12-5-17 Wherein Fred & Robyn sell Crooked Acres, part 2

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Update: The cats are starting to get restless. I got three hours of sleep Sunday night/Monday morning because Khal started howling around 3 am and would NOT shut his big floofy face. He quieted down around the time I got up for the day, of course, and spent the day snoozing happily. I’m sure he was conserving energy to do it all over again.

I took the day off from unpacking yesterday to get groceries and run errands (and Alton, yes – if you saw a green Kia Soul with a “Cat Lady” magnet in Huntsville Saturday mid-morning, chances are good it was us. We made a trip to Lowe’s to buy odds and ends, and that’s the time we were out and about!) At this point we’re probably 75% unpacked, but the rest of it is going to be slow going because Fred’s back to work and I am SO TIRED. With the kitchen and bedrooms unpacked, we can function well enough, so I’m not going to stress about it.


See yesterday’s post for part 1.


*A look back through my email shows that we got the offer on or about September 7th. And it was a decent offer – asking price, but with the tractor thrown in. (The tractor was not part of the sale price, but we were willing to include it.) The buyers – SHALL WE call them Jack and Jill Wagon? Oh, let’s. The Wagons wanted to close on October 27th. And we had no place to live! We’d seen a ton of houses over the summer, some of them we liked quite a bit, but we’d stopped looking at houses several weeks previously because we just knew we weren’t going to sell the house this year. So there was a flurry of looking at houses. We looked at something like 10 houses one Friday, and the first two houses we looked at sent me into a depression because they were just not what we wanted. But the houses improved as the day went on, and by the end of the day we had seen four houses that we liked quite a bit – the last house being the house we fell in love with.


*There was a Homeowner’s Association (HOA) in that neighborhood. And they had pretty strict rules about what you could do in your yard. The fence around the back yard of this house was three or four feet tall, and the cat fencing we’d have had to put on the fence would have shown above the top, and the HOA wasn’t going to allow that.

*If you’re Facebook friends with Fred, the first time he ranted about HOAs was at this point. Because I ADORED this house – we both did, it was our dream house – and there was just no way to make it work.

*So we kept looking. Fred really liked a house in Southeast Huntsville, I REALLY liked a house in the Monrovia area of Huntsville. We were going to go look at the house in Huntsville one more time, when Fred caved and decided we should make an offer on the Monrovia house. It was a great house, had a WONDERFUL (already fenced in) back yard, had a field with cows on one side and behind it (it was at the end of a road, so neighbors across the street and on the side), had a heated and cooled sunroom, a basement that was perfect for Fred’s office, and a great master bedroom. We made the offer, it was countered, and we accepted. (Or maybe we countered and then it was accepted, it’s been a couple of months and a lot has happened.) Here are some pictures of it.

Back yard. It’s bigger than it looks in this picture.

Sunroom (top) and a storage area below – perfect for houses where the cats could sit on cold or rainy days if they wanted to be outside.

The sunroom.


*The home inspection happened on our house. It’s been our experience that detailed home inspections by home inspectors who know what they’re doing take 3 – 4 hours. This home inspector (who was chosen by Jack and Jill Wagon or their realtor who we’ll call… um. Unprofessional Jerk is probably too on-the-nose. Let’s call her Pat.) took about an hour and didn’t find any big issues. They’d requested a radon test, and so the home inspector left the test. It was generally accepted by everyone involved that there’d be no issue with the radon, that it was just a formality.

*Spoiler: there was an issue with the radon.

*The EPA suggests that a radon reading of more than 4.0 requires a mitigation system. Our radon was at 4.7. Fred talked to two specialists, who were certain that since the vents under our house had been closed off at some point in the past combined with the fact that there was a hand-dug, uncapped well under the house, it was no wonder the radon level was high. They both suggested that we open the vents and seal the well, and repeat the test. If it was still elevated, then go ahead with putting in a full system. When our realtor asked if that would be acceptable, Pat the Unprofessional flipped her lid and acted like we were attempting murder. “It’s called ‘Do The Right Thing'” Unprofessional Pat said in an email, “the buyers want it MITIGATED.” Apparently brilliantly unprofessional Pat was unable to understand that we were trying to mitigate it in the way recommended by actual professionals. A couple of days later, we got a late evening call that the appraiser would be at Crooked Acres the next morning to, y’know, do the appraisal.

*In the meantime, we had a home inspection done on the Monrovia house. There were no big issues, we requested that the seller fix a fairly short list of things, she responded by having a handyman out to the house to give her an estimation of what the repairs would cost. She wanted to just give us the money at closing and let us take care of having the repairs done ourselves. While we were debating whether we wanted to accept that, sitting in the kitten room one mid-September Saturday, the phone rang. It was our realtor.

