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 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.

Let's give em' an offer they can't refuse

We decided to put an offer down on the house! We fell in love and knew it had to be ours. First though we had to get approved by the bank for a loan.

I freaked out! My credit wasn't that great and I had been diligently repairing it as I waited those dreaded 7 years for things to get erased off my report. Of course NOW it would come bite me in the ass. So, Vadim and I got our paperwork together including tax returns etc and handed them over to the mortgage guy who I will call EDDIE.

"Sir ya just gotta give us this just gotta"

I was so nervous that it was going to be me that would prevent us getting this mortgage. OHH I though to myself all that stuff I did wrong. All the late payments. All the dumb store cards. If I would have just been smarter 10 years ago I wouldn't have bad credit. Blah blah blah. Then the phone call came. Apparently I had been doing something right. My credit score had shot up through the roof. Vadim and I both had great credit!!! YIPEEEEE!! I hadn't checked in awhile and it felt so good I almost cried! Also, our combined earnings got us pre-approved for the loan. Everything was perfect! Was I in a movie????

"All my dreams are coming true!"

So the next part was to put down an offer. We thought a reasonable offer would be in the middle of where they wanted to sell the house. It had gone down in price a significant amount a week prior so thought of a fair price and put in our offer. Now I had been OBSESSED with shows on HGTV like Property Virgins and Our First Place so I knew kind of how this worked. Vanessa went back to them with our offer and after a few small negotiations they accepted!!!! Wow that was wonderful!! The only problem was that we could not celebrate together in one place. I got the phone call up in Mass and then called him in New York City. It was great. This is what we had wanted forever. Now the stressful part begins. 

The attorney review is going on as we speak so now we are caught up to where we need to be in the process. Basically during this time we are looking at contracts, getting everything set up including the home inspection and financial stuff and then (fingers crossed) close on the 19th of July. This process is stressful because at anytime during the ten days the homeowners can pull out and if the home inspection does not go well it could mean trouble. Now I'm not expecting any problems with the house. The owners are amazing and took impeccable care of their home so I think if anything happens it would be something easily fixed. So, now we wait and do each step as it comes. In the meantime I'm planning and dreaming of what to do with my house when I move in. 
Painting the fence white perhaps

Peonies bushes in front of the house

Can't wait to see what happens next! Gotta run to the gym. I have to fit into some major costumes in a few weeks!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

New homeowners!!!

Welcome to my blog! My name is Leslie and I just bought a house!!! Ok, well we are in the process but that is what this blog is all about. I'm going to back up to the beginning so we can catch up to where we are now. To give you a bit of background, I am an actress currently living in New York City. I live in Harlem (or the area known as Hamilton Heights) in Manhattan. I've have been in New York since 1999 and have lived all around the city. I am originally from Livingston, NJ which is about a half hour away.

My boyfriend's name is Vadim and he is a musical director/composer here. He lives about 5 blocks from me and has been in New York about the same length of time. He is originally from Cleveland, Ohio in the area known as Mayfield Heights. We met around 10 years ago working together on a project at NYU. I don't remember meeting him the first time but he remembers meeting me. Of course! Anyway, we have crossed paths many times since the theater business is a small community and finally 2 1/2 years ago started dating. We have been together ever since. 

So in love! 

Everyone always asks "Are you guys engaged? You look engaged in this picture!" No, we are not engaged....yet. It's coming. As a matter of fact Vadim sized my finger the other day. So I'm a six. Pretty exciting. I wanted to show a picture of the kind of rings I love but I figured that was tacky. Whatever I get is going to be amazing because it's from him. 

As far as the traditional order of things, we are kind of doing this backwards. Usually people get engaged, married and then buy a house right? I kind of like that we are doing it this way. It seems like we are getting the hard part out of the way. Getting engaged and married seems easy. We can do it in our backyard if we wanted to! Trust me, I've thought about it. Anyway, I'm going on and on...let's continue.

