House Dating

We are here.  Yes, already.  In the blink of an eye, we are into Week Six in our Eleven Weeks of Summer Vacation.  And I can not believe that it is more than half over.  Where did the time go?

Well, for us it was a whirlwind of house nonsense.  Back in the spring I had started looking for a new house.  I was mainly looking for a bigger kitchen, a bigger basement, and a bigger yard (yes, size matters – let’s be real).  And right around the time that Kid A graduated from high school, I had found what I called The One… it had a bigger everything, plus a salt water pool and a hot tub.  I wanted it so badly.  It wooed me so effectively that I dismissed its (albeit, few) glaring flaws as “charming” and “additive of character.”  But after a lot of negotiation, it turned out not to be The One.  Just like in high school, I would have had to pay a much bigger price then I was willing for it to be mine.  And I couldn’t do it.  So, with my heart a little broken but my honor intact, I moved on.

Meanwhile, we had aggressively priced and listed our current home in order to make our offer on The One stronger and more appealing.  We totally glammed it up, and it looked good.  In less than a week we had multiple offers.  We accepted the cleanest one (full price plus, no closing costs, no contingencies) because after our brief hook-up with The One we were confident that there was a bigger, better house out there for us.  Dice rolled.

I would also like to mention that the moment our realtor planted his sign in our front yard, I started receiving texts and phone calls from my neighborhood friends.  I was definitely feeling the love.  They all told me that we could not move, even to the neighborhood right next door.  Some even swore to shun me if we went through with it.  I think several of them were concerned that they would inherit the title of Craziest Lady in the Neighborhood once I left.  So I appeased them with invitations to future hot tub parties.  And I wore the For Sale sign around my neck like a bold, scarlet letter as I went back to my search for the perfect house.

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Within days I found it.  We called it Sugar’s House after the sweetest old golden ever.  She kept watch (and by “kept watch” I mean “took a nap in the front office”) every time we came to look at her owner’s beautiful home.  I could actually feel the love inside that house as I walked through it.  I could also feel my girl parts tingling over the gorgeously renovated kitchen, brick-surround fireplace, and master bath (complete with a shower-for-twelve).  Sugar’s House was soon going to be our family’s home.  I just knew it.

But then the buyer for our home backed out at the eleventh hour (I’m so serious… the contract termination came through at 11PM on a 12 midnight deadline).  Sheepdog and I had been at a wedding at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens all evening, where I had made friends with several vodka cranberries.  I may or may not have mentioned to other wedding guests that I was wanting to punch the game-playing buyer in the vagina when she tried to bully us into conceding money for things we already took into consideration when we priced our house so aggressively.  And she knew exactly what she was doing because she was in the business of real estate.  So we called her bluff.  But then she walked.

So here we stand, robbed of our original marketing momentum and feeling the sting of a too good to be true buyer.  To be honest, it hurts to have somebody break up with you like that.

But there is still hope for us.  We decided to take our house off the market (no more showings or inspections…yippee!) and we decided to love our own house again.  It has great bones and over the past seven years we have turned it into our home – a home that is filled with great memories and love and laughter, just like Sugar’s house.  And soon I’ll be making a phone call to the contractor so our kitchen and master bath can look like Sugar’s as well.  I’m getting tingly parts already!

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

 

 

 

 

Got Wood?

I can’t remember if I told you all this before, but in the 8th Grade I won the Industrial Arts Award.  Yes, I deserved it.  And yes, I went to a co-ed school.  At my school, the boys and the girls had to take both wood shop and home economics.  I was okay at the home economics stuff (much better at the cooking and baking than I was at the sewing).  But I was really good at the wood shop stuff, both in theory and practical application.  Plus, I really enjoyed the class.  When you pulled my elephant’s trunk, that light came ON!  Every time.

Here is a picture of me receiving the Award for Excellence in Industrial Arts at my 8th grade graduation ceremony.  I am the one dressed like an Amish girl.  What you can not see (or hear, actually) is my dad in the bleachers proudly exclaiming, "That's my SON!" when the award was announced.

Here is a picture of me receiving the Award for Excellence in Industrial Arts at my 8th grade graduation ceremony. I am the one dressed like an Amish girl. What you can not see (or hear, actually) is my dad in the bleachers proudly exclaiming, “That’s my SON!” when the award was announced.

I guess you can say I have had a life-long admiration for quality woodworking and beautiful things created from quality wood.  Maybe it comes from me being born so close to all of those Redwood trees in California.  I find wood to be amazing.  Wood is very pleasing to my senses.  Whether rough or smooth, natural or stained, I love the feel of it.  I love to touch it.  I love the smell of it.  I love it in all forms… raw and freshly cut, finished, or even as sawdust.  The lines and the swirls in the grains of each piece of wood, as unique as snowflakes, are incredibly interesting and I love imagining the stories of how they came to be.  Hard wood, soft wood, dark wood, light wood… it is all good.  Wood is very, very sexy.

But even more amazing to me is someone who has the ability to manipulate wood into something more, something functional.  A person who can take a piece of wood and build something beautiful and strong is a true artist in my mind.

That is one of the reasons why I love everything about the show “This Old House.”  I started watching Norm Abram on “The New Yankee Workshop” back when Sheepdog and I first got married.  I was in awe of what he could do with pieces of wood in that magical barn.  “This Old House” was a companion show for me… it took it up a notch by delving in to building and renovating entire homes, but it also strayed from the actual woodworking and furniture making components that got me hooked in the first place.  Together, these shows and the people on them (Kevin O’Connor, Norm Abram, Rich Trethewey, Tom Silva, and Roger Cook), have helped foster and intensify my love of all things wood.

I have been playing my favorite game of “Million Dollar Listing” again by perusing the local real estate market.  During my birthday week I went with my dad to see an 8.5 acre property that was on the market for $1.875 million, after having been dropped down from $2.3 million (that made it a really good deal in my mind).  It was spectacular for so many reasons… the privacy, the wooded land, the gunite-salt water-infinity pool out back, the gorgeously refinished kitchen and bathrooms, but mainly because of all of the wood inside of the house.  There is no drywall in this home.  All of the walls are made of wood.  It felt like a mountain cabin in Colorado.  It seriously took my breath away and made me all tingly.

Wood.  On.  The.  Walls.  And notice how the inlayed starburst pattern mirrors the beams on the ceiling.  How does this NOT turn everyone on?

Wood. On. The. Walls. And notice how the inlayed starburst pattern on the floor mirrors the beams on the ceiling.  How does this NOT turn everyone on?  P.S.  There is no way I can afford this otherworldly home.

So now you will totally understand just how freaking excited I was when I found out recently that one of my fun college peeps actually knows Kevin O’Connor, the host of “This Old House.”  They went to high school together and are still good friends.  When I told him how cool I thought that was, he was like, “Seriously, you actually watch PBS?  He’s no Ty Pennington.”

Last week a package arrived for me in the mail.  When I opened it, I could not contain myself.  I was giggling and laughing and smiling and could not wait to put on my new t-shirt and read my very own signed copy of The Best Homes from “This Old House.”  I was ecstatic.  I was over the moon.  I was so excited.

I got wood.

This is some good SWAG

Now this is some good SWAG.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…