*Jack and Jill Wagon wanted out. Due to the asbestos in the house siding (which they knew about and specifically excluded in the initial contract) and the radon issue, they “could never be comfortable living here.”

*A month and a half later, I still have a hard time typing that without ROLLING MY EYES.

*I’m not going to go through the step-by-step boring minutiae of the back-and-forth between our realtor, Unprofessional Pat, her broker, and Jack Wagon and his wife Jill, but I will tell you this: there’s not a single person on their side of the equation who didn’t expect us to feel sorry for them. I’m not unsympathetic to their personal issues, but when you act like THAT and it messes with my life, I have a hard time dredging up too many tears for you.

*So, the house sale fell through. Which meant that our purchase of the house in Monrovia also fell through. The house was officially off the market. We were going to put it back on the market in April 2018. We were going to relax. I was a few weeks away from my annual trip to Myrtle Beach, which I was looking forward to in a BIG way. I hadn’t gone to Maine over the summer because I didn’t want Fred to have to deal with the whole selling-the-house thing on his own. Also, I had hoped that the house would sell quickly and we might end up moving over the summer; if I’d known how the summer would actually go, I probably would have just gone ahead and made a quick trip to Maine.

*FYI, we did open the vents under the house and had the well capped, then had another radon test performed, and it was 0.7, well within the safety standards.

*Life went back to a more relaxed state, since we didn’t have to worry about the house being ready to be shown at any moment.


*The phone rang. It was our realtor. Someone wanted to see the house.

To be continued tomorrow.

Random picture of Belle and the Beasts.


“Cool story, bro. There gonna be a sink in this new house?”


2016: “Am sleepy, lady. You go ‘way.”
2015: No entry.
2014: This is Archie.
2013: The Sopranos, 3 months old.
2012: Dandelion went off to her new home just fine.
2011: SO stressed.
2010: No entry.
2009: No entry.
2008: Every time I look at him, I want to squeeze the stuffing out of him.
2007: “We should do Stinky,” Fred said.
2006: I’m telling y’all, this is the MOST mellow cat I’ve ever seen in my life.
2005: No entry.



12-5-17 Wherein Fred & Robyn sell Crooked Acres, part 2 — 31 Comments

      • So that means, assuming you drove that Kia full of cats (AKA Robyn’s Clowdermobile) straight from the old house to the new, that you enjoyed at least a full hour of “cat song.” True? not true? only one or two howling? We look forward to the details!

  1. Oh that exhausted me just reading it.. can’t imagine going through it..
    Way back, some 20 years ago when radon first starting being ‘a thing’ we participated in a survey/test/whatever thingie where they would put sensors on each level of the house for three months and then use the results for an official government report, oh and just for funsies, they’d let us know what our radon levels were. They wanted lots of different kinds of houses and ours fit the category of no basement, on a slab, two floors, non usable/stand-in-able attic, and probably a few other really specific things I’m forgetting because it’s been like 20 freaking years and I don’t think cracked floor, exposed heater practically in the living room were part of it… And there were a gazillion rules and regs with these sensors like if you paint, put them in a ziplock in a drawer and put them back out when the paint dried. And the lady did some painstaking installing of said sensors by way of sticking them to the wall with a big ol’ hunk of masking tape! Right in the middle of the living room downstairs and in the hall upstairs, you know, high traffic areas where having a big weird plastic thingie stuck to your wall with masking tape would be unobtrusive during formal family parties and such. but I digress.. As you said, they didn’t want it to be over 4.0 and if it were over 10 they’d practically come E.T. up your house with plastic and probably show up in the kind of space suits the CDA in Monsters Inc. used. Get to the point already, right? Ok, so after 3 or was it 6 months of sensing, they sent us a complicated series of wrappings, bags and boxes in which to send back the sensors and would, in a year or so, when you’ve completely forgotten about even being in the survey, give you your results. In the meantime, if your levels were over 10 (or over 50 as we heard one house in our area was) then you’d probably be dead, or moved by then. Got the results about a year, year and a half later and our number was 0.0004. Leaky windows and cracked floors are good for something! Because the least thing we are likely to die from here is radon!
    Apparently testing has improved over the last 20 years if you got it in one day! Lucky you!
    Oh, and one more thing because this comment isn’t nearly long enough! Greg’s mother bought us a radon sensor (I know!) because she was convinced by the panic they were creating about radon back then, that we were all going to die from it. Did you know that if you back a car up near the front door and leave said door open (screen closed to keep the kitties in) and leave the car run to warm up, that a radon sensor will freak the hell out and SCREAM at you to abandon your home if you want to live!!! Fun times..

