Well, I’m exhausted
Well, I’m exhausted
Current mood: chipper
Man, we had a good, yet not as productive as possible weekend. Nate took Thursday and Friday off and we drove up to Knoxville to view houses with realty husband-wife team Bob and Sally. We viewed houses with Bob 2 weeks ago and he seemed nice. Every property we viewed was full of edible plants and Bob was quick to point them out. Did you know that Kudzu is both delicious and nutritious? Well, it is. You can make salads, teas, anything you can do with other leafy greens. I have now ended world hunger.
Anyway, after seeing the homes we had chosen, Bob gave Sally a search description and she began sending listings. Somehow our listings were all between $175-200,000! Um, what? Plus, they were all fixer-uppers! Double what? It made less sense due to the fact that I e-mailed Sally with a series of search parameters that included raw land and less than $100,000 for said raw land, preferably less that $50,000! I mean, we have to be realistic here folks, we’re not buying $200,000 worth of house just to spend 10s of thousands to fix it up. It’s just not happening.
So, we continued searching on our own and sending the listing numbers to Sally to see the full listings. We set up a meeting with 2 mortgage people they had recommended before and viewings of some properties we had chosen from our own search. At the last minute, I added 3 houses from their list as a “we’ll see if we have time.” So, upon arrival Thursday morning, the 1st mortgage guy was in their office teaching a finance class. How convenient. We could meet with him today, right now, and get an idea of what we could borrow. How nice. So we did. But it was a very quick meeting that was held on a table in the middle of the office where everyone could hear. I don’t know about you, but I’m not passing out all of my financial info in front of a big group of strangers pretending not to listen but obviously doing so (as was proven later in the day by comments from the secretary!) Then it was off we go to see… the expensive houses from Sally’s list. Um, what about our properties? Well, we’ll see those in the afternoon b/c they’re vacant and we have these nice scheduled viewings already set up for the homes (several of which turned out to be vacant as well.)
Anyway, after viewing the homes and determining 1 of them may have potential, we stopped for lunch. There we got a call from Sally about what the mortgage guy said. Um, why didn’t the mortgage guy call us? He had both our numbers, and he even had my business card. Why was Sally our go between? Well, she said he said we couldn’t buy property, but we could buy anything else we wanted so long as we had 10% down. Well, that sucks. So we went back to the office (no reason to see the property we can’t buy, right?) and picked a few other houses to look at. Delightfully, Bob and Sally had to go do something for a while and left us logged into the viewing stuff so we could set the parameters how we wanted. So we picked a few other places to see and off we went.
At this point, I feel I should mention that Bob drives like an old man. I know his fancy SUV had to have a gas pedal in there somewhere, but Bob didn’t seem to know where it was. Amazingly, Bob found the gas pedal on the way back. But he also had a meeting that he couldn’t reschedule! HA!
So, Thursday was a bust. We got rid of Bob as quickly as we could and programmed my GPS with the properties they hadn’t shown us (by the way, they’d already kicked several possibilities off our list without showing us the full listings b/c they didn’t think we’d like them. Well, we haven’t liked anything they’ve picked for us either) Unfortunately, Bob is programmed to take up all daylight hours and if he can’t, Sally steps in and starts chatting. So, we missed out on the properties Thursday afternoon, but I saved that route for later.
Also, before leaving their office, Sally informed me that our meeting with the other mortgage guy was scheduled for 9 a.m. at their (Bob and Sally’s) office. Why there? No good reason. His office was right next door. Just go outside and over some grass and Voila! There’s the mortgage guy. So I played passive aggressive and left him a little message that evening saying how excited we were to meet him at HIS office in the morning, here’s my number, blah blah.
I must say, it worked. 8:30 we get a call from mortgage guy #2, a little confused.
Him: “I thought we were to meet at Bob and Sally’s. Sally said that’s what you wanted to do.”
Me: “Well, there’s just so much going on over there, I have trouble concentrating, and you’re just next door, right?”
YAY! Meeting in private, behind a closed door, away from Bob and Sally. Plus, Sally had made a big deal of being friends w/ this guy, so it’s not them, it’s me. :):) First thing out of his mouth was, “Sally says you’re buying a house. Is that just realtor speak?” Luckily, I’d already had a nice conversation on the phone with him outlining our options and it had focused more on building on raw land than buying a house, so he knew this was a change and something may be up. He’s a very smart man. Anyway, this meeting was great. Turns out, we could buy land if we wanted. HAH!
