I met with a mortgage loan officer after I got the check, followed his advice. I had some debt that needed paying off, so he told me to pay it off, then just sit about 45 days while my credit score adjusted. Then I could apply. I did all that, and was easily pre-approved for the amount I wanted to look for ($200,000). I didn't want to spend that much, but at least that way, I had options. The upshot is, I bought a house, and bought it in the price range I had hoped to stay in. I've heard stories from folks about their difficult journeys to home ownership, but I have to say, I found the process super easy. I got pre-approved, I had a realtor ready to help me look, we looked at a bunch of houses, I found one I liked, put an offer on it, the offer was accepted, and the house appraised for a little over what I paid. There was a little bit of back and forth after the inspection, but overall, the process was as easy as could be. (I'm sure it helps I have one income, I'm paid once a month, and I borrowed from my credit union, so they had ready access to my accounts. The only paperwork I had to supply to them was last year's W2 and one pay stub.)
I asked for a longer closing (since I have a lease until the middle of February,and I wanted to minimize double payments), so I spent a lot of time waiting, while things happened behind the scenes. There was no issue with the underwriting, so this past Monday, realtor-extraordinaire Sondra and I went up to Round Rock (after we had a lovely lunch) and I signed a bunch of papers. My credit union had set it up so that I had to sign my full name, something I never do, and there were times when I had to look to make sure I had spelled my middle name correctly. After signing a bunch of papers, we sat and twiddled our thumbs for about 45 minutes while the funding went through, and I walked out of there with keys.
Now there's the process of moving in, and that may take a little while. I need to paint the house, I want to get a quote to see if I can get the carpet ripped up and replaced with hardwood, I need to buy some furniture. I did buy some appliances Monday night (a fridge and a washer/dryer). I need to get the back of the property re-graded, that will be a big expense (but very necessary to prevent needing foundation work in the nearish future). There are popcorn ceilings, and I want to get those removed (meeting with someone on Saturday about that). And I need some new furniture. Plus things like I need a hose for the backyard, I likely need a new thermostat. I need to get the insulation in the attic done, so I'm going to get an energy audit done (note to sell, call about that today). I want to be living out of the house before Christmas, even if all my stuff isn't fully moved over yet.
The other big change, not nearly as pleasant, was the death of my cat Ginger. Ginger had a checkup end of September, and as best we could tell, was healthy. She started losing weight and wasn't eating, so I took her in, and at first, we thought she had pancreatitis. Right about that time, I went up to Toronto for the World Fantasy Convention. It appeared Ginger was feeling better with treatment, and eating, so a friend volunteered to catsit Ginger at her house. Then things went south. Ginger refused to eat and was throwing up, so Diane took her to an emergency vet. They did an ultrasound, and found a large mass in her intestine. It was almost completely blocking, which is why she was throwing up. The only real option was surgery. They had done a needle biopsy of the tumor and the results were inconclusive. By the time I came back from Toronto, we agreed to do the surgery to remove the tumor. There was some delay, because her blood pressure kept dropping, but the surgery went off pretty well, and I thought I'd be bringing her home a few days later. She seemed to be recovering pretty well, then the morning I thought I'd bring her home, she got sick pretty quickly. The best guess is her belly had gone septic, and the only real way to find out was another surgery, which she probably would not survive. I couldn't put her through that, so after spending some really good quality time with her (with her purring nonstop), we had to help her along, and say goodbye.
Not quite how I had envisioned things going. Ginger was 13, so elderly, although not all that old. Until just the last few weeks of her life, she enjoyed excellent health. The pathology report did come back showing she had lymphoma. Ginger was on regular steroids for asthma, and my vet said it's possible she'd had the cancer for quite some time and the steroids she was on was keeping it at bay. I had a cat who died in 2008 from lymphoma and he did really well for a year and a half with treatment, which was mostly a steroid, plus leukeran. Ginger didn't exhibit any signs of cancer until just the very end, so I don't see how we could have caught it any sooner. It's not the thing to do to get an ultrasound on a seemingly-healthy cat. Losing her so (apparently) quickly has been hard on me. It seemed so unexpected. Knowing she had cancer has helped, she was sick, this wasn't something I could have prevented. I am glad she wasn't sick for a long time. If I had known of course we could have tried different treatment options, but lymphoma is a pretty diffuse cancer, it can spread quite quickly. Sam did really well on treatment for a year and a half, and the end came fairly quickly for him, with the cancer spreading to the point where he had several seizures (including one on the day I said goodbye to him). I'm glad Ginger didn't go through that.
Ginger was such a sweet, easy cat. She and Charlie were good buds, had been together their whole lives. Ginger loved being snuggled, loved belly rubs, loved being held and smooched. Charlie is also a very sweet cat, but a very different cat from Ginger, far more independent, doesn't like being held. We're finding our way, Charlie and I, but I think at times Charlie is lonely. It's the first time in her life (Charlie is 12) that she has ever been alone, and with my schedule lately, she's been alone a lot.
Now that I have closed on the house, I'm considering getting Charlie a companion. I'm thinking maybe an older cat, although of course, kittens are always fun to have around. Charlie is still pretty active, even for 12, so if I do go with an older cat, I'd probably want one who still also has some spunk. Of course, I'm not limited to just getting one cat, although having two low-drama kitties was nice, we were a happy little family. I will have to play that all by ear at this point.