{the life} The Two-Week Transition

by Rachel on July 25, 2012

“I am not even going to call this my dirty clothes pile,” Eric said to me on Sunday night in our hotel room as he collected his disgusting, sweaty clothes from the past two days. “It’s more like…my pile of shame.”

For some reason, that sentence just sticks in my mind when I look back at the past two weeks. It’s been a pile of shame.

So, we didn’t close on the house on time. And it wasn’t just us; several other houses were closing after ours…our seller was buying a house, and her seller was buying a house, and so on and so forth. Four deals were waiting on our deal and our deal was waiting on Wells Fargo. Who was not responding to calls or e-mails.

This was never part of the plan.

The Original Transition Schedule

Wednesday 7/11: Close on the house and start the lease-back period. We agreed to give our seller this week in the house after closing due to some logistical needs on her end; while we didn’t plan to be at the house much during this week, we knew we at least had the option of taking some of our stuff over, beginning some small improvements, etc.

Wednesday 7/18: Our seller moves out of the house. We have the kitchen cabinets repainted, the new floors installed (if we could afford it), and we start painting all the rooms while there is no furniture in the house.

Saturday 7/21: Our new bedroom set is delivered to the new house. Movers come and take everything from our apartment to the new (and now improved) house; we have the apartment cleaned and turn in our keys. Homeowners!

So, that’s doable, right? We started packing well in advance and had a solid schedule for getting all of our stuff done on time. But then around July 9, it became apparent that Wells Fargo might not take deadlines as seriously as we had once thought. Once that happened, Eric and I stopped getting things done because we were stressed and literally sitting by the phone waiting to find out what was happening.

We managed to close late on Friday, July 13. While that doesn’t sound like a big deal — because seriously, what is two days when you’re doing something that’s going to last a decade or two?! — but it was now a huge problem. Because of the two-day delay, one of those other buyers/sellers had to delay his move by a full week. This had a trickle-down effect and we were told our seller couldn’t move out of the house until Tuesday, July 24. But our lease ended on Saturday, July 21 and there was no getting around that. As we waited to close at the title company on that Friday evening, Eric was on the phone with Wells Fargo trying to figure out why the rest of the documents still hadn’t been faxed over while I was calling all the people involved with our move to see what we could do about rescheduling everything.

The Revised Transition Schedule

Friday 7/13: Close on the house. Start packing for three different destinations: things to go into storage for a week, things that can/must go to the house or a few days, and things that we’ll want in the hotel with us.

Saturday 7/21: Have movers come and take most of our items to storage. Take a few boxes plus our mattress and box frame, to the new house. Have the apartment cleaned. Check into a hotel and board the dogs, courtesy of Wells Fargo.

Tuesday 7/24: Have cabinets professionally painted and start painting the rooms ourselves.

Wednesday 7/25 to Friday 7/27: Have new floors installed downstairs; work on painting upstairs.

Saturday 7/28: Have the movers bring our stuff from storage. Homeowners!

Ah…if only.

The Actual Transition Schedule

Friday 7/13: We start packing for three different destinations: things to go into storage for a week, things that can/must go to the house for a few days, and things that wanted in the hotel with us. We also have a ton to do to the apartment to get it move-out ready. Our apartment just kinda got passed down for about six years as one roommate would move out and a new friend would move in. When each former roommate moved out, they did very little about any damage they may have caused or even any mess they left behind, so by the time Eric moved in, and then I moved in two years later, there was a lot of wear and tear. That we now have to fix.

Tuesday 7/17: I wake up to find that my blog no longer exists. For a half a day, I sit at the computer just staring at the huge messy pile of shame that is there. I don’t cry, I don’t panic…I just stare my cPanel and all the error codes buried deep within it like the train wreck that it is. I cannot tear myself away from the computer, yet I’m not actually figuring anything out by all this staring. I consider just not bothering fixing it and being like, “WELL, I guess that’s the end of that little experiment on this new Internet thing!” Finally, with the help of my very patient coworker and a one great customer support person at Bluehost (too bad the first two weren’t quite so helpful), we get it working again. Even once it’s fixed, I avoid my blog because I’m afraid I’ll break it again it if I touch it. I ask myself, Why should I have a house when I obviously can’t have nice things?

