Welcome to Fall 2020.

The leaves are only just starting to change color around here thanks to some pleasantly mild weather as of late, but according to the calendar summer has officially ended. If you go a bit further north, you’ll find the colors have started taking hold in earnest.

Fall Foliage. Source: Forest Wander

With 2020 being such an unending shit show, it really feels like it took Fall both forever to get here and no time at all. The holidays will be upon us in no time and I’m already stressing about it, but probably not in the way that you would think.

The Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas period is my favorite time of year, but with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the upcoming election and all the political bullshit that seems to be happening all at once, I’m having a hard time getting too excited about it. The past couple of years we’ve not had any money to do gift exchanges over Christmas which is a huge bummer for me so we’ve been trying to put some aside for this year, but we keep having to dip into it. I’m worried it’s going to be another year with a Christmas tree with nothing under it.

Which is a stupid thing to be worried about when there are so many other folks out there worrying about wear their kid’s next meals are coming from. I’ve been lucky in that I’m still employed even if we were just handed a 10% pay cut for the remainder of the year. The mortgage is covered, we have food on the table, and the gas and lights are still on. So, yeah, I don’t have much to be worried. So, of course, I’m worrying about other stuff like what happens if I lose my job or if Trump manages to get reelected or insert some other thing that hasn’t happened yet here. This has been affecting my sleep and eating habits which is just makes for another couple of things that are stressing me out.

Still, I’m hanging in there and trying my best to be as positive as I can despite my cynical nature. Memes help and I’ve been shit posting them like a mad man all over Facebook lately. I’m hoping the cooler temperatures of fall will help me to relax as well so I can get at least a little enjoyment in the days ahead. Hopefully you’re doing well and aren’t stressing out like I am.

The great House Hunt of 2017.

I’ve not posted much lately because I’ve been busy shopping for a home. You may recall we tried home hunting back in 2014 and came very close to buying a house and then I got cold feet and called the whole thing off. I still think that was the right decision at the time because I’m not sure I could’ve afforded the payments at the time.

A¬†little under three years later I’ve taken out a loan against my own 401K and we’re trying it again. So far we’ve actually made three attempts to buy a house only to have all three attempts fail. Which is an odd reversal of our first go at this because back then it took forever to find a house to make a bid on and we dropped it before they ever got a chance to consider it.

The first house we tried to bid on was, in my opinion, everything I was hoping for in a house. It had only been on the market a couple of days when we put in a bid on it, but apparently a lot of other people liked it too and the sellers went with someone else’s offer. I did not take this disappointment well and was moody and grumpy for the rest of that weekend. The second house wasn’t as nice as the first one, but it was pretty close and so we tossed out an offer. However, I didn’t get my hopes up because the listing had been updated to say that all best and highest offers had to be in by 5PM on the day we submitted which told me this house also had a lot of competition. It went to someone else.

Third time’s the charm, right? Not really. The third house we bid on wasn’t one I was particularly excited about, but it would’ve been a decent house. We’d need to purchase a stove, fridge, washer and dryer for it as — unlike the first two houses we bid on — those appliances were not present. It was clear the home had been bought to flip and it had some nice updates and the basement would’ve been awesome for LAN parties. Someone else had bid on it previously and it fell through so it was back on the market. Alas, the mortgage we’ve been preapproved for is an FHA and the sellers already knew that the appraisal of the home would be for 5K less than they were asking for so they wanted us to kick in another $3,000 above and beyond the down payment and closing costs to go towards the commission. Alas, that would’ve left me with no money to buy the appliances I’d need let alone afford to pay for movers so we had to drop the bid.

Part of the reason I gave up back in 2014 was the sheer stress of the process and it’s no different this time around. I hate everything about this, particularly the part where I don’t really know what I’m doing. We’re using the same agent we used in 2014 — Mike¬†Mazurek — who has been really great at shepherding us through it and pointing out potential issues with the homes we’ve looked at. I think after making it through three failed bids I’m managing my stress a lot better. Which isn’t to say that I’m not still a big ball of nerves, but I’m not totally freaking out about it like I was at the start of this adventure.

So, yeah, that’s what we’ve been doing. It is my full intent that I will find a house that will be my last move ever unless I win the lottery or get kicked out. So it’s gotta be a decent house. Especially given that I’m a computer nerd with absolutely zero ability to fix up a fixer upper. I’ll try to post a little more often while we’re doing it and if anything interesting happens along the way.