December 2015 archive

A Surprise (The Bad Kind)

A lot…a very, very lot…has happened since we closed on our house two weeks ago.

I’ve been pretty quiet because, as you’d imagine, life was busy that first week. Daily runs to Lowe’s, packing, moving, unpacking, ordering things we realized we needed, putting furniture together, hanging shelves and pictures…you get it. And through it all Bear and I looked at each other and smiled: “We’re never moving again.”
But one week and one day after closing, I got a call from the very Bear I love so well. It was not a call I’d expected to receive or one that I would wish on most of my worse enemies (some of them are pretty bad, though).
Bear was unexpectedly laid off from his job.
No warning. No head’s up. No consideration for the fact that they knew we’ve been in the process of buying a house for two months. Just, “Sorry. Overhead. Budget cuts.” And because it’s a family-owned business, and Bear isn’t a member of the family, he was the first to go.
My world for the past week has been a series of lows and lower lows, as he now re-enters the world of “Here’s my resume”. I’ve done my best to be strong and supportive for him as we face the unknown, but usually that’s his role in our relationship. I’m just not very good at it. When I look at him and tell him everything will be ok, it usually ends up with me crying in his lap. But I’d say, overall, we’ve done a fairly good job as a couple of keeping our chins up and smiling at each other as we continue hanging pictures and putting bunk beds together. Bear is the hardest working, most driven person I know. Obviously, he’s smiling because he knows something better is in the works.
And about those, “don’t worry, something better will happen” and “God has a plan” messages I’ve gotten from loved ones, friends, family members (hell even the LAWN guy told us that “everything will turn around if we just believe” during a conversation I had to have with him about unhiring him until Bear had another job), I feel appreciative that so many people believe in us.

I also feel like walking through the streets of Jacksonville flipping everybody the bird.

So there it is. I don’t know what else to say except that I haven’t been blogging because there hasn’t been much to say. I could tell you about the bamboo silverware tray I purchased for the kitchen drawer. I could easily have blogged an entire series about electricians, contractors, and construction workers. There’s so much to tell you about my new shower and how incredible it is from top to bottom… but none of it feels very “front and center” right now. None feel honest. The truth is that everything is happening with an undertone of, “We don’t know what’s going to happen…” And there’s only so many times I can type that.
So if you pray, pray for clarity. If you think good thoughts, think about an employed Bear. If you believe in energy, then send us some abundance and action. If you light candles, throw cards, diffuse oils, meditate, or eat flowers, then do it once for us. If you just shake your head and think, “Man, that sucks”, then I’ll know you’re uncomfortable with all those other things but you’re on our side. So thank you.

How to Close on a House

(Spend 2 months sending every piece of information that identifies you and your financial history to a lender. Send it all again. FREAK OUT when anyone in your household purchases anything other than groceries and gifts for the homeless on credit. Write letters explaining why you’re not liars or criminals or mentally unstable and send to the lender. Get approved.)

Wednesday
Me: So, we all good to close on Tuesday?
Lender: Everything’s good on our end! We will send you the closing disclosure as soon as we get it. We will have it any minute now.
Me: Great!

Thursday (Thanksgiving)

Friday
Me: So, we all good to close on Tuesday?
Realtor: The title company is slammed. We may need to push it back a day or two.
Me: Oh. Ok, no biggie.
Realtor: It’s not if it will close…it’s just when.

Saturday
Me: So, we all good to close on Tuesday?
Lender: As soon as we get the closing disclosure from the title company, we will be good to go.
Me: Is it coming soon? I thought it was coming Wednesday?
Lender: We hope so!

Saturday – 11:00pm
Me: We got the closing disclosure and sent it back signed!
Lender: Awesome! We should be good to go!

Sunday
Me: So, we all good to close on Tuesday?
Realtor: There’s a new law.
Me: A what?
Realtor: A new law.
Me: For what?
Realtor: It went into effect about a month ago. It might slow us down because the title company has to do different paperwork.
Me: So, not Tuesday?
Realtor: Don’t know yet.

Monday
Me: So, we all good to close on Tuesday?
Lender: We think so!
Realtor: Don’t know yet.
Me: Ok, well! Tomorrow is Tuesday! So…

Monday – 9:00pm
Realtor: Tomorrow at 1:00pm, meet me at the lawyer’s office to close.
Me: OK! WE’RE ON!

