Friday, September 22, 2006

Focus, Please

Bella: "Mommy? That boy at school told me that if I hit him again--"

Me: (interrupting abruptly) "WHOA. Why were you HITTING the little boy at school? You know that we do not HIT!"

Bella: "Mommy, we are not talking about that right now. I am trying to tell you what that boy said to me after I hit him."

Above exchange is from our marathon, while waiting for the appraiser to arrive today, of alternating between lying down, then doing dishes and laundry, accompanied by a near-constant chorus of, "Did anybody get me some batteries yet?"

We'd made the mistake yesterday evening, you see, of giving Bella a toy that require 'C' batteries...without first making sure of having 'C' batteries on hand. ROOKIE parenting mistake. She'd actually been very good about it all last night and most of the morning, only asking occasionally about the status of the 'C' batteries. It just gradually became more and more frequent. And when the appraiser got here to update his original appraisal on our house for our mortgage refinance? He'd not even made it all the way into the house before Bella had accosted him with, "DO YOU HAVE ANY 'C' BATTERIES? DADDY IS 'POSED TO BRING ME 'C' BATTERIES BUT HE ISN'T HERE YET AND MY TOY WON'T WORK..."

I shushed her, laughed it off in that way that parents have when their child has just done/said something slightly ridiculous and potentially embarrassing in front of an "outsider," and sent her off on some busy-work chore. She was back in 10 seconds, holding up the toy in question, right up over her head so that it was in the man's face, and once again addressing the appraiser: "SEE? The batteries go in there, but I don't have any, and if you gave me some, I would put them in there and it would work."

I gotta give the fellow credit, though. He laughed, and told her, "No, Hon, I'm sorry. I don't have any batteries. But if I did, I'd sure give them to you!" And I totally believed him.

Then, later, in a momentary half-waking from her nap, in her groggy, soft sleep-voice, she inquired, "are my 'C' batteries here yet?" before she rolled over and went back to sleep. That one was kind of pitiful. Alex got home while she was still napping (late night last night), and I woke her up to see that he was home, and I swear she did not yet have her eyes open before the words came tumbling out: "Daddy, did you bring my 'C' batteries?" I am happy to report that the batteries are in place and the annoying 3-year-old (but never removed from the box) "Fur Real Friends" kitty-cat that we found while cleaning out our storage building is purring and meowing and looking eerily real just sitting there and creeping out our dogs.

In big news of the day, IT IS DONE. My first-ever single-gal home, my sweet little "dollhouse" now belongs to someone else, after having had the closing postponed twice due to appraisal issues. Hopefully, we will be able to close on the refinance of our current, "new" home next Monday, and also this chapter of our lives. Goodbye, sweet little house in the sunny pasture. You and I did very well together, and you did a great job of welcoming first my new husband and then our baby girl. Truth be told, that although we've outgrown your 1,050 square feet, you hold a place in my heart. We've turned you over to a pretty wonderful young couple, who are heavily into home improvement and are involved in animal rescue. Who knows--it may seem like we never left, except you'll be getting "improved" a lot more often! Anyway, I'll miss you, my little "cottage."
In the end, despite pretty much having a selection of full-asking-price buyers, it was not possible to secure an appraisal that met our sale price. So there we sat, with a signed, full-price offer & acceptance, and then the mortgage company steps in with their required appraisal, and as it turns out, we suffered for having--get this--too much land. Yeah, there's some kind of valuation formula for appraisers, and part of it involves the square footage of the house in relation to the acreage the house sits on. Ours was a tiny house on a good-sized (5 acre) lot (with another 5 acres adjacent, optional). We were told that it would have been best, appraisal-wise, if the house was on TWO acres, instead of FIVE. It was just the darndest thing, and there was no use fighting it.

But, I have to say, the buyers? They are good people. The place felt "right" for them, and I felt they belonged there. I was glad we were able to work something out. They did make up, with their own cash, as much as they could, over and above the amount the mortgage company was able to loan them based on the appraisal. So rather than lose these buyers, and taking into consideration that the next buyers' appraisal would be just the same or possibly worse, and that other prospective buyers were probably NOT likely to dip into their own pockets to make us an offer above the appraised value...we just went with it. And they really seem like the type of people who will make things right in that little house. It just felt good.

We came up just short, after we paid off the remaining mortgage on the place, of the amount we were needing to net, to be able to afford mortgage payments on THIS house...but just a little. Like maybe amounting to $50-60 per month added to the monthly payments. Surely we can come up with that somewhere. Heck, now that I've learned how to grocery shop properly, we might be surprised at how much income we've freed up! Here's hoping and praying.

I'm just glad this whole deal is practically behind us, and I can concentrate now on more pressing matters, such as whether or not I'm actually going to show up at the O.R. on surgery day, which is ONE WEEK FROM TODAY. And yes, the panic, the urge to flee, is coming on strong. So watch for me in your neighborhood (especially you Canadians). If you see a deranged-looking near-forty-year-old woman with messy auburn hair staggering through your neighborhood with a frightened look on her face, throwing glances over her shoulder as if she's being pursued...just go outside with a Coca-Cola on ice, or some chocolate, or maybe a bacon sandwich, and gently say something like, "Hello. Are you running from a hysterectomy with possible colon-nicking? Come with me--I will give you sanctuary." Use a soothing voice. Tell me you have new magazines.

Then once I'm in your house, lock the doors and call Alex and my mother. They're familiar with the routine, and can take it from there. Don't take any chances yourself, unless you happen to have a Valium dart-gun handy.


  1. Now Belinda, you know I love you, but if I see you acting like that in my neighborhood I will drop a dime on you so fast it will make your head spin.

    Unless, of course, you come bearing C batteries.

  2. You nake me laugh. Always have, of course. Especially in church and various other inappropriate times. I love you.

  3. I meant you "make" me laugh, of course.

  4. You nake me laugh, too. Usually because you laugh at ME, like I am actually funny. That is why everyone should have a younger sister, because no matter how bad your day goes, you always have a built in "great audience" waiting for you nearby. I lurve you, too. Will you hide me next Friday?

  5. Bella's focus made me laugh and reminded me very much of myself at her age (maybe it's an only child thaaaang). I'll have my fingers crossed for the house stuff.

    Oh and btw, be watching your mail. It is on its way to you as of today and hopefully will be in your mailbox before your surgery.

  6. I'm glad your cute, little house sold. I will be praying for you next week, that everything will be fine and no colon nicking.

  7. Belinda~~ so glad the house sold to animal lovers.It seems like good Karma in that place.

    Don't sweat the pre-surgical jitters. They're natural. Just keep telling yourself that in 8 days from now, it will all be over and you will feel so much better.

  8. Happy to hear the house if officially sold!

    As I was reading about you running through the streets of Canada, I thought you might end the description saying there was a 3 yr old following along behind you asking everyone if they had an C batteries. :o)

  9. Congrats on the sale! And if you need a place to hide come next week, I've got a small apartment in Baltimore that I'd be willing to share, no questions asked, no colon-nicking allowed. Promise. :o)

  10. Such a cute little house! I'm glad you sold it and that you are moving on. Good luck!

    I wish I had a good feeling about my home buyers like you do. Turns out they are going to RENT my old home. :( I guess I wanted them to be a young couple trying to get a life started, and this home would be their dream home, and they would feel so appreciative and happy to own it . . .

    Oh, well.

    Take care,

  11. I was hoping to find out what the little boy said after she hit him.