So. Much. Paperwork.

Our loan officer contacted us this week with a long list of items she needed to complete our loan application. I only have one more document to scan and send back, but they ask for so many things! And I’m sure the underwriter will ask for more. There are a few things that could go wrong. The inspection could show some issues with the home. The house could appraise for less than our loan amount. Or our loan could be denied.

Thankfully, the inspection is on Wednesday, and we just purchased the appraisal, so I hope that’s scheduled soon as well. We’re only four days into this process, and we’ve already done so much! Wes will be at the inspection on Wednesday and will take a few more photos for us. We’re having a lot of fun thinking about how we want to place our furniture. Since our couch is officially broken, we aren’t bringing it with us. But it’ll be nice figuring out how best to use the space.

I definitely feel overwhelmed. There are days I wonder if we’re really ready to own a house, but I know I want to stay in Oregon, and I enjoy my job. I’m also sick of renting! Our property management company has been doing inspections almost once a month. We received another notice this week, and it’s getting really tiring. I don’t mind occasional inspections, but this is the fifth or sixth one this year. I’m tired of not knowing where I’ll be in a year or two and worrying about rent increasing. The lack of permanence makes it hard for any place to feel like a home.

But I’m ready for a little ranch house that sits in front of a small creek. And a greenhouse, and the cats chasing each other through the dining room. I already see Mar resting on the deck on a summer day. We viewed so many houses, but this place just felt like home. It felt like that scene in Ratatouille at the end where the food reviewer tastes the food and is immediately transported to a loving moment in his childhood. Except when I stepped inside, I was transported into the future, and I felt how much we’d live our days in this lovely home.

Hopefully, no more paperwork will be requested today 🙂

 

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Finding the Home

I haven’t been sure how to write this since the process has been so weird and rewarding, but Wes and I placed an offer on a house on Sunday, and our offer was accepted on Monday. It took one amazing mortgage broker and after a long search, we found the perfect buyer’s agent. Well, it’s more like she was found for us. Had I not complained to a co-worker about our agent at the time, we wouldn’t have met Nancy.

My co-worker introduced me to her agent who then gave my information to Nancy. I wasn’t sure what to expect since the last two agents were unhelpful (thanks, Chun!) or nonresponsive (with an assistant, mind you). I thought we were being overbearing, but I was assured we weren’t. She didn’t have any reviews, and that’s what I based my last two choices on. She called me and mentioned she had a home that isn’t listed yet, and it fit all of our criteria. She also gave us a list of other homes in the area that might fit our needs. I was a little concerned about the home that wasn’t listed yet. There were no photos of the inside, but I did notice a creek one door down on Google Maps and thought it looked interesting.

We viewed four houses on Saturday. The first home was one we had viewed already, but they lowered the price again. Nancy mentioned someone was going to place an offer soon, so we were thinking about making an offer as well if we weren’t interested in the other homes. I had already envisioned us there. The lot was on the smaller side, but the neighborhood was walkable. The home itself was nice, but I could tell we would outgrow it quickly. My personal favorite was the skylight in the dining area. The kitchen was remodeled, and it had a lot of amenities we wanted in a home, so it would have been a solid choice.

The second home we viewed was the unlisted one. The outside was freshly painted, and I loved the little flower bed next to the entrance. Wes and I stepped in, and we were immediately smitten. The home is all hardwood floors with the exception of blue carpeting in the dining room and linoleum in the bathroom and kitchen. I love how separate everything is. From the living room, you can enter a door on the left that leads to the bedrooms and bathroom. I didn’t like the door at first but with pets, sometimes it’s nice just completely banning them from an area. The living room is the size of our current living room and dining room combined. The dining room is larger than we need, so we plan on making it a space for music, dining and a cat tree next to the sliding glass door.

I originally didn’t like the location of the kitchen. I wanted something open and near the living room, so Wes and I could talk while I cooked, but the combination of lighting and a built in desk sold me. I love the blue countertops with the white cabinets. I also love that the kitchen has two windows, with one window right above the sink that overlooks the backyard.

