Hurry Up and Wait, Part II

In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive. ~Lee Iacocca

Bill and I were living with a family of two full-time working parents with two full-time school and activity busy children; two dogs (one failing 16-1/2 yr old and one 2-1/2 yr old), a guinea pig, a rat, and two beta fish. In addition to what Bill and I try to contribute to our multigenerational living arrangements, we also had so much going on with housebuilding decisions, Goldie’s health, the movers, and finding storage for all our “stuff.” The only thing we could do was greet each day with a smile and a prayer and plow through it the way we always do . . . by working hard . . . Bill taking over the physical labor work, along with spreadsheet analyzing; me taking care of the family with laundry, cooking, dishes, along with organizing all the housebuilding paperwork and communicating with the bank. These are the roles we know and feel comfortable in.

Wednesday (Aug. 13) morning Bill got a call from the area manager of the moving company to tell us that the three moving vans headed our way were delayed. They had run into stalled traffic on the highway and then one of the drivers became ill and they had to swap out people. We were told to expect the first truck to arrive around 11:00 am. That gave Bill several hours to work on creating a “builder versus our subcontracting bids comparison spreadsheet” and start entering info. I took off for the grocery to buy a variety of drinks and ice for the moving crew. A little before 11:00, Bill went back down to the pole barn to wait for the movers. He called me when the first moving truck arrived and I came down. We decided that we both needed to be down there to help manage where we wanted house and workshop items to be stored in the pole barn and check condition of items as they came off the truck. We had 9 movers and 6 trucks the day we moved out of our home in Central Indiana in early June. This day we had 3 movers and 3 trucks! This was gonna be a long day. But, I had enough cold drinks to satisfy an army!

The first truck arrived about 1-1/2 before the other two trucks made it. One guy started to unload it all. Bill had a lawn chair set up for me to sit and watch.

The first moving truck!

The first moving truck!

As soon as the mover unloaded Bill’s workshop swivel chair, Bill plopped himself down and supervised. The plan was to put house stuff on the Right of the pole barn and workshop stuff on the Left.

Bill in his supervisor chair

Bill in his supervisor chair

The other two trucks arrived and the three movers worked together to start unloading furniture.

Furniture piling up

Furniture piling up

Couch - a place for me to sit and watch!

Couch – a place for me to sit and watch!

It soon became clear that we had to deter from the original plan of house stuff on the Right as some of the furniture Jill wanted to use for her new office space was quickly getting lost in the back of the pole barn. Before long, there was no rhyme or reason of where the movers put the boxes and bins. They put them where they could fit them. Before we knew it, there was no place left to put anything else. 😯

Pole barn filling up

Pole barn filling up

As the afternoon was coming to a close, there was one last item to be moved from the last truck. And, it was gonna be a bear to get down that ramp. It was the huge crate Bill had built to house our large king size canopy bed. Neither one of us had seen how they had moved it from our other house and none of the present movers were part of that moving crew.

Last item on the truck

Last item on the truck

After the movers shuffled a few things around in the pole barn to make room for the crate, they started to manipulate the crate toward the ramp.

Is it gonna fit?

Is it gonna fit?

The wheels were hanging over the ramp! The movers would have to try to steady the crate as it was being pushed and pulled down the ramp without the help of the wheels. It was the scariest thing I ever watched. I was so afraid the crate would fall over on them. Bill was staying close to make sure it wasn’t damaged in the move down the ramp. Of course, I didn’t want him standing so close!

Here it comes

Here it comes

And, they made it!

And, they made it!

The sighs of relief were audible all around! The guys wheeled the crate inside the pole barn and there wasn’t much room to spare. Here is what the pole barn looked like right before we shut the garage doors for the night!

Full pole barn

Full pole barn

It was exhausting being a chair-side supervisor! 😀 We were wiped out by the time evening rolled around. This was one night I think we planned to have leftovers for dinner.

The next day (Thursday, August 15) was a really tough one. It was the day we said goodbye to our Goldie Girl. This is a favorite pic of her in her better years.

