How Did The World End Up Like This?


For the second weekend in a row, we took the top off the jeep and drove around town and ended up at Dilly’s for some burgers & ice cream. As we drove under blue sunny skies, we stopped at a stop sign at Aquetong Road and Dalia asked, “How Did the World End Up Like This?”




 




It is impossible to answer that question without subjectivity, so I pressed her for context, what did she mean? “You know, the trees, the sky, the grass.” I think the question came from a state of pure wonder, a realization of how beautiful a world we live in. I rambled on about how all things in nature have an important responsbility, a job to do. I talked about termites and fungus, the trees recycling carbon dioxide for oxygen, it was a pretty lame response, but she let me off the hook as she was bored of the scientific path I traveled along. She wanted a story, the Bible’s version of events that created all of this would have been much more exciting to her, as I am sure both accounts can coexist.




 




The question kept popping up in my mind though, I applied it to myself, I felt like the Talking Heads song, Once In A Lifetime:




And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack

And you may find yourself in another part of the world

And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile

And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife

And you may ask yourself

Well…How did I get here?




 




I feel like I’m not too different from the termite, I just want my family to flourish and live in a nice home, and I think there’s good opportunity in Pittsburgh for us. My old company was laying people off and a company in Pittsburgh made a fantastic offer for us to live there. The change is tough, but also exciting, I am happy that we’re nearly settled in.




 




Winston told us a funny joke on the same journey, where do police officers go to the bathroom?




 




In Arrest room.


Inspection #2

Today we had the inspection for my dream home. The inspector had tons of great things to say about the home and this one was in terrific shape. As the inspection wrapped up, we were all chatting in the driveway and two big deep sauntered across the back yard. I stopped talking and just stared at the deer, I thought that Toby would get a big kick out of them. 

Jaclyn and I have entered into primary negotiations about where stuff will go, if I play my cards right, I will have total say on decorating decisions in the basement. 

Winston graduates first grade this week, he made amazing progress with his reading. I really admire the Central Bucks school district and how they were flexible enough to give him extra time and resources to enhance his reading abilities. He has made more progress this year than I could have thought possible. Teachers and school systems get a lot of negative feedback thrown their way, but the team at Central Bucks deserves credit. 


 

“I know it looks like I’m moving, but I’m standing still”

Yesterday. It was Monday afternoon, around 4:30PM at work, and I started to feel really sleepy. This is not normal, I can usually power through a work day without a problem, why was I so tired?

I guess it all started last Tuesday when the home inspection revealed significant issues with the home I wanted to purchase. My realtor called me on Wednesday and said that we should seriously consider terminating the contract and seeing if other homes are available. Wednesday night we visited other homes on the market, including one that was my dream home, I put in an offer (without my wife seeing it).

Thursday morning, I needed to square away all the mortgage stuff and go to the realtor’s office to sign all the forms to put in an official offer.

Thursday afternoon, I needed to drive to Louisville, Kentucky for work. The drive is about five and a half hours from Pittsburgh, you cut through Wheeling, West Virginia, then Columbus, Ohio, then Cincinnati, Ohio, and finally arrive in Louisville. The drive was relatively uneventful, except for my realtor calling me to explain that the offer was not accepted by the seller because another offer came in from another potential buyer.

The call came in around 8PM, at this point, I was thirty minutes outside Louisville. My realtor said that we have two hours to come back with our best offer and the seller will decide who gets the home at 10PM that night. This was a stressful situation. On one hand, my wife had not seen the house and was not as convinced as myself that the home was ideal for our family, so if we did not come through with the best offer, Jac could be more involved in the next go around. On the other hand, we would rapidly approaching the prospect of being homeless. 

I rushed into the Louisville Hampton Inn, lugged my bags into the Business Center, which is a tiny room that barely fits two computers and a printer and started to take care of all the required documentation required to put in a revised offer. Once submitted, I drop my bags off in my room, went back downstairs and ordered a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale (beer that has been aged in bourbon barrels and definitely has a bourbon flavor). The San Antonio Spurs were beating the Miami Heat badly, a couple of guys sat next to me talking about golf and various interstates, I was bored out of my mind. I checked my phone constantly, until 9:30PM when my realtor called and said our offer was accepted. I was elated, Jac was tepid. I asked my realtor to call my wife and explain that the house was wonderful.

At 10PM, with the knowledge that my dream home is secure, I go to bed and prepare for an important meeting the next morning. Friday’s meeting went really well and I accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish, it is now high noon, and since it is Friday, I can head to my family back in Bucks County, PA. The drive home from Louisville is about ten and a half hours, which means I should be back around 11PM.

On Saturday, I took my jeep up for an oil change and marched my kids through Doylestown as we had about 4 hours to kill until the job could be completed, so we walked across the entire town. Saturday evening, my relatives hosted a wonderful going away party, it was a great event and we received all kinds of wonderful, thoughtful gifts.

On Sunday, we had a nice Father’s Day morning, watched How To Train Your Dragon 2 at the theater, then had a Father’s Day party at Jac’s parent’s house. At 8:30PM, I headed back to Pittsburgh and got into my apartment just after midnight.