The backyard has a deck with awning. Emerald greens surround the backyard, providing privacy and greenery. There is a little walkway in the backyard that allows you to view the creek. The creek belongs to the home behind, and it’s beautiful to look at.

The laundry room includes a half bathroom. The best part of the half bathroom? It can double as a dark room. No windows in the room, and the laundry room is completely closed off as well (with the exception of a window that gets little light).

There’s a lot to love in that home, and we especially appreciated how much the seller took care of it.

It was very hard viewing the homes afterward, but we viewed two more. The next one was in a decent location, but the home itself felt like it was sunken in. It was really low to the ground. The home was not taken care of very well, and it made it hard to envision our lives there. The backyard was HUGE, but too shady for a decent garden. Super unfortunate since it was at a great price.

The last home we viewed had some odd issues. We thought there was a garage, but they had converted it into two rooms that weren’t finished. There was a laundry room that they converted as well, but we have no idea what the thought behind it was. There were also HOA dues and a solar panel lease the seller wanted us to take over. It’s crazy how much they omitted from what we saw on Redfin. It’s also incredible that we were so in love with the house in photos but in person, it just ended up being the opposite of what we wanted.

But the more we thought about the home Nancy recommended to us, the more we realized it suited all of our needs. And we gave her a check that same day. We ended up completing the offer on Sunday, and on Monday night, she called to let us know that we just bought a house. I cried like a bitch, and she mentioned that she waived some of the seller’s fees to make our offer more desirable. She also negotiated that we keep all of the appliances in the home, so that’s something we don’t need to worry about when we move. Additionally, we get to keep all of the window coverings. The inspection is next Wednesday, and Wes will be there in person to ask questions and to receive the report. We’re unsure of the appraisal. We hope the appraisal doesn’t come back too low (or too high). There are a few things that could go wrong, but we’re taking this a day at a time. So far, we’re ahead of schedule. We just have other things to worry about, like our cash reserves and what the underwriter is thinking about our financial situation. Always something to worry about with me 🙂

The location is perfect. It’s pretty far from where I’ll be working, but the bus is located 0.1 miles away from our front door. WinCo is less than a mile away. We’re in between two parks and the neighborhood is great for walking and cycling.

We hope to close in early November. That sounds so crazy to me. This is all really crazy to me. But we’re here, and I’m so happy.

Productive Things

Saturday:

  • Meal prep: breakfast burritos, beef/potato burritos, roasted tomato salsa, banana/mango smoothies, chicken salad
  • Create nute schedule for autoflowers
  • Clean: bathroom (toilet, sink, sweep floor, wipe mirror), kitchen (dishes, clean counters, sweep/mop floor), living room (organize shelves, arrange pillows on couch), fold clothes
  • Dinner prep: burgers, smoothies
  • Date night w/ Wes: Endless Legend, Final Fantasy XIV

We’ve been on a burrito kick lately, which is great since it’s so easy to take to work and reheat. I’m thinking of making our own tortillas this weekend. It really depends on how much time I have. The only time consuming part would be flattening the tortillas.

Sunday:

  • Hiking w/ Jo: bring kush, smoothies, Polaroid Spectra & Minolta w/film
  • Dinner – not sure yet (if I’m being honest, we’re probably going to have burgers again)

Last Saturday, I made the best burger of my life. We enjoyed the burger so much that we decided to have them again this weekend. We usually order out when we do gaming/date nights, but this is so much cheaper and surprisingly just as delicious. Well, not surprising. I’ve been cooking for six years now. Speaking of cooking, I’m really excited to explore more baking. I want to create personalized cakes for friends/co-workers on their birthdays and for any special occasions. I loved decorating cakes when I worked at WinCo, and I’d love to get more creative with food.