Wednesday 7/18: A delivery truck shows up at the house with our new bedroom set. They call Eric, who tells them they are there on the wrong day and to please come back on the day we had actually scheduled, Saturday 7/21. Then he asks if they can come on 7/24 instead, since 7/21 was going to be a pain in the ass for everyone.

Thursday 7/19: We begin to get a little concerned that we weren’t going to be ready for the movers. I’m still not sure how we fell so far behind. I think it had something to do with all the organizing and cleaning we were doing before packing things, and how much touch-up work there was to do. And, ya know, those pesky jobs we have kept interfering.

Friday 7/20: All the early mornings and late nights start catching up to us and productivity starts to suffer big time. By midnight Friday night, I found myself seriously just walking around the apartment in a dazed loop and later, as I wrapped up my large ceramic deer in bubble wrap, I sort of came to and realized I was just mindlessly wrapping packing tape around and around and around it. Sigh. Taking on too many things never works out well for anyone, does it?

Saturday 7/21: We are up at 6 AM to keep packing. The movers show up at 8 AM. We are not fully packed. We have a lot packed, so I feel like less of an asshole, but I’m still rather ashamed. Because we haven’t finished packing on time, a lot of those last “Ugh how exactly do I pack this oddly-shaped thing from three years ago that I don’t want to throw away but I don’t care about right now?” items didn’t make it into storage with the movers. We realize that we have to drag all that crap to the new house ourselves, in our cars…and the house is still occupied. We spend the day organizing and packing that stuff, as well as making the apartment move-out ready. I make the executive decision to wait to take it to the new house until Sunday, as we know that our apartment complex won’t be expecting our keys or — as far as I know anyway — inspecting the apartment until Monday morning. Eric is convinced they are going to show up at 6 AM Sunday morning and throw everything we left in apartment overnight away; my stance is that if they can get all this stuff out and to the Dumpster before we get back for it at 8 AM, I’d be pretty damn impressed because it is a rather hefty pile. We cross our fingers that I’m right about this and then check into our hotel with at least one moving box we were nervous about leaving in the apartment in case I am wrong. The hot showers and king-size bed are so appreciated.

Sunday 7/22: We drag all the stuff to the new house and then go buy some of the paint we’ll need. Later that evening, we get a phone call from our Realtor, who got a phone call from our seller’s Realtor. Apparently, he’s pissed we took our stuff to the new house, even though we explained at the closing table that we were going to do that. We wonder why our seller called her Realtor rather than contacting us directly in the first place. Also wonder why her Realtor insists on being such a dick to everyone all the time. We are so ready to be done with all of this and just have the place to ourselves. The seller said she’d be completely out by Tuesday and all she’d be doing that day was having the maid come, so we figure we just have one day to go dealing with this sort-of owning-but-not-really leaseback nonsense. Eric throws his clothes into the “pile of shame.”

Monday 7/23 (early morning): I look in the mirror for what feels like the first time in like a month and wonder what the hell happened to my face, hair, and nails, and question whether I dressed myself in the dark. I feel like a pile of shame. How long have I looked so unkempt? I’d actually rather not know. With my stuff in so many different places, I feel incredibly scattered, and I think of the horcruxes from the Harry Potter novels. Maybe I stashed some of my soul in these items and that’s why I feel so lost (and why I’m beginning to look physically disfigured). It’s not a good feeling. No wonder Voldermort was such a dick, I think.

Monday 7/23 (mid-morning): I try to coordinate the plan for Monday night/Tuesday morning with our seller. We aren’t clear if she’s spending the night there that night, and if she’s not, we want to get in and start doing some painting, which we are aiming to have done on the first floor before installation begins on the floors in on Wednesday. If she is planning to be there, we’ll wait until Tuesday afternoon, working around the cabinets being repainted.

