Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Gazelle Intense

In a nutshell: We moved.

In the novel version: We needed a bigger place. There was no getting around it. Living a year in the same bedroom with a baby proved TOUGH! But even if the apartment was a two bedroom I needed a change! I KNOW! Me? Wanting, actually seeking out change??? Yep.

Tom and I started VERY early looking for a new place. Our lease expired (expires) September 20th and we started packing back in March. OH YEAH we were ready! So we began the search in our own neighborhood but prices were/are pretty ridiculous. For instance, if we were to sign another year lease at our 1 bedroom rent was jumping about a hundred dollar and at the same complex a 2 bedroom was looking at two hundred more (not including water, sewer, trash, etc) so really three hundred more!

Tom and I looked all around the Portland area, which is pretty big for all those not familiar. We even looked into the possibility of buying a foreclosure that cost just a little more than my bachelors; the mortgage was the price of renting. I have to admit, I got excited! Really? Could we really make it work? HAVE A PLACE THAT’S OURS?! We can paint and really set some roots down! But when we wrote down a rough estimate of mortgage payment, property taxes divided into monthly chunks, then added the normal monthly expenses: groceries, gas, utilities, cell phones, etc, etc. all of a sudden buying, even a place that was SO cheap, was NOT a good idea!

I was bummed. Not so bummed I couldn’t get out of bed and constantly crying, nay, more like, “AH its not fair!” It’s like when you’re single and everyone you know is married or like in 1999 when interest rates on Hondas were 0% for 4 years and I SWEAR every senior in my high school had a brand new flippin car! (side note: to this day it’s the reason I HATE, HHHAAATTTEEE Hondas. Are they well made cars? Sure but I still hate them.)

I wanted to pout. “Everyone has a house but us!” Lol actually I wasn’t THAT upset but it’s making for a better blog! Shortly after I was listening to Dave Ramsey, which was a miracle in its self since I almost never get to listen to my favorite radio people: Rush is on when Ben’s taking his morning nap and the radio is in the bedroom. Dr. Laura is on that special HD radio or whatever its called that costs a couple trillion dollar thus I am not able to listen to her and Dave is on when Ben’s in bed and again…the radio is in the bedroom. But I must have turned it on while getting Ben ready for bed because a caller came on and it was totally exactly what I would have called-in to ask! The chick was saying how she and her husband were SUPER intense with the program and had been for a couple years but were finding themselves in a bit of a pit as they were working hard but it would still be several years until they were out of debt let alone until they could save up for a huge down payment on a home, etc. She needed some advice/encouragement! Dave answered back that while they were having a “poor me moment” to look back and recognize not only how much they had paid off in the time they started the program but also acknowledge how much they saved themselves by not getting into further debt/bad situation. Also, and probably most importantly, to stop comparing what other’s have because for the most part what other’s “have” is debt up to their eye balls; thus, was she (I) really envious of the grass on the other side? It was exactly what I needed to hear. Of course it’s not SO different from what I need to hear often. I wonder how many times Bek has lovingly and strongly tried to slap that envying streak from my perspective?!

Anyway, that whole bank foreclosure place was a great experience but it wasn’t the last! So we kept on looking. And funny enough we looked into my old apartment complex I lived at for 4.5 years with my roommate Kristin and then Emily and then Tom. We moved out because it was a two bedroom and though rent was reasonable it was too much for our “living on beans and rice budget” we moved and I was WELL aware that IF I were to try to come back we’d be looked at as “making too much” as the complex is section 42, 8 housing. Nonetheless we tried. And here’s the reason I’m even bringing this up! Yes, we did “make too much” to be allowed to live there and because I was super curious I asked, “So if I were to quit my job today (which would get rid of the income we were over) could we live there?” The answer: Yes. I also asked, again because I was SO curious, “IF I were instead not quit my job but get pregnant, would we qualify?” Answer, “Yes.” I wanted to barf.

I was upset. WAY more upset than the possibility of buying not working out. It’s the HORRIBLE, DISGUSTING, CORRUPT system. It’s SO disturbing how its designed, actually structured to keep people enslaved to it. It’s not motivating, or proactive. I understand how you could be turned down if you DIDN’T make enough for some places, that’s helping people to NOT get into a situation (oh wait…that happened, stupid Clinton administration FORCING banks to approve low-income persons into mortgages they were NEVER going to afford) but denying people housing because they make too much? That’s messed up!