Good Things:

  • Our new cannabis grow is doing beautifully. We decided to try autoflowers, and I’m eager to see how quickly they’ll start flowering. Currently in the middle of week two, and I’ll start the nute schedule on week three.
  • Had a really good conversation with my manager. He’s willing to help me expand my opportunities and has offered to pay for classes. I definitely need to take advantage of this opportunity.
  • I’m getting better about spending again. I was having difficulty with overspending, and I realized I wasn’t being as productive as I could be, so I was combating that boredom with spending. Case closed. Well, it’ll always be a little bit open, but I’m glad I’m recognizing what’s going on in time.
  • We’re getting really close to our emergency savings goal, and that means we can then focus on our retirement accounts that we’ve been sorely neglecting. Adulting can feel really good sometimes. I never realized how secure I’d feel with enough savings to last us six months.
  • Dillon and I talked today. I missed him so much. I hope he can visit before he starts school in August.
  • I turn 29 in a little over a month.
  • Ziegler hasn’t been feeling well lately, so Wes made an appointment for her on Monday. She seems to be eating and is a lot more active/talkative today, so I hope she’s feeling better.
  • I’m really proud of my progress.

A Tale of Summer Sales & Personal Growth

I’ve missed writing.

I purchased a lot of games for the Steam summer sale.

  • Morrowind (Wes’ favorite game, had to get it)
  • Fallout: New Vegas (Wes and I were playing on his account, and I really wanted to get my own copy and start the game over with a new character)
  • Hotline Miami (great soundtrack, and I enjoy top-down shooters)
  • Tropico 4 (really enjoyed Tropico 3)
  • Ibb & Obb (got a copy for Wes, too)
  • Dust: An Elysian Tail (the story seems cool)
  • Resident Evil 5 (something to play with Wes)
  • Learn Japanese to Survive! Hiragana Battle (original found this for Wes and thought it would be fun to learn Japanese together)
  • If My Heart Had Wings (I adored Clannad, so I’m sure I’ll enjoy this)
  • Farming Simulator 15 (After playing Stardew Valley and taking over farming in 7 Days to Die, I’m addicted to farming in games)

I recently got into Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Dark Souls. Both are games I never thought I would enjoy. Dark Souls especially. Dark Souls is hard as fuck, and I find myself getting really frustrated during boss fights. The game is unforgiving. Made a fatal mistake? Start over again. And again. And again. And again. There were times I wanted to throw my controller at the screen and never play the game again. Then I’d return, persevere and finally beat the boss. I love the idea of a tattoo that says “You died, you recovered, you defeated.”

I am still very much into Overwatch but taking a small break from competitive since I’ve played so much this season. Gaming has helped me in ways I didn’t think possible. With Overwatch, I’ve kind of found my voice as a leader. I try to be the shot caller for the team, and it usually works really well. I’m really enjoying taking the leadership role in games. I even created a Discord server for people I like playing with, so we’ll usually group up in teams. It’s a little adorable that many of my gaming friends are kids in high school. They’re complaining about summer chores, and it makes me feel incredibly old! But they also come to me for advice or to just vent, so it also feels like I’m a big sister to them or something.

Tomorrow, Wes and I are getting gym memberships. I miss going to the gym. Never thought I would say that.

I love cooking more than ever. Every week, I have our meals planned out but always ask Wes if he wants me to make anything special for him. This week, it’s nachos. Sometimes, I’ll make him beef stew or chicken parmesan. It’s adorable that he has favorite meals I make for him. A few weekends ago I made two amazing batches of lasagna. I think I might make a little recipe book of his favorite meals I make for him. And I’ll leave the end pages blank for additional recipes and then update/reprint the book when the pages are filled up. I could take photos of them too and make it a legit cookbook. I could call it “Honeymoon Cooking: Recipe for Lovebirds” or something. I’m totally not planning this out or anything…

Speaking of Wes, I never thought it was possible to find someone more perfect. Whenever I feel uncertain of myself, I’m reminded that I have someone always rooting for me and willing to help me when I’m in need. I’ve never felt so open with someone, and I remind myself everyday how lucky I was to find him on a random night in December of 2009. Though we were thousands of miles away, I have never felt such immediate closeness to someone. Of course at the time I was plagued with insecurity. I’m surprised he saw through that and was able to like, and eventually love, the person beneath it all. He realized who I was before I did.

