Tuesday, April 28, 2009

It is here

Last night we completed our pre-closing inspection. The new paint and carpet (bed rooms and stair only, the rest is hardwood) look fantastic. My friend JM joined me on the walk thru. I just love the place. The guy from the developer was so thorough. We had a total of 7 items on the punch. Most were very minor. One item was the shower plumbing in the second upstairs bathroom not being attached to the studs.

I met my attorney today, the first time ever. She was about 14 months preggo. She was a big gruff and boisterous, but really knew her stuff. The closing was pretty painless. Lots of signing, and a hiccup with my name. Evidently some one with my name has some judgments against them. I had to fill out another certification that I am who I say I am, and list all of my addresses over the past 10 years.

Boom. It was then done. I got my keys, my garage door opener. It is now my home.

I am on the train heading home. Will get my parents and show them the new house. I am going to try to set up the internet this afternoon too. YAY!

The movers come tomorrow afternoon. We have lots of final packing to do tonight.

I am working from my new home tomorrow while the gas man comes. I can't wait to get settled.

If you need a recommendation for a real estate attorney or a real estate broker just let me know... I had a great team working with me.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sears can suck it.

I bought a condo. I decided to get a new bed. The bed I have now, I bought when I first moved to Chicago. It is a cheap full size firm mattress. This was great when I was younger. Now that I'm an old man, I need a bit more comfort. I didn't want to spend a ton of money 1) because I don't have it 2) I have a lot of things I want to buy for the new place. I did quite a bit of price comparison online and tried out dozens of mattresses at various stores (Bloomingdale's, Macy's, BedMart, Back to Bed, Bedapalooza, Bedapolis, blah blah blah). I decided to stop by Sears. I bought my last mattress from there and it served me well, why not I thought.

I go in and try out a few mattresses. I find one that I really like. It was more than I wanted to spend $2,200. I know that's not outrageous for a Queen Size Mattress Set, but I didn't allocate this much money on my new home budget. So I tell the guy I'll be back later. Of course, he pressures me to open a Sears card account -- so next time I am back in there to by my full set of Craftsman Tools I guess I'll get another discount.

This salesman was a little...uh...slow. Not Corky Thatcher slow, but "that boy ain't right". He realizes that there are about 3 dozen signs in an envelope that should be on display -- 50%-75% off signs. The bed I wanted was 55% off. What a deal. So I decide to make this purchase -- very excited to get a new bed and maybe, just maybe, sleep through the night just once. I set up the delivery time to be two weeks from the date of purchase (as I intended to be in Orlando the next week).

The delivery was scheduled for yesterday. Of course, this being a customer service oriented company, they call you after 8pm the day before delivery to tell you when they will be by. Remember, I live in a high rise -- 15 stories above the ground. We have 280 units and it is the end of the month -- the freight elevator is booked. I find there is time available after 4pm. I call the lovely people and ask for a later delivery.

Now, I am all for outsourcing -- hell, I just helped outsource a couple people on my team at work. What I cannot stand is when these highly trained customer service people can only read from the script and not think for themselves -- "I hear you Mr. Nickerson and am actively trying to meet your Sears Home Delivery needs." What does that mean?

She says that a delivery time after 4pm is fine -- if something comes up and they cannot deliver it after 4pm I will be called within a few minutes -- if I do not hear from them, everything is fine. That should have been my first indication that this would not work out. I go off to Target for some new home staples -- shower curtains, shower rings, additional towels (three bathrooms is a lot to furnish -- just think of all the shit you need for one!). Around 6:45 I realize I should have heard something about the bed being delivered....nothing. I call them.

Evidently they decided not to deliver the bed. No phone call, nothing. The woman I was speaking with never deviated from the script -- "I am sorry Mr. Nickerson, but we will reschedule the delivery of the mattress for a time that is very inconvenient for you" -- ok, I took some poetic license with that... I ask what I am supposed to do -- she says the only thing I can do is to wait until they deliver. I ask to speak with a supervisor -- SURPRISE -- disconnected. I call back. Of course for them to even talk to you you, you have to give them your Phone Number, Name, Full Mailing Address (including Suite # and 9 digit zip), the exact name of the item(s) you ordered (Mattress Set-- doesn't fly. You have to say "3 Piece Queen Mattress set: Mattress, Foundation and Frame"). I wait for 35 minutes on hold -- FUMING. I call from another phone in the house and just lay into the guy who answers. After 12 minutes on hold, I get a supervisor -- my first call (now nearly 50 minutes on hold) is still unanswered.

