Sunday, April 20, 2014

Nesting and Moving on

Nesting is what expecting parents do in preparation for their newborn.

With Dylan, Laura and I we're not the best of nesters.  We got a lot of baby items from family and friends, so we really didn't purchase much.  We didn't paint the guest bedroom a bright baby blue.  We didn't get large wooden letters to spell "Dylan" on the wall of his crib.  Thankfully, someone gave us a crib...which we finally started using about 6 months in.

A lot of our nesting was more mental preparation.  Laura and I were giving the first grandchild to both of our parents.  We also were one of the first of our friends to have gotten married, much less, have a child.  I remember having a strong feeling of jumping off into the unknown.  Like standing on an outlook, wondering where to place the first step down the mountain side.

To prep, we each read a book on attachment parenting, which basically said a lot of "do what you think is best." (It's easy to read books with a message like that!)  I had an encounter with a woman at an airport.  She noticed my reading and commented, seemingly friendly enough, with an "oh! Are you expecting?" I replied confidently, "Yes, I am."  She directly went into recommending me a book on training your baby "I got my baby on a schedule very quickly."  I had my first moment of being a bad ass dad and replied to her, "Why would you want to train your child?  Your child is not a pet."  That ended the conversation real quick. 

Well, over the past number of weeks of stressful task completing, I've had a few people mention with a laugh, "you two are in extreme nesting mode." I hadn't given it too much thought, prior to this.  To be honest, Laura and I were thinking more along the lines of "we need to get things done prior to mid June!"  I completed my graduate management admissions test (GMAT, like a GRE but for an MBA program).  Laura has been chugging away at her two MPA classes.  Once she is done, she'll have just 1 class left prior to graduating.  We've done our fair share of additional rosaries and we're doing all of what we can to read up, get smart and get prepped for a baby with a CHD and 22q deletion.

The biggest task that we've undergone is in selling our condo and moving out.  Back in January, when Laura and I thought we were an invincible power couple, I solicited advice from a family friend.  He wisely suggested that we should look into moving and make a sound decision, if we can afford it.  Sounded like a smart notion to me and Laura.  Before you knew it, we were out looking for town homes in Burke and replacing door knobs (the kind that look really nice, but are NOT kid preventative. Read: Dylan played in the toilet water a good amount).

I (and helpful family members) repainted our place.  I think I've become quite handy with all of the fixes we've done.  We put our place on the market and had 2 realtors come by on the first day.  Two and a half days in, we got an offer for more than we asked and they didn't ask for any closing costs.  We were thrilled and could barely believe it.  To make things even more unbelievable, the person buying our house has the same first and last name as one of us.  For the sake of his/her privacy, I won't spell it out, but lets just say, that we have a running joke about Laura being a time traveler in the future.

With having an offer on our home, we were able to place an offer on a townhouse in Burke, right close to the VRE (train into DC) for Laura.  We love the area.  Paths between the woods, tall trees, hilly, great sense of community, despite being in northern Virginia.  We were on our way through the home inspection when we caught sight of the events to come.

Our home inspector noted that there was visible sign of termite damage.  Two weeks ago, I knew next to nothing about termites.  The sellers were willing to do the right thing and send out a specialist to investigate further.  On Good Friday morning, I was on site with the general contractor, realtors from both parties and a structural engineer.

The termite damage was 3 layers beyond what was visible to our inspector.  I took pictures, drew diagrams and asked as many questions as I could.  Since Laura was in a doctors appointment, I needed to explain the situation to her afterwards.    The general contractor said phrases like, "don't any one ask me about the monetary impact at this point." and "this is a huge deal" and "I can't give anyone an idea about the duration of the job until I have more details."  A brief summary of the situation is that there was 4 structural pieces of wood totally compromised.  This caused the floor above to sink a few inches.  This would require replacing part of the floor above, 8 feet up on the walls and custom ordering a new front door.  Just to make this whole situation even more wild, there was a live snake in the storage area.  For all you Christian readers, I was definitely feeling like this was a sign.

Laura and I quickly came to the decision that we needed to find an out.  I talked to our realtor, who totally agreed and understood.  We used an out and decided to go to plan B.

Plan B is to live as homeless people!

Just kidding, plan B was to look at a property in Bristow, near the last train station of the VRE and near my parents.  On Holy Saturday, we went out to a home that we had our eyes on for the past three weeks.  It's cheaper, larger, and a single family home.  On our way over, we got alerts from that the house dropped in price.  Perfect timing!  We saw the home and loved it.  We did our due diligence and viewed the other houses on the market, this only instilled our stance on the first home.  Our realtor took the lead and put together a game plan for our offer.  He did research on the recent comparable sales and suggested that we offer 13k less than the current asking price and 7.5k in closing.  We couldn't believe it - we were ready to offer asking price!  We deferred to his judgement and, about an hour later, we got a counter offer for the price we asked and 2k in closing costs.  That's a deal!

We're now relaxing on Easter Sunday afternoon, for what seems like the first time in forever.  (Frozen fans, I did that on purpose... yes, Dylan is watching Frozen right now - how else am I going to write this blog post!).  We went to an early mass, Dylan napped, and we spent a few hours playing, dancing, reading and relaxing.  Laura isn't working on school work. I'm not studying.  We're not stressing about our house situation. We aren't entertaining guests and we're not tired.  We're off to visit grandparents and then have lunch in Bristow with my family.

Thanks for reading, Happy Easter! 

PS: We're so thankful to Sean Blanchette, our realtor, for getting us through this.