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Timeline of Change

September 12, 2012

10:30 p.m. Friday

It’s Friday night and I’m waiting for my realtor to send me the paperwork to sign to make an offer on the house I love.

When the hell did I become such an adult? A year and a half ago, I was going through my quarter life crisis and making lists about signs you are an adult. When I read those old posts, I’m amazed at how far I’ve come.

The past few months, I’ve been looking at townhouses and condos with a realtor. You see, I wasn’t supposed to buy anything for another month or so. Because I am, um, currently under a lease at my apartment. But let’s not let that get in the way of the house I love.

The moment I stepped foot into this house, my stress levels went into overdrive. I loved the house. Everything about it. But it was a little (okay, a little more than a little) outside where I wanted to be on price, so I spent more than a week agonizing. I wondered if I should wait another year to get a house. Save more money. Then I couldn’t stop thinking about the house. And how much I wanted to build my life there.

I budgeted. Then I looked for savings. Then I budgeted some more. I finally decided I could afford it, but I would definitely have to make a few sacrifices.

Now I’m making an offer.

At some point today, I transitioned from agonizing over the decision to getting excited. Really, super excited.

Earlier tonight, I went out with my friend Megan and we walked through several art galleries and shops. I started to mentally decorate the house I haven’t even bought yet. The color scheme, the paintings I want to put on the walls, the type of hand soap I’ll have in the guest bathroom. I nearly lost it when we stumbled across someone selling terrariums. I’ve been obsessed with the concept of owning a terrarium since I saw these in Oprah magazine. I began thinking about what kind of terrarium I was going to buy for my house.

We ate from the food carts – delicious lettuce wraps and blue crab stuffed wontons from Thai Cabin – and I thought, “I’m going to make wontons in my new house!” Okay, I didn’t really think that. I never cook. But I wanted an excuse to share these yummy pictures.

lettuce wraps, thai wraps, thai food

Delicious lettuce wraps from Thai Cabin

fried wontons

Here they are making the fried wontons. Megan took this awesome picture on her phone.

Here’s a picture of me when we stopped to have a drink. I’m so happy and so nervous.

The point is, I’m so excited. I’m buying a house! An amazing, beautiful, perfect house!

11:20 p.m. Friday

My realtor just told me that there is an open house scheduled for Sunday.

Any open house. In my house. AKA strangers walking through my house, messing up the brand new carpet and touching all the doorknobs.

Strangers possibly putting in offers, better offers, and buying my house.

For the record: I don’t think I could ever be a real estate mogul. This is just too damn stressful.

So I’m just here with my thoughts. I decided to write to get my mind off of it.

God, I haven’t written in so long. I have so many things I want to write about. You should see the list of blog topics I have on my phone. I’ve started calling it the “list of things I’ll never blog about because I never blog anymore.” I’ve been so busy with other things going on. I’ve been enjoying my summer. OK, I’m also super lazy.

Maybe I’ll write more once I have an office. The house has three bedrooms, and one of them is going to make the perfect office. Yeah, that’s when the blog will pick up. I can’t hardly wait.

10 a.m. Saturday

We have submitted our offer. I wonder how long it will take for them to get back with me?

I have a busy day ahead of me. I’m getting my hair dyed and cut. (I know, SHOCKING, I’m not a natural blonde.) I figure I could be homeowner at any time and I’ll need to be more careful with my money. Therefore, I should buy everything I need now.

Smart, I know.

While I’m getting my hair done, I tell my hairdresser about the different houses I’ve found. And by hairdresser, I mean a woman who mostly does men’s hair. Because she works in a barber shop. Gabe’s Barber Shop, to be specific. (This is the same hairdresser who set me up on a blind date when I was newly single.) People always think it’s funny when I tell them that I get my hair done at a barber shop, but I love my hairdresser and I would follow her anywhere. And sometimes a barber shop can provide good scenery. If you are looking, that is.

While she painstakingly applies a bleach-like product to my hair, I tell her about Murder House, the house that I sort of liked for like a minute. I found Murder House one night while scrolling through the house listings online. Everything in the house was white. The walls. The countertops. The cabinets. White, white, white. Chef and I are in the middle of a Breaking Bad super marathon, so I have illegal activity on the mind. I told my realtor I thought the previous owners had murdered someone and painted everything white to cover the evidence.

