Tuesday, September 29, 2009

An Offer

We wrote another offer this afternoon and our realtor told us she'd submit it about half an hour after she left our place. We gave the sellers till noon on Thursday to respond. If they say no then we will write an offer on the next place on the list. Did I mention we have a list of 3-4 houses? We're just going to go down the list till someone takes our money. Hopefully we'll have an accepted offer on a house in the neighborhood we like in time for the 45 day lock in for this mortgage rate.

Meanwhile, ou buyers want to come check up on us tomorrow. We contractually agreed to fix 5 things that their home inspector found, and of course they are fixed. But no, they can't take our word for it, they are actually coming to check on us. I suppose on one hand that's fine and so forth, but on the other hand, it is a giant inconvenience and a little insulting. And over kill, seeing as they have another, "final" walk through scheduled for before closing.

Ah well, I guess what it boils down to is we wan to sell this house and they want to buy it. So I will put up with this entitled high maintenance crap for 14 more days. AND THEN WE"RE OUT OF HERE AT LAST!

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Haven't looked at houses since...Wednesday? Or was that Tuesday? Not sure. Anyhow, today we packed. I worked in the kitchen and the Captains went after the rest of the house. We have boxes full of our belongings on every floor of the house now. Where do they go next?

We've decided to go back to the houses in the neighborhood we like. This neighborhood has good schools, low/no crime, and water rights. Captain Obvious has liked this neighborhood for about a year and a half now. In fact, he told some of our friends to look there about a year and a half ago when they were house hunting and they now live there! So, even though neither of us is thrilled about the houses currently on the market there, we really do not have time to wait for the perfect house to come on the market (if it even exists). We're hoping to go tomorrow to have a look at the 3 houses in our price range and put an offer on one. I've searched and searched and searched for the perfect house and have not found it (it might simply not be on the market anywhere, or perhaps we have to build it someday!) so I think it makes sense to buy a house that is not perfect in a neighborhood we really, really dig.

So, that's the plan. Let's hope it happens!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

No New House Yet

Well, Captain Obvious decided to veto the offer before it was submitted. He had some good points and although I found it disappointing and frustrating, I am glad that he vetoed a house he would have been uncomfortable living in! It is not at all productive for me to be disappointed or frustrated, so I've let go of those emotions and have moved on to a different plan. We had a talk abot what exactly we are each looking for in a house and then I complied those lists into a master list. I hope we can find a house we both love which meet the criteria.

Buying this new house is much harder than buying the one we (Lord willing and the creek don't rise) just sold. This time we have a child, and the house/neighborhood we buy will have a much bigger impact on his life than on ours. His needs, as we have discovered, are really at the top of the list. Finding a house that is within budget, with all our requirements and would-likes is going to be very hard. Figuring out where and how much we can compromise will also be difficult.

Today was the appraisal for this house. Tomorrow is a termite inspection. I have not started packing yet. Captain Obvious wants to drive to a new neighborhood to check it out this weekend. I think it is a waste of time to check the place out on the weekend and we should use that time to look at houses while we are checking out the neighborhood. Boo. We will figure it out.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Wow, I can't believe the intensity of the stress that emanates from the decision to sell our house and buy a new one. The selling of the house was intense enough! My goodness it is insane to think that we put our house on the market just over 3 weeks ago. ...wow I am surprised that so little time has passed. Having a house on the market is intense--especially because our house got a lot of traffic! We had 15 showing in 14 days or something?! Some of those days we were getting 2-4 showings. Captain Adorable not allowed to touch his toys or a make a mess, constantly packing up food and taking it somewhere or eating out (we did not do it too much, but a lot), and constantly wondering who was in my house looking around at the place where I brush my teeth and sleep and all those private things. My private space.

Anyhow, house hunting is also very stressful! Constantly packing food and taking it somewhere (less eating out these days because there is no bleeding time to stop and eat). Being gone for 4-5 hours a day (with my little guy), everyday. Looking looking looking for the Right One. Questioning houses, neighborhoods, school districts, taxes, community amenties over and over and over. And then doing it all again the next day.