Goldie Girl

Goldie Girl

This is how we want to remember her. We don’t want to remember her how she was the last several months . . . old (almost 17 years old!), confused, anxious, arthritis-ridden in her back legs and hip, out of breath, deaf, eyes swollen from allergies, walking sideways, and having accidents. It’s hard to make a decision to let a part of your family go. My sister Vicki visited the week before and loved on Goldie while she was here. All of my six sisters have a closeness with Goldie Girl. You see, on one of our Sisters Weekends 14 years ago Goldie “lived” with me and my sisters that weekend in our cabin. She was an abandoned dog and the owners of the lake retreat asked if anyone would want to adopt her. You could say Goldie adopted us. My sisters named her Goldie. I was toying with the idea of getting another dog, so I bought a collar and leash and brought her home with me without telling Bill. I had no cell service at the cabin retreat so it was a surprise when I introduced Goldie to Bill. Bill wasn’t too keen on the idea of another dog at the time; however, Goldie quickly won him over and became “his” dog ever since.

Vicki asked if Goldie might have had a stroke because of the walking sideways (off-balance thing) and the confusion. Who knows. Vicki shared I might want to check about dealing with senile dogs online and see what they suggested. After Vicki’s visit, I did check several websites. It appeared that Goldie had almost every symptom of Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (similar to Alzheimer’s disease in people). It appeared from what I read that she would continue to just get worse. I called my friend Ann to talk to her about Goldie. Ann is my expert on animals and animal behavior. She asked a lot of questions and finally asked the dreaded one – were we ready to let Goldie go? I told her as much as I didn’t want to, I was ready. I thought Goldie’s quality of life was not good. Then she asked – what about Bill? I told her that I did not think Bill was ready yet. That evening I talked with Bill and we decided we would watch to see if Goldie got any worse, and if she did, we would make a decision then.

So, fast forward a week . . . Bill took Goldie outside Thursday, August 15, morning. As soon as he got back upstairs, Bill looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, “It’s time.” I said I would call the vet and see if we could bring her in. Bill told me he could not go to the vet with me. He said when we had to put Rusty down 12 years earlier it was too hard and he just couldn’t go this time . . . especially since it was Goldie. As soon as I started to explain to the vet office what was going on, I started to cry on the phone. They made an appointment for later that morning. When I told Bill he would have to help me get Goldie into the car, I started crying. Then Bill said he would go with me but would not be able to go into the treatment room. The rest was hard. I told Jill what we were going to have to do later that morning and asked if she wanted to tell the grandkids so they could say goodbye. Megan and Jack cried and I felt bad sending them off to school afterwards, but they each and Jill spent time with Goldie before they left.

I stayed with Goldie through to the end. It was peaceful. She was no longer in pain or confused.

Sandy, Bill and Goldie

Sandy, Bill and Goldie

When we got back home Bill immediately went to work with Marty to start moving stuff out of the pole barn into two storage units he had rented down here – one was conditioned and one was unconditioned. This became a theme for Bill and Marty for days and days. And, through this process I would periodically come down and tell Bill what stuff I wanted to keep in the pole barn and what could go to storage. We got out our inventory list and marked off which boxes went where. It was overwhelming. I didn’t handle it well so I stayed away. Poor Bill. It was so hot. He has lost the rest of the weight he wanted to lose and he is fit and trim these days. And me, on the other hand, I don’t like sweating off my weight so I’ve not done as well. 🙂 Besides, I prefer going to the Y for the water aerobics.

Bill has managed to get shelves up in the pole barn and moved wood for the cabinets and other items up on them. He even got one of his peg boards up.

Shelving units

Shelving units

Shelves

Shelves

Peg board

Peg board

Apparently, we did not receive the construction loan application denial letters on Wednesday, August 14. I was mistaken. We received them on Friday, August 16. So you can imagine the state of mind we were in after the last two days we had. I had picked up the kids from the bus stop and grabbed the mail. I called Bill and he took a break from moving stuff and came up to the house. We made a call to our loan originator. She was shocked and knew nothing about it. 😯 She said she would try and find out what was going on. But, it was a Friday and towards the end of the work day. We waited about an hour before Sherry our loan person called us back. She said from what she and her boss could figure out the loan processor had royally messed up. They had used $$ figures that were incorrect AND they were supposed to have held the application until we had a signed contract with a builder AND an appraisal. She said not to worry (yeah, right) and they’d get it all figured out the first of next week.

