Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A real post

Ok, so this is a real post, with another picture post later tonight. If you've been wondering where I've been, here's how I've been keeping busy.

It seems in my life that the phrase, “When it rains, it pours” applies on a regular basis. For instance, in the last week:

-Sophie has been sleeping very little, leading to me getting very little sleep. She’s not teething as far as we can tell, she isn’t sick, but she just doesn’t want to sleep like she used to.

-I had to give grand rounds and journal club, and I’ve got to write a draft of my paper by next week. That equals many nights (like last night) where I am up till 1 AM working, Sophie howls from 3:30 to 4:30, I finally fall asleep at 6, and then I have to get up at 6:30.

-My experiments have been for crap. After transfecting cells on Saturday, I passed them Monday night. And I dropped five of my experimental plates on the way to the incubator. I saved some, but there’s a week of work I’ll never get back. I really need more sleep.

The big drama has been the house. We lowered the house price by 5 grand on Monday the 31st. It is now listed at what it was when we bought it six years ago. On Saturday the 5th, a couple went through it twice. They put in an offer on Sunday. We’d be selling for 10,000 less than we bought it for six years ago at their bid.

We countered a bit, but the final number is bad. It’s 2500 less than what we bought it for six years ago. If you factor in the repairs and the real estate commission, we’re out about 25,000. And we’ll have to write probably a 7 or 8 thousand dollar check (somehow) to sell it. I don’t know if we’ll get a home equity loan on our current house or what to come up with the money, but we don’t have any other choice.

And they are FHA, so we’re in for a very terrible inspection. And they may find even more things that will cost us money.

Yeah, I had a good long cry about that yesterday. If I would’ve know a year ago that we’d be where we are, I would have never even thought to move. We bought a house in 2002 to gain equity. We bought a little house so we had room in the budget to save for the future. We fixed up the house in order to make it nicer for us and future owners. And in one year, we’ve taken a huge loss on the house (that is not tax deductible), moved into a nice house (I have no issues with the new house, let that be said) with a house payment that does not afford us the same saving luxury that we had previously, and we’ve basically wiped out our non-retirement savings in order to buy the new house and sell the old one. That is totally against what I am about. I am a saver. I find security in knowing we are living below our means and saving for the future. It makes me calm. It makes me secure. And this entire house debacle has been the most heartbreaking experience of my life.

I wanted a place that would be better for Sophie: a better yard to play in, a neighborhood with kids, a safer house with room for her to grow, a shorter commute for us so she could spend more time with us. I did get all those things. As I said, I have no issues with the house itself. The issue is that I feel like I put us in a financial pinch we did not need to be in. No, we’re not going into foreclosure. It’s a stretch, but it is in the budget (well, one mortgage is. Two has wiped us out). There’s no reason we had to move when I was seven months pregnant. Sophie could’ve lasted a few years in the old house. Granted, there’s no guarantee that the real estate market would’ve been any better. But at least we would have known that the market was going downhill.

Instead, we bought the new house (we did get a decent price on it) and put the old one up for sale. The banks, the realtors, they all told us it would sell at a good number. We’d maybe break even on improvements. Well, then we lowered the price after no interest. Again, and again we lowered it. And here we are, 8 months after it went on the market, and we’re selling it for less than we paid for it. And way less than what we had ever planned to get. I would’ve lived in it for a few more years if I would have known.

Everyone said that renting is throwing your money away. And in the old real estate market, it was. But we would have been head and shoulders above where we are financially if we would’ve waited to buy our first house until now. If both sets of buyers we’ve had on the old house are any indication, they are out for blood. And we have absolutely no leverage. If we want it sold, we have to give in.

It breaks my heart. Yes, it is just money. But that was money that was supposed to be for our future, for Sophie’s future. Thank goodness the retirement money is untouchable—we knew that was never an option, and at least we’ll have something in thirty years. And theoretically, our income should keep increasing. Hopefully someday I won’t be making a grad student stipend. Anything over that will be a bonus. And if we stay in this house a long time, eventually the market will turn around. We’ll gain some equity, our house payment will be a smaller portion of our monthly budget, and things will get simpler. That’s what we’re assuming.

I know it’s just money. And I know that likely we may not get another offer at this price. If we had to drop the price another 5 grand, we wouldn’t get what they are offering now. So it hurts, but it will probably only hurt more the longer time goes on. And I don’t have any illusions that someone is going to offer us 15 thousand over our asking price so we break even. That ship sailed a long time ago.

I had a nice crying jag last night about the whole situation, and then I moved on. When Tim called this morning to tell me that they moved up slightly, but not a lot, it didn’t sting as much as it had last night. Now, if they want 10 grand worth of work done after the inspection, I’m walking away. But barring disaster, hopefully we’ll close on May 9th and be done with all of this.

I really wanted someone like us to buy the house. We were so ecstatic to go through a decent house in our price range that we went through it twice in one day and put an offer on it that night. Turns out that Tim’s dad knew the sellers, so everything was very friendly. We met up with them before the closing, and they sold/gave us a bunch of furniture. It was all very nice, and they knew that we really liked the house. I want buyers like that. I want people who are going to love the house. I want friendly people. I want the process to be civil. Instead, we’ve gotten nasty buyers who will not negotiate hardly at all and want us to be the ones shedding all the blood. And none of them have ever said anything about loving the house once the offer is in—then all the niceties about the house change to wanting to screw us over and get the best deal possible. I have to believe that somewhere out there is a buyer that wants to love the house as much as we did. But we don’t have the time or money to wait for that buyer.

For as much as this entire process has broken me, I just want to be done. I can’t take the pain anymore. And there is too much else going on in my life for me to continue to waste the emotional energy on it. I need to move on.

There are some other issues going on right now that are a bit too personal for the blog (I know I seem to share everything, but there are some things that are not appropriate). I think things are coming to a head, and once that happens, I’ll talk about it. But for now, that’s drama I need to keep to myself.

So, I’ve been busy. And my lab work has suffered in the meantime. I haven’t filled Dr. B in on all of this, because I won’t get any sympathy for it. That’s not good or bad—that’s just life. A topic for another day will be how I’ve made peace with lab life, because I really think I have. But real life needs to take over this week. The lab will still be there when I’m done.

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