We wrote an offer tonight. I hope we get it but if we don't, well, we're going back out on Friday. We've got to get this done by Tuesday next week at the latest to lock in the mortgage rate.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

House Hunting Blows Chunks

So, the buyers have done a home inspection and a termite inspection on our house. Guess what they found. If you said "nothing," or "not much," you'd be correct. The things they have asked us to repair (and that we are contractually obligated to fix) are small and, mostly, in my opinion, trivial. Because, of course, our house rocks. Anyhow the fixes they want are no big deal. Looks like the deal is indeed going forward. Settlement is still scheduled for October 15.

October 15?! FUCK! We need to buy a house, like, a week ago! We saw NINE houses yesterday and none of them was the one. They all needed work or we didn't like the floor plan or had needed new carpet and flower stencils on the new kitchen floor (vomit) so that would need to be replaced too. You get the idea. Sigh.

There is one house that Captain Obvious likes because it is cheap. It has tons of potential. It is in a water privileged community, in area where we want to live. It has a walk-out basement which is unfinished and once we finish that, it will double the size of the house, which is already bigger than our current house (oh, wait, this isn't really our house anymore, is it?). We don't need a huge amount of space, and we don't want to pay to heat/cool a big house, but it would be nice to stretch out a bit. The only problem is that we'd have to live in the grotty upstairs while we worked on the downstairs and then move downstairs while we worked on the upstairs. Not what I want to sign up for in the least. But, my darling husband is inspired. He does good work--very good work, and he gets the job done. When inspired, he does a super good job. But oh my oh my I really do not want to live in a house that we are working on.

Anyhow...my cousin, who is an architect, has agreed to come have a look at 2 houses (one is my favorite...but not perfect at all, and one is the house I discussed above) with us tomorrow and give his opinion. And we're having a look at a house that claims it is completely renovated and needs no work but has no water privileges. We will see...

A cute story:
This morning in bed (he's been sick, so our little Captain has been insisting on sleeping in "mama's bed" I told Captain Adorable that the doctor might be able to take out all my cancer. I went into more detail, but of course kept it simple and positive, but I did mention that I would have to stay in the hospital after the surgery. My idea is to discuss this now and then for the next few months so by the time the surgery rolls around, he will be fully informed and perfectly comfortable with the idea.

A little later I was on the phone trying to schedule a plumber's to come fix the things requested by the buyers and Captain Adorable was using his wooden tongs as a phone. I overheard him and he was saying, "yes, doctor, please take out cancer." Made me smile!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

More and More Good News

After 15 showings in 14 days, we accepted one of the 2 offers on our house. The (prospective) buyers want to go to settlement on Oct. 15. We're suddenly in quite a hurry. We've got to find a house to move into SOON!

Fortunately we can stay with our friends in Takoma Park...at least last time I asked about it...until we can settle. But of course this means that we need to get on the ball and put in an offer on a house ASAP. Like maybe on Monday. Tomorrow (Thursday) the buyers' inspectors are arriving here to inspect and to appraise it...I think...anyhow, of course Captain Adorable and I cannot be here (our realtor will be, though!), and of course my car is not completely fixed yet...who knows if it will have enough juice to get to music class and home, then to somewhere to hang out until the inspection is over, and then home again...

Today I went to NCI to meet with the surgeon. :) He said a lot of things that I really liked and some things I did not like. He said that probably, because of my previous lung surgery, my lung is probably stuck to my chest wall. He said they will try to do the surgery with VATS but may have to convert (change) if they cannot easily dissect the lung from the chest wall. If I have VATS (Video Assisted Thorascopic Surgery) ), they make 2-3 small incisions where they can insert the scopes. The recovery time in the hospital is 1-2 days. If they have to convert to a thoracotomy, the recovery in the hospital would be 3-5 days. A thoracotomay is the same surgery I had in Sept. 2007, but this time the incision would be smaller and they'd surgicall break a rib (and actually remove about an inch of it!) to get inside the chest cavity instead of moving the ribs, which is quite painful for the patient. I'd have an epidural for pain, just like last time.All the treatment would take place at NCI. Which I am happy about! It certainly can't be worse than the hellish stay at JHH after my surgery in 2007.

