Thursday, 21 April 2011

I Wish I Was Special So Very Special

Homeowners: did you tip your Realtor? Or buy him or her a small gift to show your appreciation for a job well done? I need help deciding if this is creepy or not.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Geography's Too Stubborn And People Are Too Clear

Geography Lesson! Or Fun with Paint! Or Hillary's Brain is Fried! Take your pick.

This is British Columbia. Or rather, my poorly drawn interpretation of BC.

See where the little "x" is? That's roughly where Vancouver is located.

The Strait of Georgia (the water between BC and Vancouver Island) cuts into the mainland and becomes the Burrard Inlet once it wraps around the peninsula of downtown Vancouver and Stanley Park.

Vancouver is actually quite large but downtown proper doesn't go beyond the peninsula. (Which is why commuting to downtown Vancouver is such a nightmare if you don't take public transit.)

If you follow the Burrard Inlet to its end, you pass by East Vancouver, Burnaby (including Simon Fraser University) and end up in Port Moody. Or, my new city. We're actually going to be living right at the tip of the Burrard Inlet (just the tip, just for a second, just to see how it feels - name that movie!)

Shawn loves Port Moody and has been pushing for it ever since we decided to list our condo. I was resistant, not because I dislike Port Moody (I actually quite like it there) but because it feels so far. It's a bit silly, actually, because my commute time will be the same if I continue to use public transit (only now I'll be using the lovely commuter train instead of the skytrain - Vancouver's version of a subway.) It's just that where we are right now feels so central to me. It takes me 30 minutes to get to work, 30 minutes to get to Turtle's, 20 minutes to get to my parents' house, 30 minutes to Shawn's mom's place, and 40 minutes to get to Shawn's brother's house. Moving to Port Moody is going to double the time it takes to get to my parents' house and to Turtle's place. It will now take about 15 minutes to get to Shawn's brother's house and under 10 minutes to get to his mom's place. Which isn't a bad thing, don't get me wrong. Shawn's family is lovely and we all have a good relationship with each other. That being said, part of our good relationship is based on boundaries. Physical boundaries. I'm afraid that moving so close to Shawn's family (and further from my family) will create a scenario where I have to either be a total bitch to enforce my boundaries, or accept that people will feel free to stop by because we're so close. I hate it when people stop by. I do not encourage stopping by at all.

Resistant may not be a strong enough word. I really didn't want to move to Port Moody.

So we started looking for condos in both Port Moody and our current location. And the more we looked, the more I began to see Shawn's point. We do not live in a nice neighbourhood. I do not feel safe walking by myself after dark. Crime is high. And not just property crime - in the last year, there have been three fatal shootings and multiple stabbings all within a three block radius of our condo. Our building has a state of the art security system but I would not feel comfortable living on the first or second floor. Our condo itself is lovely. The area it is in? Is not. We live a block from the police station. Our condo is filled with traffic noise and police sirens. Our neighbourhood has character. It's improving. But it's not safe. Not yet.

I wasn't convinced that Port Moody was the answer until we found our condo. It's perfect for us. We're gaining over 400 square feet of space. It has ample storage. It has a massive patio. It's painted beautifully. It has high ceilings and entire walls of glass. I couldn't turn down the perfect condo just because I didn't love the location.

So I'm moving to a new city. And I'm trying to be excited. The lovely magenta accent wall certainly helps.

Monday, 18 April 2011

It's The Colour For The Battle In My Head I Have A Beat In My Life Like Love In My Heart

Midnight Friday was the deadline for our buyer to remove the subjects on his offer. Which seems to be Canadian terminology, if my weekend Twitter conversations are any indication. I'm no expert (ha! understatement!) but my understanding of how it works is this:

Buyer makes an offer. Negotiations ensue. Buyer and seller reach an agreement. A deadline for subject removal is set (usually a week to 2 weeks.) Subjects are the conditions that need to be met (like financing being approved, the home passing an inspection, etc) before the deposit is handed over. Once the subjects are removed, the deposit is made, the final papers are signed, and the contract is binding. If the buyer tries to back out of the contract, the seller gets to keep the deposit.

So. Our buyer had a few subjects that he had to remove by midnight on Friday. If he did not remove his subjects, we could not remove the subjects on the condo we wanted to buy (one of our subjects was that our condo was officially sold because we can't afford to end up with two condos.)