    That sun room, by the way, is awesome! and probably would have been a cat heaven! Ok, I’m done with this part, can you post the next part because your cliffhangers are killing me! 😉

      • I found it interesting, too! The very first house we looked at – the one where we met the realtor – had a radon issue. They’d actually had a mitigation system put in place, but it was still an issue. I think we were all better off before radon became a “thing”! 😉

    • It may have been long but I found it very interesting and humorous. My brother, about 10 years ago, was harping on me and my husband because our sump pump doesn’t have a tight seal and OH MY GOODNESS we were just asking for trouble with radon. He and my other brothers were over for a UFC fight night which lasts about 3 hours and that whole time he’d circle back to how important it was to get tested for it and so on and so forth. Yeah, we never did get a test so I have no idea what our levels are. LOL

      • A lot of people forget that caring becomes busybodying after a while, and at that point, it’s insulting and rude. I’ve never gone wrong by keeping my trap shut about other people’s houses. Now — pets and children — if I see something wrong where I think they’re in danger, I’ll say something — once. If I am rebuffed, I will leave it alone.

  2. I love the cliffhangers too! But oh, the days are so long waiting for the next installment!

  3. I can empathize with your home inspection woes. When we were selling our house in Florida the inspector convinced the buyers that the house was infested with rats (not mice – rats). He based this on the fact that there was a rat trap in the attic and some petrified rat droppings. You would think that common sense would tell you that a) if you cannot find FRESH droppings and b) the 4 cats in the house aren’t going ballistic that there isn’t a problem. Then he found some termites in the decorative wood on the front of the house and they wanted the house fumigated as in totally wrap it is tarps and set off the bombs. We were dealing with this while we were on vacation in Wisconsin and the cats were still in the house. A day later we get a call that they wanted out of the contract and their escrow back. GOOD RIDDANCE! So we took the house off the market until we got home. It sold for almost our asking price the day it went back on to a WONDERFUL family who loved everything about the house. This was in the time of Pokémon. Since your couldn’t find the cards in Florida, I ended up doing Christmas shopping for the mother up here where the cards were readily available. Then the following summer when the house flooded due to a hurricane, I had to send information about where I had bought the carpets and the colors because they wanted to replace it with what I had because they loved the way I had decorated the house. Guess it is true that “Good things come to those that wait.”

  4. Oh, my, what an ordeal!! While empathizing with the trials, sure enjoying your description of it all, and you are very gifted at cliffhangers!
    I hope Khal slept better the next night…
    Thanks so much for bringing us all up to date.

    • I only heard him once, around 3 am (what is it about that time?!), and he only meowed a couple of times before giving up. Hopefully he’s acclimating to his new surroundings and the new schedule!

  5. Hey! You’re gonna have to give us more than one random cutsey shot of Belle and her Beasts, and a cheesecake photo of Archie to make up for the epic cliffhanger!!!

    Lol Khal. Yep. Timing, she is everything.

  6. Hey! My name is Pat!

    Some realtors are so stupid it just amazes me. You were much better off selling to someone else. Anyone who is that much of a pain in the purchase process will continue to be a pain after. Yes, unfortunately I know this from experience.

  7. I was worried that you had not been able to corral Khai but am now relieved. Cannot help thinking of him still as FancypantsV.2

  8. “Shall we call them Jack and Jill Wagon?” That is Hil-AR-ious! Can’t believe I’m the first to comment on that!

    Awaiting Part 3 with bated breath…

  9. Cliffhangers are killing me! Augh!

    The “house that got away” was really nice. Sad. I liked that it isn’t a two-story (old knees, ya know).

  10. Cool story, sis. But Part Trois better be the finale! (Just kidding. I’ll happily read Part X.) Sorry to hear about Khal’s new interest in music making, though…

  11. I swear house selling is grounds for homicide. I mean, of course not, that would be awful. And illegal. And wrong. But damn if it isn’t the most stressful thing. And don’t get me started on realtors…

  12. Oh my, I feel your pain! We sold a house in a market so hot we had to give a closing time on accepting offers, and we got *7* of them, all at or above asking price! We accepted an all-cash offer, even though I really wanted to sell to a family trying to get into their first house. But even though the cash people assured us they’d be “gentle” on the inspection, they pulled out over an alleged pipe break in the front yard. We asked the plumbers who inspected it how bad it was, and they told us they’d assured the potential buyers it was so minor it didn’t really need fixing, but would only cost $500 to fix in any case. So when we offered it again, the only buyer who hadn’t moved on was the lovely family! They’re now happily in their first house. Sometimes the universe watches out for the right people!

  13. I got your card today!! It’s wonderful…just wonderful. I’m so glad that was your photo choice!

  14. Robyn! I am THOROUGHLY enjoying this! You tell the best stories, and now I can’t wait to read the rest of it! Also, the captions on the Anderson Kitty pics KILL ME. Love it!!!