Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Gardening in Freezing Temperatures

At loooooooooooooooooong last, we are supposed to close on our new house today.  It's been a really long, hard road.  I promised you a better picture of the front of the house - here it be:
I still owe you a picture of the front room.  I promise I will.  As soon as we get the house keys in our hands.

So.  We tried doing this program called a 203(K), where you say, "I think this house needs such-and-such amount in fix-ups."  And then you get a loan for what you're buying the house for, plus the amount you need in fixups, and it all goes in the mortgage payments every month.

So the government was all, "You need two contractors to submit bids."  We met with several, and they were all, "We're too cool to help you with your dinky house.  We're doing big projects that will make us more money.  Buh-bye."

We finally found two contractors who said they'd do the work.  They were required to submit bids to the government.  It took one contractor like maybe a week, and the other contractor like three weeks.  And then the underwriter would be all, "You did this wrong, contractors.  Fix it."  So the nice contractor would fix it in a few days.  And the not-nice contractor would take like three weeks to fix it.  And then the underwriter would be all, "Kay, this is wrong, too, contractors.  Fix it."  And then the same scenario would happen.  Over and over.

Before we knew it, we had almost reached our 60-day limit and were close to losing the house.  So we had to hurry and switch to a conventional loan, where we won't be doing the home improvements.  And we've been running around like crazy for the past week to reach the deadline.  It's been reeeeeally frustrating.

Even as recently as last night, we were finding copies of this and scanning copies of that and submitting letters about this, etc.  Buying a house is a huge pain in the butt.

To add to that kind of craziness yesterday, my mom and I did a little...gardening.

My mom's friend was getting rid of six shrubs, and she got on facebook and asked if anyone wanted them, and my mom called them for me.  Because, let's face it - the landscaping on this house leaves a lot to be desired:
Luckily, my mom's friend's landscaping guys were removing the bushes, so we didn't have to do that part.  But we did give them a little haircut (the bushes, not the landscaping guys) and took them over to the house.  We hauled them out of our cars and set them against the back of the house:
We've got four blue mist spireas and two nine-barks.  (One of the spirea bushes is very small and hard to see in this pic.)  Mom and I wanted to plant them yesterday, but I had to go sign some stuff, so we left them there.  We wanted to plant them today, but it's 26 degrees out now and we're having a hard time wanting to go out in that.  It's supposed to be a little warmer tomorrow and Thursday, so hopefully they'll be alright until we get there.

I wanted to ask the neighbors if we could borrow their spigots to which I could attach my hose.  I wasn't about to try to dig into that hard, frozen ground without softening it up with some water first.  And obviously, after you plant something, you need to water it.  One neighbor wasn't home, so I went to the other one.  A little girl and her big brother answered the door. I had them write down my name and number (their mom wasn't home) and what I was asking to do with the spigot.  I told them we were moving in next door and asked them how old they are.  The boy is 11, just a year older than Dylan.  And the little girl is 8, just like Sadie!  I asked what her name was, and she said, "Sadie!"  Isn't that funny? 

As I was walking back to the front of our almost-house, the lady from the other house next door came home and kind of came over to see what was going on.  So I also asked her the spigot question, and she said it was no prob.  She was really nice.  All of her kids are teenagers or young adults, but she said her other next-door-neighbor has 7-year-old twin girls.  So my little Sadie is all set with new friends to meet. :)

It was really nice to meet the neighbors and to see that they're decent, good people.  I'm really so excited to move over there.  It will be great.

All of those bushes I inherited need full-to-part sun, so I'll be planting them on the west and south sides of the house (the second and third pictures on this post).  On the south side, there is an open space kind of centrally located, but then there are these weird hang-off areas:
They've been edged really nicely with concrete, but I'm like, what do you put under something like that?  Apparently, black plastic and the occasional big rock?  I'm trying to figure out what to do about that.

Oh, another thing - the lady from next door, Sue, said that this house has been uninhabited for 2 1/2 years.  Yikes.  That makes the chances of that front lawn growing back next year really...unlikely.  I think a lawn can survive one summer without water, but two or more???  I don't know.  We'll have to see next spring.

This may be really overambitious of me, but I'm thinking, since I'll be over at the house in the next couple of days planting shrubs as it is, perhaps I should go ahead and plant my bulbs, too.  I mean, they're just sitting in my basement in pots, waiting to be planted...  I'll think about it.

Wish us luck on getting this house closed today, guys.  Hopefully we won't have any more setbacks.


Mindy H. said...

Congrats on being nearly done with the home buying process, and on scoring good, non-drug-dealing neighbors! I'm sure you will have that yard whipped into shape sooner than you think. Happy bulb planting!

Anonymous said...

I think you should plant the bulbs!! You'll be there anyway, right? :) I can't wait to see what you do with the yards at this house!! I know it will be GORGEOUS!! Good luck with closing this week!!

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