It’s A Gift! (Not a Disorder)

In 2012 my son was diagnosed with ADHD and borderline Asperger’s.  The reason that they say borderline is because many of his ADHD symptoms are similar to those of a child with Asperger’s, however they were unable to fully commit because … Continue reading

Short Sales take longer to complete than the Death Star

I am a single mother of two, working two jobs-one full time and one part-time, attempting to purchase a house while going back to school, and yet the most difficult thing in my life is providing a weekly or even MONTHLY blog update. While I love writing and sharing my findings, creations, desires and ideas with others, I just cannot seem to find the time. I thought that this summer I would have more time to fall back into a weekly writing habit; however my enthusiasm diminished along with the housing market!

February of this year I made the decision that this year was the year to buy my first home. March I started shopping and by April I found what I thought was to be the perfect home. Sure, it was just a 1970’s prefab rambler and not some fancy new 2000+ model…but I didn’t care. It has a finished basement with bathroom, a workshop, an office space, a family room and room to build a fourth bedroom. The upstairs, while completely covered in wallpaper, has two bay windows and a large kitchen that this baker has desired for years. While the home may not be as efficient as new models, it’s something that I can deal with for the time being and fix in the years to come.

So when I found out that the roof had to be completely re-done and there was radon in the home, I was devastated. The sellers would not pay for any of it and I was left to cancel my purchase agreement and move forward. Or rather attempt to trudge the mud to find something that not only lived up to the potential of house #1 but also was in my price range, in a good neighborhood and with all hopes, in the kid’s school district. We fortunately have open enrollment, but that would mean if we lived out of the boundaries I would need to come up with transportation to and from school…and when you work two jobs, that can seem like the most impossible thing in the world.

I cancelled my purchase agreement in June, (I forgot to tell you, on top of it all…this was a short sale too) and started looking at other homes. There were some real winners and some poor losers. For 1 month I looked at home after home, some up to 15 miles from the kid’s school, and put in offer after offer, but nothing was getting accepted. Quickly every house in my market began to disappear and soon all I was left with were townhomes.

What’s wrong with a townhome you ask? Of the 46 on the market in my kid’s school district, four have a basement. My children have a phobia of tornadoes, and while MN is not Kansas or Oklahoma, we do see our fair share of them and our city in MN sees a lot of excessive straight line winds. For years we have been without a basement and I have had to deal with hysterical and paranoid children every time bad weather hits. So you can see why a basement is a must! I also am aching for a garden, and a patio, and a fire pit, and a pool for the kids and this and that that you don’t get at a townhome. Plus, and yes I might not agree with this after a few months, but I want to mow my lawn! I want to prune my trees! I want to water my flowers…. I want to take pride in MY yard. The thought of paying someone else to do all of that and have no control over what stays and what goes just baffles me. And while the townhome lifestyle works great for some…it’s just not my cup of tea.

I was preapproved for more than I thought I would be, however I would prefer not to go that high as I know that there are going to be a few additional costs that come with the joys of homeownership. While my rent is EXCESSIVE and I pay for everything but trash, my goal is to keep my mortgage payments at least $100 under what I am currently paying. At this point, I am searching in four different cities for something that is accommodating to about 35% of my want list and 80% of my needs list….and I hate it. I think 100% of my needs list should be covered and 65% of my wants…at least! But prices are going up (some of them so ridiculous), interest rates are going up and there are just too many buyers with too little supply.

The beginning of July I was D.E.F.E.A.T.E.D!!! I thought for sure that I was going to have to continue renting…I was so saddened by the fact that I put it off for so long, I waited until I felt I was comfortable financially and ready to be a homeowner. And because I waited I missed a window of opportunity to buy the house of my dreams at a very reasonable price. My parents saw this too…and they felt defeated for me as well. They wanted to help, but didn’t know what to do. If the houses aren’t there…the houses aren’t there.

But there was one house…that was still there, the (almost) perfect house, in the perfect location with the perfect price. My parents asked if there was any way to get back in to the original house that I had an offer on and if so that they would help with the roof and radon mitigation and whatever else I needed to get this house. So I spoke with my agent and asked sheepishly if there was any way I could put in another offer. She called the listing agent and found out that there was an offer on it, however they were waiting for the counter to be signed and returned and if I got my offer in before the counter they would look at it. And that was that…I submitted an offer and waited…and waited….and waited! Finally, we got word that the sellers accepted my new (lower) offer and we would move forward once again.

Now remember…this is home is still in the process of being approved for short sale, but things are progressing and I’m hoping to have an answer here in a couple of weeks! With that said we could be in a new home as early as mid-September!!! We already did the inspection, and other than the water heater needing to be replaced, the roof needing to be replaced (which we already knew about) and a few little things here and there, the home is in really good condition! Since I am doing an FHA loan we’ll have to wait to hear what all the appraiser orders to be done prior to close, we know the roof for sure…but if the inspector didn’t find anything else that wasn’t safe, secure or sound then I don’t think the appraiser will have any other issues either. At least…that’s my hope.