Our Realtor phoned me at noon on Friday to tell me that I shouldn't panic - yet - but that the buyer had a few "concerns" about the inspection. The inspection that was completed on Tuesday. I, of course, morphed into Anxious Hillary with a side of Ranty Hillary (why? Why not voice the concerns after the inspection? Why wait until the last minute unless you're being an ass and trying to renegotiate the price down?) My stress level rose steadily all day as the buyer's Realtor stopped returning my Realtor's phone calls and then peaked when the buyer's Realtor finally called our Realtor to say that he could not reach the buyer.

I was a lot of fun to be around on Friday.

Late Friday night our Realtor called to say that the buyer thought the subject removal deadline was actually midnight on Saturday. Which we chose to accept because we had no other option. Enforce the midnight Friday deadline? What good would that do? We had another sleepless night and then Shawn went off to work while I spent Saturday morning stress-eating my way through a shameful number of grilled cheese sandwiches and blasting Girl Talk and Jessie J in an attempt to divert my nervous energy.

We got the call early Saturday afternoon. Our buyer removed all subjects and the deposit cheque was in our Realtor's hands. We're moving to a new city, to the new condo with the lovely magenta accent wall. And I can breathe again.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Don't Waste The Sun On A Rainy Day

Random rainy Thursday thoughts running through my brain:

* * * * *

I'm pretty bad at being a gushy pregnant lady. I read blogs written by gushy pregnant ladies and I feel like somehow I'm missing out on the experience. Like I'm somehow already failing at motherhood because I can't describe any part of this pregnancy as magical or say that I love being pregnant. I do not love being pregnant. I love Willie. Which surprises me, honestly. I mean, I knew I'd love the kid, I just didn't know that I'd love the fetus. Sometimes I wish I could be a bit more gushy, though.

* * * * *

Our buyer has not yet removed his subjects. He has until midnight on Friday to remove them so I'm not panicking yet. I'm just all frothed up in a state of perpetual fret. If our buyer backs out of the contract, we have to back out of the purchase of the new condo. Our time line is already so tight that we won't have time to start the process again; we will have to pull our condo off the market and make our peace with staying put. Which isn't such a bad thing, I guess. Our condo is small and only has one bedroom but our mortgage payment is so low (and we wouldn't have to, you know, pack up all of our belongings and actually move.)

* * * * *

My camera cord is packed somewhere so I can't share my 24-week belly shot. Which is unfortunate because I'm already halfway to 28 weeks and will be taking a new belly shot.

* * * * *

The first round of Stanley Cup playoffs started last night. The Canucks are playing the Blackhawks, which causes me a great deal of stress and angsty feelings. I love hockey. I love the Canucks. I ... cannot stand to see Vancouver eliminated from the playoffs by Chicago for the third straight year. Not that I think they'll be eliminated. Vancouver has had an amazing year and Chicago is not the same team it was last year. Plus we totally kicked their asses last night (suckas!) I'm just no good at being a cocky sports fan. I'm more of a hand wringer. I really hope the Canucks do well in the playoffs but I'm not necessarily rooting for them to win the Stanley Cup (only because Shawn has threatened to name Willie "Stan" if they do win the cup. Which is kind of funny on its own but downright hilarious if you say Stan with Shawn's last name - which will also be Willie's last name.)

* * * * *

Shawn's band is playing at the Westcoast Tattoo & Culture Show tomorrow at 5:30. Vancouver peeps should check it out - tickets are only $15 and there's a bunch of stuff to see and do.

* * * * *

Any rainy day thoughts you want to share?

Monday, 11 April 2011

I'm Holding On Til I Can Find You So Take Me Home

So I don't want to jinx anything but Shawn and I most likely bought a condo last night. I say most likely because the purchase is contingent on our sale and our purchaser doesn't have to remove his subjects until this Friday. If everything goes well, he'll remove his subjects on Friday and on Monday we'll remove our subjects on the place we want to buy and then it will cost everyone time and money if they want to back out of the contract. Meaning, I'll feel less jinxy talking about it and I can tell you all about the rooftop terrace and gorgeous paint job and 9-foot ceilings. How about a little peek?It's not a gorgeous turquoise accent wall but it is bold and colourful and lovely (also, Shawn thinks it's red so let's just go along with it until I've got our furniture in there and it's impossible for him to insist on a new paint job, okay?)

