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2007: April

Summer 2007 Newsletter

You read back in April that Wendy had two job interviews...in the interim, she has been offered a position as a "Senior Research Pharmacokineticist" (say that three times fast) at Merck. This is the job she has been hoping to land for the past two years, so needless to say, she was thrilled to get the offer. So after ten years of trying to move to Philadelphia (Wendy hoped to go to Drexel for undergrad--too expensive, and Penn for grad--didn't offer very good health coverage), we are all three on our way. Currently, Wendy is working on writing her thesis and trying to schedule her defense date (probably the 10th or 11th of September). Craig is working as a post doc doing more environmentally friendly catalysis and teaching calculus. We will be moving at the end of September and Wendy will start work on Oct. 8. Craig is looking for a job in the Philly area. Isaac will be starting at the Terri Lynn Lokoff Jewish Federation Early Learning Center near Merck on October 2.

The week after the 4th of July, we decided to schedule our one paid-for house-hunting trip. Linda and Randy met us in Philadelphia to take care of Isaac while we searched for houses.

 

It was Isaac's first plane trip not in utero. He had a great time playing in the airport, and watching the "fish" (he thought the airplanes looked like fish) out of the window. In the plane, Isaac excitedly watched the ground get farther and farther away, then vomited all over the man behind us. (Who, incidentally, had given up his seat so we could all sit together.) Then vomited again. And again. And again. Then we landed, got our luggage and went to pick up our rental car where Isaac sat on the floor holding his two lovies, a ball and a sippy for comfort and vomited again. Then in the car on our way to the hotel Isaac vomited three more times. He has never been motion sick before, so we were really caught off-guard by the apparent air sickness. It turned out that Isaac actually had a stomach virus which he subsequently shared with Grandma, Momma (he started calling Wendy this just a few weeks ago) and Aba (Craig).

The next morning, Isaac was feeling much better so spent the day at the zoo with Grandma and Grandpa. We left with our agent Debbie to look at a list of 9 houses we'd put together. We blew through the first 3 (our top picks) in about an hour and didn't like any of them. "Half bath" in Philadelphia may refer to a toilet and shower curtain in the basement, BTW. Then we went to house number 4. This one only made the list because it had central air and we were having a heat wave up here while searching realtor.com the week before. It was wood (we wanted stone or brick) and was a little more expensive than we wanted to spend ($269,900 to our $260,000 agreed upon limit).

 

Debbie and Wendy in front of the house. It is a twin (i.e. 1/2 a house) which is very common on the East Coast. (Only two of the houses we looked at were "singles".) The house was built in 1898 as a summer home. It is on a very quiet dead-end street with 6 identical houses on it, ending in a tree-covered cliff. There is a trolley station with a direct line into Philly just a three minute walk away. Across the trolley tracks are a lot of very old million dollar mansions. Jenkintown and about 10 synagogues are within a mile. Merck is a 30 minute commute to the north. So, location, location, location.

A beautifully landscaped path leads to the fenced backyard. The kitchen opens onto a hexagonal deck. There is even a little building for storing bikes and strollers and wading pools (yeah! since there is no garage and no outside basement entrance and we've experienced dragging our bikes up the basement stairs for the past 5 years). The house is very sunny, but somehow positioned so that the yard feels shady and the house gets lots of breezes. We were thrilled about the fenced yard. Ever since Isaac learned to say "Outside", we have discovered how much time he really wants to spend outside. When Isaac was introduced to this yard, however, he ran over to the gate, and cried "outside". So much for lazy evenings on the deck while Isaac runs around safely contained in the yard.

Livingroom--we fell in love with the windows throughout the house--and a spacious diningroom.

Master bedroom with another neat window and two enormous closets (we thought Victorians didn't come with closets...), and second bedroom (this will be Isaac's).

And third bedroom (for guests)...and fourth bedroom on the third floor (family room)...

and fifth bedroom with a beautiful view of the neighborhood. This will be Wendy's office.

But the thing that we fell in love with above all else was the kitchen. We both enjoy cooking and spend a lot of time in the kitchen. The current owners apparently also like to cook because the kitchen is equipped with the nicest range and dishwasher we've ever seen. There is lots of space, plenty of sunshine and a breakfast area with half bath. Yes, a real half bath not a toilet with a shower curtain!! And there is an exposed brick chimney (just behind the microwave in the left picture) where we'd like to install a small reproduction "wood" stove.

 

Debbie telling us that in 9 years of real-estate she's never seen a place like this at this price. We called within 30 minutes to make a full price offer and learned that three offers had come in the day before and the best offer had been accepted by the sellers but hadn't been completed yet by the buyer. So, without hesitation, Craig told our agent to call back and offer a lot more. We spent the next 6 hours hand-delivering our offer, accepting every concession the sellers wanted, having our credit scrutinized, and holding our breath. In the end, the other buyers couldn't match our offer (now we are waiting for the appraisal...our agent looked at other properties in the neighborhood and is confident it will appraise for our offer...we'll know soon). The next day we spent 5 hours at the house with the sellers while the home inspection was completed. It turned out we had a lot in common with them. He is an engineer--a UofM alum. She is a lactation counselor, and they have a son a little older than Isaac--who did not appreciate having to share his trains with Isaac. He has been transferred to the D.C. area, and they are very sad to be leaving their house.

And so, expecting to buy a starter home for a few years that needed a lot of work, we left Philly having purchased our dream house that is in pristine condition. Now we just need to find a buyer for our condo...

And, because we know this is the only reason you look at our website, a few pictures of the little man...

Isaac thought the wok lid would make a nice hat.

 

 

Isaac takes a turn driving the xB (a.k.a. DRGNBOX). He impressed the neighbors this morning by discovering the xB's "panic" button on our keychain. We were annoyed that someone's car alarm was going off, then discovered it was our car.

 

 

Isaac got a sand and water table for his birthday, but the weather only recently was nice enough to use it. It was a big hit with all of the neighborhood kids...regardless of age.

Here we are at Olive Garden for Craig's birthday dinner. Craig is looking sad, not yet having opened the Nintendo Wii which Wendy (thanks to her inside retail connections at Target via Becky Comisar) had managed to procure.

Isaac hoovering. Unlike Craig, Isaac LOVES housework. He now insists on wiping up the table after meals, uses his modified Swiffer everywhere (recently Momma had to confiscate it because Isaac insisted on Swiffering the stove and kitchen counters), used an enormous wool duster as a wet mop on the basement floor after dipping it in the cats' water dish, and grabbed a dust cloth on his way out the door last week so he could dust off the front steps.

 

 

We went to visit friends in Cincinnati at the end of May. Isaac discovered poker chips. Simmy generously gave Isaac a supply of chips to take home.

 

At the Cincinnati zoo with Simmy.

After Isaac cried at the front door for about 15 minutes (Isaac doesn't always want to take a nap on the weekends), things got really quiet. When we peaked around the corner, we found this.