As I have stated before in this blog, treatment at NCI is free. WOW, a government funded, government run health care system that, in my opinion, has saved my life. And I have good health insurance. Yes, I am in favor of public health care. I think everyone deserves the right to see a doctor and a dentist. Goes hand-in-hand with the pursuit of happiness, in my interpretation of our Constitution. But this blog is not about larger issues, just about my journey...my journey which includes navigating our health care system from the perspective of a well educated person with excellent family support and wonderful health insurance. I am someone who is perfectly capable of advocating for myself and if I am not, my husband and other relatives (FIL, sweet MIL, for instance) would certainly be happy to help out in any way they can. I am one of the lucky ones.

The surgeon also said that one of the reasons to do this surgery is to get me off of chemotherapy! He said he thought I might need to do adjuvant chemo (Definition: (AD-joo-vant) Treatment given after the primary treatment to increase the chances of a cure) for a couple of months, but then we'd be done! (The oncologists' opinion may vary from this, but I am not sure at the time I am writing this.) Of course, there is the possiblity that cancer could pop up somewhere else in my body at some later point, but it might not and (as the surgeon said,) "I prefer to be hopeful."

I have been allowing myself to hope a lot this afternoon. My wish to have another baby may yet come true...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Not So Fast After All

My darling little one is not growing up so fast after all. He still needs me to help him get to sleep at night, and he still ends up in our bed most nights. :D In fact I am glad he is not quite gone yet. I miss him and I worry about him all by himself in his own bed. Sometimes I even go into his room in the middle of the night to make sure he is not too cold and to cover him up if he feels cold to me. Captain Obvious has also admitted that he's been missing our little one, and lately (because chemo has made me more tired), he's been the parent going to get our son in the middle of the night, so we are still one happy co-sleeping family. :) Sometimes I have to put Captain Adorable on the crib mattress on the floor because I can't handle the little feet in my back anymore, but most nights he is only in our bed for the last few hours before morning anyhow.

At the same time, his potty usage is just getting better. Peeing in the potty every time is so much the norm that I do not even reward for it any longer. He initiates on his own, but I do remind him at times like when we leave the house or when we come home from being away. (In fact, he is not shy about whipping it out where ever he happens to be, as long as he's outside--something I am going to have to teach him not to do...) He's very interested in no longer wearing a diaper to bed, so I told him that if he could keep his diaper dry for 3 nights in a row we could switch to cloth diapers and then to undies. The very next morning his diaper was dry and he did his morning pee in the toilet. :) I've been putting him in a cloth diaper for naps and so far it has been dry for 3 naps in a row!

He is also doing all his poops in the potty, which I am still rewarding him for. (He gets to watch 3 episodes of Little Bear for every poop in the potty, which is about 24-25 minutes total.) I was quite, quite impressed on Saturday because he remembered to ask me for the potty seat so he could poop in the toilet while we were out!

Here's the story. My parent, Captain Adorable, and I went to the Baltimore Zoo. It was rather empty for a Saturday because it was a rather cool day with some rain/sprinkles in the air. After about an hour and a half of walking and enjoying various animal exhibits, we stopped to eat lunch at the picnic area. Captain Adorable was of course too excited to eat and soon hopped down from his seat to have a closer look at the squirrels (I think!). He seemed a little contemplative and then said, "Mama, I pooping!" I said, "Oh no you're not!" as I swooped in to scoop him up. He ran from me a little (maybe because I ran at him so fast?) but I snagged him and checked his undies, which I was surprised to see, were still clean!!! It finally clicked for me that he was asking for the potty seat (as I have told him and told him to do). I slapped him on my back (did not want him to walk to the bathroom because walking does help poop to come out), grabbed the diaper bag, and ran, panting, to the bathroom. Once installed on the potty seat on the toilet, he happily did the deed right there in the proper spot! I was beyond excited and proud, but tried to be calm. I felt that it was some kind of pivotal moment. I hope this success means I will never have to throw out another pair of undies again. (Fingers crossed!)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Perhaps More Surgery

