Sunday, February 25, 2007

Why I'm up at 6am on a Sunday

Maybe if I knew the sunrises were this pretty every morning I would get up every morning at 6am. This is just shot from our dining room window.

Monday to Friday I stretch out in bed as long as I possibly can until the last possible second when I absolutely must get up. Dave gets up as soon as the alarm goes off at 6:40, goes downstairs to do ironing or read the paper or has a shower, while I lounge around half asleep (or more than half) and wait until I absolutely MUST get out of bed. At that point (as late as 7:40) I frantically have to get ready for work, throw on a suit, iron a shirt half-assedly, eat breakfast, make a lunch and head out the door. It's a frantic pace but all worth it for those extra few minutes of sleep for me. It's not that I'm not a morning person, it's just sheer laziness, because I know that I could get up in the morning and go for a run (to reduce my case of comfy bum), but I don't.

When I was a kid, I was always the first one up in the house for Christmas, Easter, or really any holidays that involved candy. I was up and ready to open gifts usually hours before the arbitrary "you're not allowed up before" hour that my parents would arbitrarily set the night before (usually 8am). I'd wake up well before that time of course, and just lie in bed waiting as every number on the big red digital clock slowly ticked away, counting down the minutes (which seemed like years) until the time I was allowed to get up. I would even play games with myself and think about homework, or read, or see how long I could go without looking at the clock. I think on a few occasions I even tried counting sheep. Every second seemed like years before the magic hour came and I could run to every other bedroom (occasionally resorting to tactics like jumping on beds) to wake up my sister and parents and get their lazy, sleepy asses out of bed because it's Christmas! and Santa came! and we need to go open presents or my head would likely explode! (see the funny aside here in question 7 when my sister grew too cool to get up excitedly Christmas morning.)

This morning I had the same feeling, but it's just an ordinary Sunday morning. A few things have come into play, though that gave me that feeling.

Last week, you see, we saw a man with a tape measure about the kitchen we had planned for our house. After going through designing no fewer than 5 separate kitchens on the ever-frustrating ikea kitchen planner, we had a guy come over and measure our place. He got exact measurements, then looked at our plans, to see what he thought was best. I was especially concerned about the amount of space there would be to go through the doorway into our dining room. Just as I suspected there would be an 18 inch space to squeeze through, which, as kitchen designs go, would probably not be enough. But! This guy had a solution! You could seal off the doorway, and then move it to the other part of the kitchen! Perfect! Except that would be ridiculously expensive! And while it would make things a ton more workable, and would actually allow us to have a pretty freaking awesome kitchen, I kinda thought "hmm maybe not." We haven't even got a price about the cost of moving the doorway, but I'd guess it'll be pretty freaking expensive to do the work to fix up the walls, take out the tiled ceiling, and move the door way, remove the existing cabinets, and install new, pretty ones.

Our tiny "upgrade kitchen" project snowballed into a "reconfigure the kitchen design a sixth time, replace walls, insulate and drywall them, take out ceiling and tiles and existing fan, drywall, put in pot lights, move a door frame, move plumbing and electrical work across basement, re-do floors, remove old cabinets, paint, install cabinets and backsplash, write big, ginormously fat cheque, weep over beauty of new kitchen and sudden emptiness of savings account."

In the end, while the kitchen would be so awesome I'd scream with delight every time we walked in, after all that work, we'd still have a tiny two bedroom home. This has never been the house we were planning on having kids in and living for the next 20 years.

I'm SO happy with the improvements we've already made (electrical, removal of wallpaper in the hallway and replacing it with pretty paint, painting the living/dining room, some plumbing work in the basement) but you can dress up a basic house with the awesomest kitchen, and it's still a basic house.

We'd like the idea of having more than one bathroom, (and one that's bigger than your average closet). This house really is a wicked starter house, full of character with an awesome back yard (cedar lined! Most are more than 10 feet tall!), but we started thinking with all the expense a new kitchen would bring maybe it'd be better to change houses instead of kitchens.

Thus began a new, invigorated search on MLS for a house that would fit our plans to eventually expand our family beyond the cat/canine species.

And we found an awesome house- three bedrooms, finished basement, hardwood and tile throughout, good location, and it had A FREAKING INGROUND POOL. So, for a couple of days I obsessed about how wicked awesome that house would be, and, after driving by on Friday night, vowed to call the real estate agent Saturday so we could go for a walk through.

His company paged him, and he called me back about an hour later. The conversation between me and the listing agent, who I'll call Captain Surly went something like this:

Me: "Hi, I was wondering if my husband and I could see one of the homes you have listed on MLS sometime this weekend" (sounding sweetly as I can muster).

Captain Surly: No. Probably not. (as though I'd asked him if he could just be a dear and fly to the moon under his own power, because I'd left my purse there, and, while it only cost a dollar and had nothing of value in it, it would be ever so helpful if he could just scoot up there to retrieve it for me)

Me: (kinda puzzled). [Pause] Uh. Ok.