So this supervisor continues with the "I'm sorry Mr. Nickerson" routine -- which I've had just about enough of. The delivery is rescheduled for Monday. What I am to do in the mean time? Sleep on the floor. Mother fucker. I tell the dick on the phone that I don't have the freight elevator on Monday -- the delivery guys will have to carry the mattress up 15 flights of stairs. The supervisor says that will not be a problem, they will do that. Sure they will. Any bet, they will use the passenger elevator, resulting in me getting a fine? or if they do carry it up the stairs, they will ding the hell out of the mattress and I'll have to get another one?

So I go to Sears.com and write a complaint letter -- what else would I do? I get a response just a few minutes later saying "I'm sorry, but if you didn't order this on Sears.com you can't complain via this medium. You have to go to the store and complain to the sales clerk who rung you up". Bull shit. Granted, he's no Corky Thatcher, but he'll just stare at me. FIX THIS PROBLEM.

Next I go to my complaint letter file on my portable hard drive -- yes I do keep all the complaint and congrats letters I send in archive. What do I find -- a letter to Sears dated July 2001. The delivery folks fucked up that bed delivery too. Ok -- so I guess I should have checked my records and realized that Sears is full of a bunch of fuck ups who can't deliver mattresses without making my blood pressure spike.

So, here's to you Sears -- You can suck my left nut. I hope you're market share continues its negative turn and you will follow the other store who specialize in shitty service into the deep dark caverns of corporate bankruptcy. I feel for your employees, losing their jobs in this economy, but if just a few more of them acted like Corky Thatcher and provided mildly acceptable customer service, you wouldn't be in this mess. Here is to your demise, Sears, may it be long and painful...but only after I sleep a few nights on my new mattress -- if it is no good, I'm going to drag it back down to State Street and shove it up your ass.

Good night and good luck.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sheridan, et al

First off, no one told me the condo floor plan didn't post... here it is


Secondly, I went to Sheridan yesterday. I had a lead on a guy who wanted to buy my dad's truck. After my uncle (Crazy Uncle Tom, who will forever be known as CUT) fixed the brakes, we drove to find the buyer. One thing I hate about my dad's friends here -- no one ever calls before they go visit someone. They just drive for 30 minutes, get there and find out he's not there. They ask around as to where he is and as if they are a slightly retarded Sherlock Holmes they follow every possible lead: "He's at my brother's house" - NOPE; "He's up by the Flag (which in Sheridan is a US Flag painted on the water tower...)" - NOPE; "He's at the machine shop" - NOPE; "Oh, he's back at home" - NOPE; "Did you try..." ARGH!
We decide to cut our losses and go back to Mac. We get to Lumberman's (Evans & 99) the phone rings -- it's the buyer. He's actually at home now and wants us to come back so he can see the truck. We turn around and head back to Sheridan. For those who don't know the geography here, Sheridan is only about 15 miles from Mac -- open highway driving -- but it seems like it takes about 45 years to get there. Anyway, long story short (and long day even longer) we sold the truck for a reasonable price and headed back to Mac. The buyer will take delivery on Monday.
As I was leaning on the bed of the many pick-up trucks chatting with the locals yesterday, I felt very relaxed. The weather was beautiful, was completely out of control (CUT was driving, so I couldn't leave if I wanted to) -- I was just being. Even though I almost loathe CUT, it wasn't a totally miserable time. He's trying to help my dad out -- and once we move, I'll probably never see him again. There is a slight chance that when I come back to visit friends in Oregon, I might swing by and see him, but it's pretty bloody unlikely. If I happen to be here when we have the "Family Get Together" (we don't call it a reunion, my guess is that CUT couldn't spell Reunion on the sign he spray painted, but that's just me), I might stop by.
Today, I am off to do some wine tasting with JLPB and AFB. I don't think I've seen these two since Christmas (briefly). Perhaps I saw JLPB in February, but it doesn't ring a Bell (ha). Nothing too wild this evening, should be a fun diversion.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Closing Time...

