really doesn't rain very much during the summer here. If you've noticed, most pictures that I've been posting lately have shown sunny skies! Sure, the temperatures have dipped lately back down to normal (in the 70s, basically), but we've had lots of blue skies and sunshine!

That's definitely not the case today, though! It's currently 10:30 in the morning, and if I didn't know that the calendar still says August, I would tell you that it feels like October. Or maybe November. I just took this picture from our porch:

So it's obviously gray and cloudy today, and the temperature is probably only somewhere in the mid-50s. I'm really glad that my week's menu planning had pot roast on the list for dinner tonight! The first thing I did this morning was chop the vegetables and get the crock pot started! The smell of the meat cooking (and the onions and garlic) definitely is adding to that cozy fall feeling I've got going on today! Here's what you'll see in my kitchen right now...sorry you can't smell it!
But frankly, I'm not ready for summer to be over yet. I like sunshine and warm weather! So maybe it's a good thing that at this time next week, Shawn and I will be waking up in Maui! :-)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Weekend Update

Shawn and I had a pretty good weekend. On Saturday, he broke in his new mountain bike! Yep, Shawn got a new bike on Friday night. He had had his old one for about 15 years, and frankly, he was spending quite a bit of time (and money) trying to fix it and keep it in working condition. Especially since he really does ride his bike to work pretty often (and plans to keep this habit up even after we move 9 miles farther away), he needed a new bike. So even though it cost more than I was hoping to spend right now, I'm reminding myself that it's quite a bit cheaper than buying (and insuring!) a second car. I'm not going to post many pictures from his bike ride on Saturday, but I am jealous that he got to see this view:
On Sunday, we decided to get up a bit earlier than usual to go to an earlier Mass. After church, we headed down to Ballard. Shawn wasn't able to come with us when I took my parents to the Ballard Locks, and he really wanted to see the salmon. Here's a quick science lesson. Salmon are some pretty darn cool fish. Salmon eggs are laid (and therefore hatch) in fresh water. The young salmon spend their first months or so in this fresh water before eventually making their way downstream and into the salt water of the ocean. I learned yesterday that there are 147 different species in the ocean that depend on salmon as their food source! Only about 1 in every 5000 salmon survive to spawn and lay their own eggs! But here's the really cool part...those salmon out there in the ocean know that when it's time to lay their eggs, they need to get back to the fresh water. So not only do they know that it's time to start swimming upstream....they also know that they need go back to the same fresh water in which they were born! How cool is that?!

So here's where the fish ladder concept comes in. It's already pretty difficult for a fish to swim upstream. But when they suddenly have to make their way through man-made structures like a lock, it's darn near impossible. So at the Ballard Locks (and lots of other places), the engineers have designed fish ladders. They are these sections off to the side of the Locks where fish can "easily" jump from one step to the next. Each step is kind of like a fish tank at a slightly higher altitude. At Ballard, there are 21 steps in the fish ladder, and once the fish gets through it, they've gone from the low level of the (salt water) Puget Sound to the higher level of the (fresh water) Lake Union. At the Ballard Locks, one large "step" of the fish ladder has glass walls so that visitors can watch the salmon that are in there. Here are a couple of the fish we saw yesterday, on their way to the fresh water:
At the Ballard Locks, there's also a really pretty garden area. It has lots of local and exotic plants and flowers. We didn't take the time to go through all of it yesterday, but I wanted to show one specific flower to Shawn that my parents and I saw when we were there. I have no clue what it is (I couldn't find a label), but isn't it unique? I've never seen anything like it:
After the Locks and the fish ladder, we stopped by Cupcake Royale again. Seriously, any visit to Ballard is just not complete without a super yummy cupcake. While there, we decide to wander about a block away...and stumbled onto the Ballard Farmers Market! We didn't know it was there, and it's pretty darn cool. Shawn got himself some organic blackberries. It was a great way to spend a Sunday morning/early afternoon!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood, 1985 (388 pages)

I picked up a copy of this book at the used book store in Friday Harbor last weekend (when we ended up waiting near the Ferry terminal for 6 hours, waiting to get on the boat back to the mainland). It's been on my "to be read" list for awhile now, but I realized when I began reading, that I really hadn't known anything about it. I actually thought it was a relatively new I was surprised to see that it was originally published in 1985!