So, we were a little late to Bob and Sally’s office, and we were in trouble. They’d just spoken to mortgage guy #2 and found out we’d asked him about raw land and he’d said we could. They knew we’d figured them out and had learned how to work around their shenanigans. They made a big deal out of having to reschedule all of our viewings! 2 of the 3 places we’d picked were off the market as of last night anyway, so rescheduling wasn’t due to our showing up 10 minutes late. So, we picked a few other places to see. Since our search thus far had been unsuccessful, and they were still steering us (not so subtly) away from raw land, we agreed to see the uber-creepy farm house on 17+ acres that was in a great location and a decent price for the acreage, but was definitely built on indian burial grounds or something. I mean, look at that picture. Would you go see this house? I know I wouldn’t! But I did. And I’m not dead yet. But the house is a pit! If we were going to film a horror film where the house comes and kills the owners or even anyone who looks at it, this would be perfect! It even had a creepy barn and a super scary nature trail of doom out back! Plus there were boards missing in the floor and slanty floors and moss growing inside! Not a fixer upper! It even comes with what appears to be a serial story about the president and a kidnapping set in the 30s and involving a young girl a $5mil in ransom. If you want copies, they’re on the floor in the foyer. I didn’t take one b/c I didn’t want the house to come get it!
So, Nate’s dad and brother met us for lunch and to view a couple of fixer-uppers that afternoon. Bob kept “forgetting” that we were meeting Larry and Aaron for lunch and offering to stop and get us a burger or something. Uh, no. He bought our lunch Thursday, under protest, we weren’t letting him do it again. I don’t want him to think we feel we should owe him something.
We had a nice lunch and discussed our growing disgust with Bob and Sally and their ignoring what we want in an effort to upsell. We decided we’d view these 2 homes and then ditch Bob and go see the properties I’d programmed the route for Thursday. We saw the homes and the 1st one that had great potential sealed it’s fate. It’s just too much work for the price. Plus, it’s a bit hard to find. Plus, I think the “rustic guest house” (read, home-built shanty) made Nate sick on Thursday and me sick Friday due to the mold and mildew gleefully spreading throughout.
The other house is not a fixer-upper. It’s a great little house that is extremely well built and loved by it’s owner; a sweet old man who doesn’t want to move but has to b/c of his asthema. The style isn’t at all what we would pick, but it’s so well done, you have to respect it. But it’s super small. It would be perfect for just us, but then where does the business live?
So, we managed to ditch Bob, but he drove so slowly and kept trying to take us way out to this other house we’d kind of liked. We only got to see 2 or 3 of the 8 properties on our list before dark. Oh well. I think they may have lost our business due to ignoring our parameters. Friday night we discussed it, and I think have made the best decision for where we are right now. We’re now going to look for a small, move-in ready home in West Knox County. No big yard for a shooting garden, no fancy meeting space. It’ll be our living space, our computer office, and our veggie garden. I’ll keep meeting people in coffee shops like I have to do here due to stupid Dekalb County zoning restrictions and we’ll look for property once we’ve gotten more settled into the area. Knox county zoning is easy, just 25% or less of the house and it must be attached. Since I’m not meeting clients there and Nate and I are the only employees, the rest should be a snap! Of course, anything we buy will hinge on our getting things approved with the zoning office. But we have a friend whose cousin is a realtor and we’ll give him a try this coming weekend. Delightfully, Bob and Sally are out of town. Nate overheard that they were planning their daughters wedding. Oh really? Did you hear I was a wedding photographer? I didn’t hear about this wedding thing. Hmm…
Now, to the fun. Thursday night we stayed with my friend from Governor’s School, Devon, her daugher Aisling (sorry if I spelled that wrong, but I think I got it right), and their energetic kitty Pantoof (who had just been spayed, but didn’t act any the worse for wear). It was fun. We ate at the Tomato Head (Robin, I thought of you and I almost bought you a cookie to mail, but then thought that might not be the best idea. Let me know if you would like one, and I will try to get one this weekend). Then we stayed up talking to Devon while Aisling got ready for bed. She is a real cutie, by the way. Super energetic and fun. I can’t believe it took me 6 years to finally meet her! We didn’t get the great night’s sleep we’d hoped for, mainly due to Nate not feeling well. Stupid “rustic guest house!” But we awoke excited to meet the mortgage guy and trying to think of a way to get out of our day with Bob and Sally. See above.
