Remember that last post I did about running, and how in getting through life's tough times I liken it to running and getting to the finish? Yeah, I must have repeated that to myself over 1,000 times this last week. "You're closer to the finish now than you were at the start, just 100 more boxes..."
Let's start at the beginning, shall we? There was nothing wrong with our home, we went through a lot to get it (you know, closing 2 days before our wedding, etc. We don't do many things on the normal timeline) It was a great house, if really fit us, but over the course of the time we've lived there, we've been built around. Literally. Green belts and open spaces turned into construction zones and newer homes. Neighbors turned into noise and not at a "reasonable" level. We could hear conversations in kitchens, babies screaming, dogs barking and so much more. It became a level of annoyance that neither of us were ok with. Then, adding a 3rd dog to our family, we realized that we needed a bit more peaceful space - space for us to be happy and them to be happy.
Now, if you know anything about the housing market in the PNW right now, it's insanity. Bidding wars, cash offers, and some antics likely not legal. Why not look NOW?! We started looking casually, using Zillow and researching areas we thought we'd like to live in. We found "the one" or so it seemed just before leaving on the Big Trip. After 12 hours of chaos in trying to put in an offer, we lost out. We were devastated. We took some time off thinking we'd never find another one as nice. Once we were back, we looked casually again and found some that ended in the very same situation. On a random rainy weekend, I went solo to look at a few with my godmother. We found some serious potential, showed Joe and decided to sleep on it. On my way home from that open house, my Redfin app pinged me with an oddly-timed open house. I had a bit of time to kill before my annual carb-loading dinner pre-Rock & Roll marathon, so I swung by to check it out. From the front, it looked like an older home, nothing fancy. Upon entering though, I was quite blown away by the clean lines mixed with some of the flair often found in homes built in the 70's. I was the only one there, save for the agent. She explained to me that this was to be the couple's forever home, so they started making improvements to it. They'd only been there about a year when the wife received a relocation offer they couldn't refuse. As I walked through the upstairs, I noted things I liked, things I didn't. Then, the agent encouraged me down the stairs. As I walked down, I exhaled a few words of surprise - this space was immaculate. Every corner turned revealed a new and more exciting thing. They had an office put in with white and turquoise as the primary colors...with a glass door to boot. Walking out on the back deck I envisioned patio parties, happy dogs and happy Jensens. Even turning corners outside revealed new and fun additions. Side deck, patio, garden.
I jumped in the car after thanking the agent and immediately got on the phone with Joe. He looked at photos and was more intrigued than he had been earlier that day. I encouraged him to view it if he could while I was running the race the next day. He did, and really liked it. It was a bit high for us, but by renting our current home, we could make it work.
Fast forward, as it's obvious by now we put in an offer. The backstory up until now seems standard in the crazy market of home buying right? Totally. Well, the next few weeks would put us through the ringer, not only on the house buying front, but pretty much every aspect in between.
The loan and offer process was tedious at best. Every day it seemed like we were trying for this type of loan or changing the plan mid-day. I dug up divorce documents, name change statements, and provided more in-depth views of my income than I'm comfortable with. We dropped everything some days to get whatever was needed. Not only were we trying to buy, but we were also in need of renters, and fast. We met with several rental agents and decided on one who took time to email back and forth with me over the July 4th holiday, at all hours of the day/night. The first couple that came through loved it and we thought "how lucky could we be?!" The start of our shift in karma - they backed out just a few days later. Back to square one, and less time available. By the way, did I mention that our newest dog Oban decided to full-on bit our rental agent? Yes, yes he did.
I didn't tell many people that we were doing what we were, since with the last offer we put in, we ended up crumply crying messes when we didn't get it. I was trying so hard to keep my hopes at bay - with the process going how it was, it seemed we were walking a thin line between approval and not. Making it more difficult was that the house was actually now "owned" by a relocation company so things took longer than expected. Our original closing date was set for July 19th, yay! That would give us plenty of time to move, not have to rush, and also be ready for renters on August 1st.
Well, that date started to slip, despite the arguments back and forth with our agent (not with us, he argued with everyone else). A new date of July 28th was given, but we were assured it would be sooner. Again, during this time we were actively trying to find renters for the 1st (by we I really mean all of us. I posted to FB groups, I messaged random people, and worked with the agent on all things FIND SOMEONE). Remember, we were also trying to complete our normal daily routines, jobs, social life, and packing of course.
Good news came with another set of renters. But they were in a bind and needed the house earlier, as they were in a home being sold and needed to be out prior to the first. Okay...I spent hours on the phone trying to find movers as we knew we didn't want to burden friends & family with the likely-to-be unorganized move. I found a few, decided on one and then proceeded to get the remainder of the services scheduled. Mind you, this was all based on getting the keys by the morning of the 28th.
