Saturday, October 31, 2009

Reading with Grandma Laura & Football with Grandfather (pa) Dave

I'll sneak this photo in just before we leave. Lincoln is officially warmed up to Grandma Laura and Grandfather Dave. All it took was a book.

Lincoln calls Grandfather Dave "Pa," just like he does Grandpa Doug, so he may be taking away the "Grandfather" title and giving him "Pa." In any event, Lincoln has enjoyed his time with Pa Dave in this classic Ohio fall weather.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Going on vacation

This will be the last post for a while. Jenn is picking up her parents from the airport right now. Tomorrow we're showing our new house to them, and then on Sunday morning we're taking off for our cruise. Lincoln will be getting big-time quality time with his grandparents this week.

On the home front, the seller at Forest Edge agreed to take care of our four biggest concerns following the home inspection. (Not that they were big concerns, but of the concerns that we had, they were at the top of the list, and the most costly.) So they should be addressed while we're gone and shortly thereafter, and the closing ought to proceed as scheduled.

Expect to see photos when we get back.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The weekend is approaching. We're very much looking forward to visiting with Dave and Laura, and I know they're looking forward to their time with Lincoln. Jenn and I are also really ready for our trip.

St. Thomas:
Click for Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands Forecast

St. Maarten:
Click for Juliana Airport, St. Maartin Forecast

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Carving? Not interested...

Carving pumpkins this year was fun for me, but rather anticlimactic for us as a family. Lincoln wasn't terribly interested in what was going on, and he wasn't sure about what I was pulling out of the middle of them.

At one point I said, "I'm scooping out the guts!"

Lincoln responded with, "Guts."

And that was the extent of his interest.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

Funny Baby Boy

Daddy Day last Saturday was lots of fun, except for the crappy performance from Terrell Pryor, Jim Tressell and the rest of the Buckeye offense. But Ohio State doesn't define Daddy Day. I got to see Lincoln feed himself with a spoon first time, we spent some fun time with Grandma Paulette, Grandpa Doug and Great Grandma Gates, we went to the Lyons' Fall Party for a bit, and by the end of the day, Lincoln was pooped out.

On the home front, we settled on an interest rate with our lender and we feel very good about how things shook out. The home inspection on the Forest Edge house is this Wednesday afternoon. The process is in motion for the move. The answers to our prayers have been phenomenal.
I was telling the story that I've told here in previous posts to my 6th Graders last evening at our small group and they were on the edge of their seats during the part about the Forest Edge house selling right before we listed our house ("Aw, that sucks, Mr. Gates!") and the part about the possibility of us not having a home to move into ("Mr. Gates, you would have been homeless!"). We were talking about how when the LORD answers our prayers it ought to increase our faith, and the story seemed fitting for the time, but I had no idea they'd get as into it as they did. We then followed up our Bible study time with a Mario Kart tournament. Our house got really noisy for that part.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pumpkin Patch

We took Lincoln to the Dussel Farm's pumpkin patch yesterday. It's a neat place in Brimfield that's actually owned by a relative of an associate veterinarian with Jenn at Village Veterinary Clinic.
They had all sorts of sizes and shapes of pumpkins & gourds. They also had a kids maze for the little ones to walk through with those crazy inflatables that you often see in people's yards. At first, Lincoln wasn't so sure about it, but he warmed up to things pretty quickly.
Lincoln really got excited about riding in the wagon in between the groupings and piles of pumpkins. We couldn't let him carry any small pumpkins or gourds for very long because he just wanted to throw them.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Our offer was accepted. Hooray! Praise God! Now the process of home inspection and bank stuff can begin, and we ought to have a new address by late November.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Former "Buyer" Released

Things apparently went pretty well with our home inspection. I haven't heard the final report, but when the inspector asks, "Did you put on a new roof? It doesn't look 20 years old at all!" I think that's a good thing. Bridget (our realtor) was there for most of the inspection and said there wasn't anything major found.

