Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fun (cheap) morning out with mommy

Isabel I started started out our morning kinda relaxed and slowish. Then we went to storytime at a nearby library, which is free. The lady sings a lot of songs & has puppets, so Isabel enjoys that. Then we went to Noodles & Co and used a certificate Isabel got from her library reading program to get a large bowl of Mac & Cheese with grilled chicken for free. We shared that, but we still had leftover. And afterwards we went shoe shopping. I have a little girl who loves shoes like her mommy, so that's fun. Anyways, my MIL gave me a coupon for $10 off $10 at Famous Footwear that she couldn't use before it expired. We got there and all shoes were BOGO half off. We tried on shoes and for $10 each, we each picked out a pair and with our coupon it ended up costing me $5.26 for 2 pairs of shoes. So, I think it was a pretty cheap & fun morning.

Updates......Are there any really?

We are still living with my cousin with some hopes of moving out during August.......we have been looking at places for rent and may start actually looking at houses for sale, not that our house has sold (because it HASN'T), but because maybe we will find a house that the owner will rent to us with a contingent offer. We really don't want to move again and have to move AGAIN. We want our next move to be final. Isabel & I are going to go look at a house tomorrow that is FSBO that would consider doing what I mentioned.

August is supposed to be the second highest month for home sales in the area our house is in, so if our house doesn't get sold soon & we are able to move all our stuff out here into a (hopefully) permanent place, then we may look into renting out our place. We won't rent it with all our stuff in it.

We found a couple of places we could live in, but wouldn't be the permanent move we wanted.

In other news, the city (after over a year) finally approved the sale of a small piece of our property to our neighbors. Now, we just need to get that letter from the city attorney to get that finalized. Could this be the start of stuff falling into place?

Andy did interview at a couple places in the Cities last Friday and is/has gotten offers from both. The first one he is turning down. Although, the second one said an offer is coming and is trying to make it as attractive as possible, which means getting the blessings from the right people to do that.

We have pretty much decided at this point that we want to stay here, but if we can't find suitable housing and he gets a really good offer from this place, well, we might just head back to MN. Andy still has a couple more irons in the fire for the job search, but we are just getting tired & worn out and ready to call it quits. Andy is still very optimistic about staying here. I think my spirit is too broken. It gets lifted temporarily and then it just falls apart again. And we haven't had anyone look at it since we turned down the CFD offer.

So, that's it. Maybe by the weekend I will have more to say.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Catch a Break?

So, this lady that went to look at the house and loves it and it's perfect for them. Her issues though are that she only 10K to put down (as the old boyfriend swindled her out of 27K) and she has a house of her own that hasn't sold. She has a good job that she makes good money at and can make the payments and needs to be in the area because her job has her on call (she works at the hospital) and her old house is an hour away. Oh, plus she has 5 kids, so they need the big house.

She wants to do a contract for deed, which I really don't want to do. As what happens if the roof (which will need replacing in a couple years) becomes an issue and she bails on us (she told us she is juts going to foreclose on the other place, so why not screw us over if things are bad or she needs to move again.) According to the bank, until she pays us off, we hold the deed and pay the mortgage and insurance and taxes. Oh, and get this, according to or relo stuff, a contract for deed is not a real sale so they don't pay any relator commissions. Andy is working with his manager & HR to see if they can get that changed. Otherwise, if that is the case, we cannot accept a contract for deed because the only reason we could lower our house to the price it is at is because they were paying relator commissions. If we have to pay them, then we will be in the hole big time.

So, the lady called Andy and said something is coming our way, whatever that means.

Our relator is supposed to be working on creative financing to get her a mortgage to pay for the house so we don't have this CFD crap. And if the company says they won't pay for relator commissions on a CFD, then the deal is done unless she comes up with a loan.

