Tuesday, July 26, 2011


This is gonna be a LONG ass blog so strap yourself in, get some coffee and read. It's not going to be in order but I have to spill exactly what has been going on this past few weeks.  First let's begin here:

June 20, 2011

 Ok, soo we had our home inspection a few weeks ago. Now here's the skinny. Our home inspector, the incredible Brian, was amazing. He had the dry sarcastic kind of humor that Vadim and I both needed for what was about to go down. We just didn't know it yet. We arrived at the house right on time and had a team of people waiting for us there. Our realtor, Vanessa was there with our home inspector, oil tank inspector and termite inspector. Thank GOD no oil tank was found underneath our property. This could have caused us a world of problems. If there is a oil tank found anywhere on the property that has not been removed, you basically can't sell the house. Oil tanks that were put under the ground years ago have been known to leak and therefore spilling toxic materials into the ground and in effect in the water. So, this inspection is CRUCIAL when you are buying a home. You can be stuck with thousands of dollars worth of damage if it isn't taken care of.  If the people you are buying a home from swear up and down that there is no oil tank underground on your property, that doesn't mean anything. They might have had a bad inspector that missed it. Get your own people and make sure it's not there. It's worth the $200 you spend and any future ulcers. 

Our termite guy found damage in the back of the house. I wish I had taken pictures of this. It was pretty interesting. Termite damage is serious and needs to be fixed immediatly. Your lender will need proof that it was fixed by a licensed contractor otherwise you will not be able to buy the house. I'm telling you these banks are NOT kidding around. Trust me, we will get into that in detail later. I've given them everything they want to see besides my first born child, a sample of DNA and my first grade report card. These guys are so f**king ridiculous. Ugh, ok sorry. Onto the next.

I had talked to Brian, our home inspector, on the phone two weeks prior to having our home inspection. He seemed very cool and thorough. He has been in the business with his father for years and he made me feel very comfortable about what was going to be done on this day. He also arranged for the termite and oil inspector guy to come all at once which saved me a lot of phone calls. Once we all met, we started outside the property first. 

I wish I had the pictures to pull from my home inspection report but for some reason I couldn't pull them out of the report. I'm using sample pictures instead from the Internet to give you an idea. 

Brian said "Well....we have some issues....". Oh no! My heart sank. He handed us a pair of binoculars and told us to look at the chimney on top of our house. At first glance you would think nothing was wrong with it until you looked through some binoculars. Yup, it was falling over and falling apart! He told us that would probably cost around $5000-8000 in repairs and up. Hmm...great way to start our inspection off! 

                                                                  Chimney repair

He then looked at the outdoor area of our basement including where there was termite damage. The storm doors needed to be replaced since they were rotting away and the stairs leading down to the basement from the yard were crumbling. We knew this when we came to visit the house the first time so it's not like we were surprised or anything. Water had been leaking down to the basement and causing a lot of build up so we had been prepared to replaced the doors. The stairs we didn't realize were falling apart. With one quick flick of his screw driver on the sides of the concrete stairs, they started to crumble. Basically this was a hot mess that wasn't going to fall apart right away, but that we needed to fix. Eh no big deal.  Now on to the basement.

Long story short, we have the following issues:

Cracked Joists
Water Damage
Brick Erosion
Possible Knob and Tube wiring evident in the house 
Stairs separating...oh yes I'm not kidding...

Holy crap. Are you f**king serious? Brian said this was not the usual kind of inspection for first time home buyers but we are buying a 100 year old house, so these problems were normal. The problem was either the home owner or the previous owner did not take care of these problems and now they were at the point where if they weren't taken care of, the house could be in trouble.

