Tuesday, September 9

The Good Kind of Change

I've been living in some surreal world the past month.  After so much time of talking and planning and thinking and packing but accomplishing nothing... stuff happened.  Lots of stuff.  Life changing stuff.

And boy it sure feels good.

Every time I tell another friend or coworker about the house selling or the house we will be moving to, I feel a glow.  A smile I can't remove, a sparkle in my eyes and face that hasn't always been there.  A smile that isn't a fake it 'till you make it kind of smile that doesn't reach your eyes.

Building on the changes, yesterday I called Children's Aid in the region we're moving to.  A university friend of mine works there and she discreetly asked her adoption coworkers the best avenue for me to proceed and they recommended calling to let us know we were coming.  It's nothing too formal, but now we're on their radar.

It was a good conversation mostly about us - who we are, where we are at mentally, emotionally, how stable our life is  (well, the move is the definition of lack of stability but past that nothing is changing), what we're looking for, etc.  The application package is in the mail.  I felt like I had a good rapport with the social worker.  Typically the worker who takes your call is assigned your case, I am hoping that is the case because I think it's a good fit.  I am glad we took the PRIDE training already.  I had much better answers to his questions and perspective on the intention of the question than I would have without it.  From his perspective, we are seen as a more attractive potential parent because that step is already done.

It seems like a good time in my life for the song "Happy" to be played damn near everywhere.  I saw this video of it on the weekend and it is so powerful to me.  It's from Deaf Film Camp - Camp Mark Seven - and it's all in American Sign Language with subtitles.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


Sunday, September 7

Sold!

Everything went pretty much as our real estate agent suggested.  We'd list, let people see the house and "accept offers" at 6pm on the Saturday.

Sure enough, we listed Tuesday, 20 or so people came to see the house, and last night 5 people made offers on it.  The offer we took didn't have any conditions so as of 8pm last night, our house is sold.  Enough over listing value to fund most of the basement renovations on the new house.  :)  I must say I like that part.

It's so nice to have that done.  I don't think it could have gone any better.

We've spent the whole day in the house.  I think after spending every night out, eating out every night, it's good to just be in the house and make our own food.  We can enjoy life again until it's time to move in December.

Wednesday, September 3

It's Up

The sign is in the lawn and the listing is publicly available on Realtor.ca.  Did you ever think my sewing room would ever look like this?


Hard to believe this is the same room...


I didn't think those threads would ever come out of the carpet.  Not to say it's perfect, but it is pretty impressive how few are left.

We've got viewings booked for tonight, so we are off to a good start.  We're going to see Guardians of the Galaxy while they tour the house.  I foresee popcorn for dinner.  :)

Tuesday, September 2

Happy...

Birthday to me!

Yep, it's that time of year again, another year has passed. Did you know I started kindergarten on my birthday?  I was so excited, school was going to be awesome.  How much better could a birthday be than starting school?  And then I was told you could bring in a bag of cookies on your birthday.  But it WAS my birthday and I didn't have ANY cookies.

Very disappointing.

It's okay, we evened things out by taking cookies on the last day of school which happened to be when my youngest brother was born.

Anyhoo... today is full of cookies for not-5-year-old me.  :)

  • My house is listing today, the sign should be in the yard when I get home.
  • It really does look good.  I'm quite pleased with our efforts.
  • We'll be going out for dinner tonight, my favorite seafood place, Lucy's
  • Hopefully people will be looking at the house while we're eating  :)
  • I am at work but you know, that just means more people get to say happy birthday to me
  • Although really, Facebook is kind of exploding with birthday wishes
  • I am having an "I look fabulous" kind of day.
Yay birthdays!

I will leave you with the short video that my team mate in Quebec sent me.  

Wednesday, August 27

Almost there

My goodness Mr. Lina and I have been working our asses off.

Tomorrow the photographer is coming to take pictures of our house which (if all goes as planned) will be listed for sale on Tuesday, Sept 2nd.  We've moved:

  • two book shelves
  • one wardrobe
  • one expidit desk (the kind that attaches to the shelves)
  • a crapton of boxes
  • $11 worth of empty beer/liquor bottles
  • multiple bags of garbage (which is challenging with a 2 bag limit)
  • multiple boxes/bags of recycling (which is fortunately not limited)
  • multiple bags of clothing and stuff to Goodwill
What furniture has been left has largely been moved around to make the house look bigger.  

It works, it does look bigger.  More like the mansion I thought I was moving into compared to our 1 bedroom apartment.  It's not quite done and I'm rather sure the agent and photographer are going to do more moving of stuff, but I am pleased with what we've done.  I really hope that after all this effort the house sells fairly quickly.  

