Monday, October 25, 2010

My Plate Overfloweth

I'm now officially the new singer for a local band.  We're shooting for rehearsals one night a week. 

I have a Trig exam on Thursday. I'm back to just hoping for a B in the class.

I've agreed to tutor a girl in our ward in Spanish.  Her dad is an electrician so I'm hoping I can barter for electrical services at the new house.

We close in a week.  I need to pick out paint colors (I'm limited to No-VOC palettes, which is good because I'm already overwhelmed).  Everything is going semi-gloss or eggshell for ease of cleaning. 

Paul is improving.  I'm not sure what we're doing right, but we're trying.  Have I ever told you what a sweet, generous, thoughtful boy he is?  I often tell him I'm not sure what I did to deserve a boy as good-hearted as him.

Eli had a great week - only one day of "mal," and four days of "excelente."  He still amazes us with his quick little mind.  He was nagging us yesterday about playing Wii, and I finally told him he wasn't even allowed to say the word "Wii."  So he paused for half a second and then said "What if I'm going down a slide and I say 'Whee?'"  A lawyer for sure.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Closing & Opening

We are set to close escrow on November 1st.  Yikes.  I have my second Trig exam next Thursday as well, so you know I'm feeling no stress whatsoever. 

Since we are law-abiding people, we're going to give Mr. Landlord a proper 30-day notice, which means we'll be on the hook for about another month's rent.  I mailed him a letter offering to have carpet installed and to deduct that from the last payment, BUT that I would only do this if I was guaranteed a full return of my deposit.  The tricky thing is that Mr. Landlord has told me that his soon-to-be ex-wife has our deposit.  I hope that she will view us as allies against a common enemy and be gracious about giving us our money.  If I can't get a guarantee about that deposit, I'm going straight to the Orange County Fair Housing Authority and/or my friend Amy (she's a lawyer but she's on maternity leave) and getting a lawyer. 

The sellers counter-offered with a $3000 credit at closing, so if we combine that with the original $1500 credit we'll have $4500 back at closing that we can put toward repairs.  The repairs we had requested actually came in at about $3700, but we're not going to haggle too much over $700.  The floor, dishwasher, plumbing and insulation repairs have to be done first.  Then we'll weigh the windows against the roof (the roof could be patched for now and replaced later) and decide what to do. 

I have my winter seeds all laid out on the kitchen counter, deciding what to get started.  My garden will be much smaller now, but I'll just have to be more selective about what I grow, stricter about plant spacing, and creative about placement.  Peas are the best winter crop of all - they take up practically no ground space and the boys will eat them fresh off the vine.  I love peas.  We are also going to try to find somebody who would be willing to let me grow veggies in their backyard and share the crop with me, and MAYBE even somebody who would host chickens.  We miss fresh guilt-free eggs.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Major hurdles have been jumped - we have been approved.  The inspection happened this morning, so we began another round of negotiations with the seller.  The roof was replaced about 10 years ago, but it was replaced incorrectly and some parts are now deteriorating.  Rather than patch the roof and maybe coax another year out of it, we'd like to just replace it.  Our realtor tells us that a metal roof on a manufactured home runs about $5k, so we've asked for a credit of $2500 toward replacing the roof.  There's a roofing contractor in our ward and we'll get a quote from him for replacement.  There are about $800 worth of plumbing fixes needed, which we are also negotiating for, plus a few mobile-home specific things like replacing the moisture barrier underneath. We'll have to get quotes for all of this stuff so we know how much of an escrow credit to ask for.  The house belonged to an older lady who has gone to live with her children inland, so they will probably prefer to have us handle the repairs rather than keep coming out here to do it themselves.