Bill and I were becoming so frustrating. We knew building a house would bring a lot of stress, but this was more than we had bargained for. It’s not just the housebuilding. It’s everything that goes with it. Moving and storage. And the questions the bank and underwriters have! Getting a loan is not like it used to be. Our credit score is in the Excellent range but we have to explain every little thing that shows up on a credit report. I understand the restrictions. But sometimes you feel like you are being accused of doing something wrong. We had to explain how the movers charged our credit card twice and how our credit card company credited us and charged us four times for the same credit!!! We are talking thousands of dollars. We didn’t do anything wrong – the moving company and credit card company were at fault. But, we got the job of trying to explain it all to the bank. Crazy. Try explaining about charging new appliances on a new credit card, paying it totally off the first bill we get, and then when the store gave us a $100 credit on those appliances a month later – it showed up as a new inquiry for another credit card. Huh???? We didn’t apply for another card. The company just sent us a check for the $100 credit because we haven’t used the credit card again. I keep records of everything. And, believe me, the bank has asked for every bit of it! Word of advice – document everything.

Next up: So what did we decide about building the house – Builder or Subbing it Ourselves? Did the bank get things straightened out?

Status Change

You can’t stop the future
You can’t rewind the past
The only way to learn the secret
…is to press play.

~Jay Asher, Thirteen Reasons Why

I left you several days ago not knowing what would happen next. Wondering about those white SUV people. Wondering if we would show this house to anyone else. Wondering if we would sell this house. Well, we got the answers to all of those “wonderings” Wednesday and Thursday.

Let me set the stage . . . After I added my last post early Wednesday morning one of my online friends posted on Facebook that I should pray for peace instead of patience. I thought about this and it made perfect sense. If I prayed for patience, that meant I was asking God for me to wait and wait. If I prayed for peace within, I was asking God for calm and tranquility. So, I immediately started praying for peace (Thanks, Laura!) while I started to clean the house for the second showing that was scheduled for 4:45 that evening.

I have a cleaning system where I clean one level at a time and take a break in-between. We have a tri-level. I finished the top level and sat on our living room couch and checked my email on my iPhone. My eye immediately went to an email from our realtor entitled, “Offer on your home.” I started to read the email contents when the phone rang. It was our realtor. He wanted to make sure we had received the email he sent. I told him I was just starting to read it. He said Bill and I needed to read it all very carefully and call him back as soon as possible. I got in our Gator and drove back to the pole barn with my heart beating very fast. As soon as I saw Bill I excitedly said, “We got an offer! Get in! We need to read it and get back with Mike.”

Turns out it was an offer from the people with three children who had looked at our home on Sunday, May 19. It was a low offer. In addition, they were wanting closing cost money, too. But, it was an offer and the people really loved the place and wanted to raise their children in the home. They always say to work with the first good offer. Bill and I discussed how low we would go to sell the place. We were far apart in what we wanted and what they offered. After Bill and I talked, we called our realtor Mike. We were discussing our next steps when I heard a beep on the phone. I looked at the display and it was Centralized Showing Service. Really? I told Mike and he said to take the call and call him back.

It was a request to show our home that evening at 5:00-6:00 pm. We had the second showing people coming at 4:45-5:45. It was an automated phone call. Our options were to Accept, Decline, or Reschedule. I hit the Reschedule button. We were then routed to a live person. 🙂 The first thing I said was that we already had someone looking at the house during the time the realtor wanted to show it. The CSS guy said that the realtor was aware of that and still wanted to show our house at 5:00-6:00. I asked if realtors ever did that and he said yes. I asked if we could call them back after talking to our realtor. We weren’t sure what to do. We had the offer to deal with. We had a second showing coming. Do we invite another person in on the mix?

15142960-cartoon-question-mark-with-face-pondering-creativity-or-confused-about-test-answerWe called Mike back. He said, “I love buyers. The more the merrier. Let them come.” We thought why not. We will have the house clean. Get two for the price of one around the same time. That was settled. Then we started to talk about the offer. This was Wednesday morning. We had until Thursday evening at 7:00 to respond back to the offer. We all agreed on a price with which to counter the offer and decided that we would wait until the next day before making any final decisions. Mike said that he would call both real estate agents that evening after the showings to make them aware that we had received an offer that we could work with and if they were interested in the home they would have to act fast. We had a plan.

