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Archive for February, 2006

A day at the coast

We drove out to Cannon Beach yesterday, and it was perfect. It was so nice to be out of the house and get out of town for the day. 

Cannon Beach is such a cute town, it reminds me of Ogunquit, ME or maybe York, ME. The beach itself is beautiful. Seeing Haystack Rock that close is impressive, and makes for very dramatic pictures. 

There were lots of happy dogs playing in the sand, and I can’t wait to go back with Myra. She will love playing on the beach and probably playing in the water. 

It was so cool to go hiking right after going to the beach. It was rejuvenating to be on the beach, and just be relaxed and wander around. Things have been stressful lately with the house, and now we both feel in much better frames of mind about everything. And now I’m excited to start doing more day trips again. 

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Posting from a blog widget….very cool. Don’t have to launch the blog, I just have to click on the widget. Apple is so good at coming up with useful features. 

Well, it is Friday and we still haven’t heard from Hannah, despite her promise that we would know NO LATER THAN YESTERDAY what her mother’s plans are. 

We talked to a renter’s hotline out here and got some great advice from a lady Mikki works with (thank you!!)). It sounds like her treatment of us is not fair tenant treatment. It also sounds like even if we leave, she can only come after us for money that she didn’t get from the time we left to the time it takes her to find another tenant. She already knows who is moving in here (her mother) and she is taking it off as a rental property, so she can’t come after us for any lost rent money. 

That said, if we are officially offered the SE house, we are going to take it. And I don’t doubt that we will be offered the house, they want us as tenants. We are looking at an April 1st move in, and I couldn’t be more excited. We love the house, we will be able to get it set up really nicely, and it meets almost all of our requirements. 

A nice conclusion to such a stressful two months here, thanks to Hannah. 

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Posting from a blog widget….very cool. Don’t have to launch the blog, I just have to click on the widget. Apple is so good at coming up with useful features. 

Well, it is Friday and we still haven’t heard from Hannah, despite her promise that we would know NO LATER THAN YESTERDAY what her mother’s plans are. 

We talked to a renter’s hotline out here and got some great advice from a lady Mikki works with (thank you!!)). It sounds like her treatment of us is not fair tenant treatment. It also sounds like even if we leave, she can only come after us for money that she didn’t get from the time we left to the time it takes her to find another tenant. She already knows who is moving in here (her mother) and she is taking it off as a rental property, so she can’t come after us for any lost rent money. 

That said, if we are officially offered the SE house, we are going to take it. And I don’t doubt that we will be offered the house, they want us as tenants. We are looking at an April 1st move in, and I couldn’t be more excited. We love the house, we will be able to get it set up really nicely, and it meets almost all of our requirements. 

A nice conclusion to such a stressful two months here, thanks to Hannah. 

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We have been putting money into ING and savings every week, trying to put more in than normal because of the move.

But tonight, we actually sat down and figured out what percent of income that we can put into savings each week, and just have the money come out automatically, so we don’t even have to think about it. We discovered we can comfortably put 20% of our paychecks into savings each week, 10% into ING and 10% into regular savings. Obviously, my 20% would be higher, but we are putting the same percent in each week.

20% still leaves us cash on hand, and emergency or play money for the week. If we stay on this plan, and it doesn’t seem hard, especially since I am getting better about budgeting, we should be able to have $6,000 in ING and $6,000 in regular savings in a year.

Knowing how many financial mistakes my parents have made, and how…not optimistic their financial future looks, it is a really nice feeling to know we are going to be building up our savings steadily, but without it feeling like too much work. That’s not to say that this isn’t work, because budgeting is definitely work, but I think the more you do it, the easier it becomes. And when savings is just a part of that budget, it becomes somethign you don’t think about. The thought of ending up like my parents, close to retirement with no money and the possibility of losing their house, terrifies me, and I really want to take steps now to prevent that. I really like that we are both working toward this, and saving for our future, for a house, for money to pay off stuff if we want to.

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When I found out today that Hannah doesn’t intend to sell the house, and we could leave early IF her mother agreed to take over the lease before June, then she would let us leave early, I felt so angry and frustrated and stuck. I felt like it was just going to be more jerking us around, and continuing to keep up in limbo. I felt like we were going to lose a great house, and it would be Hannah’s fault. It is so rare for me to feel like that. It takes a lot to make me angry, and even more for me to feel stuck, to not be able to see that whatever the problem, it won’t last that long, and there is a way out of it.

So, I spent most of the day in a foul mood, wanting to just leave anyway, and screw the lease, and screw Hannah. I couldn’t get out of that mood, and I hate feeling that way. Tim was the one being rational and practical, and saying that if she won’t let us out of the lease, we could potentially owe a lot of money, and she might potentially take us to small claims court.

I came home, still in a bad mood, and just feeling like I couldn’t deal with it, and again, it is rare for me to feel that way. Tim and I talked a lot, about whether we want to leave anyway, even if she says her mother won’t move in until June, and just be done with it, or stick it out.

