Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cheaper than IKEA

I'll start by saying that my mother has been a lifelong supporter of thrift stores. She loves them, and doesn't really have limits on what she'll buy there, as long as she thinks it's a good deal.

And like any rebellious daughter, I grew up hating the second hand stores. I'd plead to stay in the car when she'd take me along. In my youth, they were adverse simply because of unpleasant "thrift store smell" of age and must. In my teens, it was more than the odor - it was the embarrassment. "Dude, only poor people shop here!" I'd whine. It's weird. I don't think I did any critical thinking about social class or relative wealth in my teens. I never demanded name brands or anything like that. I just had this hang-up over thrift stores and school lunch. It was engrained in my head that that was a poorness line that shouldn't be crossed.

Once I saw some boys from my school in a thrift store, and I nearly died. I remember crouching behind the racks, praying they wouldn't see me. Funny that it never entered my mind as to why they were in the store in the first place. The teenage mind is a rather silly thing. It's unfortunate the hipster movement didn't make it's way into my highschool. As annoying as it can be, I probably could have benefited from some enlightenment on the coolness of thrift stores.

Luckily, I grew out of the negative prejudices at some point, and now have returned to embrace the thrift store as I try to find cheap furnishings for our new home. My mother is elated, of course. I'm sure she thought the day would never come that her snooty daughter would voluntarily frequent a Goodwill.

But what I hadn't considered was Sak's reaction.

"They smell funny."

Well, true - they do. In the entire history of the thrift shop, I'm sure that's never changed. It's just ironic that I have to strong-arm him to go with me, much like my mother did when I was younger. What goes around comes around!

But unlike her I have a slight advantage. Since Sak doesn't want me buying any expensive furniture - he'll tolerate the stink. And he's even pleased with what we find, provided I clean it up first and promise not to buy any mattresses.

So far we've found:

a side table for $7.99

a lacquer coffee table for $24.99

several picture frames ranging $3-$7 each

a brand new lamp for $7.

a brand new fireplace tool set for $12.

and a brand new Cherubi Pokemon plushie (for Penga-Sis' birthday) for $1.99!
Not bad, but we still have a lot to find!

Do you thrift shop? Is it more passion or chore for you? For your significant other? Anyone want to do a Bay Area thrift-crawl with me?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Others Along the Road

*Sheepish grin* Hello again world. I, uh, have only $37 in my bank account now. *blanches*

Obviously there are still some hurdles left in this house-buying process, but we are very nearly there.

But first, an ode to the ones that weren't:
(all Carla pictures from trulia)
Carla, oh Carla. One of the very few homes of newer construction (1980's is considered new in this built out peninsula), Carla had vaulted ceilings, a walk in closet, a hot tub and two mature redwood trees in the backyard. She was walking distance to a park and the Caltrain. And she was beautiful. We loved her at first sight.
But her seller wouldn't back down on his very unreasonable price tag. And that's the end of that story.

Jefferson, you handsome man you. Where our price range usually equals lot sizes of about 5,000 square feet, this big guy was 20,000. With a great view. Of course, the old man was also falling apart - with a second story door that dropped down completely because the stair case had rotted away. But he had great potential, and tons of room. A PA system throughout the house, and even an indoor barbecue pit. You would have been fun if we had capital to fix your dilapidated condition.


Culdy. My, you were cute. A standard home on the end of a cul-de-sac, he sported a super private backyard with a nice big redwood tree. He had a hidden den off the kitchen, not too unlike the bat cave. And the fully upgraded kitchen was nice, even for people who don't cook much.
(all culdy pictures from redfin)
We offered on you, but were outbid. The buyer eventually backed out after the inspections came back with some alarm. Thus, we weren't too sorry to see you go.

Trailer home. Well, okay - Mom's nick-name for you really isn't fair, but you were a crazy blue color. We fell in love with her quirky design, and beautiful view. She had a cherry blossom tree, and fully redone bathrooms in pretty glass tile. Though her quirks meant an unpermitted extra bedroom and bath, we offered on her anyway. But as she was a short sale, we kept on looking in the meantime.
(all trailer pictures from redfin)

Retro. You were by far the coolest house on the block. Sak and I burst into fits of giggles the whole time we toured him. Everything screamed the 50's. We loved his ceiling tall windows and very acceptable price tag.
(all retro pictures from Eichler Homes)

But he was not to be - for our castle had called to us, and we answered.