The story takes place at some point in the not-too-distant future, in what used to be the United States. A revolution has taken place, and society is now completely different. We never actually learn the narrator's real name, although she is known as Offred. In this society, women have very few rights. They are not allowed to read, and all women have been classified into strict categories: Econowives (although this section isn't really explained well), Marthas (basically cooks and housekeepers), Wives ("married" to high ranking officials known as Commanders), and Handmaids. In this society, fertility is extremely valuable, and the Handmaids are given to Commanders whose Wives have been unable to bear children. As the title says, this book is the story of one of these Handmaids.

This is a very well-written book, and it's scary to think that the things that happen in this dystopian society have actually happened (or are happening) to women around the world. It's also scary to see how easily the change in society happened in the book. I'd like to think something like this could never happen in the U.S., but could it?
Total number of books read in 2009: 31
Total number of pages read in 2009: 11667

Friday, August 21, 2009

More Hurdles Cleared

I actually can't believe it's Friday! It's been a busy week around here. Now that I think about it, it's actually been a good balance of fun and responsibility.

In house news...after my parents left on Tuesday morning, I was able to go hang out at the house with the realtor. We knew that Lowe's would be delivering our new stove between 11:00 and 1:00...and they actually showed up at 11:15! Also on Tuesday, we received our title report and title insurance information, and we were able to confirm that there are no leins on the property or anything else for us to be worried about. Later that afternoon, I was also able to get things squared away for our homeowners' insurance (and we're going to switch auto insurance, much cheaper than what we've been paying, with better coverage!). We had our appraisal done on Wednesday, and we received the report last night. The valuation is higher than our purchase price, and the appraiser didn't find anything negative to report! It's been sent off to the underwriters, and now both our realtor and our mortgage officer feel very confident that we've cleared all the hurdles and should have smooth sailing from here until closing (knock on wood!).

In work news...I've been busy this week with meetings for my new online teaching job. I've gotten my courses loaded (with no students yet), and I'll be teaching American Lit. I've been told that this is a challenging course (for various reason), but I'm excited to get started. I need to spend more time going through the course more carefully, and I need to read Of Mice and Men (which I've actually never read, but which is required reading for my students this semester). Also, Shawn had a bit of a panic moment yesterday when 5 or 6 engineers at his job were laid off unexpectedly, but he was told by a "higher up" that there are no plans for anymore lay offs (and this guy said that he's heard "nothing but good things" about Shawn...which is good to hear!).

In social news...on Wednesday night, Shawn went over to a friend's house to play video games with the boys on a projection TV. Since the guys were all over there, I invited the girls to come over here. There ended up being six of us that enjoyed ourselves, just hanging out, chatting, eating food, and playing with babies. :)

And now we're heading into the weekend! We're hoping for another good mix of fun, relaxing, and responsibility this weekend, too. Maybe we should go pick out paint colors for the new house......

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Called to Love

Called to Love: Approaching John Paul II's Theology of the Body
by Carl Anderson and Jose Granados, 2009. (244 pages)

I won this book through the Goodreads First Reads program. I was intrigued by the title, as I've been wanting to learn more about John Paul II's Theology of the Body. That being said, for whatever reason, it took me forever to read this book!

JPII's Theology of the Body is actually from a series of talks that the Pope gave during his Wednesday audiences over a period of a few years. It's basically a series of teachings that shows the holiness of God's design of the male and female body, as the Bible tells us that we are "made in the image of God." This book explains the concepts of JPII's teachings. There is a definite emphasis on sex within marriage, although the book does discuss what these teachings mean for those who are single or who are consecrated virgins.