I’m seeing my therapist again next month after almost a year. I learned so much from our sessions, and I’m glad I took the break. It was overwhelming discovering so much about myself and trying to make so many changes at once. I felt like I was cleaning out the hoarded house in my mind and unsure what I had to let go of and keep. I feel nowhere near any sort of order, but I find myself okay with that. Life doesn’t have to be in order all the time, and I have an appreciation for the chaos. My goal is no longer to achieve happiness but to realize despite my past or what happens in the future, I have the choice to overcome.

Knowing this has changed my life tremendously.

I think I’m ready to talk to my parents and possibly see them again. It’s part of the reason I’m seeing my therapist. I want to make sure this is the right decision for me. I’m ready to forgive and potentially have a relationship with them if they’d like one. I’d also like to see my sister graduate high school. Wes also wants to take me to Georgia and meet his family. We have such interesting family histories. I think we made the right decision to wait.

A lot of shit to unload after almost a year of not updating.

Overall, I feel like I am at a good spot in my life. I feel sturdy, like I could weather a storm if one just so happened to roll my way. It’s a weird attribute to apply to myself, but it’s the one that makes the most sense to me.

In lighter (er, higher?) news, Wes and I started growing cannabis and just harvested our first grow. It was a little disappointing. We defoliated the plants too late into flower, which stunted the growth a bit. I also misdiagnosed the plants. I thought they had nitrogen deficiency when they actually had nutrient burn. That was a fatal mistake. Overall, I think we still are getting a couple ounces from both the plants. For our next grow we’re doing an autoflower and potentially getting an HPS light to complement our 300w LED light. I used the grow tent for my succulents during the winter and spring, and they loved it. My jade plant doubled in size in just two months.

I don’t know what it is, but making friends is very easy lately. I’ve been having lunch with a couple co-workers, and we’re planning on doing stuff outside of work. And today I took a Lyft home, and I had such a nice conversation with the driver that I asked if she wanted to exchange numbers. We’re planning for drinks next week. I don’t know, I guess I feel more open as a person. More vulnerable but okay with it, because I’m not really afraid of who I am. Before I felt like I always had something to hide. I think it was obvious I didn’t really like myself, and it’s hard to be around someone who treats themselves like that. I mean, I barely wanted to be in my own skin. I don’t blame others for finding that uninviting.

I’m on a mission to listen to every song I loved in the 90s. I just received my copy of The Cranberries’ Everyone Else is Doing it, so Why Can’t We? and I’m reminded how much “Dreams” changed my life. I listened to the Smashing Pumpkins on my bus ride to work today, and I never realized how perfect 90s rock is while crossing the Hawthorne Bridge. I’m sad I didn’t realize this sooner.

Work is going okay. Behind on a couple things. I agreed to be the chair for the Safety Committee, and it’s going surprisingly well. I’m creating procedures, and I feel like I’m engaging the current members. There’s a lot to do between now and the next meeting. Everything else seems to be going well. I’m pretty happy in my position for the most part, though I know there are a few areas I could improve on, namely time management and asking for help when I really need it.

I will try to write more often. I forgot how soothing this is.

Love

Wes: Am I just being too sensitive? I feel like I have such a thin skin with you, and I hate it.

Me: Maybe that’s what love is? Your skin has to be thin to let someone in.

I’ve spent the past month trying to write a post but could never finish. Let’s try one more time!

