Sunday Afternoon 9/20/2015


Thirty-seven years ago on this date I finished up over 27 hours of labor, and was so exhausted I didn’t even bother to ask if I’d had a boy or a girl! We have been blessed and privileged beyond measure to raise our beautiful boy and watch him grow into an absolutely wonderful husband, father and human being. We’re so excited that he and his family will be visiting us at Christmas. Happy birthday, M!

And, what a difference a couple of days make. Sadly, it looks like we are going to back out of buying the house we were so happy with last week. When we made our offer on it we were under the impression that the seller had already started the VA CPR approval process on the property. We learned late Friday afternoon that they have done nothing, and were expecting us to do the work for the approval even though it is their responsibility. Our loan officer was not happy that the CPR was not already VA approved nor had the approval process even been started. The seller was pushing us to apply for our mortgage loan within three days of the contract being signed, but the approval process can take anywhere from 45 – 90 days, way too long of a time for a mortgage loan to be sitting around and waiting (and the VA might not even grant approval). We also haven’t received the seller’s disclosure list, and are more than a little concerned that it hasn’t been forthcoming, and no mention made of it either. Although the seller has ten days to provide the disclosures, it’s been our experience that a buyer should get the report sooner rather than later, and the longer it’s taking the more uncomfortable we are. Anyway, it appears for now that we’ll go back to looking for something else, although for now there is nothing else.

Otherwise, this afternoon I am:

  • Reading: I am thoroughly enjoying Seabiscuit once again. It’s just as exciting and interesting the third time as it was the first and the second.
  • Listening to: It was rather noisy a short while ago with some wind ripping through the palm trees and a strong rain falling, but that’s passed and now the birds are chirping again and a nice breeze is blowing. Everyone here at Casa Aloha is either studying or reading so it’s fairly quiet inside too.
  • Watching: Same old, same old: We’re still working our way through Lewis and Midsomer Murders. I greatly appreciate all the suggestions you’ve been giving us for new shows to watch, although many of them we’ve seen already (great minds think alike and all that). One of these days we’ll find something new that will catch our fancy.
  • Cooking/baking: We’ve been cleaning out the fridge and pantry in anticipation of this coming week’s big food shop, and we’ve been having lots of “interesting” meals lately. Brett made waffles this morning, and tonight we’re having breakfast again for dinner with bacon, eggs, English muffins and fresh mango and papaya. I’m hoping YaYu will bake a cake today, but so far she won’t commit.
  • Happy I accomplished this week: I don’t think I accomplished much of anything this week other than changing the blog theme.  It was an uneventful week other than a ton of house and loan paperwork, which was both exciting and stressful and took up a lot of our time (and now will be for nothing).
  • Looking forward to: Brett leaves for his mainland trip on Tuesday, to meet up with his sister and Meiling, and to get Meiling moved into her dorm. I’m looking forward to hearing how that all goes, as well as hearing from Meiling about her first impressions of college life. I’m also looking forward (and somewhat dreading) the monthly Costco shop-athon on Wednesday. I’ll be doing it on my own this time, and likewise with the farmers’ market shopping later that afternoon.
  • Grateful for: I’ve been feeling very thankful these last few days that I know how to cook, and am not afraid to go beyond the safety of a recipe. We have a somewhat strange collection of odds and ends right now that need using up, and I’ve been able to pull things together and use what we have on hand to make some great dinners the past few days, without having to make any trips to the store (same for Brett with the girls’ breakfasts and lunches).
  • Bonus question: Do you consider yourself to be artistic? NO. I can barely draw a stick figure, and even those are questionable. I’m more of a technician and can do some crafty-type things, or an “after market” artist: I’m good at arranging items or coordinating colors, things like that. I was considered very “artsy” by my family when I was growing up, but that had more to do with my constant attempts to arrange and decorate our house rather than having the ability to create anything original.

Hope everyone is having a great Sunday afternoon!

11 thoughts on “Sunday Afternoon 9/20/2015

  1. Vivian says:

    I took a painting course over 30 years ago. I finished one painting. My “blue” sky came out purple, my buildings were childlike and the only good thing was my unicorn. So not much on the artistic side but it was fun to try.

    Sorry to hear about your house, but that’s how it always is. Someone wants you to do all the work. When one door closes another opens. Good luck


    • Laura says:

      I would probably get the color OK in that painting, but you definitely would have trouble knowing I had painted a unicorn! I’m that bad.

      We’re sad about the house because we genuinely like it, but it’s just not meant to be.


  2. Libby says:

    I’m thinking about you doing the big monthly shop and then hauling all those bags up the stairs….hope you have a restful treat in mind after all is put away!

    If I’m remembering correctly when you were selling your house in Portland….how the situation with the first buyer was one hurdle after another….and how easy the transaction was with the second buyer. I think when the right house/condo/pup tent comes up, the transaction will be easy for you.

    Hope M. LOVES college!


    • Laura says:

      You hit the nail on the head with the monthly shop-althon: getting everything up the stairs. Brett usually handles that while I unpack and put things away, but I will be the one getting the extra exercise this month. I am dreading it, to be honest.