Truth be told, I would give this book 2.5 stars. I really wanted to love it, but I had trouble getting into it. I was hoping that the book would be very easily understood by a layman (like me), but I felt like it ventured into philosophical language a bit too much. There were times when the reading got too heavy, and I found myself feeling determined to just plow through it (instead of soaking it in and enjoying it).

I have read a couple other reviews on Goodreads that lead me to include one other "warning" here. If you choose to read this book, you need to understand that it is absolutely Catholic teaching. There shouldn't be anything offensive in the book (it doesn't disparage those of other faiths in any way); however, if you're not Catholic, you may find yourself disagreeing with certain aspects of the book. Please understand, again, that the author is simply discussing the teaching of John Paul II...and those teachings are 100% Catholic.
Total number of books read in 2009: 30
Total number of pages read in 2009: 11279

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

More Catching Up!

Okay...after I published that last post, I realized that it really wasn't very long at all. At least, not for me. :-) So I thought I'd go ahead and finish writing about my parents' trip.

On Saturday, Shawn and I had planned on taking my parents downtown. However, we had to make a stop first. We went shopping for our stove! We spent the morning doing that, and then we came home for lunch. The plan for the afternoon was to go to the Seattle Aquarium, followed by the Pike Market. However, the traffic getting into the city was insane! It literally took us over an hour and a half to get to the Aquarium. There were apparently a few issues going on. First of all, it was a gorgeous, sunny summer day in Seattle. Second, it was a Saturday. Third, it was HempFest. read that right. HempFest. I never would have guessed that a festival dedicated to all things hemp (aka - marijuana) would've drawn such huge crowds, but it apparently does! The Aquarium itself was also pretty crowded, but we had a good time anyways. My parents really liked it, which was the whole point of going! Unfortunately, because of all the traffic and the crowds, we decided to skip the Pike Market. Instead, we just headed back up north towards home and went out to dinner at Boston's, one of our favorite restaurants.

On Sunday, we decided to head up to the San Juan Islands. Shawn and I have been up here a few times...we've explored San Juan Island (and Friday Harbor), we've gone kayaking near Anacortes, and we went whale watching here last year. The four of us left at 8:45 for the drive to Anacortes. We got there around 10:00 to get in line for the ferry that was scheduled to depart at 11:05. Getting out to Friday Harbor took us just over an hour, since this particular boat didn't stop at any other islands on the way out. Once on the island, we had lunch overlooking the water. Then we basically just drove around, looking at the scenery and stopping at a few historic sites. (This island was occupied by both American and British troops in the 1860s.) We got to the ferry terminal at 4:00, hoping to get on the 5:00 ferry. To his credit, the guy who was directing traffic didn't laugh at us too loudly. When we told him we wanted the 5:00 ferry, he quickly said that they've already "suspended parking" for the 6:55 boat! We should come back at 6:00 and see if we could get on that one. So we got some ice cream and Mom and I each bought a book at a used bookstore. As soon as they opened the parking for the 6:55 sailing, we got in line...and were #24 in the overflow line! They loaded the cars on the 6:55 ferry, and we didn't make it. The good news is that we were number 10 or so in line for the next 10:00pm. So we all got dinner and found ways to kill time, and at 10:00, we were finally sailing towards the mainland. By the time we finally got back to Anacortes and then drove back home, it was almost 2:00am.

My poor parents were exhausted after this weekend! The original plan was to head back downtown on Monday and do a few more touristy things (Underground Tour, Space Needle, Pioneer Square, Pike Market). But my parents chose instead to just hang around the apartment and relax. So that's what we did on Monday! This morning we all (minus Shawn) were up at 4:30 Tuesday morning, and we left for the airport at 5:30. The nice thing about this...the traffic to the airport was actually pretty light. :-)

It was really nice to have my parents here! And hopefully the next time they come, they'll get to stay with us in our new house!

Catching Up!

It's been a busy week! My parents got here last Wednesday evening, and they just left this morning. While they were here, we were busy playing tour guide while also taking care of some house stuff. I'll try to do a brief recap of the things that we did with Mom and Dad.

