We’ve been hanging out with toddlers a lot lately.

It kind of happened all of a sudden. Like, you think about your friends and relatives having babies and how it’s more of a gradual thing, having more babies in your life, but it seems like it was more like one day, we were going to one toddler birthday party, and then another, and now it’s, like, a thing.

Part of it is Terra’s niece and nephew–they were at my wedding, I was watching them with her one weekend, and now that we’re going out for the Supper Serenade, they’re sometimes there, too. They were there last weekend with new toys from Grandma.

And the next day, we had a birthday party for Emily’s daughter, which I honestly didn’t expect an invite to but appreciated, and we had a nice time. And since we were in the area, we also stopped over at my parents’ to do laundry and hang out with Seger, because obviously.

We’ve had a few questions about when we’re having kids, and I don’t mind them, but I do find it hilarious how tentatively people do ask. Like, they know it’s kind of frowned upon to ask but genuinely want to know, so they kind of skirt it. The answer is when we finally have a house. I’d like to give it a little time after that to get an idea of what monthly expenses will actually be like verses estimating and factor that in, but for the most part, all bets are off then. The thing too is I don’t want to have this huge age gap between our kids and our friends’ kids. It’s not a matter of keeping up, really, or jumping into it before we’re ready–and there’s no such thing as ready anyway–but more like it would be nice to be in a similar place. We just have no room for an extra human in this apartment. We barely have room for the two of us in this apartment.

And of course because I’m an idiot, I mentioned this sort of outlined future plan to my mother-in-law, so I’m sure once we close on a house, the grandkid questions will start.

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Now that the holidays are over, we haven’t had a lot of set, definitive plans for our weekends, which is kind of nice. So we ended up at Terra’s brother’s deli two Saturdays in a row for their Supper Serenade, where they have a different dinner special each week and live music, usually from Beautiful Bob, who’s probably one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met. Bob has an impressive science background but kind of get fed up with some bullshit, quit, lived in an Occupy Pittsburgh camp, and now wears women’s clothing, plays music, and cleans out abandoned buildings in the city.

It’s been kind of a fun, casual hangout atmosphere for us. We get to eat, hang out with friends, hang out with new friends, meet new people, and enjoy some tunes, so it’s fun. It gets us out without being, like, a whole thing, plus we’ve been coming back with deli goodies. We bought lady locks the first weekend, and the second, muffins to take to my parents’ house the next morning and haggis Terra’s brother made that Paul wanted to try.

It’s not gonna be a weekly thing–we have plans for the next couple of Saturdays, most likely–but it’s something fun to do for when we need it. Plus food.

Man, fuck house hunting. I’m over it. It’s a pain in my ass.

And that’s coming from someone who’s been at it a relatively short period of time and has only really gone to a few houses.

It was exciting at first, full of so much potential. And the first few weren’t bad–they were nice houses, but they just didn’t suit our needs. And I’m kind of okay with that. It’s gonna happen. But when I get annoyed is when you start getting into the various shit you run into, and again, I say that as someone who’s probably only seen a fraction of what a lot of other people in the same situation have seen. My tolerance for it just really, really low.

I think I got most annoyed a couple weeks ago when we found this one that looked really nice a couple weeks ago–and I mean the pictures looked really, really promising. It was obviously a flip, but they look like they put in some nice stuff. My mom suggested maybe we have Paul’s dad look at it with us because if it was one we liked, we might want to move fast on it, so we got it all organized and went.

And it turned out to be a half-assed flip. Cabinet doors not on, shit that was crooked or looked unfinished, countertops the agent said looked a lot liked ones she’d had that chipped in two weeks and were so flimsy that the home-improvement stores stopped carrying them. It was the kind of thing that looked pretty but was shoddy in reality, and my guess is they’re hoping to get someone young like us who loves a picture but either doesn’t notice the flaws or doesn’t see them as a red flag. Because really, if you can’t put damn cabinets together right, what kind of hot mess is hiding elsewhere in the house?

And then my mom was concerned our real-estate agent was probably not the best. She said she’d shown that house to a few people and couldn’t understand why no one jumped on it, and the way my mom put it, if my dad can walk into a house and see what’s wrong with it, it’s pretty bad. So either she wasn’t noticing obvious problems or is bullshitting to sell it. I liked our agent. She was funny and our personalities meshed really well. But there was some validity in the concern–I’d already kind of felt like not quite a priority, more like a name on a list, and I honestly don’t think she’ll notice if she never hears from us again. And yet, because I’m a little bitch, I felt guilty about going to someone else, but it made sense so we did.

My mom pointed us to an agent one of my cousins used. Even just from talking to her on the phone, I felt like we were moving in a better direction–she was more helpful from the start, and it could just be that personality thing, but she seems more knowledgable and more involved. So we met with her a few days later and things are looking up. I have a few things to do on my end to really get things going, but there are a few houses we want to look at, and we’ve kind of cast a wider net. We’re in this shitty position where we of course work commuters are a factor, but in thinking about having kids in the next couple years, we’d like to be closer to out parents. And even more short term, we’re far away from our friends. So we’re aiming to be between the two so that it takes less than an hour to spend time with people but no more than a half-hour to get to work. And there are some promising listings that fit that, plus the size and price we want. We just have to get on them.