Cracked Joists:

The beams supporting the house were cracking. This wood that was used in 1907 to build this house is probably 100 years OLDER than the house itself. So we are actually talking about 200 plus year old wood. Yeah, these babies need to be replaced. If they weren't, the house could collapse at some point in time.

                 example of what cracked joists look like...ours was not as severe...but in time it would be

The house was built on a brick foundation. Now, I loveee me some bricks, but since moisture seeps through bricks underground there is erosion issues. Back in the day, they used a mixture of limestone to bind the bricks together and create a strong foundation. Well, the moisture got to the point where the limestone started to erode and when it gets wet, it turns to sand. So you can imagine when Brian stuck his screw driver between two bricks on the wall, it went SIX INCHES IN! Not good. 

                                                                      mortar erosion

They had much work to be done on the foundation of the house. He reminded me all this was fixable but had to be done. We kept thinking "Oh god, the sellers are gonna freak when they hear about all this!" Oh but wait! We were NOT done! Besides leaks and some rotting wood we came to the grand finale.  The steps. Remember those pictures from earlier blogs of our gorgeous winding three story amazing stair case? Well, we had a problem. The stairs were separating. Now I don't have a picture of the staircase and couldn't find a good example of it online. Basically, underneath the stairs you can see that the slats of wood are coming apart. The stairs are very creaky which is normal for an old house but they also bend really easily. Now, imagine four stories (including basement) of stairs up and down dozens of times a day times 100 plus years times 200 old year wood being used in those stairs and NO repairs = serious major problem. Brian deemed the stairs unsafe. Basically anytime one or two or maybe all of them could cave in. There was no way of knowing other than hiring someone to come in and take a look at them. Oh boy. What a messsss!!!!

Then last but NOT least...Brian found evidence of knob and tube wiring in this house.  More on that next and what else happened. Gotta get my hair done and do two shows but I promise this is gonna get even better!!!


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Part Two: The Hottest Day on Earth...wait...what do you mean we may not close?

Ok so fine fine fine all the fixes, all the stuff, all the problems blah blah blah. In the end I get a gorgeous f**king house right? It will ALLLL work out. No stress. Just put it in perspective. In perspective. In perspective. Ok, I can do that. No problem.

So...I go out with my bestie Tali for coffee and breakfast, and we dish about our lives and then take a quick trip to Tiffany's to ring shop. Now, listen, my incredible boyfriend basically bought me a house which is WAY more impressive than getting engaged in my book. This will be the first time we will have lived together and we kind of did it in a major way! Now, he has hinted to me the engagement part will be happening by our third year anniversary which is in November. He is VERY good at keeping secrets so who knows when or if it will happen then. Whenever and however it happens, doesn't matter. He is the love of my life and I am the luckiest girl on earth to deserve such a gem.

So...anyway...still I went to look because I'm doing research in order to educate Tali (who is a FIERCE jewelry designer and friend) on what I like. She is in charge of (when the time comes) going with Vadim to pick out the ring. Now, some people may say this is weird but trust me, I love my man but he needs help and guidance. He is totally cool with this. She also knows the diamond district and has connections. The bottom line is: I don't want him to get ripped off and I certainly don't want a ring from Tiffanys. You are paying for their rent and the name and a damn blue box.  I don't care about either.

Ok so the romance shit is done for the day. Let's cut to when I walk out of Tiffanys and get the phone call that....DRUM ROLL........we probably won't close on Monday. WHAT????

Now there are a cast of characters in this freaking show. The the sellers, the realtor, the lawyer and the mortgage guy. Now that I resolved (as in my previous blog) the dumb stick and wood issue by basically BEGGING the termite guy to write a letter stating it's no big deal we have ANOTHER PROBLEM! GO FIGURE! 

June 20th...termite inspection was done...damage was found...in the report it CLEARLY states...that the back window of the basement needs to be repaired....

Over the course of weeks I ask for the repair to be made...FINALLY I get a letter with the repairs and a diagram...of what was done...and then...

The diagram shows where the termite treatment was...and then ....in the back there is a little box that says: Damage shown on window....Damage shown on the window....

