Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Walk Thru

I took an 8-minute walk-thru video of the property. Since it's too large to upload on the site, here's a link to it on YouTube:

Friday, April 23, 2010

Closing Day

I can't believe this day has finally arrived.

We met Annie and Esmerlda, the seller's realtor, at the house at 10:15 for the walk-thru. We had the car packed with a few things we were going to leave at the house in the afternoon: plants, a lamp with a timer to set in the living room, and cleaning supplies.

Esmerlda showed up first, as we were walking through the backyard and peeking into windows. She let us in. The house was cold, much colder than the sunny, mild day outside. I told Tim to leave the front door open as we looked through it, to let some of the warmth in. Esmerlda quickly said, "No! Not in this neighborhood!"

I managed to wait until she went into another room before bursting into tears. We're buying a house in a neighborhood so sketchy, we're not even safe to leave the door open for a few, brief minutes?

It was shabbier than I remember. And smaller. And the tenants had nailed miles of cable cords into the trim instead of the walls, so there will be much damage to the half-way decent trim when we pull all that crap out.

I cried for a little while. It was so overwhelming. I thought, "This is what I'm staking my future on?"

Finally, Tim told me to get it together, and we finished the walk-thru, and drove out near O'Hare for the closing at 11.

That took about an hour and a half. I'd give more details on it, but frankly, it was so freaking boring I almost fell asleep in the middle of it. (I am not even exaggerating.) We wrote our signatures fifty million times, and waited around for a long time while the closer tried to track Emma's wire transfer. Once that was located, they also found out that someone at Emma's office had listed a unit number on the Predatory Lending Certificate, so it appeared that we were buying a condo instead of a house. Since everything else was done, we were free to go, and Annie would give us the keys once the certificate was accurate. We shook hands all around, and accepted congratulations on being new home owners, though, really, it wouldn't be official until the certificate cleared and we had the keys in our hands.

Our original plan was to go to the house next and celebrate by walking down to the Brown Sack, picking up lunch, and eating it in the new place. But since we had some time to kill, and didn't superofficial own the house yet, we decided to go to Hot Doug's. That took up a good 2 hours or so, and helped us not look at the clock every 5 minutes, wondering what the hell was taking so long(!?!) After, we drove to the house, parked in front, and just stood outside, looking at it.

I started crying again.

This time it was about awe.

Once I calmed down, we walked down the block to a corner store to get some Topo Chico (my latest obsession). It was mid-afternoon, and Mozart Elementary school (across the street from the corner store) had just let out. Kids were running around the playground, crowding in the store, and parents were picking them up. It just felt so goddamn neighborhoody, I almost started crying again. We got the call while inside, and Annie came over and gave us the keys.

And then, in a very anti-climactic way, it was official. We were home owners.

We moved the few things in, and banged around the house a bit. I did a video tour of the place for my mom. Tim brought some fancy whiskey, and we toasted and blessed the house. I wondered why I had the melt-down earlier, because this time, I thought about how perfect it was for us. I pulled out some nails, added missing light bulbs, and ran screaming from the bathroom when I saw how grody the toilet seat was.

To Do List: Buy a new toilet seat.

Towards the end, when I ran out of nails that would yield to my fingers, but didn't quite have the steam to tackle more cleaning, I took my Topo Chico and a homemade cigarette out to the back stoop. I sat there for a few minutes, smoking and looking over the dandelion-filled backyard, the other, neighboring yards I could see into, the corner store, and even a bit of Mozart above the trees. It was quieter than I am used to, living as we do on a busy boulevard, though the traffic could be heard a little from a distance. It was raining a bit, and the wet weather raised the scent of spring earth.

I thought, "This is my piece of earth."

This is mine.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Barreling down

We're barreling down on Closing Day right now: April 23. We got word last week that we could close earlier if we wanted, but I had already arranged time off from work. More importantly, April 23 is an auspicious day. It's Shakespeare's birthday. Seeing how we're buying a house on Shakespeare street, (not to mention the obvious Tim is a Shakespearean actor) that we would close on his birthday seems positively serendipitous. The universe clearly has plans for us.

So we're waiting another--holeeeee crap--only two weeks! and then we'll close. Shortly thereafter, we'll get in friends who paint and do electrical work, and hire the roofers, and madly pack up our current apartment. We've planned moving day for May 10.

Every day the conversations become more real. This weekend, we wrote up a Needs and Wants list. Needs: washer and dryer; butcher block for the kitchen; dining room table and chairs; a dresser for Tim; grill; outdoor furniture. Wants: TV stand; liquor cabinet; Capiz shell hanging pendant lamp for the dining room. Really, those lists are nowhere near complete.

My parents went out to Oggie's antique mart this weekend to look for a table for us. The pictures make me want to visit--it looks like it's crammed top to bottom with interesting antique and junk to sift through.

I like this farm table on the bottom (not the one with the white legs). I like how rough-hewn it is, but mostly, I like the idea that we'd have a table that came from Kansas. Tim doesn't like it much at all, but will allow it, if it means a lot to me. I don't know if I want to be owing him a massive decorating favor, though.

There are piles and piles of chairs, and these are my favorites (the warmer, reddish ones).

And my favorite chair item of all time! The wooden rocker! This one is mine for sure, and Tim knows better than to contest it.

Speaking of my desire for a Capiz shell lamp, the lamp hanging above that rustic old farm table will look like this:

My design sensibilities are based on no school of thought, no art school training, just a solid love of pretty things. I might be crazy, but I think this lamp will be perfect in the dining room, an interesting tropical contrast to to a rough farm table.

We went to the Container Store yesterday to look around and talk about what we wanted. It was one of the less stressful, more enjoyable visits I've ever had there, for we only windowshopped, and fantasized about what we wanted. We didn't go there to actually buy anything, which usually is a blood-pressure-raising experience when you look at their prices.

With each day, each conversation, each decision made, this all becomes more real. I couldn't sleep last night after we decided on Moving Day.

And if you'll excuse me, now I'm off to daydream about what my garden will be like.