Where has the time gone?

18 08 2009

It’s hard to believe I’ve been in Evanston for over a week already – the time has really flown by.  I think it’s even harder to believe that in only a few more days I’ll be heading off on KWEST.  There’s been so much going on, and it seems the pace is only going to quicken from here:

  • Last Thursday’s TG (happy hour) in Chicago was a lot of fun.  It seemed like a large portion of the people there were from my class, and it was great to meet a bunch of my new classmates as well as to see people I met at DAK again.  After the TG, I went back to Evanston with a few classmates for dinner then drinks at Nevin’s.  Very fun times.
  • Saturday night was a big kick-off party for anyone from my class who had arrived in Evanston already.  There were easily over 150 people there, and it was great meeting even more classmates.  So far all the people I’ve met have completely lived up to the Kellogg stereotype of being friendly and down to earth, and I’m looking forward to spending the next 2 years together.  There’s another kick-off party on Thursday for anyone who arrived in Evanston after the first one, which I’m sure will also be a lot of fun.
  • On Sunday I met one of my friends in Chicago for lunch.  As we were walking back to her apartment afterwards, we saw the US Air Force Thunderbirds flying over the city as part of the Chicago Air and Water Show.  I’ve never seen an air show in person, and even though we couldn’t see their entire performance it still was pretty amazing to watch.  I think the most incredible part was how fast they would fly below the level of the downtown skyscrapers.  We saw one plane go screaming down Michigan Avenue before making a tight turn to curl around the buildings downtown.  Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera with me because it really was a sight to see.
  • My apartment is finally all but unpacked.  I just need to pick up some hooks to hang the couple pictures I brought and go food shopping and I’ll be all set.  Now that all my stuff is here and not in boxes, it’s really starting to feel like home.
  • A few days ago I went to the NU campus to get my new student ID and walk around the campus a bit.  I have to say it really is a beautiful campus.  My undergrad university was in the middle of a city so the campus had a very urban feel to it without a whole lot of open space, so it’s nice to have more of a stereotypical campus here.  I didn’t get to the lakefront part of campus, but will probably go back before KWEST and hopefully will remember my camera this time.
  • One bit of news that I’m not real happy about is that the sale of my condo back in NJ still hasn’t closed.  I heard from my lawyer last Thursday that the buyers’ lawyer said it would be next Thurs or Friday, but still nothing.  I’m trying to get my lawyer back on the phone to figure out what’s going on.  My realtor told me yesterday that she heard from a “reliable source” (I interpreted that as the buyers’ realtor since my realtor and their realtor work in the same office) that the buyers are now targeting an early September close.  I’m no attorney, but since our contract says the closing date was August 6 I don’t know how they can unilaterally decide to close in September without being in breach of contract.  I think it’s time to start playing some hardball.  I really want to get this done this week, since between KWEST and CIM I won’t have a ton of time to deal with it after this week.

Moving Day

6 08 2009

Well, actually yesterday was moving day. After all the preparations and packing, the moving company came bright and early yesterday morning to pick up my stuff. Two hours later, all my worldly possessions were loaded on the back of a truck, and I was left with a completely empty condo. It was a little strange, even without any of my things, the condo still felt like home. As I did a final walk through the condo to make sure I hadn’t forgotten anything, part of me still couldn’t believe that I wouldn’t be back there again. As much as it wasn’t my dream home, it was my home for the past 5 years and there were a lot of good memories made there. So now, I’m staying with my sister for a few days until I leave for Evanston on Saturday. I really can’t wait to get going. I’ve never been real good with goodbyes, and I feel like the past few weeks have been one extended goodbye – to my family, to my friends, to my job and coworkers – and I’m ready to get past the goodbye phase and get to the “meeting new friends and starting school” phase. That phase sounds like a lot more fun.