Andy is all excited because the house might actually "sell" (I am using that term loosely) and he can keep his job that he loves. I am crying because this is all too much. I just don't see any of this happening in our favor. I don't want to get my hopes up and find out that we have to pay the relators 15K because we just want to be done with the house (maybe) and still risk her bailing on us.

Sometimes I feel like I am the only one trying to make sure we don't go broke and in the process I feel like it makes me the bad guy. I kinda want to cry & go puke now (although that won't feel good for my strained back). I just feel sick to my stomach.

Ups & Downs

Today, after walking down the stairs I bent over to put down Isabel. Nothing unusual about that....but that WHAM! It felt as if the middle of my back was stabbed multiple times on both sides (not that I know that feels like.)

And down I went and up went the pain. I had no idea what was happening. All I knew was the no position was taking the pain away and the tightening back muscles were pulling so hard that I could hardly breathe. I briefly thought, how do I get to a phone (or get my kid to come quickly enough & follow my instructions) to call for help.

After a few minutes, I was able to get up from my fetal position on the floor. I still had to slip on some shoes & get some on Isabel & get out the door to check out a furnished duplex. I thought maybe the car ride would be enough time to relax my back. It wasn't. I called Andy to meet us there so he could carry the kid (it is an upper and she isn't fond of stairs these days.)

Anyways, it still hurts. It's been about 2.5 hours. No sudden movements or pain shoots through my middle back. It sucks. I took some Aleve right afterwards and maybe that is helping. I don't really know.

So, we are at the place and previously we thought we could move in August 1st or a few days earlier (maybe), but now it looks like it is more like August 1st or August 15th. Well, when you are already kinda homeless, another half a month is a big deal. And I am not about to ask my cousin to stay past August 1st. So, I guess we will have to see what happens. If all else, we can go live in a hotel for a month. My spirits went down when I heard the possible change in date.....kick me while I'm down.

And we lowered the price on our house A LOT and received some interest, but no one has actually made an appointment to tour it with our relator. The only up is that when I get back there is a email voicemail message (we still have our vonage number and our voicemail get emailed to us) and it is a woman who saw the craigslist ad who lives & works in the area and has 5 kids and is looking for contract for deed and HAS some money to put down (the other people who emailed didn't have anything to put down and wanted CFD or R2O - bah!). So, that brought my spirits up a little.

I think she will like the house once she gets in there and hopefully our realtor can work out some other financing with her so that we don't have to do CFD. I really want to stay completly away from that.

So, now I am going to spend the rest of my day down and hope it feels better later. I really wanted to take Isabel to a park this afternoon and this weekend we are going to be with family and had lots of plans for swimming on Saturday & Sunday. At least on the weekend I have Andy to help me, so he could do more with her then.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Peace Jam

This last week, Isabel & I made jam with some friends. I had this weird sense of peace over me that afternoon after doing that. I didn't get to can anything last year due to moving & everything. But I like canning. I like preserving food for our future consumption. I told Andy it makes me feels like I am preparing & providing for us. It is my peace jam.

I never knew that canning had that affect on me. But I also really miss my plants & garden. I bought green plants while we were here, but now they are being taken care of by someone else. And last year I only did container gardens of tomatoes & peppers because I knew we would be moving out of state that summer or fall.

I miss my crafting supplies & sewing machine......my hobbies & interests. And I want them back.

This Is It......

Well, we are pretty much down to the wire and decided to lay down our cards and let the chips fall where they may (any more cliches I can get in there?)

We contacted our realtors and told them to lower the price to basically what we owe, which puts the house at the next lowest search price point. So, maybe we will generate some interest from people who couldn't afford it. So, that price gets lowered today.

We also told them to hold an open house (since this may be a different group of people) coming through. Our open house this weekend brought NO ONE! And we told them to take a couple of new pictures and update the description so that everyone who might have this in their saved search will get notification of changes to the listing and maybe go check it out.

The company Andy works for said there is nothing more they would do for us, as they have a corporate relocation policy and that's it.