During the last several months every time I looked up apartments I would see adds for a particular complex and every time I looked at it I dismissed it immediately. Tom and I even drove by it once but I didn’t even get out of the car. “No! This is NOT the place, it doesn’t feel right. It looks gross and dumpy, I hate it.” Maybe I should have just come out and said EXACTLY how I felt! Lol
We had honestly looked EVERYWHERE and had stopped counting places I personally went to- after 13, it way beyond ridiculous. I was tired, we both were and stressed-out and frustrated. Finally, Tom called on his way home from work right before our trip to SD, “I keep seeing adds for that place you REALLY don’t like, I’m gonna make an appointment to check it out.” I think my response was something like, “UGH FINNNNEeeeee.”

The next morning we did a walk through.  I admitted it WAS the nicest place we’d seen so far IN OUR BUDGET. Tom loved it. He was full on ready to hand ‘em over our application papers and fees and call it good. I wasn’t. I told Tom I had to drive to Salem and would think about it driving down and back and would have an answer that afternoon. How did it turn out? On my way back into Pdx I stopped at not 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 places but 5 more complexes! At the fifth place I thought I was totally settled to call THAT place home! It was bigger, bigger by 130sqft. It had a storage closet outside that was walk-in and HUGE! We could bring in our own washer and dryer and not have any hassles! The dining room was BIG enough for our table, chairs AND Ben’s high chair! Our bedroom was GIGAINTIC and included a second bathroom! And the place was ONLY $60 more a month than his place. It was SUCH a deal! I called Tom and was like, “I found the place I like!” Tom was less than enthused as I thought he would be. I mean come on only $60 bucks more and we wouldn’t have any of the issues the place he liked had. He told me it was up to me, whatever I decided/wanted he would agree with. I got off the phone and took a deep breath. I looked at each places’ floor plans with the monthly rent side by side. Though we were flying out the next morning and had no time to waste I sat there for what seemed like a LONG time. I looked at the place I liked, This is it! But….why does it feel weird? And Tom’s place? Why do I hate it so much? AHHHH I closed my eyes and said a prayer. And the memory of the foreclosure came into my head, specifically the reason WHY we didn’t go after it. I thought about the Dave caller. I thought about the last few years we’d been through and the reason we are going through them. And then I thought about our future. I thought about what “living like no one else NOW so later we can LIVE like no one else” means. I knew it meant: $60 a month = $720 a year or = $1440 for 2 years. It means sacrificing comfort and PRIDE. I called Tom a little later, “I turned in our applications to your place with our app fees and deposit.”

We got the keys to our new place on the 7th – it was the latest the complex would hold it for us though he didn’t need it until the 20th. So for the first week I came over with Ben and dropped off as much as I could WITH Ben clinging to my leg screaming if I walked 2 feet away from him. I did NOT like our new place but I didn’t feel like we made a mistake either. On Saturday we moved everything over, in fact it took exactly 1 hour to load and unload the moving truck! We had great helpers =)

Tom immediately went to work on setting up the crib then our bed while I took care of getting the necessities put in their new place. It was later that evening when I had a change of heart.
IT WAS THE SHOWER. It’s awesome. It doesn’t look any different from any other shower but it FEELS like you are in a nice hotel shower. I’m funny, I know! I LOVE taking showers in new places AS LONG AS the shower is clean. The water is super hot, the water pressure is perfect and it’s way roomy- I just want to take 3 showers a day! Then that night Ben slept in his own room. He didn’t fuss at all. I think HE was wanting him own room just as much.