Bill and I hugged each other and went back to cleaning each of our areas – Bill to the pole barn, me to the mid level of the house. I got done cleaning around 3:00. I decided to run to the grocery and buy some cookie dough to make some cookies for the showings and to take some over to our neighbors as a thank you for letting us sit on their back patio that evening during the showings. Bill moved Goldie over to our neighbor’s yard and I came over after I did a second vacuuming of the house and turned on all the lights. Then we waited. Right before 4:45 we heard some car doors shutting. I think I was the one who went inside Alan’s (neighbor) house and looked out a window to see if the cars were at our house. Guess what? It was the white SUV people! 🙂 I felt those people must really be interested as not only was this their second showing, but we had seen them in front of our house several times since the first showing and once just a couple of days before.

We visited with Alan and their dogs safely hidden on the back patio. Goldie wandered in Alan’s yard on the side next to our house back and forth. You cannot see our house or our back yard when you are on the neighbor’s back patio. However, you can see the pole barn if you sit in one small area. That’s where Alan sat me with a chair. 😉 The white SUV people stayed in the house for about 30 minutes – until about 5:15. The other realtor still had not arrived. Then we heard a child squealing next door and people talking. We could hear them opening the shed. Then they walked out to the pole barn. The couple looked young. They had a baby and a boy around 4 years old. They had another gentleman with them besides the realtor. We figured it was one of the parents. After looking in the pole barn they returned to the house where they stayed until they left about 5:45. The other realtor still had not arrived!

By this time, I was ready to go home. But we couldn’t. We had to at least wait until after 6:00. At 5:55, the neighbor’s wife had just arrived home from work and she said two cars had just pulled into our driveway. Bummer! That meant it would be at least another 30 minutes before we could go back home and eat dinner. We had eaten all the cookies I brought! Alan told Rhonda they needed to go out into the back yard and start yelling at each other to dissuade anyone from buying our house. He had told us many times that they don’t want us to move. We laughed about the threat. We eventually heard people outside next door and I got a glimpse of them when they walked toward the pole barn. It was a couple with a toddler and the woman was pregnant. When they headed back to the house one of Alan’s dogs started barking. From the patio Alan yelled at Possum to come. But, she didn’t. Then, we heard a child giggling. Alan got up suddenly and went into the yard around the privacy fence to get Possum. Bill looked at me and then Rhonda (neighbor’s wife) and said, “Well, there goes the sale if Alan is out there talking to them!” 😆

We could not hear anything and Alan stayed out there for a while. When he came back to the patio he said, “They are really interested in your house!” He said they loved the place and loved having horses next door. They eventually left about 6:45. We gathered our belongings and Goldie and walked back home. Bill decided to call Mike and tell him about the last showing people and their interest. Mike said he would call both realtors around 8:30 that evening.

Mike called us about 9:00 to tell us what was going on. He said the white SUV people’s realtor had sent him two emails after the showing before Mike had a chance to call him. One email asked Mike to ask us why the kitchen faucet didn’t work; what was the gurgling noise when they turned on the small faucet in the kitchen; and where was the septic in the back yard. We told Mike everything was working fine and I had just used the faucet. It’s a lever type of faucet where you push back to get hot water and front to get cold. However, you must push the lever out to get the water to come out. Apparently, they had never pushed out! 🙄 And, the gurgling noise was the reverse-osmosis faucet and that’s just how it operates. Then Bill told Mike that there was a very visible riser in the back yard a few feet from our back patio to designate the septic. Mike said he was frustrated with that realtor. He said the other email said his clients planned to make an offer but they felt our list price was too high. This was the second time he had reported that. Mike said he would email the realtor back with our answers and to tell him about our other offer.