I have been thinking at times about pitching things as a skill set.  One I sadly lack.  I'm still probably packing stuff that I should be pitching, but I'd like to think that at least I'm feeling more positive about it.  I think less and pitch faster and honestly feel better.  The overwhelmed feeling is gone because I can see what's already been done.  That's something for me to remember.

Possibly related to that is that I am still a bit forgetful but not teary and I've managed to keep my purse and phone with me all this week.  Shiny gold star.

I also had a conversation with my manager about my career and what my work arrangement will be like when we move further from the office.  Our house will now be a full 100 km from my employer and while my current client is closer, 78 km isn't exactly close.  As I have pointed out to my newest team mate, being an "on site" analyst means you actually go to the client office.  That means less flexibility for working from home.  And I'm bored.  I am dragging my feet on a lot of projects and I think it's because I'm just not interested in doing the same thing over and over.  So we're going to change that.  Not today, this is a domino that will impact others, but it's also good for my manager as he can offload more responsibilities on me.  Win-win.  I felt a bit scared asking for what I want, I've just bobbed along with my career so far, but it felt pretty good.  

Okay, time to get going on that last bit of decluttering.  Time to be sure every flat surface is empty... 

Tuesday, August 19

Dot the I's and Cross the T's

The home inspection was yesterday and for a 29 year old house, it's in great shape.  A few things need dealing with, some sooner than others, but nothing is really all that bad.  All of our conditions on sale have now been met so the house is definitively ours on the 28th of November.

One odd thing the home inspection pointed out is that there isn't a heat vent into my sewing room.  It wouldn't be hard to add one because the furnace is on the other side of the wall.  I am not all that concerned.  I can leave the door open (there is a vent just outside the room) for air to circulate and once the iron is turned on, the room will warm up enough.  How often have I ended up sewing nearly naked with my hair pulled up because I was too hot?

Lately I am quick to tear up and terribly forgetful (like not taking sleeping bags, pillows, chairs or Mr.Lina's camera with us for Summerfolk).  Some of it is probably because this is a lot of change all at once.  Some of it is because I'm tired.  I didn't realize we would be buying a car and house when we got tickets for the Argo game and our usual Summerfolk weekend.  Some of the tears make complete sense, but it's still flowing a little easier than it should.

Small picture hides the slightly puffy eyes.
We bought a new (to us) car last week, 2012 Nissan Murano.  We bought it on Saturday after seeing our house the first time, picked it up on Thursday.  I loved my old Alero.  12 years and 341,000 km of memories.  It was the first car I purchased, 100% mine.  Mr. Lina was with me when I bought it, but he had no involvement in payments or picking it out.  I was either the driver or in the car for more than 300,000 km.  As excited as I was to buy a new car, it was hard leaving the Alero behind and I cried at the dealership (which shouldn't surprise me, I cried when I signed the purchasing papers for the Alero).  I forgot to bring my cheque book which made making the down payment more difficult than it needed to be.  Let's just say that I was a bit of a mess and the dealership probably thinks I'm a complete flake.  Even driving away, the Murano felt foreign, rather than exciting new, I felt insecure initially and resistant to the changes.

It crossed my mind as my eyes were welling up and spilling over about how hard any change is and that this is a moment to remember when I adopt.  When I am matched with my kids, it's going to be such a happy event for Mr. Lina and I.  But it's not quite the same happy event for the kids, it's just one more change in a life of uncertainty.  I don't think they are going to believe us (or the social workers) when we say it is their forever home, that kind of trust and attachment takes time.  The happy part of being told they will live with us will likely be a suspicious happy.  It is okay to be sad about the good byes, good even.  If I'm confused enough to have tears and complicated feelings over a car, imagine how hard that turmoil is to express when you are 6, or 4 or 2.  I'm not sure there is enough crayons out there to express and explore those complicated feelings - where to put the sad part while everyone around you seems to be so very happy and appear to expect you to be happy too.

Now for more change.  It's time to do the last bit of work to list our house.

Wednesday, August 13

We Got It

Assuming there are no horror stories uncovered in the home inspection, the house will be ours.  :)  A bit of drama came with it yesterday (and what good story doesn't have drama?)



As I posted yesterday, we were waiting to hear the sellers response to our offer on the house.  The offer expired at 7pm.  Late afternoon, our agent calls.  He got word that another offer was being prepared for the house - did we want to revise our offer since we were not the only one?  

At this point, you have to put your best foot forward.  Our offer of less than listing was based on the premise we would negotiate up, it wasn't going to stack up to another offer.  We told our agent we'd go to full listing, but that was it.  We would walk away from a bidding war, as much as I love the house, there are others.  Our agent agreed and said he would wait to submit the revised offer until he knew the second offer was in writing.  

We had tickets to see the Toronto Argos play the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (CFL football, the older but less financially viable version of the NFL).  Mr. Lina bought these months ago, a conflicting game to cheer for when it's his current home vs childhood home playing.  Given the highway construction going on in Toronto, we chose to take the subway in.  