Tuesday – 1:00pm
Realtor: The lawyer doesn’t have what we need to close.
Me: Wait. What?
Realtor: They don’t have the closing disclosure.
Me: I signed that. I sent that!
Bear: We were told all we needed to bring was a picture ID.
Lawyer: TWO forms of picture ID. (Notice the lawyer didn’t introduce herself as she passed by and snapped at us.)
Me: TWO?
Realtor: TWO? Since when?
Lawyer: It’s new.
(Mad dash to find another form of photo ID in our cars. We gather everything we can find.)
Me: Here you go.
Lawyer: We only need one form of picture ID.
Bear: But you just said…
Lawyer: Your lender only requires one.
Me: Then why did you…
Realtor: Fine. Do we have the closing disclosure yet?
Lawyer: Yes. Just follow me…
(Conference room that looks like The Vatican.)
Lawyer: Here is your loan agreement.
Realtor: This is the first time I’m seeing any of this. Isn’t the new law supposed to ensure we all see this information three days prior to closing?
Lawyer: It took those three days to prepare the paperwork because it’s so new and no one knew how to do it.
Realtor: Then I need to read through and understand what this says before we can proceed…
(30 minutes of him translating the documents to us later…)
Lawyer: Sign here 4,000 times.
Me and Bear: Here you go.
Lawyer: Give me all the money you have saved.
Me and Bear: Here you go.
Lawyer: Ok wait here in this room that looks like The Vatican.
(30 minutes of Realtor, Bear, and I shootin’ the shit.)
Lawyer: Ok, I’m back. Now sign here 2,500 times.
Me and Bear: Here you go.
Lawyer: Ok wait here in this room.
(30 minutes of Realtor, Bear, and I shootin’ the shit, also noticing how hungry we are.)
Lawyer: Ok, I’m back. Now sign here 1,000 times.
Me: Here you go.
Lawyer: Ok, now I have to go wire all the money you have saved and given to me. I’ll be back.
(60 minutes of Realtor, Bear, and I shootin’ the shit, also noticing how hungry we are, and starting to talk about what we would eat if we had food. Someone in another room opens a soda can. It sounds like angels singing.)
Realtor: Ok. I just got the email. You’re funded. Lawyer should be back in a minute.
(30 minutes of Realtor, Bear, and I shootin’ the shit, also noticing how hungry we are, and then beginning to sort through our bags until we come up with a small stale bag of sunflower seeds and a bag of gummy alligators which were a gift for our Realtor but, at this point, the situation is dire and we’ve reached Survivor-Mode. We eat all of it.)
Realtor: I’m going to go see what’s going on.
(10 minutes later.)
Realtor: She didn’t check her email. She sees it now. She’ll be here in a minute.
(10 minutes later.)
Lawyer: I’m here. It funded. Here’s your key.
Me: That’s it?
Lawyer: That’s it.
Bear: Congratulations?
Lawyer: Congratulations.
Me: Let’s get pizza.

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He has the keys in his hand. He doesn’t just hold his fingers up like that for pictures…

So Long, Batty

bat13I’ve been waiting to tell you the end of this rental house/landlord/miniature nightmare until it was officially over so nobody could use my blog in a court of law.
No, seriously.
So, if you haven’t been following, our landlord was crazy. She didn’t fix things in our house and she showed up unannounced and she tried to guilt Bear into paying more rent and then she completely disappeared for 5 months. Last month we sent her our 60-day notice (because she couldn’t be a normal landlord who requested 30) via certified letter (because she doesn’t “have an email address” or “accept notice unless it’s certified” because she’s “difficult”) and she called us to ask if we could move out early. She already had a new tenant lined up for December. She even asked if we could show the rental property to the new tenant ourselves to be sure she liked it. We agreed to all of it because it would mean we would only be paying half of December’s rent AND we’d get our deposit back.
The next day I showed the house to the new tenant. “Have you had any problems with the property?”
Plumbing.
Termites. 
A snake in the kitchen.
The mouse.
Mold.
“No!”
Why did I lie…Well, here’s why: because this woman was actually friends with Batty. And by friends I mean that she rented a smaller property that Batty owned and needed this bigger one. She said Batty had been great about fixing things in the smaller property and so I figured if she had a problem with crappy plumbing or termites or snakes or mice or mold, she would just call Batty. So I left well-enough alone.
“You’ve taken really good care of this house. I can’t wait to move in. I’m going to let Batty know what great tenants you are,” she said to me.
“Awww, thank you!” I said to her as she left and I fist-pumped.
Home rented. Now all I had to do was close on the house and move. (That is a separate story for another blog…)
Cut to last week.
Oh, this is so great.
I sent Batty another certified letter informing her of our move-out date, December 7, and the amount of pro-rated rent we would send her upon our departure. I also let her know about the things we’d pre-arranged to leave there for the next tenant. And finally, I asked that she call one of us to set up a time to do the walk-through so we could get our deposit back.
“She’s never giving us our deposit back, you know that, right?” Bear asked me in bed.
“Well, there’s hope. I mean if we move out early and we save part of December’s rent, then there’s hope that she’ll also give us at least part of our deposit back?”
I was in my prayer group two nights after I sent the letter… My phone rings. It’s a NO CALLER ID call because Batty doesn’t have a traceable phone number, or an email address, and screens her calls in between re-applying tin foil to her windows. I let it go to voicemail because I didn’t want God to have to listen to it either.
I listened in the car.
It was Batty saying that she NEVER asked us to move out early and that she had NO idea we were leaving and she needed December’s rent in it’s entirety because she was COMPLETELY broke.
It was a moment entirely placed in the Twilight Zone.
I started talking out loud to myself in the car.
Why would I have shown the rental property for her in November if the tenants were moving in mid-January? Why would I have agreed to move out early and sent her a letter outlining our agreement if I made it up? Why would I care even a little bit that she’s broke?!
I called Bear.
“Yeah. She called me, too. She told me that she figured you and the new tenant ‘had it handled’ since you had been talking,” he told me.
“What does that even MEAN?!”
“I don’t know. She’s Batty.”
Then, I got a text message. It was from the new tenant suddenly using legalese and a firm tone, telling me she had no intention of moving into the house until the first of the year.
My head was spinning and the entire drive home all I could do was picture burning that house down until I realized Batty would get the insurance money for it and then I couldn’t even enjoy THAT dream.

Long story longer, Bear called Batty the next day. She adamantly swore that he was lying, that she never asked us to move out early, and that she was keeping our entire security deposit. She even threw in this little gem: “I hope you’re a landlord someday so you’ll understand what it’s like.”
Oh, you mean to have tenants who hire their own plumbers and steam clean the carpets and treat the lawn for dollar weed and PAY THE RENT ON TIME EVERY SINGLE MONTH??
But, there’s a silver lining…
Once she decided to keep our security deposit, I decided to keep the rent. In my bank account. ET VIOLA! I have extra money to puts towards the new home we own and we never have to speak of Batty again!
Private message me if you want her mailing address…