Clearly, that’s my future home.

But really, it wasn’t such a bad place. The upstairs layout was awesome and everything was workable. It had an amazing walk-in closet and a nice yard and deck. It had pretty hardwood floors and a big kitchen. But the downstairs living space was awful. There were two very small living rooms in which neither could fit a couch and a TV. And there was nothing you could do about the layout. It was just going to be like that forever.

Then there was Chinese Food House, named because it was on Magnolia Lane, and my realtor and I kept accidentally typing Mongolia on text, which made me crave Chinese food. Hard to follow, I know. That place had a nice kitchen and downstairs floor plan, but it backed up to a somewhat busy road and the upstairs bathrooms needed some serious work.

Neither of these houses were quite right. And neither of them had a pool, which I had decided was a must-have after laying by this all summer.

My amazing apartment complex pool

Pretty amazing, right?

3:30 p.m. Saturday

I’m blonder than I started the day. And I’ve lost about three inches of hair.

They haven’t responded to my offer yet. It feels like it’s been days. I bug my realtor and he promises an answer soon. I take a nap to make time go by faster.

6 p.m. Saturday

I wake up from my nap and think about how I totally wasted the afternoon. I should have gone to the pool instead. Especially considering I won’t have a pool for much longer. You see, my dream house isn’t my dream house after all. It doesn’t have a pool. Everywhere that had a pool was either way out of my price range, or they had homeowner association fees from $250-$400 a month. I want a pool, but I don’t want a pool that much. And I don’t want to give this house up – this house with everything I want – simply because there’s no pool. Luckily, the house is right by Pony Pasture, a place where Richmonders go to swim and lay out on the rocks of the James River. I could bike to Pony Pasture. If I owned a bike. But first things first. I have to get the house.

Finally a counter offer. We begin negotiating. Which feels sort of surreal because I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. I follow my realtor’s lead. It’s also kind of fun. I may just get my house today.

7 p.m. Saturday

I need a drink. I enlist Dawn and Dakari to go to Don Pepe (one of only two restaurants in walking distance of my apartment). I drink strawberry daiquiris and eat lots of chips.

Calories don’t count because I’m pre-celebrating. You only buy your first house once.

A sad part of the evening is when I find out my grandfather from my step-dad’s side has died. It’s been a long time coming, but I still feel bad for my step-dad and his family. I’ll miss Bummer (that’s what we called him). I really think he’d be proud of me tonight, though.

I bug Chef while he’s at work. I tell him how anxious I am to get an answer. I can’t wait for him to get off, so we can celebrate together.

9:30 p.m. Saturday

It’s strange to me how far I’ve come. A few years ago, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, or where I wanted to live. Then I spent so much time traveling and really missed being near my family. I felt like I missed a lot of my sister’s pregnancy. I realized how much I love having family and friends nearby.

I started working with a really great client and developed a new excitement about my work. I was doing new things, learning a lot and working with wonderful people.

I began to hang out with friends in the city more and learned to parallel park. I started to like the city. I started to have  favorite restaurants and shops. And now I’m putting a bid on a house with a Richmond address. The house is not in the downtown area, but just south of the city. Which gives me the suburb feeling I like, and I’ll be much closer to work and fun.

Best yet, I won’t have to see that look on people’s faces when I tell them I live in Chester.

For the record, I still love the hell out of Chester. I plan to come back often. When I sneak into my old apartment complex’s pool, that is.

10 p.m. Saturday

I’ve now thought all day about how much I love the house. From its hardwood floors to the sweet bathrooms to the renovated kitchen, I love so much about it. I can’t wait to park in the garage in the winter and grill out in the summer. I can’t wait for the first time I “give someone the tour.” I love how soft the carpet feels on my toes. Yes, I’ve already walked around barefoot, even before I put in an offer.

We head home from Don Pepe, full and a little tipsy.

My phone rings. I got the house.

While I’m calling about everyone I know, Dawn brings down some champagne.