I get a call from Mortgage guy

"Uh....this needs to be fixed...or else we can't close...FHA policy"

HOLY SHIT! They have to get a licensed contractor in at the eleventh hour TODAY so that we can close on a house because a f**king window frame isn't fixed? All hell breaks loose. The realtor starts going nuts, the lawyer starts copying me on emails to the seller's lawyer. Everyone is panicking because this thing has dragged out for months and NOW there is a one small little window pane that is holding us up? WHAT? We are in trillions of dollars of debt in this country and me...little ole me is trying to buy a house and pump money into the damn economy and your going to tell me no because of a window pane????? Of course the seller is freaking out. She already spend thousands on thousands on the house and now this? Everyone is a mess.

My blackberry starts to smoke. I'm calling Vadim. I'm calling the mortgage guy. I call the realtor. I'm emailing. I'm texting. I'm pissed. I'm nervous. Everyone is breathing heavy on the phone not to mention it is 100 degrees out and I'm running out of Tiffany's during lunch hour in midtown Manhattan. I say goodbye to my friend as I'm still on the phone running to the subway. Why? Well, I told my mother I would meet her at the apt at 1 so she can give me boxes. What was I thinking. I run into the subway. I'm freaking out and wind up at a Dunkin Donuts with two munchins and a huge ice coffee that I can't finish and just make it on the A train uptown. I wind up hanging out with my mom in my room since it's the ONLY place with air conditioning. It's me, my mom and my parrot all in a room that fits a dresser and a full sized bed. It was a scene from a movie. The phone is CONSTANTLY ringing and beeping. What happens if we don't close Monday? When will we close? Will the bank find SOMETHING ELSE once again? I want this to be over. The mortgage guy tells me that unless they get someone in there TODAY to fix it, there is basically a very small chance we will close Monday. Which means probably pushing it back a week.  Oh no. No no no no no no no. Just when I think all hope is lost..a few hours later...I get an email from him stating the seller got it fixed and sent a letter and a photo of it by a licensed contractor. All the paperwork is in and now there is a better chance we can get this done. Fingers crossed. Fingers crossed Fingers crosssssed. We now have two business days to finish up all the paperwork...well the bank does...we just sit...wait...and sweat....

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Everyday a little death....Part one of the hottest day on earth

This blog began this morning....then much has changed....so this is part one of today...part two is in the next section...enjoy...

I'm awake in NYC and the heat is killing me. I just got back Sunday from a wonderful run of GUYS AND DOLLS at Barrington Stage. It was so much fun. I handled all the business for my house on the phone and Internet and now I'm finally back here to deal with everything. It's just so damn hot I don't want to leave my house. How funny is it I have a COFFEE date with a friend in 90 degree weather. Hilarious.

Well it's Wednesday and we close Monday. Three more business days left. I don't count Saturday or Sunday because I figure well, the bank can't really get to us then so it's just the next three days we have to deal with. We are still dotting our i's and crossing our t's. Notice I say GET TO US. I say this because everyday it's something different with these people.

Yesterday the bank was NOT satisfied that our termite repair report from the sellers which was minimal was not sufficient because the contractor said in his notes there was wood debris under the porch and on the side of the house. This means SOMEONE LEFT STICKS AND PLANKS of wood. They could have left it from garden work. They could have left it from when they redid the porch. Who knows.  Literally just a bunch of old wood that needs to be thrown out. Our bank somehow got it into their head that this means DAMAGE and the sellers need a licensed contractor to throw out wood. I mean seriously??? C'mon guys. Let's not get crazy here. This is dumb. I'm telling all of you actors/musicians/artists anyone free lance, if you want to buy a home and need a loan, it is NOT easy. This past two months I have almost had a nervous breakdown with the stress of the house. I even developed acid reflux for the first time in my life. The paperwork is unreal. My friend reminded me that this process involves a ton of RED TAPE. I laughed and said "Oh, I guess I should have been calling it red tape, but I've been just calling it BULLSHIT!" That was funny I have to admit.