One bit of frustrating news from yesterday: the closing date on the sale of my condo has been delayed until probably next week. Originally the closing was supposed to be today (hence my moving out yesterday), but my buyers’ mortgage paperwork isn’t finalized yet so we can’t close. The mortgage has been approved, thankfully, so it’s not a huge issue, just a matter of the bank having all the paperwork in order. So since the close will happen after I leave town, I’m meeting my attorney this morning to sign all the closing paperwork (it still amazes me how much paperwork is involved with real estate transactions), then he’ll handle the closing on my behalf. If that is the biggest hiccup involved with this move, I will count myself a lucky man.

One week to go

1 08 2009

One week from today, I leave NJ and begin my trip to Evanston, arriving next Sunday (with my stuff hopefully a few days behind me).  I know I’ve said this before, but I really can’t believe how quickly the time is flying by.  For so long, going back to school was almost an abstract concept – something I’d do in the future, or next year, or this fall.  Now to have it so close, to be faced with the details of the move and of starting school – which class to choose (I chose Marketing), did I remember to set up electricity in my new apartment (yes, I did), etc. – it finally feels real.  Reminding me just how real it is, my sister and her husband are throwing me a going away BBQ today, with my immediate family and closest friends invited.  It’s strange, I know it’ll be a lot of fun but at the same time it’s also a little sad that this will be the last time I see some of them for a while.  I don’t really know why I’m having such a hard time with this.  After all, for most of the past 3 years I travelled a lot for work, and there were several times I didn’t see my friends for long stretches of time because of our schedules.  For some reason this feels different.  I don’t know, I really think I just need to get the move over with and for KWEST and school to start.  I think the downside of being unemployed with little to do other than get ready for the move is that it gives my mind way too much time to think about stuff like this.

Otherwise the preparations for the move are going very well.  I’m pretty much all packed other than things that I’m going to wait until the last minute to pack (clothes I’m taking with me, laptop, TV, etc.).  I’ve made a few trips to my mom’s house to bring some stuff I’m going to keep in storage there the next 2 years, and thrown out a lot of stuff that I realized I never used or needed anymore.  In that way moving is good, it really forces you to look at what you have and get rid of a bunch of stuff.  I’m all set with the moving company.  The only last second hitch to come up is with the condo sale.  Apparently the buyer’s mortgage hasn’t been finalized yet so we may need to push back the closing date a bit.  Shouldn’t be a huge issue (as long as they ultimately get a mortgage), I can always just sign the paperwork before I go and leave it with my attorney to deal with at the closing.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed, if this deal falls apart now it’ll be a huge setback.

Not so fast

21 06 2009

Reading my last post, I had to smile at how quickly the emotional high of thinking I sold my condo went away.  I say “thinking” I sold my condo because after signing the deal Sunday morning, I got a call from my attorney on Tuesday morning to tell me that the buyers had backed out of the deal, without giving a reason.  Our deal lasted all of about 48 hours.  Now I know that the way housing contracts are written, it’s not a binding contract until after your attorney reviews and approves the contract, so the buyers were well within their rights to do what they did.  But even though it was perfectly legal, I can’t help but think it’s not really the right thing to do.  Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I believe that if you tell someone you have a deal, then you stick by your word unless there was bad faith involved in the negotiations or a material change in circumstance (i.e. house inspection turns up major issues).  Given how quickly they backed out, I just can’t help but think they just found a better deal somewhere else and decided to go with that instead.  If they weren’t sure they wanted to buy my condo at the price we agreed on, they should’ve thought of that before they signed on the dotted line.

OK, so enough ranting.  The good news is I’ve gotten another good offer for the condo and am now in the process of negotiating price with this potential buyer (my realtor should be calling me back today with an update on their latest counter-offer).  If we do reach agreement (which looks pretty likely), it will probably be for slightly less than the last deal, but still within the range of prices I’d be happy with.  So I’m keeping my fingers crossed on that.

In other preparations, since I couldn’t find my original vaccination records, I had to take a blood test to show I’ve had all my shots.  The results should be in early next week, and then I can send in my health forms to the school and cross that off the list.  The core course waiver information also became available last week and I’ve sent in the paperwork to waive out of the core accounting class this fall.  I had thought about maybe not waiving it and use the course as a refresher since it’s been a few years since I did any accounting work, but in the end decided it would be better to use the opportunity to take more electives.  Still haven’t heard back from my chosen lenders on whether I’ve been approved or not for my student loans, so I should probably follow up on that next week.

