Saturday, January 22, 2011

exteriors and interiors

Hey guys, thanks for all the nice comments on that last post. Funny thing about a blog--I don't know any of you, but you really did make me feel better. I do recognize that this topic has the potential to devolve into some sort of negativity spiral no matter how civil a group we all are (and I do honestly think that I can claim some of the most rational and level-headed readers on the internet--and believe me, I have seen a lot of internets!) so I just decided that the easiest way to keep the peace (we'll call it an NSAID move) is just for me to not talk anymore about the book cover issue beyond what's going on now and what's happening next. But thank you, thank you, THANK YOU all for your wonderful words and support. It has meant a lot, probably more than you know or than I can express.

My book (along with, you know, the front part of the book) was supposed to go to press this week, so obviously there's something of a time crunch in coming up with a new cover. I think we've eked out an extra week to get our affairs in order, but obviously, at this stage, for something this important, two weeks isn't a hell of a lot of time to bounce ideas back and forth. I'm told that they have taken the original designer of my book cover off all her other projects so that she can just work on this, and only this, until we have a satisfactory end product. I have a few ideas myself, but of course, as I mentioned (I think in the comments) I as the author don't actually get final say on what my cover looks like, as it's ultimately more of a marketing decision. But I still have ideas.

Originally, after I heard the news, I started really blue-skying it and came up with a number of ideas--ideas that I still think are pretty cool. (One in particular involved an all red cover with line drawings in white and a sort of copperplate font...well, whatever.) But in the end, I came to the realization that while the new cover had to be different, it probably shouldn't be too different, because I want it to still be instantly recognizable as the same book that it was before. I spent six months building momentum behind the old cover image, I shouldn't have to throw all of that away. Anyway, it's ultimately out of my hands, but I had some ideas, and I e-mailed my editor a couple of Photoshop-generated cover composites, for what little that's worth. Anyway. We'll see.


Hey, so we went back to see that house today! I was a little bit nervous about going back (firstly because I thought I might have romanticized things out of proportion; secondly because it is inhabited by what looks like an older childless couple who have a collection of many many ceramic knick-knacks balanced on top of the skinniest, most delicately balanced display pillars I have ever seen, and we were there with two kids with a penchant for acceleration--never has the term "bull in a china shop" been more accurate) but it was fine. It was more than fine. We're seeing four more houses tomorrow a little closer to our current neighborhood, perhaps more to convince ourselves that we are not rushing into anything more than any actual interest in seeing these other homes. But after that, we may be in the position to make an offer. It may not be the offer than the owners want, and they may well say no. At the very least they will parry back, and we may bat things back and forth for a while, like cats. But after that...well. I'll let you know what happens after that.

Joe and I have often remarked that, considering what boring people we are, we have a lot of exciting things happening to us, and we feel very fortunate that we have so many good people who and interested in coming along for the ride. Endpoints are never certain, but as long as we are in good company, we can have fun on the way there. So thanks for that.


  1. good luck with the house! buying your first house is exciting yet nerve-wracking, kinda like parenthood but without the morning sickness nor labor pains nor dirty diapers.
    there's something about owning your own home though, that makes you feel more rooted & settled - but maybe that's just coming from someone who's been living a semi-nomadic life for the last almost twenty years!

  2. I have gotten a chance to go back and read the comments from the other thread about the house.

    During the "offer" stage, just know that you're allowed to ask for anything you want. Timing that you want (when to close), and even anything inside the house that you would want the sellers to leave behind. Perhaps there's a certain mirror somewhere or a certain fireplace screen or what have you that you can't see the house without - write it into the contract. If there's an extra freezer that is in the basement or something and you want it to stay... write it into the offer's contract. Do you want them to leave the fridge or the washer/dryer set? Write them into the contract.

    Curtains somewhere that you like? A patio set that you like that's currently sitting in the backyard? Yep, those too: in the contract. The worst thing that happens is that they say no. Truly, you can go shopping in their house.

    If and when you guys settle on something and a contract is written, you're off to the races with inspections. It is my opinion that you simply must spend the money on separate inspectors for large systems. For example, you will most certainly have a general inspector for the big picture... all well and good. But I would argue that it is priceless to go the extra mile. Have a roofing expert come and inspect the roof. Have an a/c guy come and inspect the a/c. If there's a pool or something specialized such as that, get a pool company to come and inspect the pool. It will cost a few hundred additional dollars, but the information you will glean is priceless, and the sellers will not be able to deny that there are problems that need to be addressed. (And there will be.)

    After those reports come back and you are armed with the information you need, you will then begin to negotiate over what the sellers will need to do to get the house where you want it. You will be able to either ask them to fix these things, or to knock those estimates off of the price that you've already agreed upon.

    So excited for you guys! 太好了! 很高兴! And all other Mandarin phrases that I can muster for the situation! :)

  3. I am very impressed with the Chinese!

    Thanks for the good advice, we need it.

  4. 谢谢您, 我的上网朋友! 我跟我先生祝你们新家快乐! LOL!

    (Don't know if I can actually say any of that put together! I may have just publicly embarrassed my 中文老师 without meaning to, of course!)

    I've been reading your blog ever since you had just begun medical school, so it's a pleasure to help you in any way! I don't know much about medicine, but about buying and selling houses... well... been there, done that. Made mistakes, learned lessons. The hard way! Very painful. I also have a background in law, so there's that, too.

    As for the 中文...我先生是美国外交官. 我们跟我们两个儿子今年九月去成都中国,所以我跟我先生每天学中文. 我觉得中文很有意思!



    p.s. In your offer/contract, just in case this hasn't come up for whatever reason, make sure that the sellers pay for a year-long home warranty. Also make sure (I don't know Georgia law) that you and Joe can walk away scot-free during the inspection period if something you don't like is found by the inspectors.

    One last thing- you may also wish to have a pest inspection by a pest company during the inspection period. This inspection would cover everything from vermin to wood-destroying insects. The sellers of the last house we bought had lied to us (surprise!) on the Seller's Disclosures when they listed the house as not having had any past pest activity. The pest inspectors we hired found active vermin trapping devices (laid by a pest eradication company the sellers had an active contract with, no less!) in the attic, which forced the sellers to come clean on the house's REAL pest history. Good to know!

    We bought the house anyway, but we wouldn't have if the pest inspection had shown wood-destroying activity, which general inspectors will probably miss. Each and every specialized inspection we paid for above and beyond the general inspection proved highly informative. Oh, the stories I could tell...