On Thursday, we had our inspection in the afternoon. But before that, I took my parents up to the Boeing Factory. They went through the Future of Flight museum (while I ran a quick errand), and then my mom and I went on the Factory Tour. The factory is the largest building (by volume) in the world, and it's pretty impressive. This is where they make a lot of the Boeing jets, and it was fun to see them in the various stages of assembly. We saw the first ever Boeing 747-8 (which is a 747 converted to a freight plane), and we also saw some of the new 787s.

On Friday, while Shawn was at work, my parents and I drove all over. I took them out to West Seattle and we ate fish n' chips at Alki Beach. Then we drove over to Ballard. We went to the Ballard Locks, and we were able to watch quite a few boats go through them. The main reason I took them there, though, was for the fish ladder. When salmon spawn, they go upstream to the place where they were born. Because the Locks have been built, the salmon can't get back, so a fish ladder has been built. You'll find these in lots of places in this area, but the Locks have one of the ladder sections glassed in. We saw a number of HUGE salmon in the ladder! It was pretty cool. My dad also really liked the gardens here. When we were done at the Locks. Of course, no visit to Ballard is complete without a visit to Cupcake Royale, so we stopped there before heading home. Friday night, we all headed back downtown to watch the Mariners/Yankees game.

Hm. As I'm typing this, I've realized that this is getting to be a huge post, and I still have 3 days of my parents' visit. I think I'll end this one here, and I'll write another one later. :-)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Passed Inspection!

Sorry I haven't posted in a few days. My parents got here on Wednesday night, and we've been busy hanging out with them. We've also been busy with some house stuff!

The big news is that we had our inspection on Thursday afternoon. Leading up to it, we were kinda nervous. First of all, we're buying a foreclosure, and we've heard lots of horror stories about things that people will do to the home out of anger and spite towards the bank. For example, our realtor once had a couple attempting to buy a foreclosure, and they discovered that the previous owner had poured cement down the toilets! They only figured it out when the inspector ran the water for a looooong time and it started backing up. Also, we know that we're buying a 30-year old house. The major things we were worried about were the roof and the furnace.

Our inspector was there for about 4 hours and was very thorough. He didn't find anything wrong that we didn't already know about! In fact, he commented that for the age of the house, he's pleasantly surprised by how good the condition of the house is...and even more impressed that it's this good and a foreclosure! He checked out the roof and let us know that it's not original to the house. It's probably got 5-8 years of life left in it. The furnace is working just fine, despite its age. We might look into replacing it before too long anyways, just to get something that's much more energy efficient (and there are tax rebates out there for purchasing energy efficient furnaces). When we visited the house on Monday evening, we found a problem with the garage door, and we thought we'd have to replace it. However, the inspector told us that he thinks it can probably be easily fixed for the price of a simple service call!

So we were pleased with our inspection. We let the bank know that we're not backing out of our contract using the inspection contingency, so now we move on to the appraisal! That's currently scheduled for Wednesday.

Our realtor let us know that in order to get our financing, there must be a working stove in the house before the appraisal takes place. As of now, the only appliance in the home is the dishwasher. So this morning, Shawn and I bought our first major appliance together! We bought ourselves a Whirlpool range. It'll be delivered to our new home on Tuesday! This is what it looks like:

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lovin' our new 'Hood

On Saturday, Shawn and I decided to drive over to the house. We're both laughing at ourselves a little bit for offering to buy a house that we'd only seen once. We knew next to nothing about the neighborhood it was in, either. Obviously, we weren't able to get inside the house, but we could explore the neighborhood a little bit and see the outside of the house.

First of all, for the most part...we love our yard. Someone has taken pretty good care of the front yard, with nice green grass and some extra landscaping. We'd like to continue what's already there, and hopefully also add in some extra bushes or something in the spring. In the backyard, we do have one gigantic tree. In the picture below, you can see maybe 1/4 of the tree. It's definitely Shawn's favorite part of the backyard. We know that it's some kind of maple with gigantic leaves...I'm guessing that once upon a time, it may have been about 10 or 15 small trees planted really close together. Whatever the case, all of the trunks have pretty much morphed together. We're going to need to invest in a couple really sturdy rakes!

