Monthly Archives: March 2014

another offer

I am so exhausted I can barely see straight.  Why, you might ask.  Well, it’s hard to say.  We did start a new nanny this morning, which went very smoothly, but I was quite stressed about it in advance.  L wet through her diaper last night, and so she didn’t sleep well.  (I didn’t realize why until the morning.  Poor thing.)  I am under a fair amount of pressure at work.  Finally, we made another offer on a house today.  The seller actually had wanted offers yesterday, but we were both completely exhausted and overwhelmed yesterday as well, so we just said if it had to be that day, we’d miss out.  Well, apparently there were two offers, both with escalation clauses (which are pretty much standard around here, though I dislike them), and the seller came back and asked the buyers to remove the clauses and just make a straight offer by 5 PM today.  I found this out at 3:30 PM, and we were still on the fence about whether to make an offer.  Finally, we decided to do so.

Here’s the house:

Friends in Houston – do you have fancy bathrooms like this?  I’m just curious how this house compares to the new (or nearly new) brick facade houses my friends in Houston bought.

This is by far the nicest house we’ve made an offer on.  It’s also by far the most remote.   The two are obviously closely related.


However, it’s in a good school district, and we kind of like its location.  It’s on the side of one of the Issaquah “Alps.”  It reminds me of where I grew up.

So we’ll see.  We have a better chance on this house than any others we’ve offered on, but I still feel we will most likely not get it.  I had to place something like 6 offers before I got the house I’m living in now, so whatever.  So it goes.

I find making an offer on a house emotionally exhausting because I tie where I live to what I’m doing with my life, and get into this whole “Where am I going?” spiel.  I hate making big decisions like this.  I try to comfort myself with “We can always sell it.” but obviously, the transaction cost is huge.


status update

N had her last day yesterday.  B’s mother is visiting, and she and B are watching L this Weds and Thurs, and then we start a new nanny on Monday.  Hopefully we will like the new nanny.  She has a lot to live up to.  The interview process was such a pain.  I’ve been sick on and off the last few weeks (what else is new?) and the last thing I felt like doing was phone screening, interviewing, and doing reference checks on nannies, but sometimes, I guess, you have to do what you don’t want to.

I’m very stressed at work and wish I could just crawl under the covers and sleep for a while.  My MIL is visiting which makes life a bit more stressful as our house is not very big, but on the other hand, L loves her, and hopefully it’ll give B and I a bit of a break, which we desperately need.

Despite having been congested for three weeks (due to two successive colds), I’m feeling better these days.  It’s been about a week since I last threw up, and I rarely even gag these days.  The nausea has almost completely passed this week.  Thank goodness.  I still don’t really feel like myself, and am still dealing with dizziness and tiredness and just generally feeling lousy, but I guess that is the way it’s going to go.  17 weeks.  Only 23 to go.  It is what it is – not pleasant, but worth it.


Ravelry, how I love thee!

I was flattered to be contacted by the designer of the hat I knit for L:

She commented on Ravelry that she liked the photos.  This is the type of thing that can happen because of Ravelry.  It is really impossible for me to overstate how much I love Ravelry!  It’s such an amazing way to interact with knitters and designers from all over the world. It is, in my opinion, the best hobby website on the internet, and I’ve perused quite a few.  Way better than Pinterest, in my opinion.  I wish someone would put together something like Ravelry for sewing / quilting.

house search continued

We went to see two more pricey houses today.  The first was on Mercer Island, ground zero for centrally located, stellar schools, and beautiful neighborhoods.  The house we went to see has been on the market for six months.  It’s currently listed at 760K, and I think the sellers would probably part with it for 750K or less.

It looks lovely in the pictures, and I had high hopes.  After seeing it, I kind of loved it.  And I’m not sure I could sleep at night if I owned it.

It’s basically a tree house.  It has a separate garage (structure on the left) not connected to the house, which might fit two cars if you remove the internal shelving.  Then, the house itself has six levels.  From the top, Level 1 = Den, which we would use as B’s office.  Level 2 = Kitchen.  Level 3 = Living Room.  Level 4 = Master bedroom.  Level 5 = Another bedroom.  Level 6 = 3rd bedroom.  It has plenty of space.  The yard is very sloped and there really is no grassy space.  The grassy space in the photos is now just mud – I guess the grass didn’t take?

But all the rooms are very nice.  The living room is gorgeous and gets lots of light as does the master bedroom and the office / den.  I can definitely see living there.  But, it’s the kind of house which might have hidden water and structural problems, and that definitely scares me.  The yard itself is kind of a monster.  Except for the flat muddy patch, which I hope you could make grass stick on, but no guarantees, it’s all steep and overgrown.  It’s quite a lot of land, but wow.  The idea of trying to do something with it – or pay someone to – is very intimidating.

The location and schools really could not be any better.