In the same phone conversation Mike said he had a voice-mail message from the realtor of last showing people and she wanted to know if we had already received an offer and how quickly could we move on this house as they were interested. OMG, you mean we had three different people interested in buying the place? In my wildest dreams I never imagined that would have happened to us. Mike said he tried to call the last realtor but she didn’t answer. He asked us how quickly we would be willing to move if it came down to that. Bill said if the price was right, we could move in three weeks! 😯 Notice, Bill said that, not me!

Mike blind cc’d us on the two separate emails he sent to the two realtors. Basically he said if they made an offer to make it their highest and best because he would not go back for a second round except for the first offer. And, if offers came in, he would tell the first people that we had multiple offers and they could choose to hold or make another offer.  Sounds a little like poker, doesn’t it?Wallingford-Real-Estate-Wallingford-PA-Multiple-Offers-Bidding-Wars

Talk about not sleeping Wednesday night! I purposely left my phone downstairs so I wouldn’t check my email all night long. But, even that didn’t help. I bet I slept two hours all night. At 7:30 Thursday morning, we received an email from Mike saying that he had a long talk with the last showing realtor. He said she had sent us a great offer. He said he was forwarding her cover letter. It went like this:

Hi Mike! As always, very nice talking to you!  Attached is a full price offer . . .

I got that far and screamed for Bill! Did I read that right? I suggested we go down to the desktop computer in the family room and pull up the email and the offer. It was true! They were offering us our full listing price but asking for $3000 in closing costs and the home warranty we had offered in our listing. The kicker was, they needed to close on the house on June 7 and wanted possession no later than 5:00 pm on June 10. That was less than three weeks away!

shocked_faceWell, Bill and I looked at each other and said that this was a no-brainer. Unless Mike thought there was a reason not to, we would accept this offer. We hugged each other and then quickly called Mike. We talked about how to handle the situation. What did we do about the first offer? After much discussion, Mike said that there was probably no way the first couple would come up to full price from what he gathered from the agent. So, we checked the Accept box, signed, dated, scanned and emailed the acceptance page to Mike. We checked the Reject box, signed, dated, scanned and emailed the rejection page to Mike from the first offer. OMG! We sold the house in two weeks after it was listed! Well, at least house listing status has changed from Active to Sale Pending.

Now, we just hope that the house appraisal and inspection go well. We don’t expect much wrong from the inspection as so much of major items are new. We already had a well inspection done before we put the house on the market. Bill emailed Mike to ask him if there were any special things he should check before the inspection. One of the items was electrical and the other was having the HVAC serviced and cleaned. So, Bill scheduled having a routine check-up on our 3-year old HVAC system done on Tuesday. Bill is switching out some electrical boxes/switches on any wall that might be close to water to meet a new code requirement, too. The inspection has been set for May 30. We got word yesterday that they are doing the appraisal tomorrow – on Memorial Day! Oh well, we’ll be here. And if everything goes well, we are set for the June 7 closing!

Bill and I went into panic mode on Thursday after we accepted the offer on the house. We called movers. We are tentatively on one mover’s schedule for June 6 and on another mover’s schedule for June 8. Both are coming out next week to give us estimates. We contacted both our children to tell them about the offer. Jim had some suggestions for Bill to see if there was any way we could get that pole barn built before we moved. That has not panned out. It will probably be the end of June or first of July before that will be done. But, Jim did find us an excavator for the pole barn and our new driveway. They will start that on June 3 if we don’t have rain delays.

Even though we know we have to pack up this house, we had to finalize our new house plans and specification document. Jim wants to send out bids this week. Bill and I spent about 5 hours on that Thursday evening. We still had some gaps of a few items before we could complete the specs. So, we dedicated Friday to settling on bathroom cabinets/vanities; granite for kitchen and bathrooms; and what to do about a safe room.

Here are pictures of the granite and bathroom cabinets:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Jim called us several times on Friday before and after they left town for the holiday weekend. Before he left town he asked me to email him what we had for our spec document so far so he could read over it while he was out-of-town. After we had gotten home from our all day vendor shopping day and stops at Home Depot to get more packing boxes and a new mailbox for our new place and Staples to get reinforced tape, Jim called us and wanted to talk. He had a long list of items we needed to do or which we had to make decisions. Jim was on the ball to get moving on our pole barn and house bids.

