Friday, March 31, 2006

Pennington Farm

It's official. We got our house. I'm still quite stunned by this because I'm not sure how it happened -- I hated everything on the market, and this house wasn't even on the market -- our real estate agent knew it would be available soon, which allowed us to make an offer before it was listed. The owners accepted our offer, so it never really was listed.

DH drove me around to see the houses I'd rejected, presumably because he was worried that I'd regret rejecting sparkling newness for this quirky old house in this tiny little town. Not a chance. All that did was confirm that I got the only house in the state of Washington that I could really really love. The house is in Ebey's Landing Historical Reserve, and the agent gave me the house's historical documentation yesterday. It was built in 1910 and is known as Pennington Farm. The farm lands were sold long ago, so the house sits in a sea of other houses, but it's perched near the top of a hill (still called Pennington Hill) and it has a commanding view in all directions. I really do love this house.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


I finally got to see the new house in person today -- after we'd already signed all the papers to buy it -- so it's a good thing that it is absolutely GORGEOUS in every way it could be. In fact, it's beyond anything I've ever dreamed of, house-wise. When we left the hotel in Anacortes this morning it was dark and rainy, and just as we crossed Deception Pass to get to the island, the sun came out and turned everything amazing. Oh yes. This is very very good.

Friday, March 24, 2006

So much for the whiz kids

Last Saturday, the plumber we hired to install two new faucets in our master bathroom caused us more than a few problems by installing (incorrectly) one of the faucets and then suddenly proclaiming that it wasn't possible to install the other one without prying off (and presumably ruining) the counter top to install the other -- and that he couldn't do it and we'd need to find a general contractor who dealt with countertops as well as plumbing.

This would have been a pain in the a$$ under any circumstances, but we had two appraisers and two realtors scheduled to do market analyses on our house on Monday, so it was a HUGE problem. The only thing I could think of to explain the mismatched faucets was to say that the plumber wasn't finished. All the appointments took place around lunchtime, so although I didn't explicitly lie, I think they all assumed that I meant the plumber would be back to finish after lunch. Fat chance.

Fortunately, the next day, DH, who by then was back in Washington, worked the phones until he found a general contractor who said he had a "little genie" of a plumber. I admit to being a bit bemused by this description, but I was pretty darn desperate, so I tried to avoid thinking of harem costumes and to just go with the flow.

The new plumber showed up on Wednesday -- he was a tiny little man who told me he had 65 years of plumbing experience -- I'm barely over 5 feet tall myself, and I felt like a hulking giant standing next to him. My first thought was, "Oh no. He's never going to remove that countertop." And I was right; he was never going to remove that countertop. Because that contractor was right -- he is a little genie -- and he didn't have to.

So the little genie, with his L-shaped wrench, was able to fix in an hour what the strapping younger plumber wasn't able to do after working on it all day.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Oh. My. God.

This past weekend has turned me into a complete believer of the axiom "whatever can go wrong, will." We are getting our house ready to sell, and since we had already begun to update it, we were in the middle of a lot of little projects when we found out we were moving (again). Our plan for Saturday was to have a technician come to find out why the air conditioner didn't seem to be putting out cool air (extremely important in south TX!); install the new wooden shutters that we ordered months ago, but that had only arrived on Friday; have the new faucets installed in the master bathroom; and have landscapers spruce up the lawn and plant a few flowers. All of this was to take place in preparation for visits from two real estate agents and an appraiser today (Monday).

And out of that list, what went wrong? Everything. The shutters were the wrong size, requiring DH to spend hours trying cut them down without ruining them. The air conditioning technician didn't show at all. The landscapers not only didn't bring enough mulch, they brought about 20 tiny marigolds and a couple of palm tree fronds and proceeded to plant them, spaced equidistantly, in sparse perfection around the base of each tree. The trees are big and old and dense, and marigolds like sun, so they are not going to live. The pinnacle, however, was the plumber. He installed the new bathtub fixtures and one of the new faucets, but said he couldn't install the other one because the countertop has to be removed and some of the pipes underneath it have to be changed. He left a mess. And he couldn't do it. At all.

Today, DH went back to Washington, leaving me to deal with the remainder of selling the house. The air conditioning technician finally showed up -- so did one of the real estate agents, and TWO appraisers. All at the same time. The other agent hasn't come yet and I haven't heard from her, so I have no idea if/when she'll come later. The technician said the air conditioner is frozen up and he handed me a large, filthy filter that apparently needs replacing, but of course, he doesn't do THAT. Great. He has to come back when the thing is unfrozen, and apparently when the new filter has been installed. I have no idea where the damn filter even goes, so I wonder how all that's going to work out.

What a great day. Especially the part where I got to show the appraisers and the realtor our fabulously updated master bathroom, with the mismatched faucets and parts strewn all over it. My next step is to find a plumber who can finish the job and an air conditioning specialist who will install a filter. Oh, and someone to install a new roof and new carpet, which the realtor says we need to do too. Great.

What a bloody mess.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Oh well.

I had intentions of writing in this blog more often than the few times I have, but a job transfer for my husband happened just a few days after I started it, and the horror of dealing with a move like this is beyond description.

So. We are moving from the Texas Gulf Coast to Coupeville, Washington (on Whidbey Island in Puget Sound). So. We moved from Lake Charles, Louisiana to Texas less than a year ago. So. Everything is a mess. Everything.

When this latest transfer happened, we hadn't even unpacked all our boxes yet because we were doing some work to the house we bought in Texas. So. Now we are moving from one of the least expensive real estate markets in the country to one of the most expensive. So. Everything is a mess with that too. Everything.

Oh well. I guess we'll just deal.