Gradually, my perspective started to come back and I started to feel less angry and less stuck. This isn’t the only nice house in Portland. The longer we wait to move, the more money we will have saved up, and the move will be that much easier. We won’t be breaking two leases in a row. I started to feel more like me, like I could face a problem, and be able to get past it with hard work and just gritting my teeth until I’m on the other side, and that it really won’t be the end of the world if we don’t get this house. Yes, I would be sad to lose the house, and yes, I would be unhappy to stay here until June, but we will find another house we love. I felt like the anger was making it hard for me to breathe, hard for me to think straight, hard for me to focus. I’m glad that feeling has gone away, and I am even more glad that the stuck feeling is going away. Anger I can live with to some extent, because it can be a good motivator, but the hopeless feeling is just not me, and I know that nothing bad lasts forever.

We shall see what she says, and I am going to stay optimistic that we can get this house, but I won’t fall apart anymore if we don’t, or if we have to stay.

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We were tired of not having an answer from her, so we sent her the letter below. It was hard to be polite, but we wanted to show how we have done everything because of what she told us.

Hi Hannah,

Hope you had a nice long weekend.

I know from our last e-mail that you wanted to think about the house and what your plans are for it over the weekend.

On that end, we have been seriously looking at houses. We started doing this when you told us you were going to put the house on the market at the end of February or the beginning of March. When we offered to be out May 1 to make it easier for you and Peter to show the house, you seemed confident the house would sell well before then and you would just give us 30 days notice.

That timeframe meant we had to start looking for houses for end of March/ beginning April.

We have found a house we really love that meets all of our requirements, and the landlord/owner seems very interested to have us as tenants.

At this time, we don’t know what to tell him if he officially offers the house to us. We believe he would be looking for an answer on whether we will be taking the house by the weekend, so if we are not, he can continue searching for different tenants.

I know you wanted to meet sometime this week, but if you could give us an indication of your intentions before Friday, we would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks,
Kelly and Tim

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friends, a house and a table

Busy weekend, with lots of friends and moving our life forward.

We looked at a BEAUTIFUL house on Friday. On the outside it is sort of average, but inside, it is so gorgeous and perfect. On the list we made of what we want in a house, it fits the description almost to a tee. Hardwood floors, two bedrooms, bright, good layout, good colors…and the kitchen. I can’t stop thinking about that kitchen. Tons of counter space. Dozens of cabinets. All white cabinets and fixtures. All the appliances (dishwasher, w/d, disposal). And then there is the breakfast nook. Bright room, with two white built in hutches facing each other, with glass windows and more drawers and shelves.

The guy who was showing the house for his friend who owns it loves us. He told us flat out that he had interviewed other people who were ready to give him money on the spot and he knew they weren’t right for the house. He said we are the couple they are looking for. The owner/landlord dropped off the application on Saturday, really liked us, liked Myra a lot, and was asking us if we wanted him to replace the brand new fridge with a bigger brand new fridge, if we wanted him to paint the basement, saying we could even take the cost of curtains off the price of the rent if we want to. Talking to Tim about trading computer help for work on the house, like painting, hanging pictures, whatever. Pretty much a done deal on their end. He is even willing to break up the cost of the deposit and the pet deposit over three months and said he doesn’t need to get a last month’s rent from us on top of first month’s rent and the deposit, because he knows it is hard to come up with that much money in short order.

Now we are just waiting on official word from Hannah. We are both pretty sure she is still going to sell the house, because if we are hearing that the housing market is going to start slowing down, she is certainly hearing the same thing and I believe her mother will tell her to sell the house and be done with it.

Also, she is still planning to have a meeting with us, and if she wasn’t going to sell the house and keep us to our lease, she wouldn’t need to meet with us in person for that. I’m trying to not get attached to the house, because we just don’t know what she will say. We will tell her we need an answer one way or another this week. So…fingers crossed on that score.

We FINALLY bought a table, it is a really nice farmhouse table with a hardwood top and white legs. Patrick and Sarah came over last night, for our first dinner guests who weren’t stay over house guests. It was fun to cook for other people again. And it feels nice to eat at a table again, instead of eating on the couch.

Friend wise…I have met some good ones. I hung out with Ava on Saturday, and went to a vintage clothing store, a great tea/coffee place and a to die for rubber stamp store (which is unfortunately closing in May…but that means SALE!!). Today I hung out with Tawny and had a blast wondering around Hawthorne. I saw Britt yesterday for a hike with Myra, and I don’t think we will see each other again really…it felt a little strained, and she is clearly not a dog person. She seemed kind of annoyed that Myra wanted to meet all the people and dogs we encountered on the trail. But that’s fine with me, because the friends I do want to hang out with are cool and fun to be with.

So, busy weekend, but a really good one. It feels like we have found our sense of normalcy again. It’s good.

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