Archive for January, 2010

No sleep.

I’m sure all my loyal readers are very concerned with my mental stability and willingness to throw everything I have worked for away for some silly longing to be young and free.  Well, don’t be too concerned everyone!  Not that you were.  I didn’t do anything stupid or silly at all.  I got to thinking about how lame I was when I was 22, and quite frankly, disappointed myself with the memories.  Oh, well.  At some point I’ll get so old that my “non-memories” will be just as good as real memories, and I’ll never know the difference.

One thing I did relive was the presence of my freakin’ zits!  I’m so stressed out about the house that my face looks like any Proactiv commercial “before” photo.  So sad.  The home inspection is tomorrow and I’m really nervous about how much work it will need.  I lie awake at night just thinking about all that needs to be done…and I’ve only seen the inside once.  No telling what the inspector will see tomorrow.  I visited the outside of the house last week and I forgot how bad it was.  The decks were built with plywood, and they are now soggy.  I’ll need new doors (at least three, one of which needs a mail slot and a peep hole – what if I forget to get the peep hole?), windows, probably new window casings, fill in the giant hole in the brick, oh, and bricks for the crumbling stairs, gutter ties, new locks, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.  Oh, and I’ll have to figure out how to put the fridge in the kitchen and take out a kitchen cabinet and build/buy an island.  Huh.  Fun weekend projects, indeed! 

But for now they are keeping me awake, mostly because I cannot do anything about them…for now.  Later they’ll keep me up because I don’t know how to fix them.  Then they’ll keep me up because they are expensive and I’ll have to figure out how to pay for them.  The worst case scenario isn’t so bad – the house is falling in and I walk away.  Actually, worst case would be a long list of medium problems (enough that I could not get out of the contract) I buy it, fix it up a bit, THEN the house falls in.  But if that’s the worst case, it can’t be all bad, right? *gulp*

And now I just joined a team for the WIT FIST Improv tournament.  What am I thinking?  Be ready for some crazy characters, that’s for sure.  Stress releasing characters.  The kind that yell and have big, unpredictable movements.  Or maybe I’ll just play myself.  I’m looking forward to practice tomorrow night to relieve this stress, that’s for sure.  More information about FIST soon enough.  Thanks for reading!

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Seriously, help.

I have an itch.  And I’m sure this is just a result of my pending house purchase, but I want to be young and free again.   You know, do something stupid and regrettable and not know any better.  Get drunk and hook up.  Dance on a bar.  Get arrested for something silly like taking off my shirt in public.  No permanent damage, of course, just temporarily throw caution to the wind and go crazy as if there were no repercussions.  Not that buying a house is death, per se, but I still have money in my bank account as of today to bail myself out of jail if need be.  I should not waste that opportunity, right?

Earlier this week I was thinking about a trip to Vegas I had a few years back.  A girls trip with all the trouble you can imagine.  I met a guy that was really fun and interesting, and later that week I called in sick and went back for 24 hours.  On a Wednesday night.  I remembered calling my Mom after the fact and telling her that I had just cut out on work to fly to Vegas to hang out with a guy and his friends for a night.  My Mom was so excited for me!  What?!?  Where was the parental supervision?  I didn’t tell anyone that I was going to Vegas to hang out with strangers and she replies that I should do more things like that?!?  Then it occurred to me that she wasn’t aware of half the stuff I had done, and I wasn’t about to start telling her then either.

I blame Corey, 27, who will blame his younger girlfriend Kate, 22, which makes me two degrees from 22.  I have to say I’ve been inspired recently by watching Jersey Shore and Real World DC (I started by only watching for the city shots and totally got sucked in).  I don’t know whether to hit or kiss something!  So mixed up those youngsters.  Just like Vampires or boarding schools in New England, Jersey Shore is the absolute farthest thing from my life so it’s fun to fantasize about.  If I had a tan like those kids, I would already be dead from skin cancer.

So here is my cry for help.  Help.  Help me by letting me get it out of my system.  I’ll be back to normal on Monday, I promise.  I won’t do any permanent damage.  I’m thinking just a good old fashioned girls drunk night out dancing tomorrow night.  Any takers?  I will only minimally embarrass myself, I swear.

