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Friday, July 25, 2014

Moving Drama and Landed Gentry

Behold the dream. To have a house of our own.  To be landed gentry. To no longer be poor white trailer trash, but poor white landowners. To sign away 30 years of our lives to a faceless, heartless corporate entity, a financial institution, a mortgage company. For is that not the American dream.  But, like so many heroes of legend and lore that have gone before us, we had to enter the Heart of Darkness before we could emerge into the brightness of the sun.  Despair, heartache and many challenges lay ahead of us before the dream was to be ours.

Behold the Board of Woe.  Let me explain. Nay! The complexities, tedium and minutia are too great  Let me instead sum up.  See you here a timeline of major events as they occurred.

April 1st, 2014 - We put the trailer (our home of almost 13 years) up for sale.
April 12th - A potential buyer makes an offer.
April 14th - The offer is accepted and a deal is struck.
April 17th - A manic day of house hunting ensues, a suitable abode is found  and an offer is made.
April 18 - 19th -A Bidding War breaks out, offer, counter offer and our eventual victory (Key dramatic music please).  (J met a bank teller who was a friend of the couple we engaged in the bidding war with when he went to deposit the money from the sale of the trailer. Oh, great are my feelings of despair that your friends lost the bidding war, I am so sorry.... no I'm not because they lost to us and we wanted, nay, needed the house more.)
April 21st - Our buyer pays us in cash for the trailer.
April 22nd - The House Inspector, mortgage appraiser and umpteen visits to bring yet more paperwork, initial signing, mid signing and final  signing of Loan papers through Axiom Financial (great people to work with)
April 23 - 27th -Exercises in logistics (i.e. packing)

The sum total of our existence (all our worldly goods) in storage units.

April 27th - We move in my parent's basement bedroom while we wait to close  and move into our house. 
I love my parents, I love my parents, I love my parents, I am so grateful for my parents and all they have done for me and helped me with.

April 29th - I am laid off from my job of 9 years. Bolt from the blue.  No warning.  Hello Kim we need you in a 3:00 pm meeting. How are things going for you today?  We have decided to eliminate your position, please turn in your key card and leave the building immediately.  You may return tomorrow morning to get the rest of your belongings. Pip pip cheerio.  I was needless to say stunned, laid low, gobsmacked.

April 30th - Go back to Axiom Financial and appraise them of the situation and redo the loan on just J's salary, since I no longer have an income to contribute to the mortgage.

May 5th - Pop-Can goes the way of all flesh and shuffles of its mortal coil.  My beloved 2003 Kia Rio's timing belt broke whilst driving down the road (we were driving to J's work from a bank run) this resulted in bent valves turning  my darling car into a rather large brick (with comfy seats). This malady occurred at the corner of homeless and panhandler's. An area that contains not one, not two, but three homeless shelters within a three block radius.  One sees the same panhandlers in this section of town every day.  And here I was.  Within one week I had become homeless, jobless, and car-less. Was this then to be my fate also?  I have never felt so very worthless in my life.
Alas, goodbye sweet Pop-Can, we knew ye well.  You were ever my most valiant steed.
She was sold for a pittance $220 (apparently the going rate fore a large brick with comfy seats).  Twas all I   could get.  So deep was my dispair that I am not ashamed to say that tears were shed.
But we got it worked out with Axiom Financial (they worked so hard for us).  They set us up with a different loan.  We had a higher monthly payment, but we could refinance to the original loan once I got a job.  Everything worked out in the end.  My parents generously allowed me to borrow one of their cars so I could get around and we continued the process of buying our new house.

May 17th, 2014.  Everything was approved, we got the house key and we were able to move into the small fortified building that we now call home.
Throw wide the gates of Atherton Storage unit 666 and let slip the beasts of burden, and let the carrying of heavy boxes begin.

 This is what we had dreamed of.  This is what we had worked for.  A house of our own.

 The Grand  Kitchen. 

 The Living room.

 Upstairs bedroom #1.
 Upstairs bathroom.
 Upstairs bedroom #2.
 The stairs.  Oh My Gosh!  We have stairs.  We have stairs in our house.
 The room of doors in the basement.
Basement Bedroom #1.  We turned this into the master bedroom because it had the large walk in closet, is 20 degrees cooler because it is in the basement, and is the darkest room in the house because J is a vampire.
 Basement Bedroom #2.
 The Walk in Closet.  Oh My Gosh!  I have a walk in closet.  I have a walk in closet in my house.
 Basement bathroom.
 Basement shower.
 The "L" room.  A basement room that is oddly shaped and has no closet and hence cannot be considered a bedroom.  So we shall turn it into a toy/painting/sewing room.
 The understairs  storage room.

 The Laundry room.  Oh My Gosh!  I have a laundry room.  I have a laundry room in my house.
 The brand new furnace which was one of our requirements after the inspection,as it was discovered that the original furnace was outdated and in need of repair.
 The water heater.  It also needs replacing, but we agreed to handle that if the furnace was replaced     (because it costs more and we can replace the water heater later.)
 The moving.
It took three truck loads.  Fortunately my brother-in-law's Father had a small U-Haul for his business that he allowed us to borrow for free on Saturday May 17th.  The Day of the Move.  The Day it did not rain, because Utah is a scrub desert and it hardly ever rains.
My sisters and their husbands helped move us in.  They sealed off one of the upstairs bedroom for the kids to play in while we all hauled boxes. 
As Boxmaster General I coordinated the placement of boxes.

