Saturday, March 19, 2011
Assorted Heebie Jeebies
We are worn out with our current slum neighborhood. While it is close enough to campus that I can walk to school, we've had enough of watching kids smoke pot while we eat sunday dinner, going for a walk together and passing three cars with smashed in passenger windows, hearing gunshots while we relax on our balcony, and listening to everyone's horror stories when they hear where we live: their friend got mugged a block away in broad daylight, a man covered in blood knocked on their apartment door and asked to come in to clean up. Etcetera.
The house on the corner recently created a large stack of glass bottles in their front yard harnessed to a red cloth donkey. It is surrounded by signs that say "real citys recycle glass" and "mo mo-nae fo eduka-shun pleeze." Puzzling. Our beautiful apartment and spacious kitchen are not worth staying inside all summer to avoid the madness. Besides, someone spray painted "I peed here" on the benches by the tennis courts.
We spent hours apartment hunting online and 3 Saturdays of eliminating apartments in person because they were too small, too creepy, too expensive with all the added fees their websites didn't mention, or too smelly (think rotten milk and emphysema).
Two things happened at the same time: we got our tax refund and our landlord said we had 5 days to give them 60 days notice of whether we would be moving out, committing to another year, or paying through the nose for a month-to-month lease. We said "WE'RE OUT!" and found ourselves a Realtor.
Looking for a house was even more complicated than looking for an apartment. We were looking for something that we didn't really like, but liked the IDEA of. We want to be able to put all our restless remodeling energy to good use! The more houses we looked at online and in person, the more we agreed that people in all price ranges have terrible taste. (Alternately, Jon and I are just two opinionated control freaks who shrivel at the thought of a previous homeowner making decisions for us.)
Clearly the people selling the homes we went in have never watched HGTV of any sort, as there was rampant curb dis-peal, dirtiness, kitchens with the refrigerator displaced to the basement, clutter, and Husker decor going on. It's a hard call to make, walking into a house and deciding, oh this is the perfect amount of ugly-and-old-but-could-be-great! We can do this!
We want to be able to afford working on whatever we buy, so we were pretty conservative with our price range. This meant we saw nice houses in bad neighborhoods, bad houses in bad neighborhoods, needs-total-gut-job houses in cute older neighborhoods, builder blah houses in builder blah neighborhoods, and one comparatively beautiful house in a basic neighborhood. The beautiful house also happened to have a serial-killer-esque basement with foundation issues, which gave both jon and I some serious heebie jeebies, so we kept looking. (To clarify, he had the foundation heebie jeebies and I had the Silence of the Lambs heebie jeebies. Bad combo.)
Now, look at this:
This house was the perfect mix of "needs some love" and "we're already in love with it." Cape cods automatically make my heart beat, and we can't wait to do something with the non-color scheme going on. (You can't tell from the picture, but that's not stone, it's plastic sheeting molded into brick shapes.) That's a little stained glass window to the right of the front door! It needs storage, needs a basement-redo, appliances, and a whole lotta exterior and yard work (any suggestions for what to plant in all the shade in our backyard? There are a bunch of planters back there.)
It's 3bed/2bath on a quiet street on the FRINGE of one of those adorable brick older neighborhoods with a walkout basement, new windows, a deck in back, and a huge yard. I can't quit looking at it! And it's going to be ours on April 15! You're all invited -- In may, after I get back from a month-long clinical rotation in rural Nebraska.