Anyway, so back to the house. As you read previously, there were a TON of fixes to be done on the house. The seller had to have many contractors come in the house: a stair guy, an electrician, a plumber, a general contractor, a mason and a chimney guy ALL do the repairs. Probably five contractors in all giving estimates and doing the work. I don't envy them. What a bitch. You might be asking yourself: "Why did the sellers have to do all that work?" Well, here is your answer. See when you take out a loan, especially in the economic climate we are in, obviously the bank is strict. Normally if there are problems with the house found in inspection like in our case, the seller will give you money at closing to repair the items. So, they offered to do that. Hmmm....problem. First of all:

1. NO lender gives out credits at closing to people like us. Whose to say we will actually use the money to make the repairs. I guess that makes sense.

2. Estimates for repairs is NOT the final cost of the repairs. As we all know you can get quoted an estimate and then at the end of the completed repair, it shoots up $10,000 because they "found something else". No way Jose.

Basically we told them that they need to get everything fixed by closing with licensed contractors. Oh Jesus. I know that upset them. I mean I don't blame them. Two weeks till closing and you have to fix the basement, the chimney, the foundation, the stairs, some floors, some plumbing etc etc? Are you kidding me? I would be a mess. I felt bad but they need to sell the house and we can't buy it with the problems. Such is life.

Friday, June 10, 2011


I don't have much to say except that I'm sick of waiting. I really am. It's driving me nuts. I hate it and I have no control. This sucks. Sorry it's not positive but I'm pissed off.


Monday, June 6, 2011

Staying calm through the storm

Well, last night I went through a wave of emotions. I guess you can call it a wave. It felt more like a tsunami. It's our day off today and when my two roommates left to go back to NYC, it was like the flood gates opened. I guess I needed to cry and have a moment of complete and utter freaking out. When you keep moving and working like I do, the moment you stop and are still, that is when everything you are running from comes to bite you in the ass. Well last night it bit me and hard. I needed the silence to actually feel what was happening inside me.

I had a huge realization about this whole house process last night. It didn't really dawn on me until after I cried and cried at various shows I watched in a row. Say Yes To the Dress, Erin Brockovich (don't ask), and Dateline NBC. The story was about a woman who had three kids, two of them have a severe kind of cerebral palsy which is incurable, and the mom has breast cancer. It's an unreal story and I just sobbed my face off.  The town bands together and fixes their house. It was unreal. Such a story of strength. It didn't have anything to do with my situation but it helped me release emotions that's for sure. What I realized is that it's not just about the house and the stress of getting it. It's what the house symbolizes in my life.

I had my childhood home basically taken away from me due to my parents nasty divorce. I know this happens to people all the time. It was traumatic because well, it was traumatic. I guess I don't have to explain that part. It was our home. There is nothing like your home right? The place you spent every day at since you were five years old. The room you slept in and your bed. The posters on the walls. The sound of the stairs when you walked down them. Hearing your mom call you for dinner and watching Dan Rathers on the news while eating. Playing piano and opening all the windows to feel the breeze come in as you fill your house with the sounds of Chopin. The basement with the crazy jumping spiders. Washing down the deck furniture in the summer and watching it dry in minutes under the heat of the sun. My mom's amazing rotisserie chicken cooking on the spit in the grill and the baby birds in their nest on our porch light in the back. The memories, the smells, the feelings all still inside me as if it were yesterday. I'm old enough to understand and compartmentalize it all, but as they say, the feelings are still in the tissue of my being and in my soul. That never changes. The older I get the more I can handle it and nurture it, but it never fully goes away.

This house represents a new beginning. New memories. A chance to rebuild what was lost. Not in a mournful way. Not to bring back the past in an effort to make it right. To bring it back and unite it with the future. New memories and old memories together as one to heal the soul. I can't think of anything more beautiful than that. That is why I cried. I cried for the happiness. I cried for the pain. I cried for the fear and for the love of this house. It's not ever one thing. It's everything.

So, I dusted myself off today and have come to realize that I need to accept what ever happens from here on out in relation to the house. I can't say all the details of our process but I can say it has been incredibly hard. Harder than I ever thought buying a house would be. Vadim and I are also in two different states dealing with this all via email and phone. It is difficult to say the least not to have your better half here to hold and hug. So, I'm just staying calm and positive that everything will work out fine. I imagine the day they hand over the keys and we open the door to our house for the first time as homeowners. We close on July 19th and everyday is a step closer to it.

