May 14, 2007

Angst & Cash: A Tale of Houses and Major Appliances

Sadly, there's no hiding from Mondays. I know. I've tried.

The weekend was good. Well, okay. If you want the complete truth it was good but there were a couple of iffy patches in there too.

See, on Friday night our AC conked out. Using the vast array of air conditioning repair skills I've managed to pick up during my 34 years on this planet (cross your fingers and make karmic deals with deities you're not sure exist), I got it working but only for a brief period of time. Luckily, the weather was cool. My temper was not. The air conditioner repair dude (who looked like Larry, his brother Daryl or his other brother Daryl) showed up on Saturday evening and broke the bad news. Cold air during the hot summer is going to cost us. Somewhere in the neighborhood of $5,000. That karmic deal backfired and, if you think about it, really turned into more of a blackmail situation.

So, that was festive.

And then there's the house issue. A friend - who happens to be a real estate agent, the one who sold us our current house - discovered a house that she said was perfect for us. From the pictures, it was. The price, well, that was a different story. It's actually a nice deal but on one income in an area in which housing prices are already over-inflated, it's a no-go. Then came promises of help from parents at yesterday's Mother's Day brunch. I guess driving by the house to see it in person didn't help either. It does look pretty perfect, from the outside at least.

Enter angst. I'm a pro with angst. If there's angst to be had, I'm on it like Crockett and Tubbs on Colombian drug lords.

I love our house. It's just so us, you know? But part of me - despite the money, stress and extreme pain in the ass - would like to move. We have no yard. We're a little short on space. A garage? What's that? The prospect of giving Mia a big yard to play in, a big room, a nice neighborhood with old trees and new families, makes me happy. I'd like to deliver on that. But these things take time. And I suck when it comes to waiting.

Now, you guys have any ideas how I can make a couple hundred grand in the next, oh, six months or so?

This picture has nothing to do with anything. It's just a gratuitous shot of my beautiful daughter that I took this weekend.
Posted by Chris at May 14, 2007 7:07 AM

since you already mentioned the Columbians... but then with your luck you'd end up with a new spouse named Bubba while Beth and Mia enjoy the new home... but since you want the space for them, maybe that is your best option...


Posted by: SciFi Dad at May 14, 2007 8:02 AM

My a/c unit is going, too. Fortunately it's running currently, but for how long?? I feel your pain. And then, well, we found the perfect place, too, that's out of our comfortable price range. But it's awesome!

Sounds like our weekends were similar. If you figure out a way to get that cash let me in on the secret, would ya?

Posted by: Alissa at May 14, 2007 8:08 AM

Oh, man. I feel that particular angst. It sucks, but maybe with parents' help it won't be so..... angst-y?

And pictures of Mia are always wecome. ;)

Posted by: Kris at May 14, 2007 8:08 AM

Don't have any ideas on the money, but if you think of something let me know...

Posted by: E :) at May 14, 2007 8:14 AM

I hear ya. A few weeks ago we found the perfect house for us. And we could afford it, but I got too worried with the state of the real estate market that we wuldn't sell our house and we would be stuck w/ 2 mortgages. And our house needs so much work before we couls sell it.

Posted by: jodi at May 14, 2007 8:37 AM

I know that feeling of angst. Of wanting something (for myself and for others)so badly and having to cobble together some ways to make it happen. I share your angst and I wish I had some ideas to share. I'll be thinking about you guys, though.

Posted by: wordgirl at May 14, 2007 8:38 AM

Awwww........ what a sweet picture of Mia! She's so adorable. Picture her on a swing or splashing in her own little kiddie pool in the back yard. *sigh* What kind of work can Beth do from home?

As for the $5000 for the AC -- been there, done that, except it was during February a couple of years ago.

Posted by: coolchick at May 14, 2007 8:45 AM

when the shots are that beautiful and the subject is adorable beyond words, you don't need a reason to post it.

as for the money situation, dude, that's major suckage. obviously, this you already know. just sympathisizing with you.

as for the waiting, if you figure out a way to deal with that, please let me know. i'll pay good money for that knowledge. not, mind you, a couple hundred thousand dollars worth, but it'd be something and it'd be a start.

happy monday! in the end, it'll be okay. i promise.

Posted by: patricia at May 14, 2007 8:56 AM

Um, stripping? You're totally hot. You could make a TON in 6 months.

Posted by: mr lady at May 14, 2007 9:05 AM

well, you could take your hiding from Monday show out on the road, but nah.

Hello!! Take a note from A/C dude. $5,000 for one house a/c repair job? DUDE, you could make a TON 'OCASH!!! AND? You don't even need to know what you are doing. Gawd knows they never do, but I'm not bitter. ~grumbles~ =)

Posted by: Lauren at May 14, 2007 9:23 AM

Two words: Strip-per. - Should make you a couple grand a night. I'm just sayin...

Posted by: smoness at May 14, 2007 9:24 AM

The Rude Cactus Escort Service? Somehow I don't see that one going over too well at home, though.

This area is terrible for house envy. Beautiful houses + high prices = crazy making. I hope you guys can find a way to make it work soon.