I honestly can't remember the day it happened, but it was right around 3 to 4 days before we were scheduled to get the keys. Our timeline had shifted - our loan company thought we were crazy to expect the keys the MORNING of the 28th as it usually doesn't happen until the EVENING. So, the movers I scheduled for the 28th? They had to be pushed to the 29th. All of the things I scheduled for the 29th? Those had to shift out too. To a Sunday. Which, I'm sure you can see where this is going...many companies don't do services on that day.
A lot of how I managed to get this to work out is stifled by crying on the phone, throwing things, yelling and more. Naturally our movers were NOT available on Saturday..."that's the busiest moving day of the summer!" So down the Yelp list I went calling and begging. A sliver of hope? One of the consults I had scheduled never got the email that I had to cancel (when we thought we found someone else for the 28th) so he still had the 29th held for me. Praise the gods. I was pretty sure when I met him that I looked like a puppy ready to pee. Just tell me the price I thought. I expected high, but he came in RIGHT where we needed him to. Ok, one down. I managed to shift the other scheduled services (carpet cleaning, move out clean, etc) to a Tetris-style puzzle of appointments all weekend. We'd figure out who would be where and tell them they had to deal with whatever frustrations they had with working on top of each other. It literally was our only option at this point.
So, let's now talk about Thursday, July 27th. I had the market to attend to, and let all of our "Team" know I'd be unavailable after 11a. *Team is what we were calling everyone involved with buying a home. We had scanned and signed every possible document from birth to present so figured we were in the clear. We had scheduled and rescheduled, we had packed as best we could. About 10a that morning, a frantic email/phone call situation happened because the loan team found something or other that they swear we didn't disclose. A flurry of MORE documents were scanned and sent, and I left for the market honestly not knowing if we were going to close the next day or not...or at all really. The escrow company basically said that we wouldn't get keys on Friday (even at 5p) unless we signed at 9a in Tacoma - and that was IF they approved all of our loan docs. That seemed absurd, and most of our Team agreed, so that was the last I heard as I pulled away for a 10 hour day of work. Joe also got a call from his doctor during this time...his lab results from a endoscopy the week prior were in, and they were...concerning. Really?
When I arrived home at 9 p.m, I got the fun news that there were no exceptions - somehow their Everett office was unavailable for us to sign, so we would need to be in the Tacoma office by 9a. No exceptions. I woke up at 5a to do all of my scheduled Facebook work that needed to happen, and we left the house by 6:45. We arrived with 15 minutes to spare and started signing away. We went to the bank to take care of the wire, and while there received an email that they were missing something. Not wanting to take ANY chances (the doc had been emailed at least 2 times) we had the bank print it, sign it, stamp it and we drove it back over to the escrow office. We then started the drive home, exhausted but still anxious to know if we would have keys. At about 11:45 a.m. we got the "You're good to go," but we had to wait on the County office to do it's thing, which normally happened by about 3p. More waiting.
***Side note here. As many of you know, we have a friend Nicole who has been battling cancer for several years. She's a fighter, but during OUR chaos, she received diagnosis that the cancer she'd been fighting, and sort of winning, was back and it was not going away. A living celebration of life was quickly put together and we went, hugged, laughed and hoped that the experimental treatment they were going to give her would work. We offered help to her husband, who was just trying to be strong for her. They are not even 30 and haven't been married but maybe a year. On the Thursday we call "Chaotic Day from Hell" we received word that she was in the hospital and that it was likely her last stop. If we didn't have to deal with all of the documents in the morning, Joe could have got finished with real work early enough to go say good bye. On Friday, during our ride to Tacoma, it sounded like she was starting to respond better. But when we were passing through Seattle, we were told it wouldn't be a great time for the family or Nicole to have visitors. So, through this whole process we thanked our lucky stars that we had each other to lean on, and that we had the fortune to be buying a house and not in the hospital***
The call came from our agent a bit after noon. We were done. I broke into a sob with all of the emotion I had kept bottled up the days and weeks before. The keys would be in hand about 5:15. I loaded up my car (always efficient) with what I could take so that when we got the keys, I could start unloading. One of my favorite moving "hacks" is unpacking the kitchen as I go so that I can have more boxes to use for the rest of the stuff. We went and met the agent and he had some special things for us - a framed photo from our final walk through (the pic I posted a bit prematurely on my birthday since we were all dressed up - Karma, I tell you) and nice bottle of vodka that he highly recommended opening that night. We thanked him profusely and started moving away.
