Found July 31, 2012 on The Prospect Park:
Here's Your Sign Call this a test of your ability to be able to read between the lines, as it doesn't matter if you're a New York Ranger or New York Islander fan today. This is a post about the little things, the details and the reasons why it takes several people to build a good foundation.

For those of you who haven't noticed, my wife and I have relocated to Washington State. To say that it has been a journey with its ups, its downs, and the urges to grab somebody and throw them through a window would be an understatement.

If you have ever purchased a house or an apartment than a lot of what I say here you will nod your head in agreement. For those of you who never have that you might want to save this as a reminder of what lies ahead.

Like trying to build a winning hockey team, trying to purchase a house is not a job that you can do by yourself. You need a team that you put together and you hope that the decisions made today will not be regretted five years down the road.

So my wife and I are the owners of this team, my ego demands that I name myself president and general manager. After all I know what it takes to own a house having owned one for 17 years or so I thought.

Part of our management team is our real estate agent (head scout, director of housing development) and our friendly neighborhood loan officer (assistant GM in charge of contracts).

My wife is the smart one as she gets to go to work and leaves the day-to-day operations of "team house hunt" to me. By the time this is done I will want to fire me.

Really, how hard could it be to buy a house especially you think during a recession when you have some money to spend? Will start off with a two-minute minor for stupid thinking as I quickly discovered you get what you pay for.

I thought I was going to be able to move to a larger metropolitan area and spend basically what I got for my old house. Oh yeah, I have my dreams on a new big screen TV, a brand-new SUV to hit the road with and a nice piece of change to put away for retirement.

Make it a double minor for stupidity and a five-minute major for delusional thinking. I was so sure it was just a matter of picking a house, waving some money and getting the price I wanted. (You guys in the back who are calling me Scott Howson better stop or there will be no beer in the locker room)

Three weeks later, living in a hotel at $100 a night with the Dubi brothers singing "what a fool believes" I found myself spending 40,000 more on a house than I had any intention of.

(Really, you can stop laughing at me, you're hurting my feelings)

With each passing week, I was going back to my banker asking if we could get a bigger loan. Now I know why Gary Bettman wants major concessions from the players because I wasn't able to control my spending.

So after three weeks of looking I have found what I thought was going to be our new home. I made an offer and surprise it was accepted and thought the hard part was over.

What are we up to now? A second major for delusional thinking and John Tortorella is just screaming at me for being such a bonehead. There is a nice spot on the bench for where I will sit for quite a while.

The real estate agent wants me to spend $345 to bring in a professional inspector. She thinks that another set of eyes on the property would be a great idea while I'm thinking that I have 17 years of home ownership to back me up.

(Okay if you are going to laugh at least stop pointing at me while you're laughing)

She wins the argument and we bring in someone that she recommends. My ego is still screaming "what a waste of money this is going to be."

Now you know how I spent my Monday afternoon, watching a guy wander all through the house, up on the roof, underneath the house and he's checking everything. I am standing there, basically just standing there for two hours.

Finally, he's ready to give me my report and of course my first thought is that he didn't find anything that I had not ready known. If he did, they would be a trivial nature just to justify his fee.

(Yes, that's a 10 minute misconduct for gross egotistical behavior)

We got no more than 5 feet into the garage when he shows me the gas furnace and mentions that if I switched to a different type of filter that I would be able to cut back on moisture and maximize the efficiency. I nodded my head because I didn't even know how to take the panel off the furnace door.

Right next to the furnace is where the washer and dryer are going to go. He points out how they are in the middle of the garage and that the dry heat of the dryer would cause moisture so he recommended I install an exhaust vent.

I'm not even in the house and he's ready pointed out two major items that I had no clue about. Mr. Ego is in a serious free fall at the moment.

We enter the house from the garage and he points out what a dumb idea it was to install a pet door from the garage into the house. Okay, I am nodding my head, trying my best not to look stupid because I was thinking "here's where I was going to put the cat litter box."

Mr. Inspector says "don't these people realize that this is supposed to be a fire door to keep out any fire from the garage?" He goes on to say that the tiny little pet door ruins the effectiveness of the fire door.

It's 3-0 and I don't even want to look over at John Tortorella because you can see the smoke coming out of his ears. We enter the house and he shows me the basics so I survived the living room, kitchen and hallway.

I was kind of trying to figure out which of the three bedrooms was going to be my office so I could set up all my computers and maybe a TV on the wall with a larger screen. While I'm doing that Mr. Inspector is showing me the crawlspace, talking about the installation that I am on a high water table and that it's a good thing.

Mr. Inspector is talking about this blue box on the wall which is an alarm for the sump pump (and yes, I was going, what the heck is a sump pump?)

Turns out if water gets in under the house that it's the sump pump that will protect me. Says I should find out how old it is and when it was last changed.

We finish our inspection with the roof where I finally broke his shutout by knowing what he was talking about. But he had me back on the ropes and he finished me off by asking if I knew where the main water shut off switch was.

Final score. Mr. Inspector 6, Mr. Ego 1.

I think I am going to take a page out of John Tortorella's playbook and tell you guys that my performance was terrible and I don't plan on answering any questions. We will keep it in the locker room among the team.

Basically in a nutshell, my ego would've put my team out of the playoff race before we even got started. In hockey terms, it is why you have scouts but you work with those scouts to get the job done.

What's really scary is now I get to deal with my banker and the loan processors.

I at least get a day of rest before I get my butt handed to me once again.

If you got what I was saying about what I did then there is no need for me to explain the importance of having a good team around you to build what really is a house for my dreams.

See all along I had viewed this move in terms of how much it's going to benefit my ability to cover prospects. Portland right down the road, 2 1/2 hours to three other teams and a few more hours for the majority of the WHL.

I was thinking so much about how much easier my life was going to become as I try to make my own dreams come true. I found the house that really I was so sure it would be easy to maintain, that I forgot in order to remain a winner. You have to work at it.

You may have a house that has a strong foundation and has been well taken care of. But in order for it to stay that way then you have to work just as hard to maintain that house.

Otherwise, the foundation will fall apart right around you.

That was the $345 lesson I learned today.

Call it money that was well spent, even if it hurt my ego along the way.


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