Monday 7/23 (evening): Our Realtor forwards Eric an e-mail from the seller’s Realtor, Patrick Welsh, (who, at this point, is employed by no one involved in this situation and is really just a dude yelling). He uses LOTS OF CAPITAL LETTERS to tell Mary to tell us to leave our seller alone because she’s “really stressed out right” and “needs her rest.” He says we are not allowed to contact her anymore, and if we have any questions, we can call him and he will tell us NO. (Caps his, not mine.) He says we have to cancel our contractor for Tuesday because the seller’s maid will be there possibly at the same time. He also adds that if we try to enter the house — the house we own, legally, as she is now our tenant, and the house we made clear at the closing table that we’d be entering a few times in the next few weeks — before noon on Tuesday (the cutoff time of the lease-back) the ALARM WILL BE SET. Patrick has been really nasty during most of this process, but the e-mail is so incredibly unprofessional, intrusive, rude, and honestly just ridiculous, Eric and I about lose it. Eric ignores Patrick’s absurd threats and calls our seller directly to coordinate the three hours in the morning that are the problem. She gets flustered and makes excuses for involving Patrick (“I was really stressed out and told my dad and my dad called Patrick who said I didn’t have to talk to you…” because yes, when you are a woman in your 30s with two children of your own, that’s exactly what you should do in this situation) and starts going on about how she’ll just clean it herself and then starts pulling a “FINE! FINE! I’ll just move out TONIGHT! I’ll take my girls and try to find someplace for us to stay so you can have it TONIGHT. I don’t even care!” Eric — who is so conscientious and courteous of others that it often borderlines on not standing up for himself when most people would agree that he has every right to — is unimpressed and unmoved by this last bit of shameless drama, and frankly, it’s kind of awesome to watch him stand up for himself and for us and for reasonable people everywhere. They eventually work it out (which isn’t complicated at all when you act like a rational adult) and Eric and I spend the night hoping this is the last of the dramz. We just have a few hours to go. I try to use that time to get some writing done. I mostly fail.

Tuesday 7/24 (very early morning): Eric and I get up at 5:00 to get a jump-start on trying to keep our heads above water at our respective jobs. We start around 6:00 with a plan to break at 9:00 to let the guys in to do the cabinets; then we’ll head back to work. I get a ton of things done in these few hours and feel so much better. We head to the house, hoping that we don’t have some kind of confrontation with the seller. She isn’t there, and, after convincing the cleaning lady to let us in (because our seller conveniently didn’t tell her that we were coming), I am flooded with relief as I see that the house is empty except for our things, and the place finally feels like ours to do with as we see fit. I am SO excited to start the process of moving in and doing all the improvements and upgrades we’ve been planning for the past six weeks. Homeowners(ish)!

Tuesday 7/24 (morning): As I drive to work, I call to confirm that our bedroom set is, in fact, being delivered today because I have a bad feeling about it. They tell us that they tried to deliver on the day we scheduled (lies! I scheduled it for 7/21!) and that we weren’t home (well, right, because it wasn’t our home at that point) and so they took it away and gave it to the next person on the waiting list. And — ooops! — now we can’t have our headboard and footboard until September. They keep insisting it’s our fault for not being there when they tried to deliver it (…on the wrong day). I’ll deal with this later. Someday. I don’t know.

Tuesday 7/24 (evening): I get to the house as they are finishing up the cabinets. In a matter of ours, they have gone from dated oak to a gleaming, creamy white. The kitchen appears to have doubled in size, but I might just be seeing things thanks to all the toxic fumes I’m inhaling. Whatever. I’m so excited. Eric and I have somehow forgotten to pick up any paint stirrers so while the house airs out, we make our daily shopping excursion (seriously, not a day has gone by in the past two weeks that hasn’t included a trip to either Target, Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, or Home Depot for something…usually it’s more than one store/more than once a day) and then get out our paint and supplies. A friend of his from work comes over to help us get started painting. He’s a freaking superstar with trim. Three hours later, the two rooms on the first floor that we want to get done ASAP have very lovely first coats.

