So, good news and bad news.
The good news is that, as of today, the house we wish to purchase is not haunted. So far. Insomuch as we know.
The bad news? A little hauntin' and the subsequent exorcism may have proved cheaper financially. (Not spiritually. You can't put a price tag on otherworldly security. Besides, I'd be a horrid "post-haunt" interview. Lots of tears.)
Turns out, we need a new roof. Not immediately, but soon. Ish. So we're probably going to replace it before we move in, sparing us that awful "We have a new baby and it's winter, how are we supposed to tear off the roof NOW?" conversation. Also, the boiler is original to the house, as in 1959. (It looks like a time machine, complete with random copper pipes and what looks like a helmet that I most CERTAINLY will not try on.) And, um, appliances. There are none. Wait, that's not true- there is one dishwasher. It's broken and may or may not be causing a tense pipe situation. And there's a broken window. Okay, two. (It is our house of dreams!)
What is DOES have, however, is space. Lots of it. 3500 square feet to be exact, in a superbly non-falling-down brick structure that has all the correct appearances of not leaking. And three full floors, five large bedrooms (with goodly-sized closets) and three full bathrooms. With fans! We've never had a bathroom fan! A big ol' backyard that will make my thumb greener and a garage that will enable P.J.'s power tool collection to grow (and be sorted neatly on pegs.) Two ridiculously mammoth kitchens (one that seems to be begging for a bar) with room for our huge dining room table and all twelve chairs as well as new appliances, counter space galore and enough cabinets to sort all of my glassware, plates and various napkins that we are not supposed to use (Annie totally understands this).
My favorite part of the day came when our inspector did a "simple" drain test. As he was letting the water run, he turned to us and mentioned something he wanted to finish up checking outside. Okie doke! So out we went. About five minutes later I remembered that my awesome bagel was sitting on the counter (P.J. buys me a Dunkin' Donuts bagel with veggie cream cheese every time we make a run to the new house- at this rate I'm gonna be huge! Huger...) and I bounced back inside to get it. As I stepped into the living room and made my way back to the kitchen, however, I heard a sound. "I'll go investigate," I thought, like so many stupid female characters who get knocked off in the first ten minutes of any horror film. It was a bizarre, hollow sound, like crazy kitchen wind or a malevolent (and displaced) spirit or...a ridiculously full double sink mere seconds away from spilling onto the floor I'd already decided to hate. I batted at the faucet, stupidly hoping that would alleviate some of the water. It did not. Running back outside, I screamed for P.J., for our realtor and for the inspector. (Admit it, Peej, for a second there you believed that the house was haunted, too. It's okay.)
The water was shut off, but the sink refused to drain and we still heard that pesky "rushing water" sound. Opening the cabinet below the sink we found a nice trickle of water coming out of the side of a pipe- where the previous owners had conveniently ripped out the connecting dishwasher hook-up...leaving a big ol' hole.
"Can you put your hand here over the pipe while I run out to the truck?"
Sadly, my hand wasn't doing the trick and so I decided to stick my finger into the pipe. (Those of you who know me also know what a huge deal this is. I don't like poking things and I have an X-File-sized phobia of things going down in drains.) Double sad, my finger wasn't the correct width and I had to jam it up to the knuckle in order to get any sort of seal. I also got a blue hand out of the arrangement so it wasn't a total bust. P.J., meanwhile, borrowed our realtor's car to drive to some mythical "hardware store" around the corner for buckets in case the [also mythical] ones in the inspector's truck didn't pan out. And they didn't. (Meanwhile, our realtor kept asking if I wanted to trade off with her, but as she was dressed for an open house starting an hour later and I was already soaked...it just didn't make good sense.) The inspector (it sounds like I'm talking about Peter Sellers here) took care of the situation- there were ziploc baggies and other fun things involved- and we got to move on to the rest of the house. (As for P.J.? There was an Aldi around the corner and about ten minutes later he returned, arms full of flower pots. "It was all they had!!")
The rest of the house was actually in good, nice, structural shape. It didn't register as such at the time since we were so tweaked out, but later on at a fantastic Persian restaurant up the street (Honey cakes! A real food and not just a pet name!), we sleepily discussed the merits of the house. When we got home we turned into stressed-out possums and fell asleep with blankets over our heads.
But we're going for it! A few really promising visits and quotes from contractors made us feel spiffy (since when does a roof quote of 8k when we expected a cost of 10k to 15k make us feel rich?) and we're stoked to get things underway.
And this past weekend was our one year anniversary. Crazy! We decided to be tourists and stay in Chicago. Ever been to the Swissotel downtown? I highly recommend it. They have water dispensers in the lobby with MELON in them. Wow. And dinner at the Signature Room at the 95th floor of the Hancock (That's right, baby, WALTZ on past the hour and a half elevator line to get up to the lounge. The name of the game is: Reservation.) We had a window seat and I thanked P.J. for arranging the fireworks at Navy Pier directly below us. (You DID do that, yes?) We also partook in a lengthy and fabulous architecture boat tour, had brunch at Flatwater Grill on the river and hung out at all the Grant Park parky things. Plus, we shopped. Oh, how we shopped.
Sadly, the end of the weekend was marred slightly by the loss of my filling, causing jaw pain unlike anything I've ever felt in the mouthy region. (The next day I went to the dentist: repaired filling, another cavity, removal of a faulty sealant and subsequent awfulness underneath and an exposed root. All on the same tooth! My dentist- "You may feel some nerve soreness tomorrow.") Regardless of my intense fear of dentistry, I was ready for emergency brick n' hammer surgery. The actual process was far more pleasant.
And that's all for now. Actually, it isn't, but this post is becoming ridiculous and my fingers are sore. (Remember, I did some plumbing recently.) But happy 17 weeks to our little kiddo! Keep cooking! Congrats on the recent acquisition of fingernails, ears in the correct part of your head and a little bit of fat around your ever-hardening skeletal system. Take a nap, you've been working hard.
And stop kicking. No one likes that.