6:45 we get above ground, waiting for the call.  7pm we grab some food, I'm dealing with the food and money in case Mr. Lina's phone rings...  7:05 passes....

Just as I'm having my purse checked by security to go into the stadium, his phone rings.  And it freezes, so we didn't answer the call.  We got as far out of the way as we could between security and scanning our tickets to call our agent back on my phone.

It seems the other offer never happened.  They didn't want to get into a bidding war and walked away.  He had a counter offer from the sellers, accepting all of our conditions (which were pretty standard - home inspection, financing) and closing date but a price below asking, just not as low as we offered.

I suppose we could have done a little more back and forth on price, but it was fair and we had enough drama already.  It's so strange arriving to a football game with FABULOUS seats and I really couldn't care about how close the players were because I bought a house.


So here is a sneak peek of what will be my sewing room as of Nov 28th.  It's a bit of an odd shape and the closet/door are behind the photographer, it should do quite nicely.


Tuesday, August 12

Home

Home is often a feeling more than a space.  Every time I've looked for somewhere to live - be it renting, buying or even picking a university - I've felt that connection to the space.  I swear, three steps off the bus when touring my university, I knew it was home even if I couldn't explain why.

We've seen oh, 6 houses so far.  Not so many to be tired of the process, just enough to have a good sense of what is available.  There were houses I liked, houses Mr. Lina liked, aspects of every house we liked... but none said home.

Saturday, we found a house I could see my kids running around in, playing tag or catch in the back yard.  I could see me cooking and entertaining, talking to friends while the last appetizers were coming out of the oven.  Mr. Lina could see where his desk would go, where he could move from bottling home brew to storing kegs and building a bar, my non-team sport playing husband even mentioned that the back yard was big enough for a football game.  I would claim the basement office as my sewing room - laminate flooring, HUGE closet, a window and good lights.  My mom sews in the basement, I see the advantage of kids playing within ear shot.

But it was more expensive than what we had seen.  While I knew it was within reason, it was enough we wanted to sit with a calculator and double check.  Fortunately, the market we're going to is cooler than what we're leaving so not all decisions have to be made the day of listing.  We arranged to go back last night.  We also asked to see other houses of a similar size and price to see what the competitive set was like.

First house was lovely.  On paper, better even.  Newer windows, very well cared for, finished basement, beautiful gardens, $20K less...  and yet I wasn't happy.

Second house was the same floor plan as Saturday but 190 sq ft smaller - slightly smaller living room and master bedroom but still big enough.  I didn't like it at all.  Honestly, their real estate agent is not doing them any favours letting them show the house with lights missing or out, finger prints on the walls, furniture blocking traffic flow...  Where the first house was well maintained and loved, this one wasn't cared for and it showed.

And then we went back to our Saturday house and it felt like home.

From the minute we pulled into the driveway, I felt comfortable.

Happy.

Home.

So I'm now in the limbo where we put in an offer and are waiting for their response.  I figure there will be some back and forth on price and while I'm okay with that, we can't get into a bidding war that goes above asking.

But my heart feels good about this.

Tuesday, August 5

Blink!

When we drove through small towns, my mom would always say "Don't blink or you'll miss it".  I kind of feel like every time I blink, time is flying by.

Let's see...

  • Had someone come and clean my house.  
  • I can pack or clean, not both.  
  • Best money I've spent in a long time, selling the house now seems feasible.
  • I had no idea how many patterns I actually had.  
  • The box I thought might be half full of patterns and have space for notions was overflowing.
  • Real estate agent says houses in my area sell on average in 14 days, many sell in 4 days.
  • We're going to buy the house we want, have a 75-90 day close, then list our house.
  • We looked at 4 houses last week, they were all good but not quite right for us. 
  • Side rant on floor plans.  How can a house can have 1,000 sq ft more than my house and I am not sure where I'd fit some of my furniture?  Why would two of three bedrooms need walk in closets?  And come to think of it, the second closet touches the third bedroom wall, they could have made smaller (yet still walk in - yes it's that big but perhaps too narrow for a 4th bedroom) closets for both rooms.
  • Still haven't bought a car, but we've narrowed down what we're looking for.  We set aside Sunday to look at cars and then found out the dealerships that we wanted to go to were closed.  Oops.
  • So we had my parents, brother, SIL and nephew over for dinner instead of looking at cars.  It all worked out well, nice impromptu dinner party.
  • We've gone to two 40th birthday parties in two weeks.  Those milestone years are just one party after another, and you find out which friends are a year older than you.  :)
  • I've also had strep throat.  I thought I had a cold courtesy of my two sick co-workers.  Clearly I'm not a doctor.
  • Lots of time with Mr. Lina.  
August 21st will be our 10th anniversary.  Talk about blink and you'll miss it.  I feel like it was a couple of years ago that I was putting on my big white dress and dancing our first dance.  Maybe last year that we celebrated 5 years.  And yet, the days pre-Mr. Lina seem a bit faded and distant.  The past oh... month I guess, it's been a bit of a throw back to our dating days.  I suspect part of it is knowing that with moving to another community and kids to follow after that, our "family of two" time is coming to an end.  We've gone out dancing, we've been on real dates in new locations, we've been talking a lot.  I've found myself telling stories about when we were dating, some of the silly things we did in that rush of a new relationship.  Even at one of the 40th birthday parties, I was telling the birthday-wife our "how we met" story since she's only known us as a couple.  Even in Manitoba we were talking about how it will be different - from the practicalities of where do we sleep to how we'll visit with friends.  When we're in Brandon, we often go to a friends place or a pub and enjoy a tipsy walk home at 2am.