I couldn’t be more excited.

drinking champagne, celebrating

Celebrating after I found out I got the place.

townhouse

Here’s my beautiful townhouse! I wanted a townhouse so I wouldn’t have to worry about yardwork or outside upkeep. Isn’t she cute? (Most pictures borrowed from the listing website)

Kitchen, stainless steel appliances

Here’s the kitchen.

Another view of the kitchen. I love the fridge!

I love the hardwood floors. On the left side of the picture, you’ll see my shoes, because I was walking around barefoot (even though I didn’t own the place).

Here’s the dining room. The house is staged (this isn’t my furniture).

chandelier

I love the ceiling in the dining room and the chandelier.

Here’s the living room area.

There’s a half bathroom downstairs.

Here’s the master bedroom. It’s so big!

double vanity bathroom

Here’s the master bathroom. I’m super excited about the double vanity.

soaking tub

I knew I had to have this place when I saw the awesome soaking tub in the master bathroom.

Here’s one of the two extra bedrooms. One will be a guest room and the other will be an office.

Here’s the full guest bathroom upstairs.

Here’s part of the view from my patio. It was so important to me that I could see some green in my backyard and this is just great.

I have so many other things to tell you about the past month, but I really wanted to share this news first. Buying this house is a huge milestone for me. It’s taken me so long to get here, and I’m incredibly excited about my future. Thanks for letting me share this time with you all.

PS: If you are looking to buy a house yourself and you live in the Richmond area, my realtor was fantastic. We had a lot of fun and he has been really helpful throughout the process. His name is Mike Hogan. Here’s his website and here’s his Twitter account.

Copyright 2012. Simply Solo blog by Catherine Gryp. All Rights Reserved.


56 Comments leave one →
  1. September 12, 2012 12:31 pm

    Congratulations to you! A double vanity?!?! I’m SOOOO jealous. 😦

    I can absolutely understand how scary this decision was — but based on your excitement alone, it’s definitely the right one. Again, congrats to you, Catherine!

    • September 13, 2012 9:46 pm

      Thank you Mikalee! Man, I am so lucky with the double vanity. Hell, with the whole house. It’s just perfect for me and I can’t wait. Thanks for sharing this with me 🙂

  2. September 12, 2012 12:43 pm

    That is an awesome home and I know that you will be happy there. that’s all tha really matters. Congratulations!

    • September 13, 2012 9:43 pm

      Artzent,
      Thanks, I agree. I think I’ll be really happy there. I can’t wait. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  3. September 12, 2012 1:05 pm

    Woohoo! Congratulations! It really is a scary and exciting time buying your first house. You’ve done well though: it looks great.

    • September 13, 2012 9:43 pm

      Thanks so much, livvy! It is super scary. But a lot of the fear went away once I finally made the decision. It comes back to visit every once in a while :). I love this house so much and can’t wait to get in!

  4. September 12, 2012 2:19 pm

    Congratulations on the house! I’m glad you checked in on your blog!

    • September 13, 2012 9:42 pm

      Thank you!! Appreciate your stopping by… considering I hardly ever write anymore, lol. I gotta catch up with you!

  5. September 12, 2012 2:50 pm

    Congratulations!! It’s a beautiful home and I’m sure you will be happy there!

    I remember when I walked in my townhome for the first time with my realtor. It was a really surreal feeling but I just KNEW that it was going to be my house. Everything worked out great. It’s such an awesome feeling to own your dream home!

    • September 13, 2012 9:39 pm

      Well congrats to you too then 🙂 When I walked in, I was like “Oh crap, I really like this place.” I was sort of annoyed. The same way I remember being annoyed when I realized I actually liked Chef, LOL. When you really like something, the stakes get higher, eh? I’m excited about all steps of this process, including once I’m finally settled in and I’m like “This is MINE!” Can’t wait. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  6. 2NewBeginnings permalink
    September 12, 2012 4:29 pm

    Congratulations on your amazing life change! I know you are so excited…..and doing this on your own has to be so empowering as a woman! Looking forward to hearing more of what has been happening in your life lately! Any roommates? ;-). The house is beautiful!