Gorgeous living room, though it’s smaller than the photos implies:

B’s potential office – love.  Also much smaller than it looks here:

The area which I guess used to be grass, but is now a mud patch:

We then went to see a second house in Belle.vue, centrally located, good but not great schools.  Newly listed and probably impossible for us to get as we can’t afford, or won’t, go much over list.

The whole house (almost anyway) has stunning views and gorgeous light.

Unlike most houses I post which are not nearly as nice as the photos, the pictures of the view and backyard do not do it justice.  It reminds me of where I grew up, with view of the Blue Ridge mountains.

The house had a couple of significant downsides, at least for me.  The master does not have an en suite bath.  I love having an en suite bath.  At times like recently when I had morning sickness and was throwing up a lot, having an attached bath is just so nice.  I am also kind of messy in the bathroom, and it’s just nice to have my own space there without annoying B.  There is another bath on the top floor which is kind of out of the way, but which theoretically could be used as the bathroom for guests.  There is a really weird bathroom on the bottom floor – one room for the toilet, and another for the shower, both extremely small.  Anyway, not ideal, but not a dealbreaker.  The second issue is that the master is on the main floor and all the other rooms were on the lower floor.  The master is a bit small, also, and it’s not clear you could fit a queen size bed and a crib in there, as we do now.   If the house was 550K, I wouldn’t hesitate, but it’s not.

The sellers are reviewing offers Thurs, and it’ll probably be competitive, which means we probably don’t have a chance, so perhaps it’s all moot.  We’ll see.

I just noticed that the house I’d hoped we could see tomorrow, listed a mere 5 days ago, has already sold.  Usually they at least wait until after the weekend to review offers.  *sigh*

sick again

After a blissful week of relative health, L passed on a rather nasty cold, which of course became all the more nasty after four straight nights of L-induced sleep deprivation.  Ah, the glamorous life of a pregnant mom of a toddler!  Once again, I’m starting to feel better, and am now 15.5 glorious weeks pregnant.  How I love progress!  I am still suffering from mild morning sickness, but it is vastly improved, and I’m presently weaning myself off the B6.  The only hitch is that I’m super-congested and trying to cough it up is really hard given my still super-sensitive gag reflex.  There’s a fine line between coughing and puking which I’ve barely managed not to cross over.  L suffered more while sick than I did, with a rather nasty cough and a fever that went as high as 103.  However, she is also on the mend and doing quite well today.  I hate seeing the poor thing sick, but it is that or isolation at this age.

I have been interviewing nannies.  N is due in a month, and I thought I had time, but she’s been having lots of contractions, and her doctor has told her she may come any day.  It has actually turned out to be easier this time around, perhaps because I’ve done it before, but also perhaps because we are hiring immediately.  People applying for this type of job generally do not want to sit around for a month waiting for it to start, and I’ve gotten great response when I ask people can they start immediately if N’s labor were to begin early.  We have several promising candidates.  Hopefully at least one will pan out.   I am also looking into the local daycare which most of my work colleagues use.  It honestly did not impress me last time I saw it.  Just as Ke.nt is lacking in good schools, nice grocery stores, and any other upper-end amenity you can possibly think of, is also not overburdened with excellent daycares.

It has just occurred to me that Ke.nt is a bit like Hous.ton.  Just as my friends in Hous.ton complain about having to live there in order to work for, so do employees at my company complain endlessly about having to either live in Ke.nt or commute from nicer areas to Ke.nt.  Some people complain about the Pac NW, but the majority opinion is that it, and Sea.ttle are great places to live.  However, Ke.nt rarely receives a kind word.  I know I will miss its finer points – the many uncrowded parks and trails, for example.  (People in places like Belle.vue are really into walking and going to the park.  Not so here.  Ke.nt has lots of parks and they are generally fairly empty, relatively speaking, which is pleasant.  No competition for the swings.  Sometimes I will not see a single soul on the running trail.  In Belle.vue, you will find yourself having to maneuver around all manner of runners, joggers, baby strollers, dogs, and so on.)

house hunting trip 137

We went house shopping today for the first time in a while.  I basically just have not been feeling up for it, but I took advantage of my new-found health to join B on a trip to visit four houses.  I feel like crap tonight, so I may have overdone it a bit this weekend.

Anyway, we’ve been discussing upping our maximum budget a little to allow us a better likelihood of being able to find a house in West Belle.vue.  We decided to check out two houses today at the top of our potential expanded budget.  The first was this one:

You can kind of tell from the photo that the house next to it is bigger.  Much bigger.  In fact, two thirds of the houses in the neighborhood had been torn down and replaced with modern mansions.  According to zillow, the house next door is worth roughly 2.1 million.  I’m not sure how comfortable we’d be living in a neighborhood where most houses like ours had been torn down, so that was a major knock against the house from the start.  The house had four bedrooms, but they were extremely small.  In all but the master, it would be impossible, for example, to fit two twin beds, and even a double would be probably doable but a stretch.  One bathroom had been somewhat updated; the other made our 80s vintage bathrooms look sleek and modern.  The kitchen and living room were fine.  The house smelled of cats all over.  The house is in an ideal location, convenient to everything, and in a stellar school district.   I can definitely see us living there, but I can’t see us stretching our budget to its limit to do so.