Housing update

15 06 2009

Big news over the weekend (those of you who follow my Tweets already know this): I now have a signed sales agreement for my condo here in NJ.  It all happened pretty quickly.  The buyers made their first offer on Friday afternoon, by Saturday afternoon we had reached verbal agreement on terms, and all met on Sunday morning to sign the paperwork.  By no means is this over yet – it’s not even considered a valid contract until after our respective attorneys review and approve the contract wording – but it’s a huge step in the right direction and a weight off my shoulders.  The timing works out well too – we’re targeting an August 17 closing date, so there will only be a few weeks where I’m paying for two places to live.

So now that the sale is in process, I’m going to have to get my butt in gear to start going through all my stuff, boxing up things that are either going with me to Evanston or into storage at my parents’ house, and trashing the rest.

Preparations continue

28 05 2009

It’s hard to believe how quickly the time is passing by.  I’ve got just over a month left until I leave work, and just over 2 months until the big move to Evanston.  There’s still quite a bit to get done between now and when I leave for Evanston, so it’s going to be a busy few months.  I have a moving company coming by today to take a look at how much stuff I have, and give a quote for the move to Evanston.  The internet quote they gave me was $2200-$2600, depending on actual weight, so it seems like it’ll be pretty reasonable.  I also decided to do the drive to Chicago in 2 days, since a 12 hour drive seems like a lot for one day.  I’m trying to decide where to stay overnight; there’s really nothing too attractive along I-80 between NJ and IL.  The trouble with all this is: I still don’t know exactly when I’ll be moving.  My lease starts 8/1, and I’d like to move the week of 8/3, but if I get a good offer on my condo and the the deal is contingent on a closing date before 8/1, I’ll need to move my stuff out sooner and shack up with family for a few weeks.  Of course, since I still don’t have any serious offers on my condo, that situation is looking less and less likely by the day.

I’m still waiting on my final financial aid award from Kellogg, so I can start the process of applying for loans.  I’ve already done my comparison shopping, and have decided to go with Discover Student Loans for Stafford and GradPLUS loans.  They have a good deal on waiving most fees, and the GradPLUS is at 8.25% .  I’ve decided to stay away from private variable-rate loans, since I think interest rates are going to spike up in the near future.  Now I just need the official award letter from Kellogg so I can accept the aid, and start the application process.  I know a bunch of other admits that have gotten their letters, so if I don’t hear by tomorrow I’m going to give the financial aid office a call to see what’s up.

I’ve got another hockey game tonight.  The team we’re playing has a reputation for being jerks and playing dirty.  Watching them play their game before our game last week, there was a lot of stickwork and stuff after the whistle, and nearly a fight in the parking lot afterwards.  Guess they didn’t get the memo that this is just a rec league and there is no big silver cup waiting for the winner. Should be fun.

Weekend update

23 05 2009

Well I’ve received the first offer on my condo, but I’m not sure if the buyer is actually serious about it since he offered about 13% below asking price. To put that in perspective, other similar condos in the area are selling for about 4-6% below asking price. So while it’s nice to finally get an offer, I don’t think this is going anywhere. I’ve made a counter offer at 2% below asking price, so we’ll see what the reaction is to that. Otherwise, a few more realtors have come to show the place. I think there have been 3-4 this week, so still not time to panic.

I’m looking forward to the 3 day weekend. Today is a birthday party for my nephew, who is turning 3. I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone by, it doesn’t at all seem like it’s been 3 years already. He’s a really cool kid, and I’m definitely going to miss seeing him as much when I move to Evanston. Other than that, I just have a relaxing weekend planned, spending time with friends and enjoying the nice weather we’re supposed to have.

I hope everyone has a great Memorial Day weekend. Please take a moment to remember the meaning of the holiday, and honor those who have served and sacrificed for our country. May God bless our troops and their families, and may they all return home safely.

Memorial Day