Sunday, August 27, 2006

Good Riddance... this past week. With the disappointment over losing the contract on our current house this past week, we gladly ushered in the weekend. Even with the frustrating turn of events, we managed to end the week on a high note. Friday was a night like old times with Chad, Claudia and a bottle of wine on the deck discussing the ways of the world. It was a shot in the arm that Amy & I both needed. Saturday we got to take the boys to a pool party where they feasted on their first potato chips and ice cream sandwiches. And today the naps were abbreviated as we had an afternoon house showing. So we packed the boys up and invaded the house of our friends Brian, Kelly & Gracen Wise. It was a good catch-up visit and a relaxing way to conclude a good weekend.

Realizing that we have been going full force and have not stopped to post many pix and stories of the boys, here are a few updates.

Gus has entered the headbutt phase. He always gives a warning shot look before leaning in and going for the headbutt as shown here. Along with the little biting streak he is also on, we are wondering where he gets his action hero violent streak. (my bet is from Amy of course) ;-)

The workbench has been a popular addition to the play rotation at our house. Nails and screws, hammers and screwdrivers, the boys enjoy banging away at it. Talking on the workbench telephone is also an added bonus.

Owen is still content to crawl as his mode of transportation and refuses to walk solo. He is happy as he can be pushing his little trucks around the house. We thought seeing Gus walk around would make Owen want to let go and join the ranks of the upright and mobile. But to each his own -- he'll walk when he's good and ready we suppose.

Gus's latest fashion craze is the scarf. He drapes it around his neck and prances around the house looking for an audience. He is happy....

....until the front door closes and no audience to perform to. Tis tough on a young lad when the curtain closes and there are still songs to be sung.


GJ and Pappy

GJ and Pappy were a huge help to us when Amy and I were on our house-hunting expeditions. We would essentially wake up in the morning, make the coffee, kiss the grandparents on the head, and leave for the search. The grandparents were all too happy to oblige as they got lots of quality time to take care of and bond with the boys. Still, it is not an easy job to entertain the boys all day. GJ and Pappy were troopers.

Owen got over his shyness as he bonded with his grandfather. Even if C.E. would leave the room for a minute to go to the bathroom or take a shower, Owen followed him to the door, sat down and waited for his Pappy to come out. Gus on the other hand tried out all his tricks on his grandmother, showing her all the different smiles & gushes to see what worked on her. (Nice try little man, but GJ has been around children for a long time and read you like a book.) ;-)

We were very appreciative of the free time we were given so we could immerse ourselves in the housing market here. Now hopefully if we can get our current house back under contract in the next week or two we can keep the house we found while the grandparents were here. Cross your fingers.


Owen leads Pappy around the park.

Gus relaxes in the sandbox with his GJ close by.

Corn on the cob is a hit...

....for both the boys.

GJ and Pappy give the boys a last squeeze before hitting the road.

The boys pose with their grandparents and Sayla the wonder dog.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Pluto is now a Dwarf

This is going to mess up the Disney stories for a long time.

August 24, 2006: The International Astronomical Union strips Pluto of its planetary status. The group says a planet must, among other things, have "cleared the neighborhood around its orbit." Because Pluto's orbit overlaps Neptune's, Pluto is out. The celestial body formerly known as the ninth planet will be reclassified as a "dwarf planet."

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Murphy's Law

Murphy's law is a popular adage that states that "things will go wrong in any given situation, if you give them a chance," or more commonly, "whatever can go wrong, will go wrong."

It has been that sort of day for the Rutledge crew today. This morning we found out that the buyers on our house were backing out of the contract, exercising a clause in the contract that if the needed repairs exceed a certain dollar amount then they are entitled to walk. All this over a front porch step that we agreed we would fix. The buyer however hired a foundation repair company to come in and say that the whole porch needs to be jacked back up to the house at a cost of $5,100. Of course it does. Nevermind that this company is financially motivated to produce such an estimate even when a $300 repair would do (which is all that is really required here).