The rest of the backyard will need a little work, but it's still pretty nice. A few of the fence slats will need to be replaced, and there's a large area that will need something...grass or a stone patio or a garden or some combination of things. It's where we think the previous owners had a large playset for their kids.

We realized last week (after googling the name of the neighborhood) that our development has a pretty well established Home Owners' Association. That made me nervous at first, but then we realized that the annual dues are very reasonable, and the covenant seemed pretty reasonable, too. One thing that I like about the area is that we are, in fact, in a development, but it's not one of those cookie-cutter places. There's a variety of housing looks, and the yards are big with lots of tall trees and older growth bushes and landscaping.

Our favorite thing (so far) about the neighborhood is what the HOA does with the dues. There are a number of "common areas" for everyone to use, like a couple playfields, a soccer field, a playground, and what I assume could be a sledding hill in the winter (during the few times it might actually snow). What we love about this is that there is an actual trail system that connects all these areas! When you're on the trail, there's enough trees and other "natural" things that it's easy to forget that you're walking between backyards (and there's still privacy for the homes that back onto the trails). We also found lots of blackberry bushes filled with ripe berries in one of the common fields. :-)

In addition to the actual development itself, what's around it is great. There are two main "entrances" for the neighborhood. We're pretty close to one entrance, and on that end, there's a large, newer Safeway (grocery store) with a gas station. There's also a little shopping area right there that has a few little shops and restaurants and an Applebee's! I love Applebee's. :) Of course, because of this rather large financial obligation we'll soon be saddled with, our monthly "eating out" budget is going to be pretty small. This entrance also has a YMCA that's in the middle of a huge expansion...we just have to decide if it's worth the money to get passes. By the other "entrance" of the neighborhood, there's a little shopping area that has a take-n-bake pizza place, a bakery, a burger place, and an Italian restaurant.

So after spending an hour or two in our new neighborhood, we're getting more excited for the move! Now we just need to keep our fingers crossed that everything goes well during the inspection on Thursday!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Where did this come from?

Shawn and I planted our little "porch garden" in late April. In one container, we planted a tomato plant and some carrots. The carrots never really grew, and the tomato plant seems to be frozen, for lack of a better word. We've had a number of tomatoes show up, but then they just seem to quit growing and they stay green. There's at least one tomato that's just been hanging there, not changing, for at least a month. Any ideas on this?

In the other container, we planted peas that have done pretty well. We weren't expecting them to get as tall as they have, so at this point, they're draping over the porch railing. We also forgot to have someone come water the plants when we were on our vacation, so lots of the leaves turned brown. But there are still new shoots coming out, and we've gotten a decent number of peas so far. We also planted some carrots in this container, but again, there just isn't room for them. I'm not surprised.

In this container with the peas, Shawn wanted to plant morning glories. I figured that there would be no way that everything would grow, again due to lack of room. I wasn't too surprised that the morning glories were the first to sprout in this container. The bottom picture in this post shows the morning glory sprouts. But once the peas started growing, the morning glories just stopped. We thought that was a little strange, but what do we know? We stopped thinking about them.

Until this morning. Suddenly, 3 months after we first saw sprouts, we have morning glories! These blue ones are fairly short, just growing around the bottom of the pea vines. There's also a purple one that has wrapped itself around one of the porch railing rails and is climbing its way up.
So...where did these things come from? Why on earth would they have just stopped growing for 3 months, and then randomly, out of nowhere, bloom? Seriously, we didn't even notice the vines growing. Yesterday, there were just peas in that container (with some stunted carrots), and this morning there are 3 flowers! If you have an explanation for this, feel free to share!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

House Buying Update!