On the 2nd or 3rd trip that evening, Joe came into the new kitchen and said "she's gone." Nicole, our dear fighting friend, one of the nicest people I've ever met, had lost her battle. It was such a tearing of emotions to realize that while we were SO happy and relieved that our process was done, there was overwhelming sadness that we'd never be able to share it with her.
Our timeline was tight, we had to keep moving. We did about 5 hours of moving Friday night and went home to prep for the movers arrival the next day. Up and at 'em at 5:30, I started taking loads over and organizing as best I could. The movers were on time and started to knock out the stuff we needed them to. Everything was going great. We had a great friend come help us (he was one of the Team members who worked in the loan office) and I think he felt so bad for our process, it was all he could do. Cars loaded, back and forth we went. When they went to unload the fridge, we discovered that homes built in the 70's don't work with modern day fridges. Ok, well if that's the worst that would happen with our day, so be it. We plowed through the move all day and into the evening. We even went out for dinner to celebrate and enjoyed an Aquafest fireworks show from our back deck!
Sunday had us awaken tired, sore and irritable. There was still some work to be done and the timeline was even tighter now that we had more scheduled appointments coming in. Joe left to grab a load and meet the touch-up painters, and I gathered what was needed and got the dogs ready. When I went out on the back porch to round them up, I found a destroyed Rx bottle and two very happy dogs that were pleased with their find. What I didn't find was 2 months of Keelah's medication. Which of the other two ate it (it wasn't Keelah, it's hard enough to get her to take it in food)? Who knew? I drove to the other house and let Joe know. A quick Google search let us know that side effects of an overdose could be deadly. Back to the house I went to grab 2 of 3 dogs and take them to the ER clinic. Our first step would be inducing vomiting. As if on cue, Oban lost his breakfast in the back of my car. I called Joe back and we decided to self-medicate for a while to see what could be done. I love our dogs dearly, but a Sunday ER visit would be in the thousands. Money we just didn't have at this time due to the home buying process. A forum I found with similar OD threads helped me induce more vomiting by feeding both culprits hydrogen peroxide. After each would throw up, I'd go inspect the vomit - yes...yes I did. We went through this process a few more times, and then I started to burn toast in my new kitchen in hopes the carbon would help to absorb. Neither dog seemed affected. Hours went by and I was to stay home and monitor while Joe finished the hefty task of moving. We phoned a friend again to help. Back and forth with the dogs I went, calling anyone I knew, namely my dad, with dog experience. Monitoring heart rates, blood flow, respiratory signs. No real change other than lethargy.
About 2pm I got a message from Joe. A very angry message. He had just fallen down the stairs while carrying a few last items. Foot hurt. Might be broken. Can't move. He was off to the Urgent Care clinic. More things still at the house. As soon as he arrived home from the clinic on crutches (it wasn't broken but badly sprained) he took over dog monitoring and I took over moving with our friend Drew. We didn't chit chat, we moved. Nothing was organized anymore and nothing was put where it was supposed to be in the new house. Who cares. About 7p we finished with the VERY. LAST. LOAD.
The dogs were acting normal, things were finally coming to a close. Until Oban started finally showing signs at 10p. Over 12 hours after eating a bottle of pills (at this point it was obvious that Finnick was fine) His eyes were dilated like black saucers. He started running into things. His skin was hot. With both of us exhausted, we just couldn't bring ourselves to get to the ER. Call us bad dog owners but we really didn't have the means or the energy and figured rest would help. In the morning, he seemed better, but still a bit lethargic. I ran a few quick errands but when I returned home, he was exhibiting the same symptoms as 12 hours before. We were now over 24 hours past his ingestion. To the ER Vet we went. 3 hours later, and $500 later, they determined that we were VERY lucky. He was likely going to be ok, but time would tell. I brought him home and we took a long, much-needed, NAP.
Now 2 days removed from all of this chaos, I can tell you that things are on the up and up. The new house is still in utter chaos, but we're not planning to host any dinner parties soon. The dogs are all doing great, Oban woke up this morning back to 100% his normal, puppy self. Joe had his follow up on the results and everything is going to be ok. I've managed to get some of my office unpacked and can actually be productive during this hellish heat wave we're having. By the way, that glorious downstairs? It stays about 20-30 degrees cooler than any part of the house. So we're working, watching TV and sleeping in a lovely cool downstairs. The fridge is still in the garage, awaiting it's fate. The view is incredible every morning and our blessings are plentiful. We seem to have reached the end of the race - a bit banged up, bruised, heartbroken and wary, but we made it. I am so thankful that I could be present for all of the emotion this has put us through - coming out of the other side of our chaos is nothing when compared to the loss of losing a life. RIP Nicole - you were, and always will be a true inspiration. I hope that I can honor you by always looking at the positive and pushing through, no matter what.