A few weeks ago, 2 1/2 weeks to be exact, I come home and Vadim says "I want to go look at houses". Now, I was leaving that Monday (it is Wed) to go work up at Barrington Stage in Massachusetts where I am currently rehearsing GUYS AND DOLLS. Of course he picks the week before I leave to go look at homes. So, I call Vanessa Pollock, our amazing realtor.

It's too bad she's not gorgeous...:)

I met Vanessa while on tour with URINETOWN THE MUSICAL. Charlie Pollock, her husband, was in the show and she had just had her their first baby.We were traveling with an infant! It was awesome. She was always so sweet and kind. Since then Vanessa has become a super star realtor in the Essex County area and Charlie and her have been so blessed to have three gorgeous kids. Yup, she actually looks just like that photo after three kids. Her youngest Stella is so freakin cute I may have to steal her. I'm obsessed. Anyway, I called her and we set up an appointment for Saturday. Now, Vadim and I had been perusing the internet looking at all the houses in Maplewood/South Orange and since I grew up fifteen minutes away I knew the area very well. We had a good idea of what we were looking for. Vanessa told us to send her the listings we liked and she would send us the listings she had. When you are on a site like Trulia you have a wide array of homes from $89,000 all the way to $5,000,000. Yeah, it's crazy. So of COURSE I haddddd to look at some incredible homes that were way out of our range. It's like on SAY YES TO THE DRESS when the biggest mistake is to try on a dress like this:


When you can really only afford this

Simple and reasonably priced

I'm obsessed with the show SAY YES TO THE DRESS. One of my favorite shows on TV. LOVE! They have some of the most insane crazy brides to stories that make you cry. Below is one of the more tacky customers. Hilarious. Who the hell wears a SEE THROUGH DRESS to their wedding? 

"Hey look! Your son is marrying a whore!"

Can you tell I'm slightly ADD?  A week or so prior to this we had taken a drive out to the area to see what it was like. We loved Maplewood and South Orange but I was always more partial to Maplewood. We had all the listings we loved and drove by them all. This is the one we REALLY liked:

Gorgeous House!

We drove by it and even though it was kind of on a busy street it look amazing. After driving around and seeing more houses, we wanted to check out one that inside looked amazing online. It was this house:


REALLLY love it. 

Cut to our appointment with Vanessa a week later. We took the train to Maplewood where Vanessa picked us up. I hadn't seen her in years and she looked beautiful. We all got in her car and went house hunting. It was very exciting and right away she told us the ground rules. Everything from confidentially to asking any question we want no matter how stupid we thought it was. She was amazing. I felt so comfortable with her. She brought us to a few homes that we liked and the first was our FAVORITE! PARKER!! When we visited the home the family was there getting ready for a birthday party so it was kind of awkward at first. You never really want to see a home with the people living in it. They seemed very nice and eager for us to see it so that made us feel better. As we walked through, I wasn't struck immediately with a "AHA" moment. It wasn't that. It was huge inside, and had a gorgeous lawn but there was something missing. I could post pics but honestly you get the idea. Great house and certainly worth the price but not what I expected. 

After that Vanessa took us to a variety of homes to look at. Each one needed more work than the first so in comparison Parker was the house to beat. None of them beated it. Vadim wanted Parker and even though I liked it, I wasn't in love. As we neared the end of our day, Vanessa said she had one more to show us. It was the house I drove by the week before and didn't love. I said ok and as we drove up something was different. We parked the car and walked up the steps and something told me that this might be it. As soon as Vanessa opened the front door, we were home. 

I fell in love at first sight

As we walked through it got better and better. It was in perfect shape and had everything we wanted. Charm, warmth, space, and most importantly it felt like love in the house. I can't describe it. We looked at each other and said immediately "This is it". I couldnt' believe it. We went out to the yard and it was gorgeous. Flowers, a garden, and a patio with gorgeous grass and a hammock hanging on the tree. It was heaven. The same house I drove by and judged so harshly was the same house I wanted to buy. How did this happen? We didn't plan on finding a house TODAY???? WHAT? 

To Be Continued.....