    • September 13, 2012 9:35 pm

      2NewBeginnings,
      You hit the nail on the head here. That’s part of the reason this is so exciting – me, as a young single woman, bought a house all on my own. It’s incredibly empowering. Now on the roommate situation…. stay tuned… 🙂

  7. Ben permalink
    September 12, 2012 5:17 pm

    Congratulations! I know how exciting this is 🙂

    • September 13, 2012 9:33 pm

      Thanks, Ben! Exciting and a little scary. But I’ll deal 🙂 It’s such a fun time.

  8. September 12, 2012 6:45 pm

    Aaah congratulations! That’s so exciting! The house is beautiful. 🙂

    • September 13, 2012 9:32 pm

      Thank you!!! I’m so excited about it. I never thought I’d feel this way once I found a house. Everything just feels right – I’m so lucky :). Thanks for sharing this with me!

  9. September 12, 2012 11:58 pm

    Congrats!

    • September 30, 2012 12:46 pm

      Thank you!! I hope all is going well with you too – I have to check out the blog and see what’s new!

  10. September 13, 2012 12:02 am

    Wow, congratulations!! Excellent choice, by the way. The house is beautiful!! Maybe you can set up a dedicated blogging area in your new house so you can stop by and fill is in on your life more often!

    • September 13, 2012 9:32 pm

      Hi Mark! Thank you – I LOVE my house! OMG I miss you! Heading to your blog this weekend to catch up. You are always A) so good about writing B) writing about such fun/cool stuff. I do think I’ll write more once I’m all settled in the new house… give me one and a half more months of slacking, OK? 🙂 Hope you are well!

  11. September 13, 2012 12:21 am

    Congratulations Catherine! I couldn’t be more proud of you!
    I’ve been reading your blog for about a year now, however I have read every single one, whether on a slow day at work, or a struggling to get through an evening. You’re a real inspiration and I’m really happy to see that you have taken this huge step.
    Also, as much as I miss your writing, it’s exciting to hear that you’re so busy. You started this blog to help you heal and cope, and it doesn’t seem like you need it very much anymore. :). I’ve recently started one of my own for some similar reasons.
    Congratulations again. ❤

    • September 13, 2012 9:30 pm

      Boots,
      Thanks so much for your comment, and for reading through the blog. Wow, that means so much to me. I’ll be checking your blog too!
      And you are right. Before, I really needed this blog to get my emotions out there – I needed it to heal. I feel so much more complete, so much more myself, than I ever have before. I do miss writing though, so that’s why I’m definitely not done with this blog. 🙂
      Thank you for the support!

  12. September 13, 2012 2:15 am

    Congratulations, it’s beautiful!!!!! You get to keep the fridge right? Because the fridge is awesome.

    • September 13, 2012 9:25 pm

      Thank you!!! Yep I get to keep the fridge – and I love the hell out of it! 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting!

  13. September 13, 2012 7:25 am

    Congratulations! The house looks really nice and it’s great to see a new blog post from you as well.

    • September 13, 2012 9:23 pm

      Thanks, Matt! I love love love this house. Hoping to blog more soon… but like you know, it’s tough. It’s not just the time but it’s also that I’m comfortable and happy in my relationship. Doesn’t leave that much to write about relationsihp/dating blog wise, you know?

      • September 15, 2012 10:52 am

        Yep, I know what that’s like – but I’m glad that you’re there too!

  14. 2blu2btru permalink
    September 13, 2012 9:29 am

    Congratulations! Your new home looks so lovely! I’m glad that things have been progressing well for you while you haven’t been writing as much. I look forward to see more of your posts in the future and seeing all the other things you’ve been up to.

    • September 13, 2012 9:16 pm

      2blu,
      Thank you very much! I love hearing from you. You have been one of the people who has been here through the whole journey! More posts to come soon – the colder it gets, the less I’ll have to do. 🙂 Although, life is going to be a little crazy getting ready for the move! Hope all has been going well for you.

  15. September 13, 2012 12:05 pm

    Looks amazingggg. Congrats 😀

    • September 13, 2012 9:15 pm

      Muchas gracias! It’s way nicer than anything I imagined. It really is perfect for me. Can’t wait to move in!!