It is going to be different, not to say bad, just different.  We are appreciating the good parts of being a couple at the moment, the benefits of our current home, and it's like that new relationship excitement over the changes to come.

Tuesday, July 22

Ah... Vacation...

Well that blog break was a bit longer than intended.  We spend two weeks visiting Mr. Lina's family in Manitoba.  Very restful, saw lots of friends and family.  Prior to that, work got well... crazy.  It has been a while since I worked that many nights past 7pm.  So, not much time for writing.  Nor packing for that matter.

But, we're back now.  

And life is still busy.  My car really does need to be replaced - sooner the better.  I'm not putting more money into it and now another light has come on that I don't want to fix.  Our real estate agent is coming over tomorrow night to talk about moving.  Tonight is going to be a lot of "chuck things in boxes" so there is less clutter when he tours the house.

It's kind of scary to be honest.

I think I haven't written since we returned because I'm a bit scared.  I'd rather spend time hiding from all this change rather than embracing it.  I had Mr. Lina work with me on packing up my sewing room.  Not that he did much, but having him there kept me calm and focused.  I get side tracked by little things from high school or medical receipts for the clinic.  

As tempting as it is to look at potential new houses (online, not in person just yet) and we all know how much I want to be a mom, change is pretty scary.

On the weekend I went to a birthday party for a university friends' husband.  While I do know him, I don't really know his friends and family.  Two other girls from the group came and we stuck together.  I've been a bit of a hermit.  I'm the only one of that group without kids now, while I want to hear about their kids for about 5 minutes, it just feels... stressful to see them.  And sometimes it's sad when I leave.  Not that much has been going on as large group, but I haven't even been reaching out to them at all.  It was good to catch up with two of them and we actually talked more about ourselves than their kids.  Kind of refreshing really and a good reminder that I liked them before they had kids and that friend is still in there.

One of my friends is a social worker in the region we're looking to move to.  She doesn't deal with adoption, but she will know the social workers that I will be working with (when we get there) and generalities of adoption in that region.  It was really good and it brought up all the excitement I've been kind of hiding under the pressure to get the house listed etc.  

Anyhoo... I am alive, I'm doing okay.  We are almost there.

We hosted Charlie A'Court back in March.  Charlie really is that mix of musician AND entertainer.  Charlie is good one-on-one, he and my Australian friend had some banter in the show, he knows how to play to his audience and he is a talented guitarist.  It was one of the most FUN shows I've ever hosted.  Prior to the show, we were talking about what to expect from our audience.  It was a Saturday night, I said I was relaxed as far as start/end times went, odds are a board game of some sort would break out after the show because people would stay.  And I introduced him to Cards Against Humanity as the game most likely to be played post show.

In short, Cards Against Humanity is a question and answer game.  One person draws a question/phrase (some are fill in the blank), each player has 10 answer cards in their hand, they pick the most amusing.  The person asking the question picks their favourite and that person asks the next question.  Some cards are tame, some are, well... not.  Some phrases that sound pretty tame on their own are not when paired with the wrong question.  Also, there is a "Canadian Conversion Kit" with answers like Tim Hortons, Mr. Dressup, The Official Languages Act/Loi sur les langues officielles, etc....  So something normal like "_____ keeps our relationship exciting" isn't too crazy a question, but sounds worse when the answer is "Ooompa Loompas" or "Mr. Dress-up".  I've had moments in this game where my brother couldn't speak because he was laughing too hard.  

We ended up playing that game until 4 or 5 am on time change weekend (I think 4, but with spring forward that makes it 5).  I sent a very tired Charlie to his next house concert with perhaps 6 hours of sleep.

So you can imagine how amused I was to see that one of the options in his crowd funding for his next album is Cards Against Humanity cards written by Charlie.  Or you can buy the game AND the cards.

It's pretty cool that not only am I being impacted by hosting musicians, but it sometimes leaves an impression on them too.  I can't wait for our cards to arrive.