Stop This RV, I Want to Get Off

New plan: Finish this effing WIP and then set it aside before it drives me crrrrazy.

Accept that I will not be “winning” Camp this season but neither will I be packing a houseful the day before closing because I was too busy writing to prepare for the inevitable.

Write something else. For fun. Because this used to be fun before I got stuck in the nightmare of this particular story. Maybe something fluffy and romantic where my “prep” work includes staring at pictures of attractive celebrities and yet more attractive interior design to “get ideas” and “flesh out my characters”.

Nap more. Seriously. Because… I’m pregnant. And there is no work more strenuous that building a human being from scratch.

camping-while-pregnant

Yes.

Who decided that camping pregnant was a good idea? Oh, me? I did that? Whoops, my bad.

Camp Comes Last

I’d like to say I took a few days off and now I’m back with a vengeance but it’s probably more accurate to say I’m back with a short-lived, half-hearted grudge. I haven’t written anything other than work-related emails in several days and it’s not looking like I’m going to get much done today either.

But sometimes when you have two jobs, a toddler, are selling your house, buying another and are pregnant, you have to prioritize doctor’s appointments and three hours of signing legal paperwork over your hobbies.

The good news is that, at least in my own head, I’ve resolved the central conflict of my WIP and all I have to do now is make sure that makes it onto the page in a satisfactory way. Then maybe write an epilogue. Then start the editing process which I will inevitably half-ass (what with all the doctor’s appointments, vendor meetings, and house-related shenanigans) before throwing that sucker up on Amazon before kid number two takes over my life. Which is September. So I have until September to completely finish and let go of this story.

You know, as soon as I get three seconds between meetings and appointments to like, breath.

paperwork-is-counterproductive

My Realtor is Trying to Destroy Me

How else would you explain his lack of proper notice of showings? It was bad enough when he called 30 minutes ahead that time but this time? No call? Just strangers showing up at my door demanding entrance?! What the sweet hell?

TMNT 11in Figure

Actual son not pictured.

Let me set the scene: Monday, 2pm, my toddler has just fallen asleep after a day long struggle to get him to rest after a fitful night and a cranktastic morning. He’s on the living room floor, on his little Mickey Couch, all snuggled up and snoring. The lights are off, the toys are scattered everywhere and the Light Classical Music station is playing at the lowest volume on TV. I’m on the couch, half-asleep taking a Buzzfeed quiz to determine how extra I am based on my guacamole preferences.

THE DOORBELL RINGS. It rings again. There’s pounding knocking. It rings AGAIN!

I look outside and see two cars in my driveway that don’t belong to anyone I know, not the one FedEx truck I actually expect to see. Three people are standing outside my door when I open it and one of them says, “We’re here for the showing at 2.”

Um… no you’re freaking not.

I ask them to wait while I call my realtor. He gives me an old man song and dance about how the showing is tomorrow at 2. Tuesday at 2. He’s sure because he had to go to New Hampshire tomorrow but postponed to show them our house at 2.

By the way, he didn’t notify us about Tuesday at 2 either.

I go back and say, “There’s been a mistake.” She assures me it was not hers. I tell her I’m not letting her in my house right now. My son’s asleep, the house is a mess, and I am very angry with my realtor. But the people who came to see it, the people who have been trying to get an appointment but haven’t been able to yet are PISSED and want to come in now. I say no. I say reschedule. They sigh and storm off but agree.

What the sweet hell?

I have never bitchslapped an old man. But I will. I will if it happens again.

walken-bitch-slap-demotivational-poster-1224438358

Is There Gold in Them There Leftovers?

Oh a house-hunting we go, my fam and I and today’s selection was a definite NO.

As far as crap shacks go, the house was on the decent end of the spectrum… unless you count what the current tenants have done to it.

bad-tenants

I have ish with buying tenant-occupied houses partially because my bestie was in a rent-to-buy situation many years back that didn’t work out. She and her husband spent a month cleaning out the possum-trap of a pool. They painted, they repaired, they loved… and then they lost. It was a total bullcrap bait-and-switch and who’s to say, when you try to buy an occupied house, that the tenants will actually leave when the deed switches hands.

Ish number two is exactly what I saw today: tenants who do not give a flying fudgesicle about your hardwood floors and granite counter tops. They’re here to drink some (by which I mean AH LOT of) beer, leave their laundry all over the floor, let you know what they had for lunch… yesterday and possibly last week, and totally light a candle before leaving the house. Oh yeah, unattended candle burning in the living room on a shelf with a few too many screws built in the dark with a butter-knife screwdriver. And that was just the first floor.

The basement was the stuff of nightmares. If you’re me. I have nightmares about bathrooms and finding bathrooms and fitting into bathrooms (oftentimes, the doors to the bathrooms in my dreams are mouse holes or Dagobah caves) or feeling like I’m trapped in the bathroom only it’s not a real bathroom and I have to pee on a dirty lounge chair. The basement bathroom in this house was about a foot above floor level without the accompanying rise in ceiling.

Now, I am a small woman. When I can touch the ceiling without much effort, well that there is a tiny ass little room. And there was a shower. And I think the top of my head would have reached just above the shower head. Soooo….. no. That’s a no. Nightmare bathroom? Definitely not.