CS: What property was it you were looking at. (in the tone of "ok, I'll humour this poor dumb twit")

Me: [gives him the address]

Him: No, that place has an offer on it already.

me: (now turning to my favourite weapon, sarcasm) Ok then, and thanks so much for being so helpful. Goodbye.

So, with a seconds-long conversation with Captain Surly our hopes of summer pool parties involving many blender drinks and pool noodle fights quickly vanished. Big sigh.

We consoled ourselves with the loss by looking at approximately a gagillion other listings, and then decided to just go for a drive to see some of them, and see what we could find. On our way to one place we saw a sign for a new subdivision, and thought "meh, might as well check it out." We ended up spending yesterday touring about 5 or 6 new subdivisions and their model homes, and several other homes that were having open houses, including one where the agent had to follow our every step to say "isn't that a nice paint colour" and other inane and highly obvious things to us at every step. I think she thought if she stopped watching us for a nanosecond we'd escape like burglars with armloads of pictures of complete strangers, still in their frames.

At the end of the day we kept coming back to the same thing. We really, really, REALLY liked the first builder we went to see, and the model home was so nicely designed. It's steps from a conservation area, which would be awesome. In fact it was so awesome that we went back and toured through the model home one more time, and the sales centre this time with an eye to what lots it could be put on, and what finishes were extras and armed with a ton of questions.

The debate, though, continued. Do we buy a house now that will be our in-between house where we'll live until we can afford the "final" house, or do we just throw everything into it and live in a mostly-empty house for a couple of years and buy the one we think we could live in for the next 20 years?

We looked at lots again, and finishes, and decided that we probably should get the 4 bedroom house over the three, given that it wasn't much more expensive, and had lots more living space, including a dining room. It looks something like this and would be about a 30 meter walk to a conservation area.

So, the mortgage Gods have been notified and I'm hoping they send us the right number so that we can seal the deal and start thinking of listing our adorable starter home. As much as I may complain, I really love this house, especially after all the work we've put into it.

We've decided that we want to pick out all the finishes, so we know what will be an upgrade, and have a good idea of what it will cost us as a final price. We definitely know that the upgrade to a 4 piece bathroom with a soaker tub (it fits both of us, we climbed in and are not embarrassed to admit it), and maybe air conditioning or a dishwasher, or a tankless water heater. I'd also do some underground research about how happy other people are with this builder.

If we pull this off money will be tight for a couple of years. (ie no kids just yet, work a lot of weekend bail courts) but I tend to think it'll be awesome nonetheless. It would be ready for us to move in this summer, which would give us time to put the last loving touches on this house that we would want to make to get it ready for the next young couple just starting out and upgrading from an apartment.

So this morning at 6am I was bolt awake, wondering where we would put what furniture and thinking about all the , just as excited as I was Christmas Day as a kid.


Nancy said...

Oh, having a new house (where you pick out everything) is SO much fun. Particularly when it's your first new house. I can understand your excitement! :-)

wordgirl said...

Red sky at morning...that usually means bad weather down here. Still...that's a gorgeous picture.

Jenny said...

I'm so excited for you! I can't wait to see pictures!

velocibadgergirl said...

I'm so excited for you guys! This is where MB and I hope to be in another year, so I'll have to live vicariously through you for a little bit longer. Good luck!! :D

kittenpie said...

Wow - how exciting! A new house is always cause for lots of planning and picking of paint colours and organizing of mental furniture... I love that, too. (Still, nothing could get me up at 6 unless it's howling about needing to go pee! Crazy woman.)

mamatulip said...

First of all, that picture is absolutely spectacular.

Second of all, HOW EXCITING! I hope you document it every step of the way. :)

TB said...

How exciting! Having just gone through the exact same decision making process regarding waiting for the dream house or doing it now, I can feel you on the excitement, as well as the nerve-wracking waiting process while you get it all figured out.
I'm wishing you all the very best!

Heather said...

Update: We haven't done it yet, but it sounds like a new, bigger mortgage is a definite possibility.

nancy: I've never been so excited at the prospect of picking out tile in my life.

wordgirl: pink sky at night, sailor's delight, pink sky in the morning, sailor's warning. :)

jenny: We're still thinking about our options, but if we buy, there will definitely be pictures. Probably ones that will be only interesting to us.

velocibadgergirl: It looks like the lot we'd be buying might take a year to be ready... it'd just be a matter of whether we would be able to wait that long in our current digs.

kittenpie: I think the place would be empty of furniture for the first few years. We have 4 beasties that howl about going pee (one cat likes to meowl to announce his use of the box), so I know what you mean.

mamatulip: thanks - I was too lazy to go out and take one properly so it was just from our living room window. I'll be sure to bore you with the details of what we do in posts to come.

Sandra said...

SOOOO Exciting!!

Oh and that photo is stunning. Lucky you!