The Forest Edge folks officially released their former potential buyer yesterday. These hopeful-buyers had already paid for a home inspection, radon testing & termite inspection. We've found through conversation with the Forest Edge realtor that those folks had a Pre-Approval letter, but that's all they had. They couldn't actually get the financing they needed. This could be our second experience with buying a house only after a previous offer fell through.
Testimony time:

The day we came home from looking at the Forest Edge house we decided to finish the jobs that it would take to list our house. We'd looked at lots of homes over the previous ten months, but this was the first house that excited us. So we got busy pulling the wallpaper in our master bathroom and finishing up all of the little projects that needed done, and de-cluttering the house. We went through Forest Edge on August 12, and then it went "Pending" on August 20. Analogy: the air was let out of the balloon in a big way. But we knew we had to keep plugging away with our house because we didn't want to find another winner only to have to take more time to list our house. So that's what we did.

It was also after Forest Edge went pending that every night before Lincoln went to bed we'd pray for two things:
  1. That God would provide a family to make an offer on our house.
  2. That God would make available a house that would be good for the Gates family as we grow.
We prayed that prayer many days without answer. Then things started moving very quickly on our house and we found what might be God's answer to our prayers. But there were still several unknowns. Our prayers shifted from "Please provide a buyer and a house," to "Give us wisdom as we proceed and help us to accept whatever outcome plays out as Your will for us."

A week and a half ago there were a series of about 7 steps that had to be completed in order, and to this point we're through six of the steps. The only thing left to do is to have the Forest Edge people officially accept our offer (they'd be foolish to do otherwise). After that, there will probably be some small negotiating things, but the major hurdles will be over and hopefully we won't be homeless at the beginning of December.

God is good, and while we don't always receive the answer that we're looking for, we can always look back and see that, provided we are seeking Him, He has our best interest in mind.

Mixed into all of this is the vacation that Jenn and I had planned months ago before this crazy scenario began. Grandma Laura and Grandfather Dave are staying at our current house with Lincoln for the front half of the week, and then he'll stay with Grandma Paulette and Grandpa Doug for the back half of the week. I can't say we're looking forward to leaving Lincoln for a week, but that will be great Grandparent time, especially for the Parkinsons who don't get to see him too often.

I imagine will find out some news today or tomorrow, and I'll share it with you when I receive it.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Home Inspection

Our buyers have scheduled the home inspection for Sunday at 1:00pm. You read that right.

This is one of the hurdles. We've indicated to them that we're not going to pay for any changes that the inspection might reveal. They got everything in the first negotiating process. They'll either have to purchase the house with potentially revealed flaws or void the contract. If it's the former, yahoo! (but still a few more steps in the process)... if it's the latter, everything stops.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wheels in motion...

We can't get too excited at this point because there are some hurdles that we still have to jump... big hurdles. But to this point, nothing less than the hand of God has led us to this point. We're not kidding.

We got an offer on our house on Saturday evening. The realtor for our buyers has been both pushy and aloof, impressive to neither Jenn nor me. The offer was lower than we liked, so we countered. (We covered this in the last post.) So the negotiation continued through Monday with us accepting their counter to our counter. It was a few thousand below what we needed, but we weren't interested in losing this buyer (they're a conventional buyer, not an FHA buyer), and we were close enough for our liking. Our re
altor played a few gymnastics with our numbers allowing us to come away with enough for a down payment on a new house.

Tuesday was a BUSY day. Jenn found out on Monday evening that our Holy Grail had not sold and had been removed from the market. So our realtor called the realtor for our Holy Grail (hereafter referred to as Forest Edge). They reported that they had had a buyer, but that the house went pending on August 20, and they're not sure at this point why the financing hasn't come through. We were informed that the previous contract has expired. (!!!!!) So after a few phone calls and meetings with my banker, we called Forest Edge and offered them their original asking price. We needed to entice them to legally release the former buyer and take our offer. This is the house that we want, and if we are able to buy it, we won't move again until we downsize in 40 years.

In the meantime, we had to inform our buyers that a previous owner of our home had taken his life. We weren't sure how they'd take that info. If you'll recall, a buyer had bailed on our previous homeowner because of this detail, which was what allowed us to get this house for the cost that we did. Some people apparently get spooked by the thought of a death in the house.

