Today we were showered with an abundance of awesome!
As many of you know, Scott found out he made 1st Class Petty Officer while he was in training in Florida during Nov/Dec. Which is very uncommon during your first contract in the Navy. (There are many sailors 12 years in and still second class.) So, needless to say, this definitely looks good as he heads into a new command.
Already, the new command has taken a liking to him, I mean, who wouldn't? And today, on his third day in the office, Mom and I were able to be apart of the frocking ceremony at his command station in Alameda, CA. (The promotion ceremony for the non-Mil friends).
Slide Show Below. Full images will be at bottom of the blog for those wanting to save/print.
Use arrow on right side of slide show to scroll. It's little hard to see.
Everyone in the office is so nice and the vibe is so different from Submarine Life. It's a bit jolting at first. I have to wonder if every shore duty is like this or if the laid back Bay Area vibe I grew up with even works it's wonders on the military.
In other news....As some of you know we have been dealing with the very challenging task of finding a home. The Real Estate Market in the Bay Area is brutal right now. Between a pandemic and housing shortage the competition to put offers in on homes is insane. Not to mention Bay Area prices are already sky high.
We've been looking on the outskirts of the Bay Area for room and affordability. Even put in two offers on houses that "felt right" and lost out to the over-bidders. It's very common for people to bid 100K over what a seller's asking price is, just to beat out the competition. And for those of you unfamiliar with the bay....typically a 1000 Square foot home goes for between 500-600K.
We found a wonderful RE Agent through my theatre circle, who unanimously offer rave reviews! Lynda DiVito, who is also theater folk has been absolutely wonderful, supportive and on-top of it! Fun Fact- we've both played Donna in Mamma Mia! She has stuck through these difficult, stressful and often disappointing house hunting adventures with us and kept telling us- "don't worry the right house with find you and make you feel like all the other houses were not the ones. Everyone finds their house!"
Every weekend and even some weekdays, we went onto the real estate battlefields (and yes, it really felt that way) prepared to be disappointed. If it wasn't one thing it was another. We have a VA Loan , which means all homes must pass Section 1 inspections (roof, foundation, pest etc.). Lots of sellers don't want to do the work or don't want to deal with the extra paperwork the VA Loan required. And in this brutal real estate climate, they can easily get buyers with conventional loans that will waive the inspections all together (excuse me?). In other cases we were just beat out by the monetary competition.
Many evenings were spent in a funk, in front of Netflix. Scott with a Bourbon in hand and me with a pout on my face (dammit I miss Margaritas! 4 more months!).
But yesterday was the day that the clouds parted. We were supposed to see two properties in Vallejo, just about 35 minutes north of Marin Country, where my mom lives. We had scoped them out the day before on another house viewing session and weren't too thrilled about the neighborhoods. We decided to drop one and just see one other. Then at the last minute I took a look at a listing that we had previously by passed due to the price...but, they just lowered it. So, I asked Lynda if it was possible to add it to our day. While she worked on that, I scrutinized the listing. The photos weren't staged or professional. Clearly the owner took them, so they weren't great and their personal furniture and decor was still in the home.
But I spied an important detail. Zooming in, I noticed a lot of American flags and a photo that may indicate that this seller was ex-military. This might just be the "in" we need. Another service member who is not afraid of the VA Loan.
Mean while Lynda reported back...we could see the new listing but the other listing cancelled on us, rather rudely, because they couldn't budge on their schedule. We then learned that we would receive the grand tour from the owner of the property. This was wonderful news, since everything we'd seen so far had been very impersonal. Lynda also gave us the good news that the sellers wanted their home to go to a family. Lynda had also given their listing agent our brief story and they agreed to schedule us in that very day.
The listing did this property no justice. It was by far the best property we'd seen and we were getting the grand tour from the couple themselves. William and Kim are in their 60's. Have lived in the home for 31 years and raised their daughter there, who now has children of her own. They are selling to move to the midwest for space and hunting. They've just beautifully remodeled and the house is fully loaded with a security system, solar and a clean Section 1 bill. William is a retired Firefighter and knows everyone on the block who has lived in the neighborhood just as long. Next door lives another retired firefighter and his wife, who is (wait for it) a hairstylist who works from home! Down the block there is also a a retired police officer, Airforce MP's and a priest. William and Kim were not only looking for the right couple to buy their home but the right buyers for their neighbors. It was the most lovely visit and even though someone else outbid us....THEY CHOSE US.
We have a home!
Since we are going into contract, the listing and photos have now been limited on sites such as Trulia, Redfin and Zillow but I promise to do an entire post just about the house itself. But here's the basics: We'll be living in Vallejo, just about 30 minutes north of Marin County, Scott's office and my salon. 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath, 1565 square feet, double garage, beautiful back yard, ample parking. Got an RV? Come visit us, you can come stay in our driveway. Amazing neighbors and a church right across the street. We're 15 minutes from 6 Flags. 30 minutes from the Napa Valley. 25 minutes south of Travis Air Force Base (Hey! Military friends- you can Space-A to come see us!). 45 to 1 hour to San Francisco. You can take an express ferry to SF!
Only downside really...(because I think it's only fair to serve up some reality with all the good news), Schools are not great in Vallejo, but we have a little time to figure that all out and plenty of alternative options these days. And Vallejo can be rough around some edges, but we are in a historically safe neighborhood and honestly, if two New Yorkers can't handle Vallejo's rough edges, then were we ever really New Yorkers at all? Also, for those not familiar with the area, it's pronounced VUH-LAY-H0. Or as my friend and soon to be neighbor, Dyan calls it, V-Town. (Dyan Directed me in Superman awhile back).
We are now in contract and hopefully everything will go smoothly. We'll make a public announcement on social media as soon as we close.
Oh, and of course, we need a nugget update.
I am now 21 weeks (5 months). We are at the half way point. Baby Meeds is the size of a large banana at 10-12 ounces. You may have noticed my growing bump (and bum) in the frocking ceremony photos. But if you didn't here's one more, along with our latest sonogram and a photo of Scott as he heads off to his first day at work.
I mean! Check out those guns. That baby works out.
Baby Meeds is healthy and growing so fast now. I feel (and look) bigger everyday. I think we're finally getting close to a name but will be saving that for the Virtual Baby Shower, which we plan to hold via ZOOM in April. Registry will be posted soon. I am still tweaking and deciding which registry platform will work best. But Baby Shower invites will come from one of my dearest childhood besties, Bianca Jamotte LeRoux, most likely via email.
Jen & Scott
Additional Frocking: Photos
THE END for now.