Thursday, September 1, 2016

Closed for Renovation

Have you noticed that my timeliness for posting over the weekend has gone off the tracks?  (If you said no, consider me offended that you hadn't missed me but moving on...)   I do have excuses and the major one is that I have lost my mind along with the capacity to articulate rational thoughts or ideas.  (AND...if you said to yourself "didn't she always have trouble articulating rational thoughts and ideas?...again I am offended.)

For the last couple of weeks, I just can't seem to get my act together.
Here's the thing about me....When everything is going really well and life seems to be smoothly humming along, I (apparently) feel the need to park a truck full of chickens on the train track of my life just to watch chicken poop fly about when the train hits it.  I am currently mired in metaphorical chicken poop. 

Last week, when I was talking about my long term love/hate relationship of my job as a Realtor, I failed to mention that when it comes to buying houses, I am, in fact, the world's worst customer and consumer.  Fussiest person ever as far as picking out a house and invariably, whatever house I choose will become a money pit. I have proved this tenancy numerous times.  The very house that had me ooohhhing and aahhhing at  first sight, will mysteriously need a complete remodel the minute I move into it.

While I have proven this over and over again during our 21 moves, the most recent example started about 12 years ago, while living in Dallas, Texas.  During that time,  our daughter was planning her wedding and hubby and I were routinely making the 8.5 hour trip between Dallas and Kansas City for various wedding and daughter related events. While I don't specifically remember how  the conversation of  "Let's move to Kansas City!" came about it  probably went something like this.

 Well...besides the pleading being done by our yet-to-be-born grandsons,  we  were possibly feeling rather vulnerable at both the prospect of our little girl being all grown up and about to be married and the evaporation of our checking account due to the impending nuptials. Somewhere in our fuzzy brains we actively began a plan of relocation. We, of course, didn't ask our son-in-law-to-be his opinion on this matter as he might of reconsidered the whole idea of marrying our daughter.  Who knows if hubby and I might be his "deal breaker" and didn't want to put it to a test as we had already paid for the wedding venue. Anyway...We just forged ahead and found a Kansas City Realtor to start looking around for a house that would "work" for us.

As a Realtor, I recognize these "dipping their toes in the water just to test the temperature" types are a colossal pain in the ass for real estate agents, however I was committed to be exactly that for some unfortunate soul that had the misfortune to pick up the phone when I called into a real estate agency.

From that point onward, every trip we made to KC, we asked to see several homes in various neighborhoods to get a "feel" for where we wanted to live.  Now, I am sure you can imagine how well this plays out for some agent to have numerous (and by that I mean too many to count) weekends taken up while someone is using them for a chauffeur and sounding board for a future move that may or may not happen any time soon...and agents get to do this for free because they work solely on commission.  Yeah, sounds like a perfect job, right???

Well..our agent, Debra started out fairly agreeable only to be worn down little by little over the course of mid 2004 into early 2005.  We weren't purposefully trying to be difficult (it comes pretty natural for us without trying) but it was such a hot seller's market at the time, that by the time something came on the market and we drove 8.5 hours to see the house, invariably it had already sold.  The ones that didn't sell the minute they were listed had a REASON they hadn't sold.

Finally in early 2005 we happened upon a house that had some things going for it.  It was on the market only 1 day, was amazingly clean, and was the size and price that was in our wheelhouse.

Debra who by this time could nearly smell the money of her commission finally wafting in her general direction thought that her payday was close at hand. Not so fast, Debra.   After putting in a full price offer, the sellers decided perhaps they had listed too low.  I mean...really...if there were buyers that would pay full price for it after one day, surely the sellers could of gotten more.   So...these sellers being sellers, AKA  greedy,  countered the offer for MORE than the asking price.  Me...being me, AKA stubborn...and being a real estate agent myself, didn't take this laying down. I said NO.  My thought was that there was no way in hell that I was willing to pay more than asking price with no other offers on the table. I figured in a city of 2.5 million people there had to be at least one other house that I would like, even if it took another year to track down.  Of course, when I mentioned this out loud, Debra  turned an odd shade of green and actually swayed a little bit.  I thought she was going to faint but as luck would have it, the sellers conceded to sell for their original price.

Back to my theory that homes are only perfect until you own them....In the last 10 years, every  single year we have done a MAJOR renovation and/or improvement of some type.  I don't think I am alone in this phenomenon but it appears that the same buyer that claims any house to be PERFECT when initially looking at a prospective home will, in fact, need to change EVERYTHING about it once the closing documents get signed.  

Walls have been removed, floors have been replaced, rooms have been gutted and reborn in somewhat the same manner as a Phoenix but in our case the new Phoenix is rising from the ashes of our money.

As for our current craziness...a couple of weeks ago I had this utterly brilliant idea that one of the bathrooms needed freshened up with some new flooring and paint.  ANY one that knows me at all, of course,  knows that the words "freshened up" is code for "take this sucka down to the studs".

One advantage (and maybe the ONLY advantage) of being a real estate agent is that we know a lot of contractors, plumbers and electricians.  This expedites the time it takes from "brilliant idea" to "let's get crackin'"

One of the guys that has done previous work on our mission of tearing down and rebuilding our house bit by bit,  had mentioned he had a window of availability in late August, early September to do this project.  I am fairly secure in telling you that 5 days into this remodel, he is fervently wishing he had never EVER met me.

Why, you ask?  Because hubby and I are total nut jobs when it comes to these renovation projects.  Poor, Kyle the general contractor of this "freshening up" project is learning fairly quickly that whatever he listed on the quote needs to be tweaked a bit.... AND by a bit I mean changed in it's entirety.

Now that we have added a few (OK maybe more than a few) items to the "to do" list, Kyle realizes that he vastly underestimated both the amount of time and money that he needs to allow for.  I recognize the poor guy is exhausted at this point but I just can't seem to help myself from adding or changing the scope of the project daily. Honestly, he should appreciate that he wasn't here for the master bathroom remodel.  On that one, my husband decided to have the contractor remove a wall that opened up into attic space so the walk-in shower could be enlarged.  I am not at all sure that Kyle can appreciate the fact that I have not asked him to tear down any walls...yet.

I have to say there is quite a lot of stress deciding on materials, colors and quality when it comes to bathroom and kitchen remodels. Hence the craziness on my part.  While you might not be losing sleep at night thinking about the pressure of flush toilets or the depth of soaking tubs but believe me those are REAL concerns.  Do not under estimate the difference between Cararra Marble counter tops and quartz that look like marble.  Soft close drawers and non-slam toilet seats are a "thing" and it would appear that those are things I need.... OK, maybe need is a strong word...but Kyle can make those things happen.

Perhaps, some of you that have already taken on bathroom remodels might already know about "golf ball" flushing toilets but I was clueless until recently on this important feature.  While shopping for new toilets, I realize that a whole line of toilets claim that they are capable of flushing an entire bucket of golf balls in a single flush.  I know...I might not ever NEED to flush golf balls but the fact that it is possible to do it if you wanted to with this toilet is impressive.  Once I realized what a wonderful thing it is to have a golf ball flushing toilet, we ordered 4 of them.  Our other 3 bathrooms do, in fact, currently have toilets but not any with super-toilet flushing powers so all 4 bathrooms are about to get "freshened up."  Hope Kyle doesn't have plans for a personal life any time soon.  

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