To twist the knife in a bit further, I called another realtor today who had a very interested buyer in our house right before we accepted the offer from the infidel minister and his wife. The realtor told us that her buyer had LOVED our house and had just agreed on an offer for another house last night. She was not going to be able to bring herself to tell her buyer what ended up happening. The one that got away....

So Amy & I are licking our wounds today. We have to figure out a way to get back on our horse. Punch/Counterpunch is our philosophy in life, and it is never more meaningful than the situation we are living through right now. Sorry for the soul-baring here, but emotions are on the sleeves, pantlegs, and all over the face at our house today.

We are bound and determined to sell this house and not lose out on the house that we just found last weekend. I don't know if we'll be able to make it happen, but we're going for it. It may take us a few days to pick ourselves back up, but we will get there. Punch/Counterpunch.


Saturday, August 19, 2006

House Hunt Week

What an experience this past week has been for Amy and me. Knowing that our house was sold and that we needed to find another place to live by the end of September, we set out to find our new home this week. Over a span of 10 days, we looked at 40+ houses in person and dozens more online. Our days have run together as have so many of the houses we have seen. During our search we had one lady call 911 on us and another lady drag her reluctant teenagers out to the front porch while we toured their house. At the beginning of the week we were ready to make an offer on a house only to be talked out of it by our realtor because of potential structural problems. By Wednesday Amy and I had rebounded and found another house that we liked. After shaking it off and finding a second house we liked, we prepared to write up an offer. On Thursday morning just before we submitted the offer though we learned that the seller had just accepted an offer from another buyer. By Thursday evening we were back on our horse after finding house #3 that we were prepared to make an offer on. Unfortunately we were crushed again to learn that night that another offer was pending on the house.

Bound and determined, bumped and bruised, Amy and I piled into the car with our realtor and set off on Friday morning to look at 18 houses over the course of six hours. By Friday night we had decided we liked only two -- a four-bedroom house in Cary that was the first house we had seen that day and an unknown house in Apex that just showed up on the computer as we were returning home.

After walking through both houses on Saturday, Amy and I made the decision to go with a six-year old spacious house in a good neighborhood in Apex. It is a house that has really been neglected cosmetically -- all the rooms are painted white, the carpet is blue and worn, and the landscaping leaves much to be desired. Still, it is a house we undoubtedly feel we can grow into and one that will serve us and the boys well over the long haul. So we made the first offer this afternoon, played the counter game a few times this evening, and verbally agreed to a deal tonight. It will be a big commitment for us, just as all houses are for any of us to invest in. But what a relief -- to find something that your gut tells you is right after a long, long search is very gratifying.

So we have sold our house and have now agreed on a price for our new house. We still have some unfinished negotiation to take care of with our buyers and a little thing called moving. Nevertheless there is a feeling of relief in our house tonight.

During the whole process this week, we were truly fortunate to have GJ and Pappy here to take care of the boys while Amy & I jettisoned off to search for the new home. We owe the grandparents a debt of gratitude and then some for all their help this week. It is much easier to look at a crawl space and size up a floor plan of a house without juggling two 16-month olds in your arms. ;-) Amy and I owe our dear friends Chad & Claudia for all their support. We are definitely appreciative of all the calls from friends and family with offers to watch boys, suggestions of MLS listings to see, and simple pick-me-ups as we dealt with the highs and lows of this process.

You only buy a few houses in a lifetime. This was a big ordeal for us. We are glad to have cleared another big hurdle and thrilled to have a good house to raise the boys in. We look forward to having so many of the readers of this blog into our new house very soon.

Although we don't have a signed contract yet, 105 Chilcott Lane should be our next address. Cheers!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Mental Wrestling... the only way I can describe what has been going on in our heads the past four days as we search for a new house. Amy & I have been in 12-15 houses over the past week, sizing up what is available, comparing them to each other and comparing them to our house we are about to leave.