So what now? Now …we are on what I like to call a “mini-vacation”. We are back at my parents’ house until further notice and instead of perceiving this as an inconvenience I am going to take advantage of their pool, free home cooked meals (mom’s always cooking big meals for just her and dad!) and free babysitting. I’m going to continue to save money so that mom and dad won’t have to help with so much. I am trying to acquire the best and lowest price option for a new roof and patiently waiting and dreaming of my home.

School starts again in the fall, for the kids and me. I’ll have a longer commute in the morning because I have to drive the kids to different places so they can go to school (bubby will be doing the before and after program at his school and DD will be getting bussed to the Jr. High from her grandparents) from the city my parents live in….but as long as they are still in their school district I don’t care. I made a promise to them that they would stay in the same school district from Kindergarten to graduation…and I’m sticking to it. The rents have upped their internet service so that I can continue with two of my four classes this fall online….I think they also did it to make my kids happy.

This week I will finish the move from the rental (from H. E DOUBLE HOCKEY STICKS-worst landlords ever) to mom and dad’s, and once settled I hope to establish a writing routine once again. After all…what better way to spend a summer evening than sitting by the pool writing ….ah vacation.

A Single Mom’s Guide

Is there one?  Are there different versions for different aspects of a Single Mom’s life…because I could use the following:

  • Single Mom’s Guide to Keeping a Clean House
  • Single Mom’s Guide to Saving Money
  • Single Mom’s Guide for Going Back to School
  • Single Mom’s Guide to Finding Time to Workout
  • Single Mom’s Guide to Dating
  • Single Mom’s Guide to NOT Bad Mouthing Your Child’s Father (In Front of Child)
  • Single Mom’s Guide to Know When to Take a Break
  • Single Mom’s Guide to Your Teenager and Social Media
  • Single Mom’s Guide How NOT to Raise a Mama’s Boy
  • Single Mom’s Guide to Not Feeling Guilty for Having to Work (A LOT)
  • Single Mom’s Guide to Family Fun Time – Even When You Have No Energy

Wow….I must be the worlds worst mother if I cant help myself with those subjects.

I feel guilty that I work two jobs (one full-time and one part-time), I feel awful that after working all day, making dinner, doing dishes and attempting to play catch up on other chores that there isn’t enough time left over to cherish and play with my children.  I want to cry at the fact that there isn’t enough time in the day for me to focus on me going back to school, working out or dating.  I want to rip my hair out at the fact that no matter how many emails, calendar reminders or texts I send out NEITHER father of my children can remember anything! I cry when I think of all the weight I’ve put on and how I feel that I don’t have any time for change.

I get depressed when I have a hard time remembering some of my children’s firsts because I never had time to do the fun scrapbooks.  I get scared that my children will be out of the house in the blink of an eye and I will have never dedicated as much time to them as I should have.  I am paranoid of letting my daughter have a Facebook account because of cyber bullying and creepy stalkers.  I worry that I’m going to ruin my little man’s life by letting him cuddle and sleep with me almost every night.  I’m sorry to my daughter that I let my son cuddle and sleep in my bed.  I’m afraid my daughter thinks I love my son more than her (SO NOT THE CASE!!!!!).  I’m nervous that my daughter and I wont be able to connect after she grows out of her emotional “I HATE EVERYTHING” teenage phase.

I worry that I will always be making just enough to be in the extremely lower middle class.  I fear that I will be a renter the rest of my life and never enjoy the perks of home ownership.   I don’t feel that there is enough assistance out there for those single parents who make “too much” for assistance, but not enough to survive.  I get sad when I think about the fact that it may just be me going at it all alone for the rest of my life.  I am afraid that the only break I will ever get is when my children have left me and I am all alone.

Sorry for the sad and depressing post….but these are the things that keep me up at night.  I know all parents (single or married) worry about many of these…but when you’re going at it solo (most days) it can be even harder.  SINGLE MOTHER SEEKING ADVICE! I have some of it down….but man, there is still so much that i could really use some guidance on.

Teach me wise ones!

Monday Randomness

I missed a weekend of blogging…deal with it I’M SO SORRY!

  • I’ve been feeling like the worse mom ever during these days of withdrawals.  I am so scared that one of these days my children are going to call their dad’s crying begging for them to come pick them up.  I tell them every night that I hope they can forgive me and that eventually this will end.
  • Bonus points for going out to see my buddy’s band play (Dust ‘n’ Bones) on Saturday and being capable of having a few beers and resisting the urge to smoke…so so proud of myself.
  • Day 12 of no smoking is tomorrow….that is usually the day I give in, pray for me!
  • I ran into the ex boyfriend and the young lady he left me for on Saturday evening, she was 17 when he left me and is now 21…wow has time flown by.  I was able to approach them and speak to them (ok her…he fled) proving to myself that I have forgiven both of them WOOHOO!
  • Dont you just love Minnesota weather, 48 hours ago I was cleaning out my garage and it was 70 degrees outside, today I am avoiding my lunch hour because with windchill if feels like 8 degrees outside and therefore way too cold!
  • I don’t really love Minnesota weather.
  • Amaya is no longer grounded today.  She has complained almost every day of her punishment claiming that she had learned her lesson…now I truly hope she has.
  • I will be making a TON of cornbread tonight for our “Soup Off” at work tomorrow, look for the recipes on Frugal Creations.
  • I finally FINALLY get to make some “BABY REVEAL” cupcakes for a coworker…I’ve been wanting to do this for AGES and am so happy she’s letting me.  These too will eventually be up on Frugal Creations.
  • I have heard it loud and clear and God’s next step for me is baptism! This coming Sunday I will be publicly announcing my faith in Christ!
  • I was disappointed last week when I found out that I did not get the position that I had interviewed for here at my company, I can only assume that it means it was not in God’s great plan for me….but hopefully buying a house in 2013 is!
  • Busy next couple of weeks with conferences for the kids, family events and Thanksgiving, hopefully I can attempt to keep up with the blogging without boring everyone!