So...shortly after I wrote the post yesterday, Shawn and I talked it over and decided not to put another offer on that first house. Basically, we knew that we'd have to up our offer price by a pretty decent chunk of money, and with the amount of work that the house would definitely need (even before we moved in), we decided that we just weren't comfortable with it anymore. So we let our realtor know that we were going to pass this time around. (We'll admit...we were kind of hoping that the bank would've annoyed everybody with this little "relist" stunt and they'd come crawling back to us, begging us to take the house for our original offer. Haha!) :-)

Today, our realtor sent us some more listings, and while we we knew that we still had our offer out there on the second house, we decided to start looking at some other places. Given the fact that this other house is also bank-owned, and given the fact that we knew that there were at least seven other offers submitted besides ours, we weren't going to hold our breath waiting for this one, either. I was intrigued by a couple of the listings that our realtor had sent, and I had sent her a couple questions.

This afternoon, while Shawn was getting ready to go out for a quick bike ride, our realtor called me. She let me know that she had been in the process of responding to my emailed questions when she got a call from the bank. Our second offer was accepted!!

Shawn and I really weren't expecting to hear anything back this quickly from the bank. They were only accepting offers until Tuesday morning, so we figured it would be at least a few days before we heard anything. But they chose our offer!

Obviously, we're not totally in the clear yet. We have some paperwork to sign, and then we'll need to get an inspection and an appraisal. Assuming everything goes well, and assuming there are no problems with financing or anything, we're scheduled to close on September 15th!

Here's our new house!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

More Offers

I already mentioned in rather great detail that Shawn and I put an offer on a house last week. Our offer technically expired on Monday night, but we didn't hear anything from the bank until this afternoon. But I'll get to that in a minute...

Yesterday, after talking with our realtor, we decided to go look at a few more houses. One was actually a short sale (which wasn't mentioned on the listing...darn sneaky realtors!). We looked at it anyways, even though we're not really interested in going that route because of our time frame, and it was...interesting. The kitchen was beautiful! I would love that kitchen someday. But these people literally took over most of the original "living room" space when they redid the kitchen. Then they turned most of the one-car garage into a living room. But they left the garage door on, and part of the original garage is still there for storage space behind the drywall of the living room. So bizarre.

Another house we looked at was owner occupied, and it was just extremely outdated. We would've had to update lots of stuff, including some wall and ceiling repair in the lower level.

And the third house we looked at was another bank owned. There's great curb appeal and a big backyard with a deck. There will eventually need to be some updates, but nothing that would have to be done before moving in...except installing appliances. So...we put out another offer! We talked about it with our realtor for quite awhile, and again, if the bank takes our offer, it's just a good financial deal.

Going back to the original house we put an offer on, we finally heard back from the bank today. They've decided not to accept ANY of the offers they received! Instead, they want any interested parties to re-offer, and they officially changed the "listing". Basically, they're now offering to list for the original listing price but without doing any repairs, or they'll list it for quite a bit more but include some repairs. Shawn and I will need to talk about what we want to do on this one. I know that we like the place, but I'm pretty sure we'd need to up our offer by a pretty decent chunk. Like I said, we just need to talk about it. But if we're going to put another offer on it, we have to do it tonight so that our realtor can submit it first thing in the morning...because that's the new "cut off" for offers.

So...that's where we are right now. We need to decide if we want to put another offer on house #1, and I don't know when we might hear back about house #2. In the meantime...we're about to head out to drive by a place or two. Who knows...maybe we'll put an offer on house #3 soon! (Ugh...this doesn't seem to be the way these things go on House Hunters.)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Busy Month Ahead's August! Where has 2009 gone?! I was just thinking this morning that this is shaping up to be a pretty busy month for us. Here's what's going on:

1.) Maybe buying a house! We should hear today whether our offer has been accepted by the bank. I'll be gut feeling right now is that we won't get it. We learned on Saturday that the bank received NINE offers on this house!! I guess that should make us feel good that there were at least 8 other people who also thought it was a good financial decision. :) If our offer is accepted, then that means that we need to start the process of inspection, appraisal, etc. If our offer isn't accepted, then we get to go look at more houses...and hopefully find another one to put an offer on!