So I got the date confirmed for my close -- 4/28/2009 11:30am. We are all set. I've got my homeowners insurance in place, the movers are coming on 4/29/2009. The gas man is coming on the 29, the cable Internet guy is coming that day too. I can't wait to move into the new place. I have a ton of stuff to do, but I'm super excited.

Also, my parents are coming back to Chicago with me on Thursday to live.

It has been a long day, with sleepless nights. I need to sleep.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Condo and Portland

My closing is scheduled for April 30. The day that my lease is up. The seller doesn't think they will be ready to close by then. I sure hope so, if not I am fucked. My apartment building is being nice enough to allow me to move out on 5/1. Here's hoping nothing goes wrong with the closing. I don't have a contingency plan. Maybe I should think about one.

This reminds me of my trips to ORD. How I always arrive just in time, I feel like this is how the closing is going to go. Let's hope we can push them for a slightly earlier close date.

Speaking of airports, I am off to Portland tonight. Last minute emergency trip. I will be in PDX for about 8 days. Not sure what to think of this. At least it will allow me to save money.

Since I am in town for so long, I hope I can see the people I have missed the past few times.

I did get my upgrade on this flight, and UAL has a promotion where I earn double elite qualifying miles... Not too shabby.

Door closing. Talk when we land.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I'm a homo homeowner

So, I bought a condo. I have been working with Chuck Heaver for a little over a year now. Chuck has really helped me find the places that I wanted to live. He and I had found some pretty shitty places too. Of the 20-30 places he and I saw, I found probably 3 or 4 that I could consider making an offer on.
On March 7, 2009, Chuck and I went out for a final look at places. I had 3 places on the list that day (of 7 places) that I really REALLY wanted to see. The second to last place we stopped by to see was a Duplex Up (two story condo, with the main story below the secondary story -- bedrooms on the second floor). Many places in Chicago are Duplex Downs (the lower floor has the bedrooms). The building we saw was a newly constructed building, the unit we viewed was a three bedroom/three bathroom duplex. No one had lived in the condo before. The first floor contains the living, dining and kitchen along with a bedroom and a bathroom. Upstairs contains the master bed/master bath and a third bedroom with an en suite bath. The unit has doors to the common hallways on both the main and secondary floor (the unit is on the 3rd and 4th floor of the building).
The building has an elevator -- so when my dad is visiting (or living) and he can't walk up the stairs, he can go to the common hallway and take the elevator up to his bedroom. This place meets all of my crazy needs in a condo. My parents will take both rooms upstairs, so when I have people over I can tell them to go upstairs and leave me alone.
The whole process was such a crazy experience. I usually try to be very knowledgable, a resource, during highly techinical time -- during this endeavor, I was totally out of the loop. I had no idea as to the next step. Every time I turned around the mortgage broker or the seller needed more information -- I thought we'd never get to the point where we are now.
Although I don't have my closing date set, we should have it set tomorrow. The mortgage is set to be funded as soon as I want. I've attached pictures below as well as the floor plan.
The worst part about it -- now that I am so ready to go forward, I will be out of town from Saturday through Thursday -- which is why we are shooting for a week from Friday close date.
How crazy! I'm so excited though.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Too Many Excuses

I find myself with a large book of excuses at my disposal. I can find an excuse for me not to do a lot of things. Sometimes these excuses are really good, but most of the time a rational person would laugh and say I am just making up a reason to feel better about it.

I have a million and a half excuses as to why I don't go to the gym. Sometimes they are as lame as "there is a repeat of a Frasier that I haven't seen". Come on! Although I do enjoy that show, it is just a TV show. Last night I went to the gym. I spend 25 minutes doing cardio. Nothing extreme, but it was enough to get me moving. I feel good about it too. I am going to an architecture lecture tonight, so I doubt I will continue the work out tonight, but I hope to.

I come up with excuses for other things too. My favorite things to "excuse my way out of" are : eating a healthy meal, getting up on time, going to bed on time and cleaning the house. No one wants to do these things I am sure, but I just feel like shit when I don't. Seems like it would be pretty easy to do those things and then feel better. This is where my lists come in. With a list I am more likely to do these things. Yes, I do out "eat a healthy meal" on my list. I know, I am crazy.

People often say that I have a lot of stress now, with family stuff, work stuff, etc. But we all have stressors but the important thing is how we deal with said stressors... And starting yesterday TV and Slothfulness will not be my answer.