In one day we were able to clean out our entire storage unit.
Twas a good feeling.
I could not have done it without the wonderful support of my loving husband (quite the handsome chap if I do say so myself, nudge, nudge, wink, wink).

Moving Out April 2014

We had five days to move.  We put the house on the market April 1st.  We had our first and only walk through April 12th, followed by an offer on April 14th, 2014.  Crazy fast.  We had seen trailers in our neighborhood with "For Sale" signs for at least 6 months.  One of our neighbors took two years to sell their place.  We expected 6 months.  It was on the market for about 2 weeks.
We signed papers and got the money April 21st... in cash.  We were not expecting him to come with his girlfriend, two adorable little girls, and pay in cash.  It was terrifying to have that much cash in our house overnight.  After our buyer had left (around 11pm at night), we took turns holding the stack of bills.  Our buyer wanted to move in Sunday afternoon because they needed to be out of their apartment by April 28th.  If they had stayed another day they would have had to sign another one year lease.  Since my husband is such a nice guy, we agreed to their terms.  My Dad's opinion was "Screw 'em, move out when your ready to leave."  We had experienced this before on the other end though.  When J originally bought the trailer the little old lady who lived there took 2 months AFTER papers were signed and he officially owned the place to get her stuff moved out.  J had to live in an extended stay hotel during the wait time and did not want anyone to go through that again.  So that left us with only 5 days to clear everything out.
We had a small 5' x 10' storage unit that we had started filling in March.  Getting the house ready to show we had to de-clutter a bit to make the space look bigger.
But our adorable 5' x 10' storage unit down the street had to be upgraded to a 10' x 10' to fit the rest of the stuff.
After 12 years you tend to accumulate a lot of stuff.
Our new storage unit.  I need to thank Atherton Storage for all of their help in setting up a unit.  They are the nicest people.

More moving.
I got a PO Box up by where I worked at the University Research Park.
One many many many car trips to the storage unit.
Our beloved Lord of the Rings swords came with us of course.  (In my home selling class I learned that, for those of you looking to sell, swords are not a selling feature of a home.)

But alas, our 10'x10' was not big enough for 12 years of stuff so we had to get another 5'x10' to shove it all in.  This storage unit was stuffed full on Saturday April 26th, 2014.  The day of the rain.  Utah, being a scrub desert, does not get much moisture.  Saturday was the only day we were able to utilize the help family members to move the big furniture items (bed, tv, futon, tv stand, dresser, painting table, etc) and their truck.  This was the only day in the month of April that it rained.  And rained.  And rained.  And rained.  It continued raining all day, all night, and into the next morning.  The only day we could move stuff, was the day it rained.
This is what was left of our home.  Our sanctuary.  Our little bit of postage stamp yard.  Our trailer.
 Our pink tree and our nearly dead but still clinging to life pine slowly being choked by vines.
 Our front porch that only visitors used.

 Our back shed surrounded by rose bushes.

 Our master bathroom.
 Our gorgeous soaking tub.
 Our lovely wide bathroom counter.

 Our now empty bedroom.

 Our hallway.
 Our second bedroom.
 Toy room.
 Painting room.
 Our living room.
 TV room.
 Our kitchen.

 I am going to miss my gas stove top so much.
 The backsplash not so much.
 The orange counters not so much.
 The gas stove top and oven I am going to miss a lot.
 We left our front window dragon.
 We are going to miss our central air conditioning unit so much.
 Our house key.
 The weird 1970's fake leather, wood, and painted brick.... I don't know what this was supposed to be.
 The second bathroom.
 Our bathtub and toilet.  I will miss them so much.
 This was Takashi's corner.
 I spent so much time in front of this mirror.
Yes, we miss our trailer very much.  But it was time to move on and into a house of our own.  But before that we spent the next month in a tiny basement bedroom at my parent's house while we were working through paper-work for the new house.
I started online house hunting December 2013, and intensified my searches to daily or near daily around February 2014.  By the time we put the house up for sale in April I knew what I wanted, where I wanted it, and what we could afford.  The trailer was "sold" April 14th and we knew we had about a week before we would meet with the buyer April 21st and sign the papers to finish the deal.  That left us with one week to find a house.  So we worked with our selling the trailer agent Kathy Jensen (nicest person in the world to work with) and our work schedules which ended up giving us about one day to hunt for houses.  We saw six and picked one.  Since I did not take pictures of the rejected houses, I will give their designated nicknames instead.

1 - The painted paneling basement house with the scary furnace room.
2- The crooked cupboard house.  Everything about it was run down and in various stages of disrepair.
3 - The Grandma House.  Complete with popcorn sealing, a laughably tiny kitchen, green linoleum floors, and brown shag carpet.
4 - The crazy Russian house.  As we were greeted by a crazy Russian lady in her bathrobe who proceeded to take us on a tour of her dirty house, expect the room her brother slept in because he worked the night shift.
5 - The fixer-upper.  When you walk in and see the refrigerator in the living room, you know something's up.  There was also a tangled bird-nest of wiring in the back.
6 - The our house.  The Fort.

$10,000 out of my price range (I'm the cheap one in the relationship), but move in ready and met most of our must haves.

The Fort was on the market 11 days.  We put in a bid.  Then three hours later another couple put in their bid and we got in a bidding war.  With steel, skill, and heart we won that war and began the loan process.