Wednesday 7/25 (very early morning): Eric and I decide to get up early again, but we have a much harder time than we did on Tuesday. I’m really struggling. We check out of the hotel and take all our stuff to the house. Eric plans to come back at 9 for the flooring guys. I head to work, then detour to Starbucks. I have deadlines looming so I begrudgingly cancel a hair appointment for the second time in a week, feeling like an asshole because she’s working with me to fit me in before she is unavailable for like three weeks. I know this means my extensions will damn near fall out by the time she can fit me in yet again, but thus is the life for a pile of shame.

The transition hasn’t quite ended, but we’re very close. It’s been a ridiculous couple of weeks and I’ve felt so out of of touch with everyone and everything and not like myself at all. (Because when I think of myself, I typically think, “Someone who shaves her legs regularly,” you know?) The good news is, we have a house (!!!!!!), we’re onto the fun part of the process, and I’m slowly collecting all of my horcruxes. And perhaps one day soon I will collect the horcrux housing the part of my soul that makes me a person who gives a shit about her hair; but for now, I’m trying to not plan on anything and just continue to take things one day at a time.

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tara July 25, 2012 at 12:09 pm

I am sending a million virtual hugs your way. I was in a similar situation back in January/February, but I ended up finding out I *wasn’t* closing TEN days after closing and finding and moving to another apartment since I’d already given notice on my lease. Worst. Nightmare. Ever.

Congratulations on finally having the house!!!!!

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2 Dana July 25, 2012 at 12:20 pm

what a cluster fuck! glad it’s all been (mostly) figured out!

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3 Jessica July 25, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Awww, I’m so sorry Rachel! But happy for you guys, too! You guys will be laughing about this transition before you know it- maybe you already are. :)

I was once involved in a slightly similar situation of a previous owner who just didn’t want to leave. It ended with me cleaning the house AROUND the family while my mom PHYSICALLY HELPED THEM PACK THEIR SHIT. They also left one of those moving PODs in the driveway for a couple of months after that, but hey. Ha.

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4 deva by definition July 25, 2012 at 12:56 pm

I promise that the daily shopping trips will end and that someday you’ll be able to leave Target/Lowe’s/Home Depot/IKEA without over $100 of things that you truly do need. This part of our move was overwhelming and exhausting and I remember being in a daze the day I agreed to host a house party one month after move-in (that house party was awesome, because we are crazy people we had everything unpacked and put away really quickly after move-in. Except for our, ya know, room of shame). But it all worked out, and it does get better, and eventually, when you’re at Target, you’ll be like “so, I walked into Target and walked out with a bunch of stuff I didn’t need, and NONE OF IT WAS FOR THE HOUSE.” and it will feel great :-)

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5 Rachel July 25, 2012 at 1:48 pm

A ROOM OF SHAME!!! Of course!! haha…we are crazy about unpacking and getting things up on the walls and everything too!

And this mythical day at Target you’re describing…I am skeptical.

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6 Deva @ Deva by Definition July 25, 2012 at 9:28 pm

That mythical day took us between 6 and 8 weeks. I think it was closer to 6 and that was just because we needed something to clean the floors that wasn’t a WetJet. I don’t include normal, needed stuff, like trash bags in that mythical day but we finally got there, and it was nice!

and we still have a room of shame.. we’re working on it next week to make it into a very large, very nice guest room. The other room will stay empty save for litter boxes for the time being. :-).

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7 Lynn Townsend July 25, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Glad to know I’m not the only one for whom closing on a house was a certifiable nightmare. Don’t worry, home depot will get to know you by name, and in three months, it still won’t feel like home and you’ll worry that eventually someone will come to you and say “Cut, cut. We don’t really think you’re ready for the role of adult homeowner. We were expecting someone taller.”

