Sunday, November 22, 2015

2 Wawa giant cookies

Wawa Rainbow Cookie

These cookies don't earn any points for durability. I've actually purchased 2 (both times forgetting to take a picture), and they fall apart before I even get them home.

This could mean, at least, that they don't have the constitution of a brick, which can only be good, but it also could mean that they are too dry. But why speculate when you can just eat one and find out?

This cookie was fluffy and airy and pleasantly soft in the middle, graduating to crispy and still airy (thus fragile) around the edges. It wasn't my favorite texture, being rather too inclined to crumble, but not the worst either.

Where this cookie really failed was in the taste department. It had that signature flavor of a mass-produced cheap cookie—a little too much sweet and not enough substance. The chocolate candies did nothing to add to it, since they were also a little too sweet. This is one case where bittersweet chocolate would have really made a difference... but of course in a cookie clearly made to appeal to children, that's a lost cause.

While you can't go wrong with the price (whaaaat? 99 cents? That's just a little over 1¢ per gram, or, very affordable!), cookie connoisseurs out there will probably want to pass this one up.

The Bottom Line

Taste: 1 out of 5 stars
Texture: 2 out of 5 stars
Price: 5 out of 5 stars

Wawa Chocolate Chip Cookie

After my somewhat disappointing encounter with the rainbow cookie, I was ready to swear off Wawa cookies for life. But then, at a late night trip to the gas station to pick up a sandwich, I saw the appetizing-looking chocolate chip cookie and decided to give it a try. 

At the same price of 99¢ for 96g, the chocolate chunk cookie is a steal as far as Giant Cookies go...and, I discovered much to my relief, a real treat to eat!

Unlike its candy-cookie brother, the outside edge was not a brittle crumb factory, and in fact, the cookie was chewy and tasty right clear through! If I had one complaint, it would be that the chocolate chunks were a little too gooey at room temperature, but overall, the texture was perfect. I even detected some nice crunchy granules of sugar in the mix!

The flavor as well was everything you could ask for in a chocolate chip cookie—sweet, salty, chocolatey all in one. I think I've found another winner, and I'll let my friendly neighborhood Wawa be my new solution when a cookie craving comes to call.

The Bottom Line

Taste: 5 out of 5 stars
Texture: 5 out of 5 stars
Price: 5 out of 5 stars

Friday, November 13, 2015

Goldilocks gets the tables turned

I'm tired. I have spent the last 4 months on a housing roller coaster, looking for roommates, looking for a new rental, giving up all hope of ever doing either, and then repeating! All because I decided to buy a house.

The Hyattsville House

It all started in July, when I found what looked like the house of my dreams in a neighborhood near the Prince George's Plaza Metro. Things got off to an un-reassuring start when I had to offer 25,000 dollars higher than the asking price to beat out other offers. It only went downhill from there, as I continued to meet resistance from the seller's agent for every little repair or financial compromise. A week or so into the process, I began to question whether I actually liked the neighborhood and wonder why I was agreeing to spend so much money on a deal that I wasn't sure about. I canceled the sale, but only after I had already notified my landlord that I'd be moving out.

He was pretty nice about my backflip, agreeing to let me stay on in his house as a month-to-month renter, as I had been for the past 2 years, but the seed had been planted, and it was only a month before he in turn notified me that I'd have to leave. He had decided he wanted the house for his mother-in-law to live in. I still wonder, if I had just kept my mouth shut about my impending real estate deal, if he would have let me stay on indefinitely. But alas, that is water under the bridge now!

I spent the end of August and early September searching, increasingly desperately, for an acceptable rental. It is astonishingly hard to find a place in this area that's big enough for 2 and allows pets and short-term leases and isn't a ridiculous luxury apartment. I needed a short term lease because I was still trying to buy a house.

The Short Sale

I was, in fact, waiting for bank approval on a short-sale that I had bid on back in August. Although everyone had warned me that short sales involve a long process that frequently ends in failure, at the time, I felt like I had all the time in the world, and the price was wonderfully low, so I was willing to wait. It was then, at that particularly inopportune moment, that my landlord gave me notice, forcing me to scramble for a new rental without knowing if I would even need it once I'd signed the lease.

Finally finding an apartment that met all my specifications in mid-September, I signed a 3-month lease ending at the end of December. Originally, I had planned to sign for 4 months, but originally, the plan had been for us to split the apartment with another unknown person the landlord had found, who subsequently backed out. I agreed to pay the whole (too-high) rent, thinking that I could survive on sporadic Airbnb income until my real estate deal went through (by this time, the bank had responded to my offer and we were engaged in some final price negotiations, so I felt like the end was in sight!).

But then, within 2 weeks, my offer was declined (the seller became current with their payments) AND my new landlord informed me that I may not rent the room via Airbnb. I started looking for a housemate, which I can now say from experience is nearly impossible to find on short notice for such a short period, especially at such a high rent in such an inaccessible area. But I decided to keep plugging away. I had a couple months.

The Fakeout

There was another house on the market I liked, with a newly finished basement that would make it a breeze to take on a few housemates/guests to help with the mortgage. I made an offer, it was accepted, and everything was going peachy keen. Third time is the charm, I thought. I stopped looking for a housemate. We came in for our home inspection at the beginning of November, and things went rapidly downhill. First, the inspector turned on the heat, but nothing happened. Then he found termite damage in a beam supporting the main floor. The kicker was the crack and bulge that ran along the entire foundation wall, which he estimated could cost up to 100,000$ to fix. I declined to continue the inspection, and found myself back at square 1, albeit 200$ poorer.

By now it was a week into November, and I still had no clue where I was going to live at the end of December. I called my landlord to see if he'd allow us to stay on after that, renting just the single room we'd almost ended up with at the beginning, but he had changed his tune. He said that would be too much work for him, but he'd let me renew my lease for the full apartment. Well, without any housemate to help with the rent, that seems like the last thing I'd ever want to do! So I'm back to looking for roommates or a new (smaller!) apartment.

The Last Resort

Over the weekend, I visited another house that would work for my needs. The asking price was high, but still within my limits, and it had no offers after 43 days on the market and 2 open houses, so I placed a lower offer and waited. And waited. And waited.

In my first 3 experiences with bidding on a house, the seller had always responded within a day. Finally after 3 days, the seller responded with a counter offer that doesn't suit my thrifty nature. So, while there's still a chance we can come to an agreement, it's getting slimmer by the minute.

If this doesn't work out, I am finding a nice cheap apartment with a long-term lease and taking a break from house shopping. The last four months have been the most stressful, suspenseful months of my life. I first began this process because I'd decided that buying a home would be a more economical choice than renting for the rest of my life, but if there is a single lesson in these four failures, I would have to say it's that I'm not destined to be a homeowner.