Now that I've achieved stabilization (my cancer is not growing), I am eager to get more aggressive. In the past, the tumor board at NCI said that they thought I'd be a good candidate for surgery (VATS, not giant incision surgery like last time). But the JHH tumor board said no. So, here I am after 3 months off chemo (though I am back on now, as you know), with no new nodules in a year and no growth for 6 months. Let's cut the shit out. I asked my JHH oncologist about surgery or ablation but because the JHH tumor board said no, her only option was to ask about ablation. Unfortunately, the radiologist who performed my last one (that went so well and is officially being called dead) has been away and has not responded to her questions.

However, I went to NCI last week on Tuesday and the oncologists got all excited. They promised to discuss me at the tumor board and now, much to my extreme excitement, I have an appointment with a surgeon next week on Wednesday!!! I also have a PFT (Pulmonary Function Test) scheduled for Friday! NCI has asked for the original CT scan--the pre-surgery CT scan. I was stressed because I thought it would be a big struggle to get that scan out of JHH but Captain Obvious remembered that a couple of months ago we got a big package in the mail, which contained my CT films (no one thought I had cancer then, so the CT was not the super-excellent quality that the ones I get now are). He found the films, still upstairs, despite our recent house-clearing to get the house ready for the market. Fabulous! I am taking them to NCI next week.

So, surgery...scary stuff...lots of questions for the surgeon. Goodness knows I do not want to have surgery and come home to a house full of half-unpacked boxes...or to an extended stay hotel...I want to come home to home, with my mommy in a nice guest room to take care of me and Captain Adorable for a few days till I get back on my feet.

And here we are, right in the middle of selling our house to a group of buyers who all have to settle by Nov. 30. Scary, scary stuff. Good scary, but still concerning. I am sure we will figure something out--there are lots of options. Just a bit daunting right now.

Houses, Houses, Houses

So, yeah, our house is on the market. We've had 14 showings in 11 days. Things are moving fast! We're also looking at houses. There is a nice selection on the market, but as usual, if only we had more money, then we could get the house we really, really want... ;) I guess it is always like that, no matter how much you have to spend. The constant showings are great, but living a life without being able to be in my house whenever it is convenient for me is seriously annoying. And looking for a house that meets the location requirements, bedroom requirements, bathroom requirements, amenities requirements, and gut feelings of two decisive people with quite different opinions (Captain Obvious and I) is not easy.

We've received one offer so far and I think we're going to get at least one and maybe two more. (I told Capt. Obvious this would happen!) I hope I haven't jinxed it by writing it here, of course. ;) We're going to review all offers on Monday evening and then make a decision regarding what to do next (accept, counter offer, reject).

They're all going to want to settle before Nov. 30. That's because that's the deadline for the first-time home buyer's tax credit. First time home buyers have to go to settlement before Dec. 1 in order to assure themselves an $8500 from the State of Maryland. That's why we're getting so much traffic and that's why we'll get multiple offers in a market where houses are sitting for months...that and the price (which I think is too low, but hey as long as we can get out of here and into the next house, I'm fine with it!).

We're talking about what to do next now--apartment? Living with friends in Takoma Park for a while? I want the transition period to be as short as possible because I want it to be as easy as possible for Captain Adorable. I also have some health issues (which I am going to do a separate post about) which lead me to desire a house to come home to...


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Growing Up

Since the accident at the train museum three days ago, Captain Adorable has done every subsequent poop in the potty! I'm not reporting on pee anymore because he consistently does every pee in the potty (except when asleep). In fact, he's been pooping in the potty by himself and then calling me to view the fait accompli. If I happen to be around when he needs to go, he sends me out of the room and gets the job done on his own. I am sooooo happy and proud!