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8 Caity @ Moi Contre La Vie July 25, 2012 at 1:34 pm

OHMYGOD This sort of makes me re-think buying a house. Not the first insane horror story I’ve heard recently, but by far the worst. I am so sorry you had to go through all of that!!!

Good luck to you & Eric and I hope everything works out!

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9 Heather July 25, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Oof, good luck with everything… moving is a pain in general, but this just sounds, well, terrible. It will all be worth it in the end, though! Congrats on being homeowners!

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10 MC July 25, 2012 at 1:54 pm

This gives me horror flashbacks to the last apartment I rented – the shining moment of that landlord-tenant relationship would be when the crazy landlord declared me a “bitch” and then informed me that I “swore too much”. And then attempted to slam the door on me while I was standing in it. I guess calling to tell her I would be late was a bad idea. Perhaps I should not have called at all?

At least you are done with the process! And a pretty new kitchen will help make the headaches go away :)

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11 Erin July 25, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Ugh, what a nightmare! But, I’m glad that you’re finally in the house. Congratulations again!

My husband and I just bought our second house (we’re in the process of selling our first one) and we’re having issues with the current owners. We can’t seem to get a definite closing date out of them, which I’ll tell you, is super exciting when you have a house you’re trying to sell. I don’t get people who don’t understand schedules with important things, you know like houses and life.

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12 Paul (@minutrition) McConaughy July 25, 2012 at 2:14 pm

Hi Rachel: Congratulations on your relatively seamless move! You and Eric handled it like pros. You should be very proud of yourselves. If it seems like the problems were big… it’s just because you’re in Texas, and everything’s bigger in Texas ya know!

Have fun with your new toy! Paul

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13 Shannon July 25, 2012 at 2:38 pm

HOLY SH*T BALLS. That just made me want to rent for the rest of my life. God bless you and I hope that no other ridiculousness gets thrown in your path.

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14 Katie Cummings July 25, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Me too! Actually my significant other is thinking about buying a place and now I’m afraid to let him do it!! That sounds so terrible!!

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15 Aj July 25, 2012 at 4:00 pm

If it’s worth anything in a misery-loves-company sorta way, I’ve never heard of an easy closing and transition. But considering the years you’ll have in your new abode, this will one day be a funny story to look back on.

Like the time our movers showed up and were drunk.

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16 Rachel July 25, 2012 at 4:54 pm

LOL WHAT!?! Story time!!

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17 Deva @ Deva by Definition July 25, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Yes! Story time – I want to hear the details!

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18 Samantha M. July 25, 2012 at 4:26 pm

I am so sorry that your closing process has been such a nightmare (and I applaud you using the full name of the D-Bag seller – I’d be even more honest and post what company he works for, if he works for one, haha), but I’m so glad to hear it’s almost done! I bet a full night’s sleep is going to feel better than sex when it finally happens.

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19 Rachel July 25, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Haha about the full night’s sleep/sex…you are SO right!

For the record, he’s with Keller Williams Realty and we plan to file a complaint with them and the TREC. Ugh…so frustrating!

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20 LindsayH July 25, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Realtors are glorified car salesmen. It’s not surprising to me at all. And they’re ALL in cahoots with each other to get the most money, no matter what any of them say.

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21 AF July 25, 2012 at 5:38 pm

I used to process mortgages at WF…and this shit happens ALL THE TIME. I have no idea how they are still in business since they screw people over all the time. I’m glad it all worked out in the end. Best wishes.

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22 Allie July 25, 2012 at 7:06 pm

What an ordeal! How frustrating & annoying, but you are through it. Enjoy this time of settling in. You are home now! We are in the midst of buying our first place too, & we’ve had some bumps – dealing with the seller’s less-than-competent-realtor – along the way. I’m nervous about him dragging his feet & affecting our closing timeline too. Cross my fingers.

