Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lovin' where I'm at

We've had our house for sale for about 2 months now. I know, it's not that long. Many have had theirs listed for sooo much longer. But you always think it won't be like that for you. It's such a big decision to list it, to stick the sign out there (well, for some of us), that you think as soon as the sign goes out, people will be knocking on the door with an offer in hand.

Needless to say, that hasn't happened.

We decided to hold an open house the last two Sundays. We advertised in the paper, we had signs at the corners, we cleaned and decluttered and I rode around in the van for 3 hours with the kids and the dog. No one showed. Not one single person stopped to look at our house.

Okay, so now what? We decided to sign up on a website, For Sale By Owner. They had a feature where you could pay an additional fee and get an MLS # and your listing would go on other websites like Realtor.Com. We'll see if this does anything. I'm not trying to be pessimistic but I'm leaning that way. There is a fine line between pessimism and realism and I weave back and forth between the two.

So in the hopes of staying postive and realistic, I've decided to start thinking about what I love about this house. And what I would love to have the chance to miss if we were to move. :)

1. I love the yard. That is, after all, why we bought it. We had a party this weekend with 4 different families and there was plenty of space for everyone. We have a large, fenced-in yard and a large open side yard.

2. I love the garage. The garage easily fits our van and truck (although I have to go really slow when parking the truck in there) and there is lots of space for sports equipment, bikes, lawn mower, snow blower, etc. I know we will miss this if we downsize to a 2-car garage. Our current garage is the size of a 3-car garage but only has 2 garage doors. It also has an upstairs just for storage. I love having storage space.

3. I love our kitchen. We have so much storage in our beautiful new cupboards. The pantry is so well-designed (give myself a pat on the back for that one) and holds so much. The lay-out is efficient (give my brother-in-law a pat on the back for coming up with that) and I really enjoy being in there. There is a window over the sink looking out into the back yard so washing dishes is even enjoyable. I even love the hardware on the cupboards.

4. I love the location. We live right across from an old school with a huge yard and baseball diamond. There is a sidewalk that goes along there perfect for bike rides. There have been several pick-up ball games started over there. It's very close to town - about 5 minutes from any store or restaurant. It's sometimes a little too convenient to the restaurants. We didn't start a cash budget for eating out for nothing!

There are other things I appreciate about our house (and surroundings) but these are what I will miss the most. Or maybe we will live here longer than planned and I will get to appreciate them longer. Regardless of what happens, I want to try to stay focused on the positive and be thankful for what we have and not dwell on what we don't have. There is much to be thankful for.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Two weeks ago: I was looking through the paper and happened to look through the car ads, just for fun. I saw a Honda Pilot advertised and it said "8 passenger seating" and "4-wheel drive". I thought, "Wow, I'd love to have an SUV with 8 passenger seating and 4-wheel drive and that doesn't look too huge." I mentioned it to Josh, who gave some kind of non-committal answer, and then said that I thought it'd be fun to go on a date and test drive some cars. His response was "why?". I said it would be free and it'd be nice to see what is out there and if we like it. It's certainly not realistic to take 4 children and 2 car seats with you to test drive a vehicle. He didn't see the point in even looking right now since we're not going to buy.

One week ago: Josh came home from work. He had taken our van in to get the air conditioner fixed. We noticed it wasn't working on one of those freaky warm days in March but knew we had awhile before it became a necessity. Then we forgot about it and had to drive without air 4 hours on a regular warm day. Not a good thing. So he had taken it in and I asked what the verdict was. He said, "Remember how you thought it would be fun to go test-drive some vehicles?" Uh-oh.

It turns out our ac wasn't just broke, it was beyond broke. Every single thing connected to the ac would have to be replaced and rebuilt and the poor mechanics (who are very well-qualified and have kept our truck running smoothly for 10 years now) were nervous to take on such a job. They were concerned that once they put it back together, other things would start leaking and falling apart because of all the work involved. And then he told me the cost. They had stopped estimating when they got to $2000 to see if we still wanted them to do it. They wondered how much we wanted to invest in a van that was only worth $5000 tops. $2000 wasn't even the final estimate.

We thought about it. Hmm, spend more than $2000 and hope nothing else breaks or falls apart or needs fixing. It didn't take long for us to decide that wasn't a good option.

So we started looking around on-line. As much as I love the idea of an SUV, I don't want to drive a beast. I don't want to deal with kids having to climb over car seats. I want more storage, not less. And I don't want to have to take out a loan to fill up with gas. That left us with another mini-van.

When life gives you lemons (in this case, having to drive a mini-van), make lemonade (get a cool one!) Because my brother-in-law is a manager at a dealership, he was able to get us an excellent deal on a 2007 Dodge Caravan with stow-n-go (yes, extra storage!), captain chairs in the middle (easier to get through), a dvd player (yes, quiet kids on long trips!), and a 6-disc cd changer! Hmm, I wonder if you can play that up front while the kids listen to the dvd player in the back? Not sure how that will work. I'll take quieter kids over listening to music though.

We go pick it up on Saturday and I am so excited! He offered to drive it up for us (from Indiana, no less!) but my parents are having the kids stay with them this weekend so it worked out for us to take a road trip down there to get it. We can do some shopping on the way and hang out with my sister and her husband for a bit. Then on Sunday we're having an open house so there is a lot going on this weekend. It will be nice being able to focus on what needs to be done while the kids are having fun at Grandma and Grandpa's.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Life lately

We had our annual garage sale last week and it went really well. It was organized and priced and ready to go by Wednesday at 4:30. I think that is the earliest I've ever been ready! Thursday morning we were out at 7:30 pulling tables out and we had our first stop at 8 (advertised to start at 9). Around 11:30 it started pouring but people were still stopping! It stopped raining around 12:30 and the sun came out for the rest of the afternoon. Friday was a lot slower but we did get rid of lots of clothes and only ended up with a few boxes left. The upstairs of our garage looks great and our basement is also cleaned out. And I have 7 empty storage tubs! Definitely worth the time and effort this year.

We had new flyers made advertising our house and had copies sitting out during the garage sale. We also had to keep filling the box attached to the sale sign. We're planning on doing a couple open houses soon to get some potential buyers in here.

Today for Mother's Day, we went out to Fazoli's after church and then I took a nap while Josh mowed lawn. I went to some stores by myself and then went for a run with a friend. I came home and hung out with the family and now am waiting for some fried pickles from a local restaurant and a fountain pop. My life is pretty darn good because this is actually a typical Sunday around here. I feel amazingly blessed to share this life with Josh and our 4 interesting and entertaining children.