Saturday, February 26, 2011

Happy 5 Year Anniversary Dear House!

5 years and 1 week ago I was miserable. Like, way more miserable than I am now. I wanted a house. BAD! Antz and I spent an entire year going to open houses every single weekend *and some Thursday evening wine and cheese showings* We dragged our poor but wonderful agent Debora all over town and wrote 13 *kinda ironic huh?* offers on 12 houses *had to write 2 offers on 1 house* but that's a long story I'll have to explain another day. I would fall in love hard with every house we put an offer on. I would see our future while I sat parked in my car in front of the house *the start of my stalkerish ways*. I saw every person as a threat. We were outbid so many times we started offering 20% more than asking and writing letters to the homeowners practically begging to give us *the first timers* a chance of the American Dream. It was crazy times back then, we looked at houses in the millions like we could afford them but in that bubble period, if you had an approval letter, you were golden. I had it bad, I was always convinced that nothing better would come along in our price range *which back in 2006 was breadcrumbs*. I was certain we would end up in a 1 bed/ 1 bath shack on the wrong side of the tracks and I wanted a house so badly that I would have happily taken it. When I think back to some of the crappy houses we put offers on *the 1 bed/ 1 bath, 500 sq ft with no yard fixer in Eagle Rock, the hillside house that had a deck that was teetering over the edge of a steep mountain, the house with no permits on a scary, ghetto street, next door to the freeway, the house across the street from the playground of an elementary school, the house lost in the hills, with skinny cliff side roads where we had to play chicken with oncoming traffic and no street lights or sidewalks* I had to have a home of my own, no matter where, how much or what the condition.

Then after losing yet another bid on a house in Eagle Rock *our #1 location* even though the 2 bed/1 bath was across the street from a busy 24-hour Jack in the Box, I found the listing for our house. Now whenever I saw online pics, I felt an instant connection with the house. I already planned the furniture and paint for every room. I would envision our housewarming party and this was all before I ever set foot inside the house. I definitely leaped before I looked. When I saw the backyard of this house online, I began to have feelings of apprehension. I was beginning to become numb to the home buying process. I couldn't fathom having my heart broken again. I didn't email Antz pics of the house every 5 mintues like I usually did. I played it cool. I casually showed him the pictures and the price but I still had red flags up and I knew it was sounding too good to be true. I was positive that by the next day when we went to the open house 1/27/2006, there would already be 5 full price offers from flippers or investors. The day of the open house was lovely. I remember driving to the house we passed so many houses that came so close to being ours that I starting feeling depressed again. Then I saw the school. UGH! Schools meant 2 things to me, noise and traffic. Then I saw the parking *of lack thereof* I couldn't have my 50 housewarming guests park on this tiny hill street! This wouldn't do. Yet, as we got a closer look at the place my heart began to skip a beat. They had 1 of the garage doors open and I was happy to see it was big enough to accommodate my *then Beetle* our bikes, Antz tools and a potential place to store my beauty school supplies *I was graduating from cosmetology school in 4 months* Then, I saw the property was gated, I grew up in a gated compound so that gave me security that I hadn't seen with any of the other thousands of houses we'd viewed. When I saw the Spanish tile stairs, it made me forget we were 3 blocks from Eagle Rock. The front yard made me giddy. I never before thought I would want to be a gardener but I all of a sudden had an intense urge to want to own a yard with flowers, a big yard so I could have room for a hammock and a space large enough for entertaining *our old apartment had a balcony so small that when we did have parties, I was scared it would collaspe from the weight* I was already smitten when we sat on the adorable bench and put surgical booties over our shoes. The house was tiny but it made up for it in character. The owners had styled it all wrong but I was already developing a huge crush when I saw the hardwood floors, the Tiffany style ceiling fans, the fireplace. Seriously, none of the other houses came close to the charm this house was packing. Then we saw the backyard. That's what made Antz fall in love. We were smiling hard, squeezing each others hands, trying to act not interested but taking pictures of our house. That's right, we were home. We stood in the backyard smelling the fragrant lemons from the lemon tree, looking at the view towards Glendale hills knowing we found our home.

The first thing we said was we'll have to get rid of that hideous tree, we now cherish our Japanese plum tree.

We rushed to our agent's office and stayed there until midnight putting together the most optimistic, full price offer with a good faith deposit of $20,000 and said some prayers that we would at least be the first offer they would see on Monday morning. I was sick with fear, anxiety, excitement until we got the call from our agent. Not only was our bid the first offer, IT WAS ACCEPTED!!!

We cried, kissed, immediately ordered expensive flowers for Debora and started to pack our bags despite a 45 day escrow. We got the keys to our house March 6th.

We became adults here.

The first week we moved in I was coming out my new garage and I was startled by a woman walking up the street who said to me "I can tell you are lovely people by your sweet Storybook house." I always knew I wanted to have a porch to sit on, a flag in front that shows off our personality *it started as a Welcome Friends flower and now is a Pirate flag, RAD* I have no green thumb and felt totally overwhelmed by the big backyard but we have planted flowers, herbs and veggies every year since we moved in. We spent the first week in our new house painting until 5 am and even though the house is showing it's age, I am grateful to have it. I love the bungalow character of our house. I feel pride when we make repairs, give it a makeover and a minor facelift. I know I have to endure the awful neighbors, the bad foundation and 4 more summers without a pool but this is our home. It's the first home Antz and I purchased together. It's the house we brought Olivia home to. We became a family in this house. We will track Liv's height on these walls. We have had amazing memories here, both of our housewarming parties, our Werewolf Bar mitzvah Halloween Party, Our Cinco de Mayo party, S'more party, our Bebe Shower and we'll celebrate our 10 year anniversary here in August 2012.

As much as I bitch about wanting to move, I would move this house to Atwater Village if I could. I love this house. I feel safe here, I feel comfortable and happy for Liv to begin her life in our fairy tale house. I wouldn't appreciate this house if it was easy to get. Throughout all the ups and downs, it's never broken my heart. It's a diamond in the rough.

Thank God none of those offers were accepted...we would have never found our home, and I would have truly been miserable!

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