  16. Nikki permalink
    September 13, 2012 3:22 pm

    Congratulations Catherine! The content of this post was so worth the long, long….long wait!! ;o)

    • September 13, 2012 9:14 pm

      LOL, Nikki. Was it long? 🙂 I know I need to write more. I really enjoy it when I do! Thanks for stopping by and experiencing my good news with me 🙂

      • Nikki permalink
        September 17, 2012 3:20 pm

        Well it seemed long- lol. 🙂

        • September 30, 2012 12:47 pm

          LOL I was just kidding. I know it’s been long. I’m in denial. 🙂

  17. September 13, 2012 9:11 pm

    Congratulations! I haven’t been on WordPress in a while as my life has gone crazy, but I’m so glad this is the first post I decided to read since my great return. I remember a lot of your first posts in the last two years, and it looks like you have done a lot! Congrats Congrats Congrats!

    • September 13, 2012 9:14 pm

      Thank you Nik! Welcome back… I hope things are going OK for you too! You are so right, in the past two years I’ve done so much. I feel like I’m such a different – and better – person. I’m so lucky that I’ve had the chance to get here.

  18. September 14, 2012 4:05 pm

    congrazts i just started following you and is loving the blogs keep up the good work

  19. September 14, 2012 4:35 pm

    This is so exciting! Such a great space – might be perfect for a blogger meet-up? (wink)

    • September 30, 2012 12:41 pm

      ATA,
      It would be fantastic for a blogger meet up! 🙂 I can’t wait to get into my new house!

  20. September 14, 2012 7:55 pm

    Great. You said you wanted a ..pool? Hope you changed your mind. That’s work after lying by the poolside.

    Enjoy your home. I’m enjoying mine….2nd home in life. But there’s reality of mortgage..

    You’ll fill up your place with new stuff in no time. Within 5 years, I probably amassed 100-150 more books, plus large pieces of furniture. (Then I had to give it away or some of it..when relocating across Canada to join my honey.)

    • September 30, 2012 12:43 pm

      Jean,
      I wanted a community pool – a pool that I wouldn’t have to do any work for. I have NO interest in taking care of a pool myself. LOL.
      I can’t wait to start enjoying my new house! Hopefully I won’t amass too much stuff. I hate moving as it is! 🙂

  21. September 18, 2012 11:50 am

    Congrats!! Buying a house is HUGE! I have no idea how you were able to budget & save to reach your dreams…that takes determination! Enjoy your new life in your new home, you deserve it! -Lucky

    • September 30, 2012 12:44 pm

      Thank you so much Lucky! I’m really excited about it. I definitely will have to save more money to prepare for potential house repairs (that means less new clothes and dinners out for me!) but I think it’ll be worth it. I can’t wait to move in!

  22. Maria Workman permalink
    September 19, 2012 2:09 pm

    AWWWW that is so awesome!!! Beautiful house! Enjoy!

  23. September 23, 2012 11:48 am

    Holy cow! I was on the edge of my seat. I should have just scrolled down and spoiled the entire thing for myself. Big freakin’ congrats! And I seriously want your kitchen. No jokes. I will come to the east coast and steal that thing.

    That’s awesome.

    • September 30, 2012 12:45 pm

      You can always come and visit the house – we still need to have a meet up! I love the kitchen, and the fridge in particular. I don’t close for another week and a half but I am so ready! 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting on this post….

  24. Thalia B. permalink
    October 10, 2012 11:24 am

    Congrats, congrats, congrats Cat! Your journey over the last few years has prepared you for this moment girlie and I know of no one more deserving of it than you!! Love ya and congrats again. xoxo

  25. October 15, 2012 9:19 am

    Wow that’s exciting! Lots of change (for the better) I imagine. I am renting still but had similar feelings to yours when it came to finding our new place. The market is crazy and it is nearly impossible to land a dream apartment but we did it. Celebrate wildly 🙂

  26. Uniquetaboo permalink
    October 17, 2012 3:29 pm

    Congrats girlie…it looks AMAZING(IN MY oPRAH VOICE) 🙂 ENJOY YOUR NEW HOME!

  27. November 1, 2012 8:58 am

    Congrats! I get SO EXCITED noticing girls’ achievments, always!

Trackbacks

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