We narrowed the search down to one house in a great neighborhood until we found out some potential problems with it over the weekend. Two buyers had rescinded offers on this house in the past eight months. There were questions about siding, moisture problems, the furnace, the air conditioner, the windows. The sellers claim all the problems have been fixed. Amy and I are reluctant to make the leap into a potential money pit unless everything can be verified that it was fixed.

In the meantime the other houses we looked at did not excite us at all. One house with the nicest deck I've ever seen had damp carpet in the bathroom and no storage space. Another house on a great private wooded lot had stray paint all over the siding from a shoddy touch-up job and wasted space upstairs. And on and on. Amy and I are being incredibly picky, but you have to when you're about to make the biggest financial decision of your life up to this point.

So that's where we are -- in a mental wresting match inside our own heads, playing the pro/con game over and over. It is like being in a Lincoln/Douglas debate when you were in the eighth grade, taking one side of a debate then turning around and having to take the other side immediately afterward. We go both ways on the house. On one hand, the house feels completely right, like a place we could live in for the next twenty years. The inside has been completely redone, the location is one of the best in the Triangle, and the property will continue to appreciate from an investment standpoint. On the other hand, it does not make sense to invest in a house that we know has had moisture problems and has A/C problems unless we are certain they have been or will be fixed.

Luckily GJ and Pappy are in town entertaining the boys. Gus is prancing around the house like a little movie star with his shades and scarves (pictures coming soon). And Owen continues his progress toward walking as he pushes his little truck all over the house. So we are grateful that the grandparents have come to tend to the boys while Amy & I try our best to deal with the stress of finding the right home to raise the boys in.

We'll keep you posted. Cheers!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

House Update II

Well, we did it. Amy & I sold our house on our own in six days. What a process that was (and will continue to be for the next six weeks I'm sure). We ended up selling the house to the first couple that placed an offer. But even though the house went to the first bidder Amy & I feel really good about the price we got.

So now we go onto the next set of hurdles -- house inspections, more negotiations, repairs, finding another place to move to by the end of September. Easy, stress-free stuff. ;-) But we are over the first big hurdle. We owe a lot of thank you's to people: Melanie for helping out with the boys while we got the house ready to go on the market, Chad & Claudia for loaning their house to us at a moment's notice, Darrin D for offering up his house for table storage. Not to mention all the phone calls to family & friends for frequent pick-me-up's and advice. We are very grateful, very excited, and a little nervous all at once. What a day!


Monday, August 07, 2006

House Update

A quick update on la situacion de la casa....

Our house went on the market last Thursday. We had one person look at it on Friday and then came back for a second showing on Saturday. We know from the buyer's realtor that the people are interested, but they want to have the side of the house checked for water damage on the hardboard siding before making an offer. Amy & I are hopeful that the discoloration on the siding is nothing more than a poor paint job and direct sunlight pounding away at it for years. We have two painters coming out tomorrow to give us their opinion.

Then this afternoon a man came by with his realtor for his first showing of the house. They called back tonight and wanted a second showing as well. We have yet to hear any feedback from the real estate agent on what that potential buyer thought.

So we have really only had two buyers be interested in the first five days that the house has been on the market. But the fact that both of them came back for second showings is a good sign.

Hats off to Amy for picking up the house, stashing toys, loading up two boys, and still having time to leave a pitcher of ice water for the prospective buyers all in 30 minutes to an hour's time. She is a trooper.

Here is the potential trouble spot. We are just hoping that this is a poor paint job or wax bleed coming through the paint and not water damage. Cross your fingers....

Mimic time

The boys are learning the art of mimicking their goofy dad. I need to work on my horse impression so it doesn't also double as an impression of a constipated person. Cheers!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Dog Days

It's hectic here at the Rutledge house. We're doing all we can to stay cool during these steamy summer days.

The Gus grin.

Gus doing whatever it takes to get Owen out of the chair.

Helpers in the kitchen