      We are definitely looking to avoid as much drama as possible, and right now this deal is looking like it will come with way to much. The right house WILL come along!


  3. Moonwaves says:

    I don’t know if someone has suggested this already and you might not be into the kind of action drama that it is but I discovered The Last Ship a few weeks ago and enjoyed making my way through the two series they’ve already made. A third series has been commissioned and the second ended on a suitable cliffhanger. Given your navy background, I thought it might be interesting for you – even if just to watch it looking out for things that would just never actually happen. That can be kind of fun sometimes. Basic plot is that a deadly virus wipes out most of the population and one navy ship that was on assignment in the arctic (along with the only scientists who can potentially find the cure) survivies and comes back to a changed world. It even has Russian baddies in the first series, which kind of amused me. Sort of a throw-back to the 80s, I suppose. Oh, speaking of which, have you watched The Americans? That’s very good.


    • Laura says:

      Thank you for these suggestions! The Last Ship sounds very interesting – we will definitely check it out! We love anything navy-related. Brett loves finding things that are “wrong.” We’ll also investigate The Americans!


  4. Denise O'Wesney says:

    I’m a little confused about the VA process. Maybe you can write a blog post about it. Do some people get their home VA approved before even listing it for sale? I just sold a house and never even thought about VA-related issues. Had a buyer wanted to use a VA loan I guess I would have either went through the process, or declined the offer in favor of one that required less hoops to jump through. Unless it is typical in Hawaii for people to have VA approval before listing their home, I’m not understanding why the long timeframe for an approval is an issue or unexpected on your end (assuming the buyers would start the process and not make you do it).


    • Laura says:

      There really isn’t a “process” with the VA, but since the loan is backed by the government, there are extra safeguards in place to protect both the veteran AND the public. Condos require an extra layer of scrutiny, and since the house we were looking at is a CPR (for Condominium Property Regimen) the VA needs to make sure everything about it is above-board and legal. We wouldn’t have a HOA, for example, but we would share a driveway with the other house on the lot and all the bells and whistles about that set up need to be checked and approved by the VA legal team to make sure there are no problems down the road that could affect the loan or the government’s stake in it. It is the seller’s responsibility to make sure the property has been approved by the VA before offering the property to someone who will use VA financing. The long time frame for approval here in Hawai’i is because there is just one person over in Honolulu doing the approvals. Our request would go to the bottom of the pile, and could take up to 90 days depending on how much is already in the stack (and there are LOTS of condos constantly going up on Oahu alone that are applying for approval).

      It’s a lot less hassle with a house – no pre-approval from the VA is needed – but the house has to pass a separate inspection by the VA; that is, there can be no serious issues with the house. Again, the VA is protecting the public’s and the veteran’s investment. So, sometimes sellers refuse to accept VA financing just because they just don’t want to go through that extra inspection. When we bought our first home, all was well and going nicely with the deal until the VA inspector failed the roof on the north side of the house. The seller refused to do the repair, and the deal could have collapsed, but we swallowed hard, and went ahead and paid for the new back roof even though we had not closed and did not own the house yet. It was a risk, but we wanted the house. The new roof passed inspection and we closed with no other problems – the risk paid off. But that might be a risk someone else wouldn’t be willing to take.

      Finally, because the veteran can also go “no money down” (the down payment is actually rolled into the loan), the VA is also a bit tighter on the buyer’s creditworthiness, although they do allow a higher Debt-To-Income ratio than a conventional loan would. And the seller has to pay for certain items at closing versus assigning those things to the buyer, and some sellers don’t want to do that.


  5. Denise says:

    After a long, hot day of looking at condos with my son yesterday, I’m learning the real estate game has really changed since I bought my last house.

    First off, if you want people to make an offer, they are going to want to see your property. One owner only allowed showings on Mondays between 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. Another wanted a written OFFER before allowing you to see the property. Huh, what?!?!?

    Second, whatever happened to having the property ready to show? Vacant properties that are musty and dirty, people who don’t even go outside when you’re awkwardly trying to look in their kitchen? We walked into one condo, spent 30 seconds, and left. Unbelievable.

    Thankfully, we found a perfect one for him, and made an offer last night. It is a short sale, so it may take longer to go through, but it’s a good deal in a nice neighborhood. And even though the sellers were there – and told us they’re separating (really, why?????), they were super nice and very helpful.

    I know the right property will come along at the right time for you, so don’t get discouraged. It’s such a weird game and it feels like you don’t know all the rules, but are thrown into the middle. Hang on!


    • Laura says:

      I so agree it’s a whole new world out there when it comes to real estate. And Hawai’i just adds a whole ‘nother layer to it!! It’s still early days for us – the right property will come up.


  6. Kris says:

    You are dealing with Hawaii pace and Hawaii time. There is no urgency to get it done like you see on the mainland. If it requires too much effort, forget it. Odd for a place that is so expensive to live you would think people would race around to get things done. I’m glad there are extra protections for the loan you are getting. It’s odd how some homes are built on properties, when done wrong you can completely cut a person off from being able to access their own home.


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