Wednesday, August 26, 2009

New life

Ultrasound 8-20-09-14

in more ways than one! A lot has been going on in my life over the past few months and I really haven't devoted much time to blogging about it. I'll do my best here.

The most important and probably most exciting news (as well as the most obvious thanks to the first picture) in our lives right now is that my wife and I are expecting our first child! More ultrasound photos here! After I found out that I passed the bar in April, we were both ready to begin our family and our lives after the law school experience. Then on June 25 my wife came into the office and handed me a card and told me she had an early birthday gift for me and that she couldn't wait. I didn't know they even made "we are expecting" greeting cards, but they do and I can't tell you how happy I was to be getting one. Getting this news has been some of the best news I have ever received in my life - even compared to bar results. It is really hard to explain and all I can say about it is it is just amazing. Of course it creates some worry and anxiety about the months to come but this stress is "good stress" and if dealt with properly will always lead to great things.

We had the chance to tell both of our parents over the July 4 weekend and decided to give my mom an "early birthday" gift as well. We found a grandma rubber chicken to go into the existing chicken family (see earlier posts for an explanation). We wrapped it up and underneath put a card that said "You're going to be a Grandma!" She almost didn't find it and probably wondered why in the hell we were giving her a rubber chicken as an early birthday gift. Once the card was found and the news was revealed tears, excitement, happiness and celebration soon followed. Giving the news was almost as fun and exciting as getting it!

As of this posting we are more than 13 weeks along and have had a few appointments. The first sonogram was another one of those life changing events. Seeing that new little life and hearing the heartbeat for the first time literally changes everything about your life. In one instant everything goes from being about yourself your family and your wife to everything being about your child. Goosebumps, tears, excitement, and fear are usually soon to follow after seeing and experiencing this and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life (and I have had some pretty great ones). So far all of the appointments and genetic testing have gone smoothly and we will be going in again in around a month for our next appointment. One great memory from our last ultrasound was when the technician was trying to get Baby Darby in position to make some measurements and was having to push pretty hard and it was great to watch as our baby was already learning how to fight back - looks like we've got a competitor on the way :-) We do not know the sex yet but during both appointments the Doctor has told us that "it sounds like a girl." Apparently the different sexes have different heart rates so although we don't know for sure, the Dr. has made a guess. Honestly I couldn't care less whether it is a boy or girl, all I care about and worry about is to get him/her here healthy and happy!

The next bit of exciting news is I have found a job! Not just any job, but the perfect job. I really didn't want to go crazy looking for a job until I was 100% sure I would have a license and that I wouldn't have to re-take the bar exam. Of course I was somewhat confident that I had at least done my best and prepared the best I knew how, but it's nice to finally know for sure before looking for a great job. After some searching and applying for a job my dad and I both decided that it could greatly help both of us if I joined his practice. I was honored to find out that I would have this opportunity to work for and learn from one of two people who had such a strong hand in shaping my life that make me who I am. I will be able to help him with his existing practice while also gaining some experience and learning about some other areas that I am interested in like intellectual property and sports/entertainment law. I couldn't think of a better person to begin my legal career with and I can't wait!

Since we will be relocating we have to have a house right? Well, we've been working on it. After deciding to join my dad's practice we spent a couple of days in Lakeland and did some house shopping. We were pretty sure after the first day that we were going to be building in a newer development and even had a beautiful lot picked out. We decided to devote the second day of our search to looking at some existing homes. The fourth house that we visited we almost skipped since it was an older house and Britt had made it pretty clear that she would prefer a newer home if at all possible. I mentioned to her that we might as well look at it since we had already gotten permission so we went and it's a good thing we did!

As soon as we walked in we began to fall in love. The inside had been completely redone and was beautiful. The more we saw the more we liked and the more we could see ourselves living there. Once we were done it was time for lunch and it was tough for us to keep our excitement to ourselves and we decided that we wanted to go see the house again this time with my mom.

Again, as soon as we walked in she was seeing and saying many of the same things we had said and we knew this was "the one." After finishing up a few more visits we began to discuss making an offer and after calling the seller's realtor we learned that two more families were planning to see the house in the next day or so and both were walking through for the 2nd time - this said to us that if we were going to make an offer on this house we should probably do it sooner than later. We finally figured out what we felt was a fair offer and sent it in before one of the other families was to see it that afternoon. Then the waiting game began and we had a long drive back to Jacksonville talking about the house and hoping we would be able to buy it. The next morning I got the call from our realtor that they had accepted our offer and the contract was made!

Oh if only things in life were that easy! Saying that trying to purchase our first home has been a challenge would probably be a huge understatement. After making the contract we went through the process of hiring movers, getting home insurance, Britt set a date to leave her job up here and when she was going to transfer and other necessary things to finish the Jacksonville chapter of our lives and begin the transition to Lakeland. All seemed to be going well and it seemed that the final step in the process was to have the bank appraise the house and then we would be ready to set the closing. I will not say what bank we went with but I will say it is a large American bank - you can figure it out.

One day I get a frantic call from Brittany while she was at work telling me that "something has gone wrong with the house." This really isn't the news you want to hear when you have a closing in a little under a month. I asked her what the problem was and learned that the bank's appraisal had come in $40,000 lower than our offer. I did not mis-type, FORTY THOUSAND dollars lower. This meant that for us to purchase the house we want we would have to come up with the difference. I seem to remember it being the bank's job to find funding for our home purchase, and not us so it was time to find another lender.

After some investigation apparently there is a major problem with home appraisals of late especially ones requested by larger banks. The banks are using non local companies and non local appraisers and quite a few recent appraisals from this bank have come back low and killed the deal. Unfortunately the banks are over conservative now while still dealing with the mess they already have themselves into. Honestly it was kind of embarrassing to get an appraisal for so much less than what we offered and we felt for the sellers as well because we all knew that this house is worth way more than that. Back to square one.

We didn't want to give up on this house and just walk at this point for two reasons - we loved the house and we honestly knew that the appraisal was off base. Our realtor who we really relied on and trusted during this whole process gave us a suggestion on a local mortgage broker to go with and hopefully salvage the deal with a new appraisal and lender. Unfortunately the new "mortgage broker" wasn't very competent and forced us to jump through even more hoops than the actual lender required all the while strong arming us and threatening us. Again I will refrain from using names (though for the safety of all consumers I shouldn't bite my tongue) but if you are in the market for a new home in central Florida and are choosing a mortgage broker, please contact me before doing so and I will fill you in on this person's name. We were very fortunate to have my dad assisting with all of the work that had to be done in order to make this deal happen. Honestly without his help and hard work over the past few months we would not have made it.

Finally after being mislead to thinking we could spend some of our available cash on appliances and necessities on the house, only to be told that we would need to put down 10% instead of the already agreed upon 6.5%, and one last threat from the broker that we "would be back with our original lender if we didn't close when he wanted us to (told you this guy was horrible), we had a set closing date and the house was ours! It really feels like we have gone through so much in order to get this house but I know that it will be more than worth it once we move in!

Like I said, there's a lot of new life right now on my end and plenty more exciting things to come!

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