Happy Weekend.  😉

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House status

Okay!  Here’s the update on how the whole house thing went down so fast:

  • Thursday, Jan 7: I sent Payam (my awesome Realtor) a list of places I wanted to see.  Location was my #1 priority, and with that came safety and access to the metro.  I had a pretty good idea what I wanted.  And no condos because I wanted a yard and no condo fees.
  • Saturday, Jan 9: Scouted out neighborhood with Felice.  I had a pretty good idea of where I wanted to be, so we did drive-bys of some of the houses on my list.
  • Sunday, Jan 10: Looked at houses with Aunt Bonnie and Payam for the first time.  Saw some doozies, one real nasty foreclosure that had been absolutely wrecked.  Saw some great ones at the right price in a neighborhood that was just too residential for me.
  • Monday, Jan 11: Looked at one more home, then determined that I really liked one of the homes I saw the day before.
  • Tuesday, Jan 12: Put in an offer well below asking.  You never know, and the worst they can say is no.
  • Wednesday, Jan 13: My awesome Realtor negotiated his little heart out.  He’s a bulldog that way.  We expected a counter offer.  Apparently the seller had received multiple offers before, but declined them all because they were under the asking price that he was stuck on.  The other offers did not have my realtor or timing.  Did you know the best time to make an offer on a house is the first week of January?  Coming off the holiday spirit of giving with bills to pay and another mortgage check just paid for a house they don’t want.  Good to know.
  • Friday, Jan 15: Counter offer received for slightly more than I offered.  Done.

I got a whale of a deal.  Seriously.  It still has to pass inspection and I have to finalize my appraisal and financing…anything could go wrong at this point.  But I’m very optimistic because I’m in good hands.  That’s what happens when you hire experts you trust.

About the neighborhood.  It’s in Columbia Heights, just west of Howard University.  It’s exactly .6 miles from the Columbia Heights Metro and U Street Metro, both on the yellow and green lines.  It’s on a one-way local residential street, but very walkable to restaurants, bars and other necessities.  The neighborhood is transitioning, but it isn’t more scary or dangerous than any other area in the city.

About the house.  Huge front and back yards on .06 acre, whatever that means.  The back yard has room to build a garage and a vegetable garden.  Lots of potential and needs some work, but liveable now.  Three levels, lots of light, five bedrooms (you read that right) and two full bathrooms.  Which means I’ll have at least one bedroom set up for guests, so come on over (perfect for drunken nights)!  I’ll post photos after the inspection.

Thanks for all your support, positive thoughts and continued interest.  So far, so good!  And I’ll keep you updated as things continue to happen.

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Big Decisions

Yes, I am looking for a house.  And while no one has said they are interested in hearing about my trials and tribulations (really, you can get all of that wrapped up in a neat 30 minute episode on HGTV), I’m sharing with you anyway because there is one part worth sharing: making the decision as a single woman to own a home.  Approximately 1 in 5 homes sold now are sold to single women.  Who knew?

If you are not single or not a woman or have never bought a home by yourself, I’m not sure if you can understand how difficult this decision is.  Of course buying any home is a major decision and worth several sleepless nights, but buying one where only you are responsible for payments is even scarier.  I will have a roommate and get to deal with that fun to help bring my costs down and give me a sense of security, so it is not a completely terrifying situation.  Generally I am making some conservative decisions because I have to – if I don’t make it I have no one to blame but myself.

But it’s about more than finances at this point.  I remember watching Oprah about 10 years ago (when I was in college and a complete different mindset) and there was a single woman who was afraid to buy a house in case “Mr. Right” came along.  She thought that buying a house by herself meant she was destined to die alone as an Old Maid and by all accounts, that she had given up the hunt for a man.  That was awhile ago and times have changed, but clearly that stuck with me.  I don’t ever want to be that woman.  Oprah challenged her and asked the same questions that I would have – basically calling her out on her silliness.  Bless Oprah.

I can’t help but think this would be so much more fun with someone by my side to share in the joys and tense moments.  But through this I have realized two very important lessons:

  1. I do have lots of people to share the joys and tense moments with.  Felice drove me around looking at neighborhoods on Saturday.  Aunt Bonnie looked at houses with me on Sunday.  Corey asks for updates every day and does online research for me.  Lindsay waited by the phone with me last night.  So I have plenty of people to share with, I just happen to be spreading it amongst a bunch of folks!
  2. Hell yeah this would be more fun with that special someone.  But so would moving across country and back.  So would having someone support me through grad school.  So would traveling through Europe.  All of those things I did on my own and I would not trade one single minute of my awesome experiences just to have a built-in support system.  I would be a completely different person, and certainly not as strong as I am today.