I just wanted to send a quick THANK YOU to all of my new readers since I started my November Dedication.  I’m really hoping that whether through inspiration from my stories or laughter through my embarrassments that I’m able to entertain and help others.

Fool you once ….

shame on me, fool you twice…yeah I lied.

Ok, it’s really hard to do a blog EVERYDAY unless your blog has some sort of theme (yeah I know I know, Frugal Creations does so how come you’ve missed two days there).  I know I’m allowed to vent, moan, whine, gloat, praise, cheer, scream and swoon here, but sometimes I just feel like what I have to say isn’t worth typing.  So then I do what I did last night and open a book, cuddle with the kids and forget about the laundry.  But I’m still trying….like it or not, I’ll keep trying!

Last night was another domestic night, picked Tyson up from daycare went home and attempted to start laundry.  Amaya had an additional practice with her duet partner so I waited till she got home at 5:30 to start dinner….TACO NIGHT.  Tyson and I actually aren’t huge fans of tacos, but it’s Amaya’s favorite and it’s easy to make.  After that I managed to do dishes and get a load of laundry folded and put away…then it was on to the couch to read and cuddle with Tyson while Amaya isolated herself to her room…gotta love those teens!

I think the afterschool homework zone program that Amaya is going to is really helping her, she comes home with her homework finished and has the rest of the evening to enjoy her many hobbies (seeing that she is still grounded!).  Her newest hobby is “Chibi” drawing…and in case you don’t know what it is, it is a style of japanese anime …or something like that.  This would be an example of “Chibi”.

She’s become pretty good at her drawings…doing things that were harder for me like noses and hands!

See…how exciting was that!  Did my awesome and eventful evening (and post) just blow your mind?  What kind of shenanigans will you read about tomorrow?? I think I see some bathroom and carpet cleaning in my future OH and it’s supposed to be 60 degrees out tomorrow so I might just surprise you all with CLEANING THE GARAGE….can you handle it?

Holiday Best

You caught me…I couldn’t handle all the back and forth of Election Day so I took break and skipped a day of blogging for my November Dedication…rest assured it will not happen again.

Now that Halloween and the elections have passed us the top three subjects on your favorite social network are sure to be 1) Football 2) Holiday Food 3) Holiday Shopping.  I’m all about the first two, holiday shopping scares me to death! I don’t think I have ever gone shopping on a Black Friday…at least intentionally.   I mean is it even “Black Friday” anymore now that some stores are opening up their doors and sales on the night of Thanksgiving?  And then most of them have mega online deals the follow Monday (better known as “Cyber Monday”).  I guess being in the VERY LOWER middle class has caused me to never be able to see the pleasure in Black Friday.  Most of the deals are on the extremely expensive items that I don’t think I have ever purchased for Christmas. Fortunately this year I was able to get 1/2 of it done in early October and while some of what I might have left will be in “Black Friday” ads it’s not enough to get me waiting in long line in the middle of the night during a cold MN snow!

What I will get excited about is all the holiday baking I get to do.  It’s cranberry and pumpkin season!  I’ve already toasted my pumpkin seeds and soon I will take apart the kids pumpkins to bake them and create pumpkin filling for pies, muffins and bread!  What i am looking forward to the most though is the Saturday that my sisters, mom and I all get together to make our Christmas cookies.  We always have it so strategically planned with which cookies we’re doing, whose bringing what ingredients and making sure there is enough cookie tins, Tupperware and boxes to take them all home!   We of course have the classics, spider cookies, peanut butter kiss cookies, spritz, russian teacakes (some without nuts for mom) sugar cookie cutouts for the kiddos to decorate and fudge.  Then we have our new favorites over the years including raspberry cheesecake thumbprint and chocolate and white chocolate covered pretzels.  We always try to do a new cookie every year so I’m excited to see which one we come up with this year to see if it will be a reoccurring favorite!  My favorite part about that day is the fact that we’re all together doing something for each other and not fighting!   Getting sisters together can sometimes be a daring task…especially when there are three of us.  Now to determine whose playing hostess this year!

What is your favorite part of the holidays?  Any favorite traditions in your family?