From Thursday to Sunday, I had driven over 20 hours and on only one of those nights did I have a reasonable night’s rest (Saturday). Now I understood why I was so tired. I watched the clock on my computer tick down to 5PM, told my boss that I was going home, stopped at Subway for a sandwich, and watched US beat Ghana in the World Cup and went to bed.

Home Saga Continues


We had to terminate our offer for the home we intended to buy in Pittsburgh, the work required was just too much. We loved the house & neighborhood, but it was obvious that we were going to be stepping into a situation that would have been perilous.




 




Thank the lord for the home inspector, he really did an incredible job and always remained very objective, he stated the issue in a clear and unbiased way…sometimes though, I could tell he wanted to say, “This is just messed up, I have no idea who did it this way, but it should have never been done like that, and a building inspector should have never approved it”, but he would just pause and just focus on the issue and calmly explain that it was “done in a atypical fashion that does not meet existing building code and it will cost between $6,000 and $8,000 to fix it.”




 




So, my temporary housing is about to expire, my family is just about of our existing house, so that just left me with one option, buy a house without my wife. Jaclyn is not yet completely sold on this decision, but she’ll someday thank me! 




 




All this reshuffling has pushed our new move in date back to August 1, but we’re going to figure out a way to live together in the meantime. I plan on getting the family a membership to the swim club and hopefully they’ll be spending 75% of their days there.




 




Wish me luck & keep reminding Jaclyn that she has a great husband! 




  




 




 


Inspections


People say a lot about home ownership, but the best advice I ever received was from my father: “No matter what, commit to making at least one enhancement to your home each year.”




 




Today, I went through the inspection process of the home we intend to buy, but it looks like several major improvements will be required for the deal to still go through.




 




I’m not saying the current home owners did not make enhancements each year, home ownership can be a lot like Whack-A-Mole, once you fix one thing, two other items will pop up that require repair. I remember fixing the back door of our current home and being very excited about the enhancement, the following week our water pump stopped working and we had no water. Poof…another couple thousand dollars disappeared!




 




Our inspector took over four hours to look through every nook and cranny, he even put on a special suit to crawl around in the crawl space for about 20 minutes. After he did his thing, he would emerge from deep concentration and tell me his evaluation, what could remedy the situation, and appropriate maintenance moving forward. I learned an incredible amount about home ownership. I think owning a home is harder than driving a car or raising a child, there should be course people can take before they buy a home.




 




I am very grateful to our home inspector, he taught me a ton and saved me tons of money. More importantly, he saved my sanity.




 




My realtor also suggested that as part of the inspection, we get a plumber to guide a camera down the sewer line to check out the health of the pipe. Some people may have balked at this suggestion, thinking it is just the realtor trying to give some business to their plumber friends, but I have lived through replacing a sewer pipe and it involved a backhoe and $5,000. The plumber showed up today with the camera at the end of a long hose cable and snaked it down the drain, we watched the camera travel through the fecal corridor until it showed a huge portion of the pipe completely gone on the right side. I was disappointed that this issue was discovered as I want to move into the home, but pleased that it was discovered prior to me buying the home! The plumber then went to figure out exactly where the break in the pipe was located, unfortunately, it was dead center in the middle of the driveway.




 




The pipe is just one of 5 large issues that we need to get through, all on similar caliber, not minor cosmetic issues, but pretty big problems that will cost a lot of money to repair. I will try to keep you posted, but for tonight, I am heading to my first Pirates game.




 


Closing In


Here’s where we stand. Our home in Hartsville, is through inspection and should close on June 30th. Jaclyn has scheduled the movers to come on the final Thursday & Friday before the closing date to remove all our stuff and take it to a storage location in Pittsburgh.




 




Our offer has been accepted on a new home in the Pittsburgh area. The new home is in Peters Township, which is a nice suburb about 25 minutes south of Pittsburgh. In many ways, it is very similar to our current neighborhood, good schools, plenty of hiking trails, numerous rivers, and plenty of stores to feed our hobbies. We are trying to close on this home on July 11.




 




This leaves us with a couple weeks without a home. I have forwarded a couple suggestions to Jaclyn, none of them ideal, but it will be a short time. The dog is the most complicating factor, but Toby will be happy once we move in the new home as it has a fully fenced in back yard where he can roam day & night.




 




I was talking to my Grandparents this weekend and athletics came up in our conversation. My grandfather held the Pennsylvania state record in the mile and I had heard my grandmother was athletic too, but she has never boasted about her accomplishments. I asked her if she ever scored any goals when she played field hockey, she said she scored 9 goals in her final game (but she said the team wasn’t that good). Can you imagine being the other team’s coach? I would have strongly considered putting more defenders on her to slow her down a bit. She said she was just too fast, no one on the other team could catch her.




 




She mentioned that her team took on the school’s football team at the end of the year in a heated game of field hockey. She said that my grandfather (who played on the football team) and several teammates played the game with blond wigs, kilts, and old broken sticks discarded by the field hockey team. My grandmother said that the football team was terrible at field hockey and the game was ridiculous, I asked “Who won?” She said, “We won…well, wait a minute, I think they may have actually won, but it was a sham! A couple of the guys actually grabbed our goaltender and pulled her away from the goal, so they were shooting on an open net. It was ridiculous, but we all had a great time.” This game must of taken place over 60 years ago, but it was like it happened yesterday.