Wednesday, June 24, 2009


So, Clint and I feel like we are at a crossroads. For those of you who don't know, Clint and I bought our apartment in January 2008 through a private sale for a VERY reasonable price. Our mortgage is very reasonable, and the co-op association fees are also reasonable - about what we would pay to rent a comparable apartment somewhere in this town. We love this apartment - it's huge for one thing. It's 1800-square feet, kitchen, laundry, dining room, living room, two beds, one bath... We made some minor cosmetic changes when we moved in, with the plan to live here five years or less, and make some other renovations along the way.

A few things we didn't anticipate moving in: When we bought it, we thought it would take a while for us to get pregnant, but I ended up getting pregnant that April and our son was born a couple of weeks after our year anniversary with the apartment. While I was pregnant, we tore old carpet out of the second bedroom and repainted the walls and window frames. The hardwood floors in that room need to be refinished. We just have a big area rug in there right now.

Another thing we didn't think would happen: Clint getting laid off two months after I had Owen. Yes, in the beginning it was only partial, two weeks on, two weeks off, but he hasn't worked for the past month and his employer told his team that if they didn't hear from the company, assume the lay off continues. This. scares. the. shit. out. of. me.

By some brilliant stroke of chance, or God's glorious graces, at the same time Clint gets laid off indefinitely, I get a fantastic promotion. I get to spend more time at home, and I get to make more money. My increase in wages somewhat compensates for what he is losing. (If he was still working two weeks at a time, we would be about even...) He makes unemployment, but it's only half of what he usually brings home. If he went back to work tomorrow (or anytime soon!) we would actually be getting somewhere financially.

Unfortunately, it's the idea that he might not get called back to work that keeps us up at night. He's not going to look for a different job yet, because with the state of the economy, it's very unlikely that he could get a job making the same amount of money. And, as long as he is getting unemployment, along with other millions of Americans right now..., things are, for lack of a better word, OK. He also doesn't want to get involved with a different job, only for his company to call him back. He's very loyal to the company.

But we are worried that something is going to come and we are going to be stuck. Because we live in a co-op, we shoulder our share of the financial responsibilities of our building. We own 65 shares of 765. Only a couple months after we moved in, we found out we had to shell out $1400 to repoint the bricks on the North side of the building. Now the people in our building are talking about redoing the back decks, and replacing all the front windows.... Geez.

It's not just a matter of coming up with these extra assessments for things for the building. Several of the people in our building are downright rude and mean. They didn't want us to live here when we had our interview. We had cats, we were young, they didn't think we could afford it... We probably have better jobs than they do - or at least, better jobs than they had when they were our age. Clint and I are responsible - old for our age. We pay our bills, we keep a nice home, we work, we don't have loud parties, we go to church, we are always nice to everyone - so what are these people's problems? When we tell our friends some of the things our neighbors have said to us, they think we are joking. I don't know if it's because everyone that lives here is at least 20 years older than us, or what - but it really makes this decision easier.

Also, we live on the third floor and there are no elevators and lugging the kid up and down the stairs is something of a trial. I hear that kids always get bigger and not smaller, so it doesn't look like that situation is going to change.

So, we have decided, with all of Clint's new time, that we should be fixing things we have been putting off or planning on doing "someday," with the intention of trying to sell. The economy is poor right now, but it's a good time to buy, and this is, aside from the special assessments, an affordable, convenient, spacious place to live. Because we bought it through a friend, we actually paid around 25% less than the apartment was appraised for, so if it's still valued the same, even if we put money into it, we stand to make at least a little profit. With that profit, we intend to pay off our cars, other little bills we have (small credit cards, all of my hospital bills from the baby, etc.) and get our monthly expenses down as low as we can. I think this means, the smartest thing for us to do would be to go back to renting. Live modestly for a while, build our savings back up, and then find a house - an actual house - that we want to buy. If Clint goes back to work in the meantime, than that's fantastic. But we want to plan for the negative. We wouldn't be opposed to going back to where we used to rent, in North Park. We had a pool for God's sakes! And 1.5 bathrooms!~ Of course, the things we have acquired in the past year and a half, mainly - 1 child - I don't think all of our stuff would fit in there again. We have more than enough STUFF. Ideally, we could rent a house for around what we pay to live here or less.

So, on the agenda, is tearing down the wallpaper in the hallway that has been painted over (several times), refinishing the hardwood floors in the dining room and Owen's room, sanding and repainting all of the window frames, repainting all the crown and most of the rooms, and -- the bathroom. Everyone who has been to our home knows what a thorn in my side this is. We have a bathroom that could be awesome, if it were original. Alas, it was probably remodeled in the forties. We have pink and blue tile on the floor, pink tile on the walls, pepto bismal pink tub, toilet and sink (that has started to drip uncontrollably). Bring on the change. I would like to do a classy 20's style black and white theme - maybe insert a glass block wall on the far end of the tub (instead of having an l-shaped curtain rod, like many Victorians...

First we are going to do everything we can on our own, and then find someone to do our bathroom. Anybody know anybody?

We don't know if this is the right thing to do. We are trying to be practical and safe - and this seems like the best option.

In other, more upbeat news -- Clint and I took Owen to the pool for the first time today. I slathered him up in SPF 50 and had a malfunction with our SPF 30. So Clint and I are nice and crispy. Owen was completely protected. We are pretty sure he liked the water. At first, he was a little unsure, but then by the end, he wasn't fussing or objecting in anyway. I think he's a water baby.

Ok, I need to go be a wife. I need to make meatloaf.

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