Yo. Hey. What's up?
I'm having a nervous breakdown.
The owners of House A came back today to tell us that they were not moving off their first counter. Charlie was afraid that we'd insulted them with our 3% increase after they'd come down some 14%. As for me, I think that they are totally delusional to think that they're going to sell their house at such a high listing price, as-is, when it needs so much work.
The ball is now in our court and we're debating what to do.
To be perfectly honest, the longer I think about House A, the less 'cozy' I feel about it. The bathrooms are SMALL. Smaller than our bathrooms in California. The closets are SMALL. Smaller than our closets in California. And while I can certainly live in a small space and make concessions - I was hoping that this move would be a step up for us.
Not lateral, and certainly not down. Because paying more for a house, that is less of a house than your current house, is rather depressing. (Does that makes any sense, probably not I think it's 2AM.)
Right off the bat, we can tell that the house needs a lot of work and that's before we put a professional inspector on the job to decipher what else might be wrong. So, I'm extremely hesitant to go up anything more on our offer, until I know EXACTLY what we'd be getting ourselves in to.
Also, I think it's worthy to mention that after reading all the e-mails from people who told me that they'd be wary of the liability with a creek in the backyard, I started to rethink the idyllic vision I had of that and wonder if it's actually a BAD idea to have a creek that drains to the Chesapeake 200-feet behind our unfenced house?
So while all those thoughts are swirling around our minds, we drove out to look at House B. And we had such high hopes for House B because the pictures looked so beautiful and our Realtor had driven us through the tranquil neighborhood at an earlier point and we were just sure that this would be the house. But then, we saw the house and didn't even bother getting out of the car.
I'd never heard, or seen, until I came here this thing called a Pipe Stem. A Pipe Stem is a road (or more like driveway) that is built off a main road, where several homes are constructed. And although I've seen a few homes on Pipe Stems that look very nice, the driveway leading to House B, was a through fare on a Pipe Stem to another house, that was directly next door.
This was the most "congested" Pipe Stem I've ever seen.
Worse than that, the driveway leading from the street to the house was at an angle of approximately so high, that you couldn't even see over the front of your car as you were driving up it. So not only would this bite in the winter when there is snow and ice to deal with and you have to park your car on the street and walk to the house because the drive way is way too steep, imagine during the warmer months ... when you've got your garage door open and you're out washing your car and your children are playing in the driveway, and then your neighbor comes home and RUNS THEM OVER because they don't see them out there playing.
Now, before I go on, I want to take a quick moment to thank all of the awesome people who live in this area and who sent me detailed descriptions of events to do with the children. Your kindness has given me reason to believe there are some GOOD people around here.
Having written that, I'm really sorry if I offend anyone, but Virginia has got some of the WORST drivers I've ever seen. Or, at a minimum, the rudest.
Yesterday, we were driving home from looking at houses and in the lane next to us, was a minivan with South Carolina license plates. There were luggage racks on top of the car and the driver and passenger were fumbling with a map, clearly trying to figure out where they were going. The light turned green and within a half second, the car - directly behind them - was LAYING on the horn. Not a polite, "beep! beep!" the light has turned green notification, but a ...
The map went flying in the air, the travelers were waving their arms apologetically and they gunned it, through the intersection, and almost nailed a pedestrian who was in the cross-walk.
Today, as Charlie and I were out AGAIN looking at homes, and as we were merging on to the highway, we were stuck behind a big truck, whose rig was blocking the over head signs. It wasn't until we were almost directly beneath the sign that we realized we were heading east, when we needed to be heading west.
No Big Deal.
Slow down, put on your blinker, change lanes.
Although if you're here, on a Virginia highway, and you slow down on the on-ramp and put on your blinker, the car behind you acts like you peed in his child's Cheerios. The hysteria - the horn honking - the screaming - the gesturing - the OH MY GOD - stop, before you give yourself an aneurysm!!
Unfortunately (for me), I don't respond well to that kind of behavior. Despite the fact that I put my head between my knees and prayed to God for patience and silence, the devil immediately overtook me and I was climbing OVER my husband's lap and flipping off the offender while screaming, "ASS WIPE!" as loud as I could, along with a bunch of other things that I don't want my mother reading.