The apartment has windows on both ends not just on one wall so we get a great cross breeze PLUS we are on the second floor and high enough that it would be pretty hard to climb up the balcony so we leave the sliding down open all night and don’t worry a bit. We have LOTS of light, we are higher up on the hill so our cable leaf thingy we got for Christmas picks up 30 channels inside of 1 and all for free! We have a nice big living room enough to do Pilates if I ever feel like it…

It reminds me to be grateful. That even though the fridge is short and small WE HAVE A FRIDGE. And even though the place looks junky on the outside we HAVE a place in a nice part of town with nice carpet and so far nice neighbors. And though we’ve only moved less than 1/3 of a mile up the hill it means a new ward BUT it means new people and friends, etc.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Splender in the Grass

Tom, Ben and I were privileged to fly out to South Dakota (thanks to Tom’s parents!) last week. It was Ben’s and my first visits to Tornado Alley, the Midwest, America’s Breadbasket, and whatever else it’s referred to.
The trip was the Bermuda Triangle of events! Tom’s baby sister Erika was sealed to her husband Chris in the Bismarck, N.D. Temple, Tom’s other sister Charity had a new baby blessed as well as a daughter baptized. And because everything is so spread out in the Midwest it meant a LOT of driving; I estimated we spent 16.5-17 hours driving. Needless to say having a toddler in a car/car seat for even half that length is brutal…BRUTAL!!! :

Some of the highlights: (Not in any particular order)
1.     Possibly my BIGGEST priority I was looking forward to was going through Tom’s family albums so I could FINALLY see what he looked like as a baby, a kid, etc. Before the trip I had seen literally only TWO photos, his newborn hospital picture and his Kindergarten photo… For the record I am a BIG photo album looker-lover. I don’t even care if I don’t know the people I’m looking at, I simply LOVE and super enjoy getting to know people and feeling their emotions through photos! =) But this was a special treat since I SO wanted to experience that same awesomeness with my hubbies moments. Unfortunately, with the very limited amount of time to do this I only got through one photo album; birth through about 3 years old. AND I have to say Ben looks amazingly like Tom! It’s been difficult for me to see Tom in Ben at all, when I look at Ben I see, well, BEN or I see my side and the closest to Tom I ever see are the nephews on his side coming through. But WOW people! Tom as toddler is Ben now. That was possibly my favorite moment! I look forward to our next trip out whenever that will be to see more pictures.

2.     Gosh okay this actually might be my favorite moment! Saturday was the longest stretch of driving going 3.5 hours one way to Bismarck not including pit stops. So by the time we drove back that evening Ben was exhausted, HECK I WAS EXHAUSTED, especially since there was a good 20 minute period where he was uncontrollably screaming, red-faced, gasping for breath, fighting, and nothing I did would calm him down including taking his out of his seat and holding him in my arms, which I did many times throughout our journeying. (Judge me all you want people, until you’ve lived it you REALLY have NO clue how hard and long a baby can scream especially when you are sitting there in their view- it only encourages them more.) Anyway, when we returned to Aberdeen, SD our first stop was the hotel where Tom’s parents where staying and while they went in their rooms freshening up, Tom and I let Ben go wild in the large grassy area outside. He was in heaven. It was like the last 10 hours hadn’t happened. It was the only time I had my camera close at hand and we were able to take photos proving we ever visited. Thus, the pictures included in this blog that you’ve seen on FB.

3.     I always knew Tom was good with kids, especially with his niece and nephews when they came out for our wedding but I got to see it again this trip. Whereas I get worn but by kids in ohhh about 10 minutes I saw Tom HAPPILY play and keep them entertained for a few hours; that’s right HOURS! In fact, I got my nose in a huff a little about it! “We finally have time together and he’s playing with the OTHER kids over his own kid!” But I never got too upset, those kids love their Uncle Tom they see at most once a year and though Tom only sees Ben in the mornings before work and most of Sundays only I can’t wait for Ben to get bigger because it’s Tom’s favorite stage- when they CAN play back. =) Loving babies comes easy to me, of course, they are so sweet and small and helpless and you don’t mind changing their yeasty diapers and you don’t care if they spit up, but kids……kids are WORK! They talk and talk and argue and don’t understand reason and truly, I don’t have patience. I fully admit it. So all together it was a good reminder how Tom’s enthusiasm for playing with kids is not only adorable but will be my lifesaver in the future!

It was a treat to see Tom’s family including grandparents on both his sides, and his super sweet Aunt Terry, an uncle, etc. I really did luck-out in the in-law department! (What a weird expression, wouldn’t luck-out mean a bad thing? Like how striking-out is bad???)