  • We will be debt free by next month. After that, our next goal is to rebuild our emergency fund (one year’s worth) and then fully fund our IRAs and my retirement account through work. We haven’t really decided what to do after that, but we’re really happy with where we’re headed. I think if we continue at the rate we’re going, we can buy a house by our mid thirties.
  • I make obscenely delicious burritos. Wes is also obsessed with this corn salad/salsa I make. Why is fresh corn the best thing ever?
  • I love therapy. I had a rough patch a month ago, but now it’s even better. It’s just really cool seeing my progress from session to session.
  • For my birthday, I’m getting more plants and hopefully a septum piercing. Thought about it for a while and figured the time is now. Wes gave me my gifts early, and they were all incredibly thoughtful. I especially love the cape he bought me.
  • This is the happiest I’ve ever been.

 

The best part about moving is when the new place begins to feel like a home. Even better, doing serious cooking for the first time. I didn’t think the kitchen was that big until I did some cooking over the weekend. I made potstickers, fried rice and a lot of chili.

I finally wrote some poetry. I’m learning to write everyday, even if it’s in short bursts. This might never be a true daily ritual, but I’m writing, and that’s all that matters.

After we finished cleaning the duplex, I did a video walkthrough just in case my landlord tries to pull some shit. The floor was still a little wet from mopping, and I slipped and gloriously fell about twelve steps. It wasn’t too bad at first, but I’m noticing all kinds of bruises.Wes ran over to me and helped me up. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him look so concerned. I sat outside while he went in to finish the video. Mr. Winston, Kathy’s outdoor cat, came over to greet me. When I first moved to Portland and found the duplex, he was the first to greet me. In fact, for the first week of me moving in, he would come by in the morning before the bus came for work to sit with me. And when I came back home, he would sit on my dining table purring and taking bites of whatever I brought home. It was probably the best end of a chapter. I don’t miss living there. I have never been able to admit how hard moving here was. I have never wanted to protect myself so much, and I hid myself from a lot of experiences. But even in all of that, I found a way to grow. I feel so much stronger now and feel ready for the many challenges that will come in this life (even if I don’t feel that way all the time).

I decided to telecommute today so I could rest. It’s almost like Dippy knows where all of my bruises are, because he is determined to walk all over them.

We didn’t have time over the weekend to make it to IKEA or the Portland nursery, but we did go grocery shopping at Fubonn.  For some reason upon entering the store I couldn’t stop sneezing. We had a lot of fun though, and I made Wes a few meals from my childhood. Also, I’m not making gyoza wrappers anymore unless I have a pasta machine.

I am so obsessed with Summer Flake. I was on Bandcamp looking up new music to listen to, and I heard “Shoot and Score.” I thought it was great but wanted to wait until the full album was released to listen to all the songs. From start to finish, Hello Friends is just remarkable. There’s something so familiar about the music, yet it’s also so fresh about her guitar playing and voice.

I should really go to sleep.

  • Therapy is helping, and I started at such a good time. Usually, I feel really inundated after moving, but I almost feel like we didn’t even move.
  • The place is all unpacked and organized, but I’m going to IKEA this weekend to get photo/poster frames. We also haven’t set up our TV yet since we left our screwdriver at our old apartment. I love our place.
  • I can’t wait to get back into the cooking groove. It’s been nice not worrying about meal plans, but I’m ready to get back to it. I had McDonald’s for the first time in five years, and it was delicious.
  • I really hate doing meeting minutes.

I love our apartment. After the stress of it all, I finally had a moment last night to just walk around and appreciate everything. I originally wasn’t looking forward to moving into a complex, but it seems really quiet so far. Our place is really spacious with plenty of light. I love that we’re close to the MAX, and there’s a bus stop just outside of our complex. The street is busy, but the place is well insulated. I do miss living in a neighborhood, but this will work while Wes and I save up to buy a home.

Lately, I’m realizing that being kind to myself is just as much of a decision as being cruel. The cruelty is learned, but it’s easy, because I’ve done it so long. I hope someday kindness will be my first instinct.