We have CALIFORNIA plates on our car. While you might think that an out-of-state, from the opposite-side-of-the-country license plate would be grounds for some compassion, you'd be wrong. YOU ARE EXPECTED to know exactly what you are doing around here and God Help Your Sorry Soul if you don't. There is no tolerance at all whatsoever.
As for the driver? He was totally oblivious to my conniption. He had his outburst, and now, his attention was directed to text messaging, while driving.
Later today, as I was driving back from the store, I saw a FIVE car pile up on the freeway. With the exception of a multi-car crash that I witnessed in the Sierra Nevada mountains, in the midst of an ice storm, I have never in my life seen a five car pile up in perfectly sunny weather. But I did today and the reason is because people around here drive like aggressive lunatics.
Over the past few weeks, I have been a less than stellar role model, so it should be no surprise that tonight, my five-year-old showed me how she can flip the bird.
For the past several months, we've had a tremendous amount of uncertainty. It feels like we've been chasing something ... and now that we stop and look around, we realize that we're totally lost. At this point, we feel like we've made a huge mistake coming to the east coast.
After house hunting yesterday morning, yesterday afternoon we took the metro (train) in to Washington, D.C. We figured that the children could use a break and we definitely needed one, too. What I quickly discovered is that while on the metro, no one talks and no one makes any eye contact. It felt like for the 45-minute ride in and the 45-minute ride out, we were surrounded by robots. Our smiles were met with blank stares.
As we were riding the metro back out of the city, a woman sat down next to me, and commented on our large number of small children. We chatted for a few minutes, and I started to think that I was over-characterizing the people of this area and jumping to conclusions, way too soon.
Just then she asked if I lived here and I told her that we had just moved from California and were in the process of looking for a new home. She smiled brightly and said, "We're here on VACATION from California!" And I almost burst in to tears and asked her to pack us in her suitcase and bring us back to where the sun always shines and the people are friendly.
We had a beautiful house in California. In a beautiful environment, within walking distance to just about every store you could possibly imagine and a wonderful school, that is ranked extremely high. For the most part, we could drive on roads and if we had to change lanes - we didn't feel like our lives were in danger. We are now in escrow to sell our beautiful house, for a fraction of what we believe it is worth, so that we can "trade up" and buy a house that isn't nearly as nice, for twice as much, so I can be in an office all day and battle traffic so bad that on some roads, there is congestion at midnight on Sunday.
We have considered rentals - and checked out a few. We have also looked at no less than 200 homes in the past two weeks. Whether on line, or driving past, or walking through, we have seen almost everything in our price range. Our price range that has gone up by 20% since we've been here, because we realized what little we could get for such a large amount. And even with the 20% increase, we're still seeing homes that make our house in California look like paradise.
SO WHY ARE WE HERE?!
We had a GREAT life in California and since we've been here, our emotions - our health - our sanity and everything in between has been suffering. Add to that, our children have been suffering because they are constantly shuttled from one place to the next and although they'll rebound, I don't see any end to this crazy.
To say we are extremely frustrated would be a gross understatement.
We feel like we should have come out in June to do house hunting, because if we'd come out then and had an opportunity to see what was available, we never would have made the decision to uproot our family and take this plunge. But the reason we didn't come out in June, is because I was wrapping up my former job, we were getting the house ready for sale, and I was still under the care of a doctor ... with strict instructions that I shouldn't / couldn't leave until my numbers had stabilized. My numbers finally stabilized a WEEK before we left, and even though my doctor released me, I still don't feel 100%.
Speaking of numbers ... I'd be midway through my pregnancy right now if it hadn't been ectopic. I'd be sitting on the couch with my feet up, eating a bowl of ice cream, gestating a baby and not staying up all night worrying about our future.
While I know that sometimes it takes a little time to find the right house to buy, WE DON'T HAVE TIME. We have three children who are due to start school in one month and we have no idea where that school will be. For the past three weeks we've been living in various hotels and it has taken it's toll. Our good attitudes wore off about four hours ago, and since that time, Charlie and I have been pulling out our hair to try and figure out a way to get out of our escrow in California so we can move home and pretend this whole thing never happened.
Tomorrow (now today) is Sunday.
I think we need to go find a church and get ourselves some religion.