Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Ice cream detour

"steve 1" originally uploaded by whitneyarlene

Last week, Steve and I met up in Batavia to catch up on both house matters and personal life. We went to Pizza Hut, a move that both surprised (read: sort of disgusted me) and delighted us. Afterwards, we got ice cream.

Monday, February 26, 2007

We love advice

"upstairs kitchen" originally uploaded by whitneyarlene
  1. What color should we paint the above kitchen? I'm thinking yellow. Or teal. Maybe green?

  2. I need to start packing so any tips on where I should scrounge for boxes?

  3. Have you ever heard of someone closing on time?

  4. I know there's a rule about painting your kitchen with a semi-gloss--or something like that--but I'm not sure about the details. Also: should I buy high- or medium- or the cheapest-damn-available-quality paint?

  5. If you've received multiple estimates for a single work project, how would you go about deciding which contractor to choose?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The sick blog

I seem to have been taken over by a Nondescript Flu-Cold. While getting coffee this morning--free coffee, might I add--I ran into my friend Brendon the Barista and he described to me his own recent illness. The exact same illness I have. When I asked if he sort of felt drunk all the time, he said, "Yeah!" and when he explained that the flu-cold was neither full on flu nor full on cold, I agreed wholeheartedly. Also: it turns out coffee doesn't make me feel better in this instance, only adds to the weird drunk feeling.

I know this is a house blog so my point is that I fulfilled all of Steve's wildest dreams yesterday while having our daily phone check-in: I told him to just tell me what to do. My head's been so foggy that extracting a list of tangible, to-do items from our discussion of glass blocks and insurance quotes was too much. He was super excited and later told me that my flu-cold sounds more like intestinal parasites. Asshole.

In other news, Channel 2 reports that Buffalo has the Best Cost of Living in the country. Pack your bags kids.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

House of salvation

There exists a major difference in my and Steve’s respective post-college lives: Steve is living in a house with a roommate hundreds of miles away from his parents and I have been living, on and off and on, with my parents.*

During this time, I have pretty much blamed all of my problems on the fact that I don’t have my very own space in which I can expand, get organized, and be healthy. For instance, when the payment on my credit card is late, I blame the fact that the bills come to my mother’s house and hey, I’m really only there about one-third to one-half of the week. And when I leave library books at my dad’s and get huge late fines, it’s the same reason except vice versa.

I’ll be able to do all of the following, my logic suggests, when I have a place of my own: get consistent amounts of sleep, wake up early, read lots of novels, write novels, write letters to friend I’ve pretty much neglected, eat better, save money, look more “professional” at work, complete craft projects, open the sewing machine my mom got me for Christmas two years ago, learn to cross-stitch, throw away or donate all the crap I’ve acquired, have more friends, and exercise.

I’m banking so much on the fact that I’ll soon be in my own house, that I feel like I should be worried about fulfilling all the expectations. But, and it’s not really much of a secret, I know I won’t. I know that a furnace is gonna blow and we’ll need to fork over some big cash instead of saving it for that backpacking trip through Peru. I know I’ll probably be subject to the same bouts of endurance and laziness as I am now. And I also know that I’ll probably want to stop at a coffee shop just as much as I do now, even though I’ll finally be able to have a kitchen of my own in which I can make and drink a cup of French-pressed brew.

A person’s got to have hope though, right? And if we don’t spend at least some of our time thinking about the conditions that could make us more productive and responsible and better people—no matter how realistic—we won’t really progress, will we?

I am raising my store-bought cup of coffee right now, and saying Amen.

*Hi Mom and Dad, I love you!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The waiting game

"Roofers wide view" originally uploaded by amiev

Because we're going through NACA, we've got to get estimates done on all the repair work included in our loan application before we can close on the house. As our NACA counselor told us, the bank isn't going to give you a blank check. Fair enough.

So far our strategy has been divide and conquer: Steve is responsible for getting the furnace estimates and I'm handling the roofers. We're tag teaming the home insurance quotes and it's going okay. Actually, it's sometimes a huge pain the ass. And Steve has some telling commentary.

It's sort of difficult at this point to know what to do. Will I regret in three weeks that I didn't start packing up all my shit
last weekend? Or should I wait and take care of it when we have a better sense of our closing date? Is it too early to decide on paint colors or to buy furniture?

It feels like Steve and I are waiting to be shoved in the next direction, and I guess it's kind of been like that throughout the whole process. For instance, we got into a routine while looking at houses--ho hum, la-di-la--and BAM! We found the house. Suddenly we were putting an offer on the house, signing our name to a billion sheets of paper, and writing $500 checks for home inspections.