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23 Jess-ThatJessGal July 25, 2012 at 8:10 pm

HOLY SHIT, Rachel! First off, thank you SO much for sharing your experiences with everyone. I’m going to be buying a house soon and I am always so very happy to learn from others! :)

Secondly, let this be a word of the wise to everyone….do NOT use Wells Fargo for anything if you can help it. My realtor said I can finance with ANYONE but them! I’m actually considering moving my personal accounts away from WF too.

Enjoy the decorating process now! :)

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24 Nicki July 26, 2012 at 8:50 am

I was exhausted from just READING your post last night, and can’t imagine going through it! Good luck and glad you’re finally in your home. :)

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25 Rain July 26, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Sounds hectic!! It never goes as planned!
I am glad you have a house…it will totally be worth all the trouble!

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26 kenny July 27, 2012 at 1:39 am

I know the feeling. I don’t even feel like venting about the crap going on in my new place. Its super bad. Hang in there and hope you get settled in soon!

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27 Sarah July 27, 2012 at 11:16 am

Ugh, you have me scared now! My fiance and I are closing on a house August 15th. So far everything has gone insanely smoothly and I’m worried that closing may be when it gets hectic. We’ve been using friends/acquantances for everything though. I was a little weary at first of combining business with friendship, but I have been very pleased. Our realtor has been awesome and he has a construction background so he schooled us in what to look out for so there were zero suprises at inspection(the list was super short for a 60 year old house). Our friend from kickball is doing the mortgage and he is in constant contact and has really hooked us up. We’re even using a friend for the title services. Luckily these are all really reliable , non skeezy people or it could definitely be going the other way and friendships could end. We shopped around a bit for the mortgage and when I told the guy from the big bank we’d been working with that we were going with someone else he sent me back a “thanks for wasting my time”, really bratty email. Im sorry the pre closing was so rough for you but it sounds like settling in should be a breeze. We dont have extra funds for hiring moving, painters, cleaners, etc, so thats when we’ll be feeling super duper stressed. It makes me shutter thinking about all the wallpaper we have to take down. But all in all, we’ll be homeowners and that makes it so worth it!!

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28 Kavi July 27, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Oh Rachel, what an ordeal! Glad to hear that things have calmed down and you’re getting settled into your new place. Thanks for sharing your home-buying experiences… things to be prepared for down the road!

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29 stef July 27, 2012 at 3:08 pm

That point in packing where you’ve exhausted your efforts to put everything into nice Trash, Donate, Pack piles, and you’re just so over the categorized, labeled boxes and you’re just I DON’T EVEN CARE ANYMORE. TAKE ALL MY UNDERWEAR TO GOODWILL AND HOW DO YOU PACK A WINE RACK THAT LOOKS LIKE A TREE WHERE DID WE EVEN GET THIS?! I’ve totally been there and its *overwhelmingly exhausting.* Next time I have to pack, I think I’m going to do it over the course of a month or more.

Thankfully my only house closing was about as easy as it can get, but you have all my sympathy. Juggling moving out as your lease ends and moving into a house that’s occupied is just too much going on. Part of me hopes that the seller was just overwhelmed by her own moving chaos and isn’t really an adult child, but she sounds a bit crazypants.

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30 Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe July 31, 2012 at 3:09 pm

“No wonder Voldemort was such a dick.” – I just about died laughing at that line. Your ability to maintain your humour in a very frustrating and stressful situation is wonderful. Congrats on the new place – you’re on the “home” stretch! ;)

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31 julie August 10, 2012 at 10:04 am

I hope you post pictures! I’m a house junkie. I would love to see your painted kitchen cabinets, did they use a sprayer or a brush? I’m sorry you had such a horrible closing but it’s all worth it once you’re in your house, that little piece of the earth is all yours.

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32 Rachel August 10, 2012 at 3:57 pm

They used a sprayer! I was expecting a brush and I was kinda blown away by how fast it went and how clean it looked…then I realized they had sprayed.

I will definitely post pics soon!

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33 Anastasia August 12, 2012 at 3:48 am

Oh man, we are selling our house and it sounds about like your nightmare with buying one. I’m glad yours is almost over!

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