He's been sleeping in his own bed every night (he does wake up a lot earlier than when he slept with us, but most mornings he gets in bed with us and goes back to sleep for a while). For the past few nights, he has even been falling asleep by himself! After his bath, I read him two books (which he chooses, of course), then lie down with him and sing to him. After I think he is relaxed enough (half an hour or less), I get up, tell him where I am going, and ask him to stay in bed and go to sleep. So far he's done this 2 nights in a row. I am perfectly willing to stay with him if he needs more time, but I am also interested in him being able to fall asleep on his own.

Suddenly I am the mother of a guy who is toilet trained and falls asleep by himself in his own bed, where he sleeps all night! Am I ready for this??? Buying him that bed and giving him his own room was a huge change, and one he was obviously ready for, seeing as his reaction has been so positive. He loves his bed, loves his room, and talks about them all the time. The first thing he does when people come over is take them up to his room to show it off!

I miss cuddling my little one to sleep and nursing my little baby, but I am also proud of his independence and confidence. Our big king-sized bed feels like a big bed again. And, if Captain Adorable needs less from me, then I have more to give to myself, and well, I am a cancer patient on chemo, so being able to give more to myself is also welcome.

WOW our house was booked for two showings today, so we're just back after being gone for almost 2 hours. I can't see any evidence that anyone was here at all! Last time there was a showing I noticed little things (like the door to the garage was open when it had been closed before, etc). Either these people had super concientious agents, or they didn't show up!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Accident While Out

So, today was a pretty good day. No, not my fantasy birthday, but a nice day. The train museum was fun, someone came to see the house while I was out, and I got everything I wanted to get accomplished at JHH done.

Speaking of the train museum, I was very, very disappointed to discover that Captain Adorable had pooped in his undies after lunch. I had to throw out the undies he was wearing (a cute pair of boxer briefs with trains on them from Gymboree). Of course I had a spare pair of undies and shorts in the diaper bag, and I reminded my little Captain that I also carry a potty seat for him everywhere we go and if he needs to poop, he just has to let me know and I can take him to the bathroom and set him up with a good place to poop. Later, at JHH, we went into the bathroom for him to pee and he asked for the potty seat. I knew he didn't have to poop, but I wanted to show him that if he asked I would deliver, so I hustled and got him on the potty seat. All he did was a pee, but I was quite happy that he gave me the chance to make good on my promise. I just hope next time he remembers before he poops his pants.

Captain Obvious is in California right now. I miss him, and being a single parent gets a little tiring, especially because this chemo does make me tired and today I did not get to have a nap. I was relieved when I finally got Captain Adorable to sleep this evening; I quietly got out of his bed, went downstairs, and served myself a bit of ice cream. I turned around to get my phone and there he was! Agh! But he was super cute. "Mama, I can't sleep wifout you." I took him upstairs and put him in my bed. I told him to put himself to sleep by thinking about Little Bear and Mother Bear and all of Little Bear's friends. As I left, I heard him talking and went back in the room to ask him what he was saying. He told me to leave, that he was just talking about Father Bear to himself. :)

My Birthday

Today is my thirty-sixth birthday. :) This morning we are going to the train museum with Ms. Breadwinner's husband and sons. Should be fun! This afternoon I have to go to Johns Hopkins to sign authorization forms and get my most recent CT scans on CD to take to NCI. Really looking forward to it. NOT.

Anyhow, yesterday was day 7 of no more diapers. It went well. I do have a funny story for you, though. As usual, we were in the kitchen while I was making breakfast. Captain Adorable was standing on his step-stool at the counter and all of a sudden he told me there was "throw up on my butt." I was confused and thought he was just saying something silly. Then I smelled a stinky fart and asked him if he wanted to go sit on the potty. Sure enough, when he pulled down his pants, there was a little bit of diarrhea on his butt! He sat down and did the rest of his poo (ttal liquid, poor guy) in his potty, and then I cleaned him up. So the "throw up" on his butt was a little bit of poo that sneaked out when he farted! As we say in this house, he gambled and lost. I still rewarded him with 3 episodes of Little Bear, because, after all, he did his best and he got most of his poop in the potty (pretty impressive for diarrhea).