We thanked the realtor, who had to work WAY TOO HARD to get us in to see the place, as we stepped over the decorative shards of broken beer bottles in the driveway, noting that Oh, Wow, the garage IS big if it can fit that many empty boxes of beer! Then we drove away shuttering and frankly, a bit offended that they would ask THAT MUCH for a place that honestly, could have burned down by now. It’s been about four hours so… yeah, a little place like that with so much kindling (the dirty laundry and empty beer cases on the floor) could probably go up pretty quickly, right?

In no way does this compete with the Game of Thrones basement gate house but it was up there on the “this showing was a mistake” list.

Meanwhile, we saw a house last week in the final stages of construction that might just be a dream house. We put in a call to the contractor today to see if we can’t get things moving because… seriously, the market in our area right now is crap shacks and junior crap shacks (those being smaller by a ridiculous degree) and our house might just sell supa-quick despite its smaller size if only because it seems pretty obvious that no one’s been murdered in our bathrooms.

Just Paint Over It, They’ll Never Know

Another Sunday, another open house and this one, on the surface at least, was… passable. It was an old structure, possibly past its hundredth birthday with patches and paint-overs and very new siding. But there were child hazards everywhere.

The front porch was a granite slab about 3ft off the ground with no railings, attached to the front steps which also had no railings and the smallest of the bedrooms on the second floor was immediately adjacent (inches, really) from the staircase which had, of course, no railings. There were some hastily patched holes in the floor boards my son could certainly punch out of place without too much effort and all of the windows were set down at toddler height making it so very easy for my son to fall out of. The listing said “finished carpeted basement” which turned out to be a desk in a cellar with discount carpet fragments laid across the concrete floor and the stones that formed the foundation painted white. Above the desk, hanging from a ceiling beam was a Harvard diploma. As with most Harvard graduates I’ve encountered, the owner must think we’re all much too dumb to understand the meaning of “finished” or “carpeted”.

But it was painted serene and HGTV-approved colors and the floorplan was flowing and comfortable. The bathrooms were newly cabineted and clean (although the first floor half bath had 3 very large windows on two walls making your bathroom time feel like a neighborhood performance) and there was plenty of space for a family of three.

Were I a serial killer, I would not delight in this home quite like the one we visited last week but there was still a vibe. A bad vibe. Maybe no one was murdered, but perhaps a few wives were slapped around by abusive husbands. Maybe some children were punished corporally. Maybe there’s Yellow Wallpaper under some of that paint? I felt stifled and not just because all four realtors were wearing the same overabundance of perfume. Moreover, I felt like I didn’t want to be there, not just live there. I didn’t want to visit the people who might live there. I didn’t want to be their neighbor. I didn’t want to work with them or grocery shop in the same town. I just couldn’t wait to leave, hike back up the street to our car, and let the people who are impressed with fancy bathroom cabinets fight over it.

Like last week, we gave up on open houses after that. We’re not serious shoppers at the moment anyway and with me working less than part-time to take care of the child, it’s probably not the best time to move. But after three weeks of disappointing open houses, we’ve concluded this: people are getting REAL good at taking pictures for their listings. Too good. Ain’t no “no filter” bragging going on here, now, is there?

“This House is Suspect”

or so I whispered to my husband in the unfinished basement of an allegedly newly constructed house this afternoon.

I love Open Houses because I like to see how other people live. I like to imagine that I live other than how I do. I like to redecorate in my mind and imagine how much easier it would be to corral my kid in this new space. And then I like to go home because I hate moving.

My husband and I have it in our heads, however, that we need more space and a second garage and one more bedroom and a better school district and we don’t want to pay for any of those things. We belong on House Hunters. We are those assholes. Although quietly so because we do not announce how much we hate the paint and would prefer granite counter tops so much as we say, “Oh, mmhmm” to whatever the realtor says and then bitch behind her back.

Oh but the house we saw today! It was lovely from the outside, on a quiet street in a busy area of town close to grocery stores and ice cream stands and not too far from work. It was a split level, which he loves and I tolerate, but laid out such that I could stand living there. Gorgeous kitchen WITH granite counter tops and those drawers that won’t slam no matter how hard your toddler tries. But there were scuff marks. And gouges. And paint peels. All those little destructions even a year with a child or a pet would make or several years with adults who occasionally bump into things or drop things or spill things would make. Things that are no big deal… unless it’s a brand new construction.

I ran my hand over a section of cabinet that looked like it had been keyed by Carrie Underwood and asked, “This is a new construction?” The realtor affirmed and added some comment about how new is always nicer. “Is it?” I asked, rubbing a dark spot to see if it would come off. It didn’t.

My aunt has three dogs and 4 cats. Her house has this kind of damage.

My husband asked about the unfinished basement. In a split level. That conspicuously mentioned the extra living area in the basement… you know, for a Neil Gaiman character known for his weapons skills who doesn’t mind a little mold or terrifying darkness. “No,” said the realtor who didn’t even bother asking us to sign in or if we had representation, “This is it. This is finished.”

So we should finish installing the light fixtures and the electrical socket plates, then? Do you still have the paint so I can touch up the walls and the trim where the paint has been scraped off? Oh and you’re asking price is more than the 5 year old house down the street with 1200 more feet of living space?

t-alp-desolation-wld-07-2013-052_optDarling, this house is suspect. My estimation is that they ran out of money and now have to sell as high as they can to cover their losses. And if this “new construction” is indeed “finished” looking like it’s been lived in for 20 years, I can’t imagine what other shortcuts they may have taken to get it on the market. Let’s go home, shall we? Let’s buy more baby gates and call it a day.