Posted by: Laura GF at May 14, 2007 9:47 AM

Here in Nevada in parts of the state prostitution is legal.....just saying. I've heard that they did open or are opening a male "bunny ranch"....again, just saying. And I've heard that the women who come here to "work" make upwords of $100,000.00 during the three months they actually "work"....again, just saying. Keep your options open. =)

Posted by: Lesley at May 14, 2007 10:08 AM

I wish I had the answers. For the first time in my life I felt like I had it all. Cosmically speaking everything was well aligned. That was until last weekend, then my world sort of fell apart. Trying to deal with all of that, and get my window air installed for the summer.
Good luck sweetie!

Posted by: Maribeth at May 14, 2007 10:18 AM

I so thought I was going to click on the "keep going" link and see a picture of you trying to whore yourself out for money for the new house...

But, dont worry, I wasnt dissapointed. Your daughter was a beautiful suprise!

Posted by: alfredsmom at May 14, 2007 10:36 AM

We love our house but keep thinking about moving as well. For us it's mostly the urge to just be somewhere else for a while, try a new city. That and the schools here kinda suck. So as Lily turns 4 this June, there's the added stress of figuring out schooling.

Good times.

As for making a few extra $k, all my suggestions are illegal. Sorry 'bout that.

Good luck?

Posted by: Elaine at May 14, 2007 10:48 AM

Here in Nevada in parts of the state prostitution is legal.....just saying. I've heard that they did open or are opening a male "bunny ranch"....again, just saying. And I've heard that the women who come here to "work" make upwords of $100,000.00 during the three months they actually "work"....again, just saying. Keep your options open. =)

Posted by: Lesley at May 14, 2007 10:55 AM

This is something that I would never do and I hazard a guess that you wouldn't either but.....
have you heard of this thing called internet begging?

I'm not making this up. It's been on some news shows and you can google it. People go on the internet and beg for money and people send it to them!! It usually an appeal for a specific bill and they say something like, "send a dollar or whatever you can afford". It's really insane!! I saw a story on Dateline or something and this woman was getting hundreds, somtimes thousands, of dollars to pay her credit card bills.

Or you could go with the stripper idea!!

Posted by: snakeepoo at May 14, 2007 11:01 AM

ya know...its not bad having a car salesman for a really good friend...cuz they can keep you up on deals... a good turn in... a good rebate... but real estate friends? they keep asking you to move! and don't think they don't look at them houses every day and try to figure out who would fit in them! (can you tell i had one of those friends?) what a bummer...cuz you sure can get your head around it! just if you could get your wallet around it!
i faced that delimma just this spring... thought of retiring (buying myself out) and moving outta state, even looked at a couple of houses... came REALITY........what was I thinking? and i am no longer cute enough to find me a sugar help with it all... i am the one they are tradin in for the 2 20 year olds......dang... missed that one? but hey..........what about a sugar daddy? yep I said could just lead him on...
(but somehow... NAH)

Posted by: the unicorn at May 14, 2007 11:14 AM

Make REALLY good friends with lonely old people with no family members. Wait. Did you say in a couple of months? about a webcam? "$9.99 per click to see me play guitar/type on computer/play with my daughter shirtless" Maybe?

Posted by: oakley at May 14, 2007 11:17 AM

I can feel for you... we lived in the same crappy house (that we didn't own) for years and years until we could afford to build a house, and even then the planets and stars had to align. Right after we built was when the construction materials went to the moon and now the housing market is down here, too. Not to be negative, but is where you are soooo bad? Is is worth waiting for all the pieces to fall into place? Not to burst any bubbles here, but I'm with the guy who said you wouldn't want to be stuck with 2 mortgages... and you'll still probably have to fix the A/C one way or the other.

On a happy note? Mia is just a doll. She won't care where she lives as long as she has you and Beth and all that love you keep drenching her with daily. :)

Posted by: sue at May 14, 2007 11:28 AM

Yipes. Anything that involves a lot of money (which is like anything over $250 to me at this point) makes me also want to hide under the bed. And scream at someone.

On the plus side, your daughter is ridiculously cute.

Posted by: Jenn at May 14, 2007 11:34 AM

I feel your pain. We just spent $5k on a new furnace, evap coil and duct work on our house.

We want to move too, but that thought now after shelling out the $5k is too much. We spent it, we might as well get a few years out of it, right?

Tell me again what the big deal is to home ownership?

Posted by: donna at May 14, 2007 11:35 AM

I live in a 2000 sq foot house on 200 acres in t heparadise of Northern California. In the middle of buttfuck nowhere. Let's see, 20 minutes to the mailbox and the local store, 1.2 hours to a Starbucks, and almost two hours to a Target. So I've contemplated moving, and was flipping through pictures on my dialup internet (!!!) when I saw it - the little house with swing set in the backyard, rose covered arbor over the white picket fence, workshop studio, 2 blocks from a very very nice school, walking distance to movies n bookshops. It's perfect. It's also listed for $589.000.00 Yep, that's a nromal price here. *sigh* Ohio, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, and other third world countries are looking good right now ;) Good luck, I know how it is!

Posted by: at May 14, 2007 11:37 AM

Beautiful picture of Mia!