In the meantime, Andy is interviewing with a company in the Cities. He is at the stage for a face-t0-face after two phoners. The hiring VP is out of town this week so the F2F won't happen until next week. Plus, there are still a couple other places out there he is interviewing with as well (those are out of MN & WI.)

So, this is it. We want to stay here and we ar doing what we can to make that happen. So, someone needs to buy the house at this low price or we move to where the next job offer is.

In an ideal world none of this would have come into play and we would already be living in a house here, but it's not. If things would work out now, we would get an offer on the house in the next 2 weeks (before he has to make a decision about an offer) and we could stay here.

So, that's it. We made the decision to get this house sold NOW and if that doesn't happen, we move (whether it be back to MN or to another state is TBD.)

We figure rather than squander our savings away on paying for two places and being in limbo still for however long, that we would just make a huge price drop on the house and use our savings towards a down payment (if we can.)

So, we hope to know what state we are living in by the end of July. Until then, we are living with my cousin (we move in there today.) We certainly don't want to overstay or welcome, so we have explored our option here for August 1st (if we happen to be still waiting) and at that point we will live in a hotel until the house is sold or a new job offer takes us elsewhere or we will move into corporate housing until the house closes and we can find something new.

It feels good to have made some decisions. We could have stayed in limbo for a long time and tried to make more money on the house (although, at what cost to our sanity and our pocketbooks since we would be paying double anyways.) We just had to face up to the fact that maybe Mke wasn't it for us. We're doing what we can to influence that, but it just might not be so.

We pretty much decided this all at church this weekend. It was like the sermon was directly to us. And we had to decide how we could influence these issues and do it. So, we did.

It still isn't fun living out of suitcases and without our stuff or our animals or a place of our own. So, we need to change that. Our life is done being on hold.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Quit Your Bitchin'

So, we were at church on Sunday and the series over the next few weeks is the Fruit of the Spirit and one of the sub-topics is Joy (last week it was Love). They read & discussed a scripture passage in which Paul & Silas were joyful in praising God even through they were flogged, inprisoned, and shackled (tough times, not sure I could make it.) But the point of it all was that they were joyful in spite of all these awful things and how we have bad and awful things happening in our lives and we can't let that consume us and we have to find joy in spite of these things.

So, I thought I would express some of the things I am thankful for and find joy in even though we have a lot of stress in our lives and are kinda homeless. (Yes, I am a wee bit buzzed after a girls night out, but sometimes the best honesty comes out through that.)

I first have to say that I have been blessed with a wonderful husband and daughter. I love them both so much and am so thankful they are in my life. The most important thing is that the three of us are together and we can figure the rest out. It might not be how we wanted it to go (& it hasn't), but we make it work and and are thankful for how they have worked out. I am joyful that Andy chose a good major & career path (thankfully he decided against a music major - seriously, that was his major when he first started....we would be in a very different place if it still was, not that a music major is a bad thing, but I might not have the opportunity to stay home with Isabel if he had chose that.)

I am blessed I get to stay home with my beautiful and intelligent daughter. I amazed by her all the time. Yes, there are stressful moments and there will be more. But there are so many joyful moments.

I have been blessed with so many awesome friends. Not just here, but also in MN. My friends in MN are doing such a wonderful job watching over our house & caring for it. They are also my neighbors. I seriously doubt we will ever find neighbors/friends so wonderful. And then there are my friends here in WI. Can you believe how great they have all been? What did I ever do to deserve such loving & caring people as friends. I have people letting us house sit for them, offering their homes to live in, inviting us over for meals, taking in our possessions and animals. I sometimes feel like I am not a good enough person to deserve everything they offer me.

Our families have been wonderful and offering to help out wherever they can. Andy lived with my sister & BIL for a while, my in-laws have the cats, my parents have the dog, and there are numerous other offering they have bestowed upon us as well. And soon we will go live with my cousin. It amazes me that he will open his home to us....not that he wouldn't, but that it is just such a gracious thing. I am still not sure I deserve the generosity.