Another extremely exciting thing we learned from mortgage guy #2. Not only is Nate’s job useless to our quest for house money, it’s actually detrimental. He needs to be concentrating on his freelance work, as that is money that will follow us to Knoxville. The job with evil boss (also referred to as Darth Vadar) is keeping him from cementing his freelance contacts and earning fat cash working with them. So he’s quitting tomorrow. He would quit today, but it’s supposed to be a super long one (b/c he took those 2 days off. Although I don’t see how it can be considered “vacation” if you have to make up those hours later. Of course, he will be charging overtime for those.) and he doesn’t want to extend that with a 45 minute talk and then have to spend the evening there working alone with Darth. Oh well. Tomorrow it is. Unless he just really gets fed up today and just does it. We’ll find out! 🙂
Friday we stayed with Michael and Merve. Michael and Nate were friends in high school and we photographed their wedding on January 1st. We all (Larry, Aaron, Michael, Merve, Nate and me) went out to eat Italian. I wasn’t feeling well due to hunger, dehydration, and a nasty headache that showed up during our 2nd viewing of the “rustic guest house” at that great-potential-having-fixer-upper. I felt better during dinner, but once I got up, my headache came back with a vengence!! On the way to Michael and Merve’s house, we had to stop so I could decorate the sidewalk with a delightful smattering of noodles, marinara, and bread. How fun. I felt much better, but still a bit funky. I had some Advil and some coffee and fell asleep during the movie everyone said was really good. This is after I stepped on Juji the cat. In fact, my first footstep into their house was on the cat. And my second nearly was as well. Silly cat. But Juji didn’t seem to hold it against me. In fact, he loved us. But that cat has some bloodlust in him! Michael and Merve say he gnaws on everyone. So we poked and played with him. He was cracking us up! Our cats seem so subdued next to the 2 we stayed with in Knoxville.
Nate and I both felt better Saturday morning. We got a little late start, but we had been so exhausted that it was definitely necessary. The day was beautiful and my GPS couldn’t find UNC Asheville, but that’s ok. We got there in under 2 hours and picked up Sara for lunch at an Irish pub. The food was tastey and reasonably priced. Then it was off to the Biltmore where Sara had a free pass for us thanks to her season pass! And what a perfect day! I was in such a good mood. Apparently, when I’m in a good mood I prance, so I did quite a bit of prancing. The house was beautiful, but what struck me most was the land around it. Even in winter with all the trees bare it is beautiful! And that view! I could’ve pranced around out there all day. Nate and Sara kept laughing at me, but that’s ok. I was laughing too, so I guess they were laughing with me. 🙂 I just had a grand time!
After our tour of the house (Sara was an excellent guide. She told us way more than the little tour book did.) we stopped by the bake shoppe. Sara got some super tasty orange sherbet and I had a wonderful cinnamon roll. Man was it good! Then we stopped by the hotel to dump our stuff and headed out for some tasty sushi! I’ve been wanting sushi for about a week now, maybe more. So I was super happy. The food was really good, though it’s been a while since I visited a sushi restaurant and I couldn’t quite remember what all of the things on the menu were. But we figured it out and ate our fill. YUM!
Sadly, Nate and I were still a bit pooped and so we went back to Sara’s dorm for a bit and then headed back to the hotel where we went to bed early. And then we had technical difficulties that morning. My phone decided that being an alarm clock was not important, so we over slept by an hour and woke up around the time we were supposed to be at Sara’s. I think I figured out what happened. I plugged it into the wall, but there was an issue and it didn’t know it was plugged it, so instead of ringing at 9, it just vibrated very quietly. The battery died on the way home, so that’s all I can figure happened. Another technical difficulty included my GPS. I told it to return to the start of our route from last night that took us from Sara to the hotel. Returning to the start would involve returning to Sara, right? Well, not today! It determined that we were confused and really wanted to go back to the hotel. So, we got on the highway and then it took us back to the hotel. I stopped an asked directions and when we got to Sara’s, I set a waypoint so we shouldn’t have this problem again.
We had a tasty lunch and then went back to the dorm to hang for a while. I showed Sara some apartment finding websites and we chatted for a while, but then she had a class and we headed back. All in all, it was a super fun visit. I can’t wait to move to Knoxville so that we can hang more often.
So, I think that’s about it. What a ridiculously long post. I hope you enjoyed reading about my weekend, I should go start on my to do list!