Tuesday bled into Wednesday, and communication was nearly dead. You can imagine our mental state: we might lose our buyers over what shouldn't be any big deal causing us to lose the opportunity to get the house by which we judged all other houses. It would make sense that our buyers would want to proceed quickly (they're eligible for the New Home Buyer's $8,000 tax credit, provided they close before Nov. 30), but you never know with new home buyers. The lack of a ringing cell phone was painful. The last time we experienced anything like this was after we'd submitted our applications to Ohio State and the decision was completely out of our hands. (There's a lesson about give God control in all of this.)

Finally by late afternoon we found out (a) the Forest Edge owners were in the process of legally releasing the former buyers, and (b) our buyers intend to fax the final contract over tomorrow and they're in the process of lining up a home inspection.

So you can see why I say that there are still hurdles to jump: actually faxing the contract & the coming home inspection (the really big one). But Jenn and I have been praying for this for weeks... through the pending of Forest Edge, through the early weeks of having no one look at our home, through the evening when we weren't sure if our buyers would bail on us. It remains to be seen how things turn out, but we've given it to the LORD. And while we'll be disappointed of this doesn't work out, we'll know that He has a good plan for us.

We'd appreciate your prayers for us. We'll keep you posted.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Catch-Up post

September was a month where we weren't behind the camera or in front of the blog much. Our apologies go out to our out-of-town family that relies on this for their steady dose of Lincoln. I'm going to try and catch you up with this blog post.

First of all, some pics:

Listing our house brought a lot of excitement, but not much activity in the early going. Then, all of a sudden, we started having a number of showings in a short period of time. Almost all of the feedback was good (one thought we were over-priced, but they were comparing with Stow, not Hudson) but nothing in the way of an offer. Then on Saturday night at our chili party (more on this below) we got a call from our realtor saying that we'd received an offer. This was at 5:45pm. The offer
  • was low, and they couldn't go any higher
  • stipulated that they wanted to close on Nov. 6 (we'll be in St. Maarten)
  • indicated that they wanted us out of the house shortly after that
  • said that they wanted an answer from us before 9:00pm that night.


So we countered with the number that we originally set out to receive for our house. Keep in mind that we don't have to move. We're not in a rush. So we've yet to hear from them. This set a number of things in motion for us... namely, that we may have to get our stuff out of the house soon. And, there's really only one house right now that meets almost all of the criteria that we'd originally set as our goals. And it's a short sale. From all that we've been able to gather, short sales generally don't move very quickly, so there's actually a number of variables and unknowns right now. We've been praying about the situation and we trust that the LORD will give us the wisdom that we need to proceed.

Getting back to the Chili Party, Saturday evening was our Second Anual Chili Party and this year we had a Cook-off format. Without any coordination between the chili providers we had 8 very unique and distinct chilis. It was a neat food experience, and because everyone was sampling all evening, it kept folks moving around but near the food, so there was lots of interaction. We even had a trophy this year for the winner, and it was the evening's host, Patrick, that took home the grand prize.

Lincoln has been growing up like a good little boy. He likes to push his toys around, but not because he needs the balance, but because they apparently need to get from here to there and he's the best suited for the job (in his mind). His words are coming along. He also likes to spin around and make himself dizzy.

(Since I wrote the above stuff about our search for a house, we found another great house that is not a short sale that we could move into in a timely fashion if we needed to. This doesn't shrink the number of variables, but it does give us something more to think about.)

In keeping with the theme of bouncing from topic to topic, last night was my first Edge Small Group night. I had 7 Sixth Graders, and from everything that I've been told from co-leaders who had Sixth Graders last year and the year before, my goal should be to "just get through the first year." On top of that, on my way out of church yesterday a mother said to me, "Mr. Gates, my prayers are with you for this evening." A real morale booster! But our evening was awesome! The guys are engaged, conversation wasn't forced and they're quite respectful. Most of these guys have parents that are extremely involved at church, mostly in the children's ministry, so their kids know what church is all about. I got the questions:
  • What else do I need to do besides accept Jesus as my Savior to be saved?
  • Do I really have to be baptized?
And then I got the comment, "Jesus' death and resurrection really makes me feel wanted." And after all of this deep theological discussion, most of the guys dog-piled on each other while I was greeting the parents at the end of our evening. If every week goes like the first, I don't think I'd complain.

Well this post has stretched out for quite some time, and I imagine that my next post will have some sort of big news, such as, "We're moving!" ~or~ "The offer fell through." So stay tuned........