I am joyful about the church we found. At last I don't feel guilty about not going (residule Catholic stuff), but I want to go. I want to know what God wants me to do and how I can be a better person. I feel blessed they have such a great kids program that Isabel loves. It feel really good to go to this church and to praise God. I even found myself singing one of the songs from church this week while at "home". I keep calling everything "home" to Isabel, because I finally get it -- 'Home is where the heart is'.

Seriously, it just feels right for us to stay here. We feel so blessed and so whole. The sticky piece is our housing, but we're making it work and hopefully not upsetting anyone (I don't think we are, but I don't like to think that we are an inconvenience to anyone.) We might be back in a hotel room with 2 beds, but that's ok. We are together and that is what matters really.

I kinda feels weird to not be joyful or blessed over anything material.....we don't really have anything that we "need". We have our suitcases we take from place to place and we make do (although every place has been very comfortable, we by no means have had to sacrifice.) I do kinda miss our stuff, but it can be replaced if it has to. It is my relationships with my husband, my daughter, my family, my friends, & God that I am joyful over.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

What to do?!?!?!

I don't expect anyone reading this to have the "wise" answer. I don't presume there to be one out there even.

So, we fired our relators. We had these ones for 11 months and they didn't get out house sold. Now we are onto our 3rd relator. Not sure that I have any confidence that he will do any better, but we had to change something. Actually, this is the first relator that TOLD US what to price the house. Neither of the other two would do that, even when we specifically asked them to. This guy also offered suggestions on little things to fix or tidy up, although it's too late for that. We just can't go back to MN every week to trim around all the landscaping & pull weeds. The neighbors are graciously mowing the lawn, we can't ask them to trim around everything. Plus there was some thing in the bathroom he thought we could fix & replace a couple of shingles that blew off this winter, but other than that (oh, and dust the entire place -- what so I can have to go back in 2 weeks to dust again?!?!) he thought the house was great and beautiful. Now, if either of the other 2 would have given us ANY suggestions we would have been there and done them. But that didn't happen. Too bad we didn't have this guy right from the get go. Maybe our house will have a chance of selling with him.

So, we'll see.

But here is the next dilemma. So, we're still basically homeless in WI and are about to begin our 3rd housesitting stint and may live with my cousin for a couple weeks. We started looking for places to rent and some places just won't allow any pets (we need to being the cats) and some places require a year lease and won't budge on that (we'd like the freedom to *maybe* buy or find that nice long-term rental when the house sells). We have been paying double rent/mortgage & utilities for too long.

Right now the best solution we may have come up with is to live in a hotel for the month of August and then move back to the lake house. They said they plan on taking our the oil furnace and putting in forced air because the heating bills were so high this past winter. We couldn't really afford to move back there if they didn't do something about the heat. They said they would love to have us come back and stay there and then we know we have a place with plenty of space, that is furnished and we can have the animals with us again (although I think the in-laws want the cats gone soon, cats have quite the personalities and Larry's personality is a big one.)

We went to look at a house for rent today. It would be like living in my own personal wood paneling hell. What the heck is it with Wisconsin & wood paneling? It's just not cool! Not at all. This house was wood paneling on every wall in every room....and the house is only 7 years old? C'mon people. Who does that? For the price it was, it would be cheaper to go back to the lake house.

We've called on a couple of other places...even *grumble* apartments.....although the thing is - we have a toddler who loves to dance & play steam roller and jump/hop. We just can't get an upper unit with out having neihgbord below us who hate us.

I have lots of emails & messages out there to places with ads online or signs outside the place.

Now, Andy & I have pretty much decided we want to stay in the Mke area and he wants to stay at his job, but if this one company he interviewed with (the one that will buy our house after 120 days) offers him an obscene salary, we might just have to move to another state.