And now I have $37 dollars left.

(And before you lecture me for not figuring out closing costs or whatever ahead of time - the reason I am now broke is because the stock Sak was going to use to pay part of the down payment won't be sold in time for closing, so the difference came out of my emergency monies. Hopefully they'll sell by next week so I can stop freaking out. Note to future home-buyers: liquidating accounts takes more than a day. Yep...)

I've missed you, and I think I'm nearly ready to climb back into the blogosphere. Though from the general slow down in posting my reader has seen this past month - I'm guessing we're all a little busy lately.

Friday, March 11, 2011


Luckily,  my in-laws in both Japan and Hawaii are safe. We couldn't get through the phone to Sak's parents in Fukuoka, but we did get an email. *Whew*

Keep your prayers going though, 8.9 is devastating, even for the country most prepared for earthquakes. 

I hope your loved ones are safe as well!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Weddings vs. Houses

I think Jennifer put it really nicely in the last post, where she wrote:
"Isn't that so funny, some of the biggest events our lives are planned over months or years, only to be over in a day."
Thinking about it, the life processes of marriage and house buying do have much to compare and contrast.

Both are stressful.

I lost stress weight during wedding planning, yet now I've been relying on Samoas and Thin Mints.  Yep, I'm up a good 10-12 pounds from the wedding, even though I've increased my exercise regimine to nearly double! Zumba and yoga (thank you free work programs!) definitely help let out the stress - but then, so does the lack of cheese restrictions.
Happy mood food from my loving mom.  Came with a flan and a slice of tres leches from a hometown bakery as well!
Both are expensive.

Hoo-haw is that ever true.  Though I think we stayed pretty moderate with our wedding costs (as moderate as a destination wedding can be, anyway), I definitely was generous in allowing the craft supplies and trinkets/food for our guests.  I was okay with eating out often since planning killed all desire to cook (said desire still hasn't returned).  I succumbed to the wedding industry in the sense that I was much more frivolous with my money.

With house buying, however - we've become certifiable penny-pinching misers.  Sak, upon Gator-enlightenment, is now the embarrassing guy that holds up the grocery line while digging around for coupons.  Today he got 10 boxes of fruit snacks for a $1.50.
"Fruit" snacks!

Nevermind that we don't need gushers (nostalgic as they are!), it's pretty cool getting things for almost free.  Though he said he was taking most of them as work snacks, we can donate some to our church youth or give some to my sister as well.  And in case you're wondering, he got the idea from here.

Anyway, that was an extreme example, but we get a little extreme now and then.

Both take time.

But while I often felt like I was running out of time with the wedding, I simply cannot wait for this home buying process to be over!
Wistfully waiting..outside my home hopeful.
Really though, both are super emotional events.  I have good days and bad days.  Though both make me feel extremely close to Sak. It's the first adventure in our marriage, and there's nothing us Sak's like better than adventure.

(Approximately 2-3 more weeks to go! Underwriting is in progress now and the appraisal will be ordered tomorrow.  Please go through, loan, pleaaase...)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Home for your Books

Uh, if you haven't noticed by now, it's extremely hard for me to think about things other than houses.
Isn't this a creative "bookmark"? Instructions are here.  It's made out of a block of wood, though I'm tempted to try it with wood's cheap cousin, cardboard.
So cute, so cute!

Anyway, a quick (and I do mean quick) update on our own little housing situation...

Short sale still pending, we kept looking at houses.  Specifically, we met my uncle at a brand new listing last night, utterly fell in love (like no other home before), smacked an offer down on it first thing this morning, and before the end of the day - found ourselves with a ratified offer. A non-short sale offer.  

Which means we now have 10 days in which to do inspections, and about 20 days in which to get our finances squared away. Man, I hope it all goes smoothly. *Sweats profusely*

But then we could be in a house. A seriously awesome house. A house I cannot wait to show you, because it's just ridiculous (in a very Sak & Penga way).

But right now? Right now it still doesn't feel real. Months of searching for what? A decision made in a day! A decision approved in a day! I can't process. 

Thanks for your support (and your patience with me) lately. Hopefully it won't be too much longer!