Since we'll get some tax credits if we replace the windows before December 31st, the windows and the front-room flooring will be our first priorities.  I'm scared as heck.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Let's Get Interactive

It's becoming more and more obvious that in spite of all my de-junking so far, there is still more to be done.  I think I'm going to put some items up for a vote, as some of these decisions are agonizing.  Art supplies, kitchen supplies, household decor and backpacking gear will all have to be winnowed down.  So brace yourselves for having to tell me I'm a ninny and I should just chuck/sell/give away that extra cast iron pot/easel/sleeping bag. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


My internet has been very wonky this week.  Ultrafast update:

Paid 75% of rent.  Landlord not pleased, threatens legal action.  Not scared, but my stomach doesn't like it anyway.

We're waiting to be approved by the mobile home park, which is incredibly funny to me.  Criminal background check and all that.  Inspection is next week.

Still have not officially canceled the offer on the Silverado house; will do that as soon as we are approved by the park. 

Totally, totally behind on my Trig homework.  Will catch up. Dropped guitar class; I just don't have any evenings to spare right now. 

Paul is still spacy.  His teacher is actually taking it seriously and we will meet with the school psych to try and formulate a more effective plan than behaviour contracts.

Eli is getting bad reports from school - talking, disobeying, hyperactive.  He kicked a kid who was in his way.  We're working on a reward/consequence system. 

I have a new niece!  Violet Dale Thompson.  She's beautiful and once my life calms down I hope to see much more of her. 

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

I'm Out of Titles For Now

Another mobile home came up for sale on Friday. It's a bit of a fixer - the dishwasher is toast, the laminate flooring in the front room is damaged, it needs baseboards and moulding for every single wall (they put in new flooring and drywalled the ceiling but never installed the trim). But it's on a corner lot so it feels less crowded AND I would actually have quite a bit of dirt to work with, plus an unused strip on my neighbor's lot that I might be able to use (with their permission). We have submitted a full-price offer with a request for $1500 to be credited to us for repairs after close of escrow, and the offer was accepted today. I was pricing trim, flooring and dishwashers at Home Depot today and we'll be able to do all of those repairs within that budget (plus billing for the time we put into it). If anything major turns up in the inspection, of course we will amend the offer.

This one comes with a share as well - no space rent, only HOA dues. We had originally hoped that we might be able to pull off buying both the mobile AND the Silverado house, but Dan's mother has actually agreed to loan us $20k toward purchasing the mobile and we will pay the remainder in cash, which means we will not have enough left to purchase the Silverado house. BUT we'll have that loan paid off in 15 months and then our only monthly housing expenses will be HOA fees and the electric bill. We'll have our initial cash outlay saved up again in less than 4 years if we stick to a firm budget.

The mobile is actually pretty cute and has a nice layout. It's 144o sf, with a large living room, a formal dining room (we'll use it as the office), a decent sized kitchen with room for a small dining table, and two full bathrooms (the master has TWO sinks, I'm in heaven). The master bedroom is 14' x 11.5', which is palatial compared to every house we have ever lived in. You can't see it in the picture above, but the laminate countertop has the cutest blue & white retro "ethnic" pattern on it. I'm already scheming how I'm going to re-tool the kitchen on the ultra-cheap. The cabinets over the cooktop are coming OUT.

Those valances and blinds are OUT OF THERE. I'm a curtains kind of lady. The built-in will be painted and turned into the entertainment center. Eventually we will replace the windows with more energy-efficient windows that will open to allow a cross breeze - this room was the warmest in the house by far, as it has a somewhat western exposure. This room is even bigger than the picture shows. It's great.

This is the formal dining room, which will be our office/workshop. If you look closely, you can see the rough edges of the flooring and the ceilings, where they didn't install any trim. The green room is the master bedroom, which will pretty much be left as is. The master bath needs a makeover badly, but I'm the girl for the job. Those sliding glass doors open out onto the covered front porch, which is shady and nice. I foresee hot summer evenings spent out there.

So there it is. It's not what I dreamed of when I was growing up, but few of us get everything that we want. I can't have a house in the country because of what D does for a living. If we buy a regular house-house, we will never be able to afford things like extracurricular lessons for the boys or time off of work for D so we can go on long backpacking trips. This is a compromise I can live with, so we can have other things that we want.