So bring it on, Payam!  This has already been quite fun, and the fun is just beginning.  I’m not worried because I have nothing to lose.  It will work out in the end…it always does.  I’m charmed that way!

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Quick update

Thanks for hanging with me folks.  Things have been really busy at work, and I’m still not sure where the weekend went.  But to update you, I’m purchasing a home and I have found one that I will be putting an offer on this evening.  More details to come soon once I have information worth sharing.  I guess I could walk you through the process from my point of view, if you think that would be interesting.  I’ll save that until I hear a “yea” from the peanut gallery.

In other news, improv class starts on Thursday – Level 3 with Mark Chalfant.  Exciting!  And I definitely know that two of my improv buddies are in the same class and there will probably be more familiar faces once I get there.  Our practice crew is still practicing on Mondays successfully (though, soon to be a Tuesday crew if anyone cares).  We have lots of fun, but it is time to seek out a director, so we’ll be “interviewing” for a good fit in the next few weeks.  I will keep you up-to-date on that as well.  In the meantime mark your calendars for March 13th for the showcase.

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Friday Tirade

I am annoyed.   It happened in Santa Monica from time to time, but DC has a bunch more on a bunch more corners…people asking for money.  I’m not talking about homeless people.  No.  I’m talking about those preppy white I’m-working-at-a-non-profit-because-my-parents-can-pay-my-rent kids on almost every street corner asking money for the cause of the day.  And they see you coming about a block away and say ridiculous things like “do you have a minute to stop global warming today?”

The problem is that the corporations they work for are all good and just: CARE, Human Rights Campaign, Democrats, and others that I believe in.  But I do not believe in giving people money on the street – I prefer to donate online.  Like I’m gonna give some kid $20 cash because he has a 3-ring binder that has an emblem on it.  Or a check with my bank account number or my credit card number.  When I tell them that I’ll just donate online (because of course I get suckered in by stammering that I’m late for a meeting that starts in an hour cause I can’t get it together…where is my improv money going?!?), they all say that donating on the street helps to pay for the grassroots effort.  And I want to yell, “EXACTLY!!”  Quit bugging me.  I’m not going to give YOU money, nor do I support you freezing your ass off asking random folks on the street for money.  What does that accomplish? 

Which makes me wonder how much they raise that way.  I only gave one time to CARE because the guy had the best line “you can give with a credit card that is about to expire.”  Bingo!  Two months of payments and I’m home free.  Now leave me alone.

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Dear 2010,

Welcome, Year 2010!!  I’m excited to see you, but I am sad to see 2009 go, too.  2009 was a great year, but I think you will do me even better that last year.  I have lots in store for you.

I brought you into this world the best way I know how – with friends in a low key, relaxing atmosphere.  We had dinner at Social, then headed to Alice and Andrew’s house for post dinner celebration with champagne and dancing.  Is there any other way, 2010?

To celebrate your first whole day, I made the Cummings family traditional meal of black eyed peas, boiled cabbage and cornbread, except the grocery store was out of Jiffy cornbread so I made Jiffy blueberry muffins which look exactly the same but with blueberries.  The peas represent coins, the cabbage dollars, and cornbread/blueberry muffins represent love.  Well, I made that last part up, but the peas and cabbage is an old southern thing – the more you eat, the more you’ll get, though I always thought that was my mom’s ploy to get us to eat more.

Cabbage, black-eyed peas and muffins

Cabbage, black-eyed peas and muffins

2010, I have made some promises to you.  Most of them have to do with work – being more productive, proactive and forceful.  Less talk, more action.  For the first time, none of the promises are fitness promises or food promises.  That’s what February is for (the ultimate overlooked month).  And as always, I promise not to take you for granted and assume there will be another year around the corner. 

2010, you have been so nice to me already by giving Emily a student teaching position and Dad a new job.  I hope to return the favor and fill you with lots of laughter, love and people I adore most.  You and the Universe and I will get along so well!  I can’t wait to see what we do together!

Love, Me

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