Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pass the Marshmallows...

A few weeks ago, I was feeling like I was going nowhere with my get-out-of-debt plan, so I decided to figure out how much I had paid off since my last bonfire. I removed the chains from the Chain of Shame, it made a tidy little pile.

May Fire1

Time to break out the matches...
May Fire2
...and celebrate...

...and then go deeper into debt:

Under Contract

Yep, the Fortescue house is now officially under contract! Woo Hoo! All I need now is the mortgage commitment, which should come through by June 10th. That will keep everything on track to have the survey, inspections, certifications, blah, blah, blah, done by the settlement date of June 30th!

It looks like June will be a big month around here, with Dad's thyroid surgery on the 8th, and mom's esophagus surgery on the 14th. Fortunately, dad is already stocking up on supplies in anticipation of spending time in Fortescue in the next couple of months.

What supplies?

dad with bug spray


Friday, May 20, 2011

Too Many Red Flags

Man, it's been a while. Yes, I've been busy, but that's not the only reason I've been away from the blog. I've tried a couple of times to write, but it has never come out right, so I hit DELETE instead of PUBLISH.

First things first...

Good news: Dad is doing well after his surgery in March.

Not-so-good news: He was diagnosed with thyroid cancer a couple of weeks ago. We are told that it is completely unrelated to the prostate cancer. He has to have surgery to remove the thyroid, and then a couple of weeks after that he will have to be re-admitted to the hospital to take some very weird meds. Apparently, within 3-5 days of taking these meds, he will glow in the dark. (Not really...at least I hope not.) Next week we will find out more details on the surgery and post-surgical treatment.

Other than that, everything is pretty much the same. Mom is doing well. She is scheduled for Botox next month.That's right, Botox! I can't stop laughing whenever I think of it. She's not getting it for wrinkles (if she had any, that is). She was recently diagnosed with esophageal achalasia, so they are going to relax the muscle at the bottom of her esophagus with Botox. I keep telling her that once you start with the plastic surgery, it's just a slippery slope. Pretty soon she will be getting a butt lift and a boob job!

The dogs, assorted cats and chickens are all doing great.

OK, I think I'll end this post right here.

Thanks for reading.


See ya.

Go on now.

You're still here?

You're asking about the little house at Fortescue from my last post?

The house I have been drooling over for two years now?

This cute little house with tons of character?

Why yes, I did indeed put in an offer on this house!

I know the house is small; the bedrooms are barely big enough for a twin bed, let alone a full or queen; the bedrooms and bathroom are up a narrow, winding flight of steps; the outbuildings are practically falling down and are one high tide away from being washed into the marsh. I know all that, and I love the house anyway. The deeper I got into the house, though, the more red flags started popping up.


The house has been vacant for over three years? That just proves that it needs someone to love it. Termite damage? OK. I can live with that. Leaky pipes? No problem. That's what plumbers are for. An owner who is reluctant to sell? That's a little harder to deal with, but that's what real estate agents are for.

And then came the big red flag. Do you see that outbuilding behind the house? Inside the building, there is an old, unused shallow well. You open the door, and there is a hole in the ground, about 2 feet in diameter, full of water. No lid or anything to keep you from falling into it. No big deal. Make a lid for the well, secure it so no one can fall into it, and viola! Well problem solved. At least we thought it was a well. Turns out, it's the septic. Full of water. No lid, because apparently it fills up so often that it has to be pumped out once a month. Estimate to get a new, properly draining septic system? $15,000-$25,000.

Big red flag. Huge. Big enough to cover the whole state of New Jersey. Granted, New Jersey is one of the smaller states, but still...

Fortescue House

This house is just not an option for me, and will henceforth will be referred to as "The Money Pit".

But... behind every dark cloud there is a silver lining. When God closes a door, He always opens a window. Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I could go on and on with pithy sayings, but you catch my drift.

I now present.. (drumroll, please)... the Silver Lining:

25 Louisiana b

Longtime readers might recognize this as the house we rented last summer when an old friend came to New Jersey for a visit. This house is also in Fortescue, and while it doesn't have the charm of my house the Money Pit, there is something to be said for three bedrooms, a bath and a half, and actually being able to flush the toilets.

So, am I just teasing, or did I actually take the plunge?

Hand me a towel, because I am soaking wet!

I was afraid to post about this earlier, afraid I would jinx it, but I made an offer, it was accepted (after some back and forth), the contracts have been signed, the attorney review period is over, and an independent house inspector only found two things wrong: it needs GFI outlets in the kitchen, and the front porch is missing lag bolts. Easy stuff.

Now I'm just waiting for the mortgage to come through, but have been assured that it will go through without a problem. Famous last words, right? I'm not counting my chickens before they're hatched, but I'm starting to think that I might actually be a homeowner very soon.

How's that for a silver lining?