We can find some mediocre palce to move into on July 15th, but then we are stuck living in a dump for a year (or at least paying rent there) when our house could sell. If our house isn't sold by Nov. 1, it probably won't sell until the spring -- that is just the way the housing market goes....nobody *sane* moves in the middle of winter in MN.

I'd like to see what kind of rabbit this new relator could pull out his hat so that we can find that permanent house to live in. Although I am afraid the rabbit is dead....Hey, I know I am supposed to be positive, but it's really hard not to be cynical.

Once we only have one payment, then we can afford much more than we could with two. Well, we can't afford two, it's our *in case we need it* savings being eaten away (so, Andy better not lose his job or we could end up in the poor house.)

This is my place to vent about the situation and try to sort things out. I don't talk about it much with my friends because it's just too hard and I already feel so indebted to everyone for how much they have helped us already.

I just finished reading "Stop Whining, Start Living" (for the reading program at the library, otherwise I may have never picked this up) and you know what I got out of it (in my words using some of the authors):
"Whine if you have to -- ONCE -- then shut up and suck it up because some people have it worse than you and some have it better. Then start living, keep doing what you do, because whining & complaining isn't going to change your situation. Pretend everything is great if you have to, and it might start to feel that way."

So, I may whine & complain a lot here, but I can. And you can choose to not read it if you don't want to. But I can't whine & complain out loud to people. So, I do pretend and I get a lot of "How are you handling this? You seem to be doing great." It's all pretend. I cry a lot.

And this is our choice...we could move back to MN at any time (especially now since we have no lease anywhere).....and Andy could find a job there (but it's not quite that easy or quick). But we are choosing to stay in WI and with the job here and leave behind the house there. So, Andy & I need to pretend things are find and keep living, but I worry about my baby girl and how she is really handling this and if she'll wake up tonight as she sleeps in ANOTHER new bed. She doesn't get a choice in all of this and has to come along for the ride.

Well, enough complaining. I feel like I sometimes type the same things over & over again. Maybe I do, or maybe I just think about it so much that it seems like I do, but I probably do.

Time to finish packing for our next stay.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Not sure how much there is to update......things are still chaotic......we are still house-sitting......our house in MN has still not sold......and Andy is interviewing......I guess that is something new.

Although, he did come to the realization yesterday during the day his phone & face-to-face interviews, that he really likes working for the company he works for. He likes living in this area and he likes the friends we have made and bascially, overall, just want to stay here.

But that darn house is what my mom said very accurately, "Is the stone around our neck."

Andy is in the process of firing this relator. Our contract is not up, but he certainly has not held up his end of the contract, so hopefully he lets us out of it without any issues. Andy will work on finding a new one through the referral the relo company gave him. So, hopefully that will happen soon.

While he does that, I am trying to find a place for us to rent. It's hard because we need to find a place that will allow the cats (both the cats and dogs will be very hard). At this point we are squandering away any savings on paying for rent. So, we need to keep it low at this point so that we can make it last as long as possible. But c'mon, I don't want to move again and then again once we sell the house. Because once we sell the house we can afford more and the house/apt/townhouse we find to rent might not be the most ideal (but works for the interim because it's cheap). We would love to find a place where we don't have anyone living under us, because - let's face it - we have a toddler who loves to jump & play "steam roller" and dance and downstairs neighbors probably won't appreciate her getting rid of her energy as much as we do.

In the meantime, both a cousin & his girlfriend has offered up their homes to us for the end of July in case we don't find a place that we can get into until August 1st.

I have been scanning craigslist & the newspaper for ads, but I know there are more places out there that are for rent than have advertisements. So, I think this weekend we will spend sometime driving around finding places. One of my friends says there are 2 houses near her that are for rent.

I really wish we could buy, but it's pretty much impossible at this point and we will have to spend the next couple years building up our savings again to be able to buy something.

Well, our playdate should be arriving soon. Time for some bounce house fun!