But now I have to stop talking about it because this could all fall apart before Monday. If our purchaser bails, we will lose this condo and how many condos with gorgeous magenta accent walls do you think are out there? This was the only gorgeous magenta accent wall I saw all weekend and we saw 24 units between Friday evening and Sunday afternoon (11 of which we saw on Saturday after my 2-hour gestational diabetes test. Note to self: never plan anything after a gestational diabetes test, unless the plan involves planting your ass on a couch and not moving until the extreme sugar high and subsequent low have passed.)

If everything goes as planned, we'll move into the new place in 47 sleeps (47 sleeps! Less than 7 weeks!) which will give us 54 sleeps until my due date (note to Willie: please stay put until then.) Our time line is very manageable is what I'm saying. We just have to get through this week of anxiety and then we can breathe a sigh of relief and move onto the next stage: packing. Also known as: Shawn throws everything all hodgepodge into an unlabeled box while Hillary gets clenchy and shrill. I can't wait.

Friday, 8 April 2011

I Wanna Show You Maybe We Were Somethin' Uncool I Wanna Make You Sing

Since putting our condo on the market two months ago, my life has been consumed by showings and open houses and cleaning. Or "maintaining" as Shawn likes to call it when I'm tired and cranky and I just want to go to bed and don't want to wash the goddamn dishes thankyouverymuch.

I dragged my pregnant ass out of bed when my Realtor called to say that her colleague was downstairs with a client and could I please show the condo even though we specified that we need advance notice because of the dogs. I did not stab anyone when, after that particular showing, our Realtor told us that the guy loved the place! Wanted to make an offer! Couldn't obtain financing from the bank! (Side note to any Realtors out there: do not make cranky pregnant ladies drag themselves out of bed on a Saturday morning to show her condo if your client has not been pre-approved for financing.)

I did not stab anyone when our fireplace exploded during our first open house. (It's electric, not gas, so it wasn't a huge, impressive explosion. Just a lot of smoke and burny smells.)

I did not cry when the police showed up at our second open house.

My head did not melt when it snowed during one of our open houses, meaning that not a single person showed up because the weather was too bad.

My head did not melt when our next open house coincided with the first sunny day in months, meaning that not a single person showed up because the weather was too good.

Granted, I did get a little shouty during the toilet incident but I still feel completely justified in my reaction.

I've been a fucking rockstar is what I'm saying. And I don't even feel like a douche for pointing out my own rockstarryness. It has been hard and I have been so anxious and there have been times when I have sat on the floor of my shower and cried angry tears into the hot water because I could not see the end to the madness that is selling a condo in our current market.

On Tuesday my Realtor called and asked if I could do a last minute showing that evening. Shawn has band practice on Tuesdays and on that particular Tuesday, he also had a job interview. I've reached the point of not being able to handle both dogs by myself so I called my dad (like a grownup) and asked if he could help. My parents both came over Tuesday night and helped me clean and wrangled the pups out of the condo for the showing. (And then made me dinner and then washed the dishes because dude, people like to do stuff for pregnant ladies. It is awesome.)

Last night we got an offer.

I feel a bit jinxy talking about it but the bare bones story is this: We did some negotiating. We were extremely reasonable. The buyer? Got a little unreasonable. Then the buyer got a lot unreasonable. Then I used my shouty voice and told our Realtor to tell their Realtor to go away, we weren't interested in even talking to them anymore. Then we went to bed.

This morning the buyer accepted our last offer. The one they had rejected last night.

Which means we're moving? In 6-ish weeks? Into a place we haven't found yet? In a city we haven't yet agreed upon?

Serenity now.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Now We Both Know Longing How It Gets Under Your Skin But Then I Saw You Making Eyes At Him

When we started planning our Europe trip last year, we thought we'd either go in April or in August. August because we could celebrate our anniversary in Ireland. April because it's not summer break yet so it's easier / cheaper to travel and we could celebrate our friend's 30th birthday in London.

Our friend's birthday was last Sunday and I've spent all morning torturing myself looking at photos on facebook.

I don't resent Willie. Resentment is a waste of time. I just feel a bit achy when I think of my friends and the village that I love. I'm disappointed when I think of the big plans Shawn and I had for this year. And then I feel like an asshole because at the end of all this, I get a baby. A wee little squirmy worm to love.

It's just difficult to remember the wee little squirmy worm part when Turtle is researching for her own upcoming Europe trip and I'm researching the difference between cloth and disposable diapers. Turtle is dreaming of architecture and museums and culture and my mind is occupied by various forms of poop receptacles. It's thrilling, let me assure you.