I have to say that 2011 was probably one of the worst years for me personally. It was stressful enough while I was enduring it, but I figured I’d take a look back (ever so briefly) and see if it still looks as crappy in the rear-view mirror…

To start the year, we began prepping to sell our condo in Falls Church. The place was pretty old so we spent quite a lot of sweat, tears, and dollars patching it, cleaning it, and hiding stuff. The stress was from getting the fixes done right, cheaply, and timely. And the constant “cleaning” to get the place ready to show and then keeping it that way.

Then the realtor we hired, who up until that point had done a very good job for others we know, decided to forget how spell-check a listing and put in the wrong price for sale. So we dumped her and started all over.

Tigger aka "Grumpy" a fixture in the house for over 18 years will be sorely missed

Then our old cat got a tumor on his face. It was a fast growing inoperable type of cancer. He was only with us for another few months and passed away in the spring after 18 years of keeping my better half company. He was only about 8lbs, but left a huge hole in our hearts as his constant presence ruled the household over the other two cats (10lbs and 20lbs) and the dog (80lbs).

Then our young cat got a tumor on her foot. Coming on the heels of the death of our old cat, my old lady took this very hard. Fortunately, it was operable. The vet said it will probably come back in a few years (due to the type of cancer), as long as you can catch it early you can remove it.

Then came the second attempt to sell our house. The new realtor was a friend of mine. We took the risk that thinks might end up weird if it goes haywire (it did) on the hopes that this person would pay a little more attention than the previous realtor. We got an offer, it wasn’t what we wanted, but if we wanted to move this year at all and take advantage of the *lowlowlow* interest rates in buying we had to take it. During inspection, the inspector found a LOT of items that needed to be fixed. So onward with negotiations, haggling, arguing over what gets fixed and by whom for how much. At the end of it all, you couldn’t help but feel a little “abused”.

Then stress in buying a house. Every house we looked at that was in good condition, in a decent neighborhood, at a decent price was a bidding war. We lost several. We saw a ton of houses that needed just way too much work.

Then dealing with the mortgage lender. Everything was great up until right at closing. Then they needed more docs, I’d scramble to provide, they’d be on schedule, then OOPS I need more docs. Closing was delayed by several days, added stress/pressure as we had a definite date we needed to move out, and we wanted some renovations done at the new place in a now rapidly closing window. At the day of closing we were surprised with an “oops I forgot to move that decimal over” which resulted in about 5k more than we were expecting to pay at closing.

Then dealing with the title company. Misspellings everywhere. Signing the docs took forever as we had to initial changes all over the place. They cashed security checks they weren’t supposed to, they goofed up some titling fees that had to be refunded, they sent checks to the wrong places.

An example of fine craftsmanship
Just one example of fine craftsmanship performed by an idiot contractor

Then came THE JACKASS LYING FRAUD CONTRACTOR FROM HELL. I’ll keep this short since I will probably write a more detailed post later. This loser looked us in the face and said the renovations would be done in about 5-6 days with multiple different crews working on different aspects of the project. We were getting 2 bathrooms remodeled, deck painted, french door to the deck installed, some carpets, some painting. Along the way he took cheap shortcuts, botched some things, dragged in guys off the street, made a mess, and took FOREVER in doing so. Because of the renovations, we couldn’t use about half the house for most of the MONTH he was here. Then we spent about another month fixing all the stuff he broke, did poorly, or flat out didn’t do.

Did I do that?
Teenager: "Did I do that?"

Then the teenager decided she would not follow any of the sound advice we’ve given her about driving and did some combination of a) not paying attention, b) followed another car too closely, c) braked late, d) drove too fast. She rear-ended another hapless teenager and crushed the front 1/4 of her car.

Then we decided to have the new house re-inspected since we’ve come to find several small things the original home inspector missed and needed to make sure there wasn’t anything truly grave waiting for us around the corner. Turns out indeed he missed more items so we have to shell out even more coin to fix these things since we can’t get the original seller to fix now that closing is long gone.

He's not acutally that happy to have the cone onI love it when people pay attention while driving
He's not acutally that happy to have the cone on

Then the dog completely tore his Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL) while chasing a ball in the backyard. He had to have a surgery called the “tightrope” to put a string of nylon through the bones in his leg to hold them together.

Then on the way to surgery for the dog we were rear-ended. We were the 3rd car in a 4 car pileup caused by an uninsured motorist with suspended and revoked MD license and a suspended VA license who took his mom’s car (Infiniti G35) without permission and decided to ram into the back of a Mercedes SUV at 50mph, pushing it into my 2010 Mazda, which in turn pushed into a 2011 Honda CRV.

And that, my friends, is how I closed out the hopefully forgettable 2011.