I was excited about the second house, as I thought it looked very promising.  They always do online!

We knew going in that it had no garage, only a carport, but that turned out to be the least of the issues with the house.  On the plus side, the neighborhood was not filled with tear-downs, and I think we could have been very comfortable and happy living there.   The house had 2300 sq. ft. and 3 bedrooms.  I figured with that amount of space, it would most likely have a space that could be used as an office in addition to the bedrooms.  Well, I was wrong.  One of the “bedrooms” was already an office.  The second bedroom was quite small, thought definitely workable as a guest bedroom.  The master was lovely, but because B works from home and our parents visit regularly, and we have a 2nd child on the way, we really want 3 beds + office or 4 beds.  This house really had nowhere that could even be used temporarily as a guest bedroom.    Otherwise, it was very nice, but again, if I’m going to stretch my budget, I don’t want to make major compromises.

We concluded that West Belle.vue is out, and there is no point to expanding our budget to try and make it work.

We then proceeded to a very different part of town to look at two more houses.  We headed to the mountains of Issa.quah.  This area is quite beautiful, but unfortunately, rather inconvenient.  Most of the houses are up in the low mountains, and you must come completely down to arrive at any services.  Even then, the options are limits.  You find yourself a fair ways East on the 90, and to get anywhere – Belle.vue, Seat.tle, Ke.nt – you must first battle traffic on the 90 before even beginning the North / South route.  Schools are good but not great.  Housing prices are well within our budget.   Since B is working from home and I am planning to take a year off after #2 is born, commute is not an immediate issue for us, but it’s certainly a long-term disadvantage.

House #3:

This house was beautiful.  We loved the large, light-filled rooms.  However, we both easily agreed that the yard was unacceptable.  B and I both consider yard very important, and this house’s yard was quite small and not private.  It was just immediately obvious to both of us that it was a deal-breaker.

House #4:

At 425K, this house seemed like a steal-of-a-deal.  However, we both quickly agreed the backyard was unacceptable for this house as well.  It was listed as having 1/3 of an acre, but it turned out most of this was actually a county-maintained reservoir – basically a murky pond in the backyard.   A pity, because the price is right.  It also backed on a Catholic church, and I had hoped trees would offer some privacy, but it turned out you were looking straight into the parking lot.

We came away a bit discouraged, but I think we learned there is no point in looking in W. Belle.vue.  It is simply out of our price range, end of story.  I do think we could find a house in Issa.quah we liked without too much trouble.  I just don’t know if we are willing to deal with the commute.


culture shock

This morning, at my friend’s brother’s memorial, there were a hundred or so people of whom maybe four or five were not Asian.  As I mentioned in my last entry, the service was bilingual.  I’d say the preferred language of the older group was undoubtedly Chinese, while most of the younger folks, his friends, probably spoke Chinese but preferred English.  A memorial service does not entail a lot of chit-chat, so whatever, being a little bit of an odd person out did not bother me.

Then, I went to N’s baby shower.  At this event, I was the only non-Latino person, though one woman was half-Mexican, half-Armen.ian.  The preferred language of the majority of people there was Spanish, and a few women clearly did not really speak English well at all.  Unfortunately, at this event, lots of chit-chat is clearly expected.  I have a hard enough time being social among friends, never mind people I don’t know who are speaking a different language.  I felt bad because N was trying to include me, and I didn’t want her to feel like she had to take care of me.  I eventually made friends with a couple women and it was all good.  Nevertheless, today has been an overwhelming day.  Since Christ.mas, when I found out I was pregnant and also started feeling sick, I have been basically a recluse.  I go to work, and I go to the doctor.  I haven’t felt up to going out to eat, or play-dates, or really anything.  I only go to work and to the doc because I have to; given an option, I’d obviously have skipped those activities as well.  I’ve been feeling much better the last week or so, but wow, two events in one day was a lot.

It’s interesting to me how there are clearly so many subcultures in the Seat.tle area.  At our local park, there are often events – parties – held by different cultural groups so obscure you’d probably forgotten their country of origin existed, never mind imagined that there were dozens of them living in your local neighborhoods.   I guess it’s nothing new.  The groups have just changed.  My mom’s ancestors have lived in their own little subcommunity in upstate NY for generations.  Until the current generation and the previous to a lesser extent, married Ir.ish.  Marrying Ita.lian instead, as one of my great-aunts did, was a major scandal.

For whatever reason, I’ve always enjoyed getting to know people from other cultures, and this has placed me in many situations like the ones I was in today.  I just wish I was a bit – make that a lot – more outgoing.