So hopefully we have some more luck soon, find something great, get it, and can put in a damn notice that we’re leaving this damn apartment and its damn leaks that I am not at all confident they’re gonna fix.

Man, we haven’t had a ton of snow this winter yet, but fuck this winter.

It was just my luck that I won tickets to a Penguins game for Saturday afternoon and a storm was rolling in Friday night with the potential to last until about the time we’d have to leave. My mom suggested we get a hotel room in Pittsburgh Friday night and we were toying with the idea, even enjoying a night out, when ice hit earlier than expected and we figured we were better of staying put and taking our chances the next day. I mean, they were free tickets, so it’s not like we’d be out any money, but…free tickets.

The snow stopped by early morning, but Washington’s snow removal is…mediocre, so the roads here were shitty, but the drive to the T was fine. Except for the fact that it took us so long to get rid of the layer of ice on the windshield that we left much later then I wanted and just missed the T we wanted. Like, we watched it leave. We killed time with food until the next one came and very nearly missed that one, too, and got to the game just a little bit late, but the nice thing is that doesn’t matter so much with sports. I get really irritated when it happens with theater, but hockey games I can take.

And we won! We haven’t been having the greatest season, so it was nice to even get a win.

We grabbed dinner back in the South Hills, then spent a little time at the mall. I like to take advantage of being there, with a Lush and a Sephora, to get whatever I need so I don’t have to make a trip out later, but of course Paul just makes fun of me and says I buy stuff so I don’t have to buy stuff. It makes sense in my mind.

Sunday was a lazy day–we’d intended to go to the gym, but Paul fell on ice in our parking lot and hurt his wrist and I walked so fast trying to catch the T on time that my thighs were burning, so all we ended up doing was get groceries and spend the rest of the day reading, Netflixing, whatever. But it was nice. The holidays were so busy, as they always are, and it feels like we’ve been constantly going since Thanksgiving, if not earlier. And now there’s only a handful of weekends coming up where we have plans, so it’s nice to know there’s some definite downtime in there and we can either keep it that way or go do something. We have some movies to catch–we still haven’t seen Star Wars and have been dying to see The Shape of Water–but I don’t think either of us would mind getting in touch with some friends and making some plans.

2018

Goals. Here we go.

  • Buy a house
  • Get a new job
  • Take on more freelance work
  • Publish writing
  • Subscribe to a newspaper
  • Travel somewhere
  • Save money
  • Pay off a credit card, ideally two
  • Read 20 books, preferably more
  • Get back into a good, regular gym routine
  • Get organized
  • Stop being fucking late
  • Keep up with past successful resolutions
  • Take more initiative with friends as far as making plans–hopefully, a house will happen and having the space will make this easier

House-hunting is officially in full swing!

Well, as much as it can be in January. Obviously, the real-estate market is slow right now, but we did do some looking. We saw three houses on Sunday. The first was a little disappointing–it’s on a street that I love and always say I want to live on, but it’s right around a curve and on a hill, plus we wouldn’t actually be gaining any space, aside from extra bedrooms. The kitchen, living room, and master bedroom are about the same size as we have now and half the reason for house hunting is we need more space, so I don’t see a point in spending nearly $150,000 on a house that’s not actually gonna give us any.

The second was my favorite. It was a foreclosure that we were kind of late on–I’d contacted the real-estate agent late last week and mentioned it, but the listing didn’t say it was being auctioned off. The auction was the next day, and we’d have to have a 5% buyer’s premium plus a 3% down payment ready if we won, and it was too short notice and too high-pressure. But the bids never hit the reserve price, so they were taking backup bids and we figured we might as well look.

It didn’t work out in the end because the bank did end up taking that lower bid, but it was a good opportunity I’m bummed we missed out on. The timing just wasn’t right. It was going for under our budget in a nice neighborhood where houses are worth more than that, but we’d need a small loan from my parents to cover all the costs to close and it needed some minor work. Paul was obviously not that thrilled about it, but I saw it as a really good opportunity.

We did look at a third house, but it wasn’t one of my favorites to begin with and it’s definitely not one I like enough to want to buy. So now we wait for more listings to go up.

I’ve been saying for a long time that I want to get Paul’s sister Emily out of the house and hanging out with us for a weekend, especially since she’s still in college and living at home–get her out of the house, hang out, watch movies we could never watch at my in-laws’ house, take her to Lush, that kind of fun stuff. I knew being cooped up there over her Christmas break probably wasn’t great for her, so we decided to go for it. And then Paul and I both got sick. So we pushed it back a week to her last weekend before the semester started.

It was a really tame, simple weekend, thanks mostly to the fact that we were all kind of tired and Emily in particular fell asleep really early when she got to the apartment, but we took her to this great all-you-can-eat sushi place near us, then the next day had lunch in the South Hills and did a little shopping. I know she’s a fan of Lush and Sephora, so I decided to totally enable her. And then we stopped at my parents’ place to do some free laundry and play with Seger, then we took Emily home and hung out there for a little bit.

Like I said, tame. But it was nice, and she seemed to appreciate it.

As for Sunday, we officially jumped back into house hunting.