When you figure out the money thing, let me in on the secret. We're hoping to have ours on the Market by fall and building by next spring. I have no clue how we're going to make it work.

Posted by: molly at May 14, 2007 11:38 AM

I'm loving how several folks think you should consider some "pole time" to raise the extra funds. And I'm loving the Crockett and Tubbs reference on a Monday even more.

Posted by: Pammer at May 14, 2007 11:40 AM

Wow... that seriously is some big bucks for your AC... we're getting New (as in we've never had it before) AC, a new (as in the one we have is 40+ years and won't handle the extra load) furnace, and some additional duct work for that price...

If you want, I'll give you my AC guys info... at least get a 2nd opinion if your going to spend that much...

Posted by: Karen at May 14, 2007 12:17 PM

wow. what a weekend. this is a reminder of why i don't mind renting right now. happy crappy monday!

Posted by: b. at May 14, 2007 1:17 PM

Good luck with the money...I don't have any ideas that haven't already been stated.

Posted by: Alison at May 14, 2007 1:56 PM

I have no idea how to make the money, but I do know that it will be worth the extra temporary hardship if you just go for it. These things have a way of working out and I know lots of people who started out eating ramen but have their perfect house now and life is easy.

I do kind of like the stripping idea though if all else fails! ;) Your CD and book collection should be worth a lot of dough if you sold it. We sold a bunch of amazingly awesome albums once to pay rent and got BIG $$$ for them. It was heartbreaking but you gotta live, you know?

Posted by: trix at May 14, 2007 2:21 PM

Sorry about the AC! That's a lot of money to repair it.

For the money, well, you could try making extra money with your photos! They are all so beautiful. I really believe you would be able to make a little extra money. Have you decided on the house?

That picture of Mia is gorgeous! Than again, I have never seen an ugly picture of her. That is just not possible.

Posted by: Nadine at May 14, 2007 2:28 PM

Oh...PRETTY picture!!! She's so beautiful! :) Loving the pigtails!

It seems like there are A LOT of pros to moving. The "new" house sounds perfect. HOWEVER, you'd probably have to sell your own home before buying that one, no? And, by the time you do that, that one will be gone. So, no need to really pine for it, because it's not an option. This is the way I see it, too -- and Josh and I have been thinking a lot about real estate, lately. We'll be selling&buying shortly after baby#2 is born. I think your decision is really -- not "do I want this new expensive house", but rather -- do I want to move? And, it sounds like you do! And, maybe you'll find a house that's more in your financial ballpark, that won't make you stress, etc. (mind you, there's always stress in buying/selling houses -- but, you know what I mean). :) Good luck! It's exciting, Chris!! :)

Posted by: Haley-O at May 14, 2007 2:51 PM

Gratuitous Mia picture! Woo!
Good luck with the money thing...uh, buy a lotto ticket? Slightly less demeaning than the pole option, even if the odds are quite against you!

Posted by: Heather at May 14, 2007 3:17 PM

Sell a kidney?

Posted by: Brad at May 14, 2007 3:32 PM

Okay. Find a family member or friend who wants to invest in real estate and has the money to do so. Get them to loan you half the price of the house, with the understanding that when you sell it, half the profit will be theirs (you'll need some legal documents drafted).

We almost did this with some older friends of ours a few years ago (we were going to live in the house, they just wanted the investment). We ended up not doing it, because I knew I wanted to go back to school and wouldn't live in the house long enough to make it worthwhile.

Posted by: janet at May 14, 2007 4:11 PM

Duh. Kiddie pageants.

Posted by: aimee/greeblemonkey at May 14, 2007 9:53 PM

I HATE not being a multi-millionaire. It sounds like we have this in common. I don't want to have gold toilet seats or anything, I just want cool, nice, safe places for my loved ones to be. Why does it cost so frickin' much? It's pissing me off, frankly.

Posted by: Sphincter at May 14, 2007 9:54 PM

Cute kid! As for extra money, what kind of job could Beth get working from home? Then she would be home with Mia and could work while she was napping or once you got home. Otherwise, put your house on the market with a contingency clause and hope that this house either comes down in price, or you find another that is even more perfect because you can afford it.

Posted by: Krush at May 14, 2007 10:16 PM

The house sounds great, but I do believe you will work it out in time and maybe find a better one. If you find out anything about the couple grand, do let me know as well :D
Thanks for the baby's pic...really CUTE!

Posted by: Dee at May 14, 2007 10:55 PM

How about some nice fans?

I live in West Los Angeles though and no one here has AC, because you don't really need it. Well maybe celebs have AC, but not us regular folks. But I may have a few fans to spare.

Oh and you have a very cute little girl.

Posted by: Phoenix at May 15, 2007 8:05 PM

scary... its like we have parallel lives... with southern "private" schools and now broken AC units... i feel your was 80 degrees in my place last night....

Posted by: suicide_blond at May 16, 2007 11:12 AM

Ah, house-hunting fun! And house-lust, too, from the sound of it. If you figure out how to make a couple hundred grand in a few months, I'd be interested to hear your secret. :)

Posted by: Zandria at May 16, 2007 2:46 PM