Monday, February 20, 2006

Houses and Futons

This is the fun part, right? The looking, the scheming, the driving around at night and seeing one of those little signs at the end of a street that makes you go "OOOH! that's a new one!" and you delay heading home so you can take a peek.

Saturday we spent a couple of hours with our buyer's broker looking at three houses. And in typical over-detailed fashion, here is what we saw:

We'll start with number one, the house I fell in love with, the one that started this whole process. To sum up completely: Wonderful for someone else. Not for us.

It has 1 full bath which isn't even a full bath because it doesn't have a tub, it has a shower stall. It's a nice spacious bathroom. But we would want at LEAST a half bath somewhere in the house for those times when someone just can't hold it. The downstairs is bright and airy. The kitchen is a dream. There is a family room or fourth bedroom on the first floor. It has two decks. It has a view to the river. And the second floor is untouched from like 1910. We thought about what it would take to put a bathroom up on the second floor. One of the three upstairs bedrooms would have to be gutted for the addition, and it would become a hallway or closet in the process. It is doable... But. It would take too much work. It is a lovely house though. Seriously -- If I weren't a lazy ass and if I didn't have kids but wanted to have a house to prepare for the oncoming of the kids -- this would be the house. Scratch that one off.

Second house is Busy Street by Elementary School. The house is awesome. Full finished basement. Garage the size of Jessica's bedroom. Four bedrooms upstairs, eat in kitchen, family room, breezeway/mud room closed in connecting the house to the garage. Inground pool. Half acre of yard even with the pool. Usually pools eat up 90% of a back yard. This has tons of yardage... Treehouse. It wants for nothing except getting the ghetto/porn star shag carpet and paneling out of the basement.

It would be perfect. The only problem is that it is on the busiest street in the universe. And part of my goal in this is to get away from the busy streets in life. Geoff loves it because he could walk to school, and ride his bike in the empty parking lot safely, with little or no worry on mom's part (I do tend to hyperventilate when he's out riding his bike near the road).

Doug said we could buy it, live there for five, and flip it once Jess was in college and Geoff was in high school. I'm not sure the investment would be worth it, and the kids both really like this house. This could be our house and I'd just have to keep an eye on the dog as I lounge in the swimming pool sipping my pina colada.

Third house is the pool and a pond house that we investigated last week on our own. Gorgeous. Five bedrooms, woodstove, huge assed family room with gorgeous bow window overlooking the pond. Master suite upstairs. Two full bathrooms and a half. Amazing. The kitchen is a little small, but the expansion possibility would be a simple wall knock out and some cabinet relocating. The asking price is a little high for what we'd want to pay, but we could swing it if we made a reasonable offer and it was accepted.

It is also on a very busy street, but if I had a pool and a pond (pond's good for you -- name the reference!) it'd be a good thing and I'd be happy, I could live with it.

Another problem is while it is still in our school district, it is in another town. I don't want to change Geoff's school -- he's got a great system in place and he's expressed anxiety about changing schools, changing cub scouts, changing everything. I think it would make his head explode if we did that to him. We have school choice in the district so any kid can go to any elementary school. But. We'd have to drive and pick him up. And there is no way we could do that for three and a half years.

Doug and I decided last night that we really need to stay in the town in which we currently reside, and we could move to one of the other towns in the regional school district later, once Geoff is up in the Middle School.

One of the original listings our broker gave us was pooh-poohed by Doug when we drove past. It's on a dead end street way out in the woods of our town here. The land all around is conservation land and won't be developed. It is way out in the country livin', but easy access to the next town over to get to the grocery store and other good stuff. It's got five bedrooms, 2 baths and about a half acre of land. But it has no porch, no deck, no garage, no shed, no woodstove or fireplace, nothing in the way of stuff that makes a house. It's a box with rooms in it.

I'd told Doug when we were looking at it that "You can add a woodstove. You can't take away traffic." I guess he gave that a lot of thought because we spent a ton of time checking it out and driving around yesterday. I'm interested in looking at it. I love the dead end street and in my mind sang an old Jon Svetkey song over and over as we drove about the area. I can see Geoff riding his bike up and down the road, and hiking across the street in the conservation area. It could rock. We will go look at it next weekend.

Yesterday Doug went out hiking. I decided it was too cold and Geoff was feeling a touch under the weather so I wanted him to stay home. So on behalf of our team, Doug hid a geocache and ran Jack like a mental case through the forest.

I set up Jessica's futon frame. Finally.

Back when my parents moved, my sister passed Jess her futon. Since then, the futon mattress has been on the floor and the frame has been standing up against the wall. I figured it was time to set the damn thing up. It was a bitch to do by myself. Geoff helped as best he could, holding wrenches while I lined stuff up, pushing screws into holes until they met resistance and I could adjust and get things lined up. It took the better part of two hours, with Geoff's encouragement and guidance. We make a good team. After we finished, he put his hand up for a hi-five and it slayed me. He can be so encouraging and sweet sometimes. He said "We really accomplished something big here today!" as he helped me put the futon cover on the futon mattress (so unfun that it made me cry). He even helped me push the futon into its final place of standing. It looks good, and Jess was thrilled when she returned home from Kay's house.

Now she has to finish cleaning her room so we can start to get organized. There is so much to do if we're going to move. It makes my stomach hurt just to think of it.

Anyway -- Today is Monday, it's a holiday for some and not for others. Some being me, others being Doug. We put the truck in the shop for a checkup, so I'm without wheels. Cateringman wanted me to come help with the project we're doing but realized his wife had today off too so they went skiing instead. So I got off the hook for that. We're taking the kids to my parents' this evening. They'll spend 2 days with Grandma. We're supposed to go pick them up on Wednesday night, but Doug took off Thursday so maybe he'll go down in the morning and get them then.

I need to finish all the laundry they need and my dryer is only spinning three articles of clothing a time. It won't spin otherwise, which pisses me off. I've got 1,000,000 pieces of clothing down there that need to dry. Grrrrrrrr.

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