2.) My new job technically starts today. At least, my online training for my new online teaching job starts today. I checked last night, and I do have access to the class. There was some confusion late last week about my references, but I was told that I couldn't start the training if they couldn't track down my it seems to have been taken care of! The training is scheduled to last two weeks, and I actually get paid for up to 10 hours a I guess I should plan on spending two hours a day doing it? I'm not sure yet when my actual teaching will start. It should be sometime in late August or early September. (I'm hoping for September 8th or later because of #4 on my list here.)

3.) My parents are coming for a visit! Mom and Dad arrive next Wednesday afternoon and will be here for a week. Fortunately, they mentioned months ago that they'd be interested in going to look at houses with us if the timing worked out, so they may get their wish! Or they'll be able to see the "before" state of the house if our offer is accepted. :) We'll also get to do more "touristy" stuff with them since the only other time they've been to Washington is when they were here for a quick visit over Thanksgiving. Of course, that also means that I've got lots of cleaning and preparing to do before they get here!

4.) Hawaii!!! We leave for Hawaii in 4 weeks. 28 days. Yes, I realize that most of our Hawaii trip will take place in September, but we do leave for (and will arrive in) Maui on August 31, so it counts. :) Besides, any pre-trip prep will obviously need to be done in August.

So...yeah. I think we have enough "stuff" going on to keep us busy during the next month! Hopefully that also means that I'll have some interesting things to blog about! :)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Holy Poo!!!

We put an offer on a house!!

Yeah...let me back up a minute. Shawn and I decided that once we got back from our travels this summer, we'd start looking into the idea of buying a home. We met with a realtor that some friends highly recommended, and then we talked with a couple mortgage brokers that she recommended. It took us about two weeks to discuss things with each other (and with Shawn's mom, who's a realtor in Denver) before we decided to let the realtor know that we'd like to work with her and that we were ready to start looking at houses.

On Wednesday, our realtor, Grace, emailed us a couple listings that were in our price range, and we decided to go look at one of them. That evening, Shawn and I drove over to the one that really intrigued us, and we confirmed that it's in a pretty ideal location for us. (Basically, it's close enough to where we live now that Shawn could still ride his bike to work.) When we did our drive-by, we noticed that there were 3 or 4 other people/couples looking at the house. This made me wonder...if we end up liking this house, how quickly will we need to move on it? It seems like a really great deal on paper, and there is obviously a pretty decent amount of interest being shown on this house.

On Thursday, Shawn emailed Grace to ask her that question...and she called him back pretty quickly. She said that she found out that there were already multiple offers on the house, and that the bank had decided to only accept offers until 9:00 that night (it's a bank-owned house). So about an hour later, we met her at the house to take a look around! After looking through it and asking Grace lots of questions, Shawn and I went to a restaurant to get a snack and talk it over. And we decided to go for it! So we called Grace, and she met us at the restaurant with all the paperwork, and we put in what Grace thought was a "strong offer." Wow!

On Friday afternoon, Grace let us know that our offer was definitely in on time, and the listing agent said that at this point, it's up to the bank to decide which offer has terms that they like best...but we're definitely contenders! Unfortunately, they won't let us know anything until sometime on Monday.

So yeah.......we literally have put an offer on the first house we looked at! When we were talking about, we basically decided that it is a pretty darn good financial deal, and although we're offering more than what we had originally intended to spend, we can make it work. There's also LOTS of work that will need to be done on this if we get it, feel free to come visit and help us out! :-) But overall, our main thought is this......if it's God's will for us to get this house, then the bank will accept our offer. If God has something else in mind for us, then we won't get this one. Not a really big deal.

So that's the latest news on our end! We spent the afternoon today wandering through Lowe's, just getting an idea of how much certain things cost (like flooring, kitchen cabinets, countertops, bathroom vanities, tub surrounds, overhead lighting, know, the basics). I'll let you know when we find something out!