I remind myself how grateful I am to even be in a position to buy a home with our economy the way it is. I am truly living a blessed life. As crazy as it sounds when things get too overwhelming, sometimes I just get on my knees and pray. I don't believe in one kind of God. I do believe in prayer and the power of it. I believe in energy and what you put out in the world affecting the Universe. This I know to be true because I have see it in more ways than one. I get on my knees and ask for the strength to deal with all that is happening right now. It helps me to get back to basics and know that not everything is in my hands and control. It is time to let go and let God in a way that I understand.

I hope I didn't sound overly cheesy or sentimental. This blog is really kind of healing for me in a way. I never expected all this emotion to come up when going through this but it has and I am learning how to deal with it. Thanks for listening.


Friday, June 3, 2011

Not A Day Goes By

The prospect of having a yard blows my mind. I have so many incredible memories of growing up in Livingston, NJ having a big yard with a swing set a huge tree and many afternoons of running around with our dog Cassie. Hot summer days with the sprinkler and the slip and slide. Barbecues till late into the night. After school on a gorgeous fall day with the leaves falling from our big tree. Inch worms floating around on little strings all over the yard. Fireflies on a nice summer evening. That's how we always knew summer was officially here. Fireflies. I swear when there are NO more fireflies in the summer that is when I will know the world is ending. It's just one of those things. Here are some pics of our yard. Enjoy.

Hopefully by the time we close July 19th everything will be in order and there will be nothing left to worry about as far as getting and owning the home. These pictures will represent the yard we OWN not the yard we MAY own. I'm only saying we will own it. If I say maybe too many times, I won't believe it will actually happen. POSITIVITY!!!

Right now to update you, we are in the Attorney Review stage. Basically lawyers on both sides (owners and buyers) are looking at paperwork and agreeing on the terms. Basically how much we are paying, what comes with the house, what is expected of the buyers and sellers etc etc. Basic stuff. Once that is all done we will enter the next phase which is called being "UNDER CONTRACT". This is time that within TEN DAYS of the start of this period, you have to get certain things done. First an inspector has to come to the house, which we have to arrange and pay for, to make sure there is nothing wrong with the home. This covers everything from termites to leaky roofs to some nasty animal living in your basement.

"Oh noooooo you didn't I aint leaviinnnn"

Of course there is not going to be a crazy ass possum but you never know. The home inspection is to protect the buyers from finding out there is something nuts with their house. There are terms in the contract that clearly state that if anything is wrong they have to take care of it before we actually buy it. This has to all be clearly stated and finished, meaning inspected, by the end of the 10 days. Anyone, buyer and seller, can pull out within this ten day period. That is why it's also scary. Considering our situation no one will do that but fingers crossed. Crazier things have happened in the world. The only thing that is not stated in the contract is if we buy a 100 + year old house and there is something like this living in it:

"I'm backkkkk Kritzerrrr"

Anyway, now we wait and continue on in the process. Our Contract phase should begin pretty soon so I will keep you updated. For now I'm just getting ideas about plants, rooms etc. Fun things to do with the house. Things that I have never been able to hang in my tiny little apartment will have a place on the walls. I can put my mothers grandfather clock in the living room. Vadim can get a grand piano someday and we can fit it. I can finally think about getting one of these and we will have the space.

Wheaton Terrier Puppy 

This is truly the American dream as cheesy as it sounds. I'm very lucky to have the opportunity to do this especially with someone that I plan on spending the rest of my life with. Life is good. 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Not gonna lie...today I'm feeling a bit down

This whole process is getting me so stressed out. No wonder people say it's nuts. I'm constantly anxious and freaked out that it won't happen. Something will go wrong. Blah blah blah. Ugh. That's all. Gonna try to stay positive but just scared.