And it's not that I'm necessarily feeling a lull right now (hey, those estimates don't come from thin air), but I do believe we're doing more waiting than we are doing more doing. There's a giant list in my head--and in emails between me and Steve--of all the shit that needs to get done once we get the keys. But now, we wait? Have heart attacks?

Le sigh.

If I had a superpower right now, it would be the ability to check in with the Future Whitney and see what preparation she thinks would've been helpful. Or maybe I'll just call Steve.

Monday, February 12, 2007

I can see how this could kill you

Whitters and I continue on our quest to get quotes from various contractors to replace our furnaces and what not. this process is fairly intense and our strategies for dealing with tasks are in conflict. My strategy is to have heart attack about everything all the time, send Whitney a list of tasks, make lists for myself, lose them, and then call Whitney to remind her of the tasks she might have forgotten since the last time I contacted her. Whitney's strategy is to simply do her best and have faith that everything will come out in the wash. Obviously everything will come out in the wash, but I still need constant reassurance that all tasks are being handled. (I guess my idea of acting like a grown up is ridiculously anal retentive.)

Although I recognize that I'm being crazy, I still feel jilted when I don't get the assurances I need. With the space of being friends its pretty easy to just accept that everything is getting handled and we're buying a house and its gonna go and I should just relax. If I were buying a house with my ladyfriend I think I'd be up late having long conversations about how she didn't understand that I was upset, and that she need to be more responsive to my feelings. I would start putting all the stress of buying a house on our relationship. I would start to view every miscommunication as another sign of our inability to communicate, or worse yet, an attempt to hurt my feelings. Granted, I am a stupid person, but I think that a lot of couples take stressful times as a sign that their relationship is a failure. Watch someone plan a wedding sometime. There are definitely some lessons to be learned here.

I'm pretty sure this is more fun with a friend.
(It'd be more fun with more money too)

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

...the super rich.....

If you make $400K a year (trust fund dividends, job at credit suisse) buying a million dollar apartment represents a similiar commitment to our buying a $55K house on the west side of Buffalo. Maybe rather than soothing our nausea we should consider that some folks are incomprehensibly wealthy.....whatever.....they're not incomprehesibly cool...not working at the bank they're not. ok. now i feel suitably smug.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Quick--before they make you pay for it!

Steve told me of an article in the Sunday New York Times about young home owners in the city: "Young Buyers, Prepared and Fearless." Read it before it's off the website.

It's sort of delightful to read it and think about how minuscule our investment is here in Buffalo compared to that of a 24 year old art director who "recently put down a deposit for a two-bedroom, two-bath condo at 555 West 23rd Street, priced at $1.1 million."

I think I'll print this story out and frame it. Anytime Steve and I feel nauseous about our $55k closing price--plus some money for rehab--for two houses, we can look at this "art director" and laugh and laugh and laugh.

Monday, February 5, 2007


I would like it noted that my actual goal in bedroom paint is "overwhelmingly seductive." Does that sound purple-y? I'm still working it out.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Stupidest Paint Names Ever

Steve and I looked at paint swatches yesterday in hopes of figuring out what colors to paint our common spaces. He's also put me in charge of picking his room color--something that screams, "I'm hip but not too hip," or "I'm deep and complicated but still accessible." Okay, I just made that up. He probably hates me now. Anyway, this viewing of swatches has prompted the following list of the Stupidest Paint Names Ever:
  1. Misty Morning Dew
  2. Magic Wand
  3. Sassy Lilac
  4. Delicate Bliss
  5. November Foliage
  6. Cicinnatian Hotel Vandersall Red
  7. Dry Leaf
  8. Gentle Doe
  9. Phantom Mist
  10. Ballerina
Runners-up include, "Applesauce Cake," "Distant Valley," and "Peach Everlasting." Now, if you can guess the color family of all ten Stupidest Paint Names Ever, you will win some kind of magnificent prize. Go to it.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

I guess this should've come first

Who: Two friends named Whitney and Steve. What: Buying a house. When: Right now. Our projected closing date is in early March so cross your fingers for us. Where: City of Buffalo. Why: Because it's cheaper than renting; because maybe another owner-occupied property on the block will bring some more stability to a neighborhood that needs it; because it's the American Dream, or something. And lots of other reasons too--stay tuned. How: The Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America.


Photo of an incoming snow storm taken by "Air Gordon" the radio traffic-guy. Full story and more pictures at Buffalo Rising.