Bill decided he wanted to take one load down to Jim and Jill’s over the holiday weekend. J&J said we could store some things in their garage. Bill & I decided we did not want the movers to move any of the new cabinets Bill built or any of the items we purchased for the new house (lights fixtures, ceiling fans, door hardware, etc.). So, Bill and I worked a very long day Saturday in the pole barn. We dismantled, coded, and did some shrink wrapping of all the cabinets Bill had made. Then he wanted to move every thing we had stored in bins on one side of the storage area of the pole barn out into another area. He wanted to dismantle a large section of storage shelves so he could take them down and put up in J&J’s garage. I told him my way of organizing is only to move things one time. And, we needed to find a space where we could store the bins so the movers could get them. We cleared out a section of the pole barn and burned a lot of scrap wood. And, then we started to get out all those bins I had filled for almost two years.

Bill had started an inventory sheet for his boxes he started packing in the pole barn. I wanted to do the same. All of my bins were labeled. All I had to do was add a # to each box and write that # on an inventory sheet along with the box’s contents. We had a routine. Bill and I loaded bins on a table on wheels. Then we rolled them over to where Bill had set up two wooden work horses. I would quickly do the inventory and mark the appropriate # on the bin in several places, then Bill would take the bin and shrink-wrap it and then stack it. We did that over and over again. Some of those bins were heavy. We inventoried, shrink-wrapped, and stacked 44 bins! There are still a lot more on the other shelving unit! I had weeded through everything over the last two years and given away, sold, and trashed so much. I thought I was done. Haha. There are bins of things I’ll probably NEVER use. But, time is running short so we are moving them. Bill and I came up with the idea that the grandkids might want to go through all our unwanted things once we’ve moved and they can have a yard sale at our place. They can keep all the proceeds. Sounds like a plan! We’ll see if they like that plan. 🙂

Here are some photos of all the crazy things we dismantled and packed on the trailer and truck yesterday.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We were exhausted by the end of the day. Tylenol for me. Aleve for Bill. We both slept well last night.

The plan was for Bill to drive down to J&J’s early this morning; unload the shelving units; install the shelving units; unload all the items from the trailer and truck and store on the shelves; dig a hole and install the mailbox; and then drive back home. But, that’s not what happened. Bill got ready to go and drove the truck out to the pole barn to hook up the trailer. When he cranked the trailer hitch to the truck the truck really started to sink down. Bill knew he was at the maximum weight to pull. He looked at me and said, I can’t do this! 😯 He said he felt he just could not afford to spend a whole day gone with so much to do around here. I think he had hit his panic mode. I could see it in his face. He said he wanted to rent a storage unit around here and store all the stuff he wanted to move himself into it. That way he could move it down to J&J’s a little at a time and without rushing it in what is now a 2 week period. He knew I didn’t want to rent a storage unit up here. But, after thinking about it, it’s the best decision. We do not have time to travel over 3 hours both ways 4-5 times in the next two weeks. And, Bill is determined he will move certain things himself . . . period.

Bill decided he needed to work on the electrical stuff today. So that is what he has worked on all day. I spent about 3-4 hours on the specification document for the new house and finished it. Yay!!! I emailed it to Jim. But, here is what my computer area looked like while I was working.

House plans, spec document, catalogs, quotes

House plans, spec document, catalogs, quotes

I need to clean the house for the appraisal tomorrow, but found it difficult to clean when Bill was testing and turning off breakers. And, two of the boxes/switches he had to install were in the kitchen. Poor guy, he had a really tough time figuring out the wiring on those, but he finally did and they are done. While Bill was working inside on the electric, I cut the grass. It appears as I’m typing this that the outside boxes Bill is replacing are going a lot quicker than those inside ones. He has one more to do on the outside of the pole barn.

Folks, that’s where we are. I’m procrastinating cleaning with this blog post. Let’s just say that I haven’t run the vacuum cleaner since our last showing! Goldie’s been happy, but I need to clean. We need the appraisal to match the offer price. I don’t want to even think about what we have to do if it doesn’t. Prayers are welcome!!!

Next: You might not hear from me in a while if everything goes well. I’ll be so busy packing up what’s left in the house, outdoors, shed, and pole barn. June 10 is closer than I want to imagine.