Tuesday night, we looked at the apartment, the duplex really, the huge half-a-house with 2 acres of land in the back. Three other families were interested, including my friend B from town here.
She rejected it outright after viewing it, even though it would have enough space for her and the three kids. She told me her daughter "is a snob" and could never live in an old house with small bathrooms and small rooms. The house is old indeed, but not as old as the house I'm in now so I didn't think a thing of the age. I told B that she can't let her daughter dictate where they live, if her daughter doesn't like it good luck to her - she can go live with her dad. Considering there are literally no options for rent, I was shocked that she rejected it.
B decided on a two bedroom condo that was rehabbed/rebuilt in 2007 with all new everything. There is a small office - she's giving her daughter that room. I thought that was justice, and told her to stick to it - the two boys have to share a room, so there is really no reason why her daughter can't take the small room.
I am going on way too long in this entry so if you want to keep reading...
Doug had made a 5:30pm appointment to meet the owner, who had requested we bring the whole family, dogs included. Doug had a 3pm meeting that he hoped to be sprung from at 4pm, but as of 5pm was still sitting in traffic 40 minutes maybe from home.
He told me to take Brodie and Geoff and that he'd swing by the house with the station wagon and get Gonzo and Jack to bring over. The temperature was in the upper 60s, so we left Brodie in the car in the Keller's driveway across the street, got Jess, and went over to meet the owner. I told him Doug was bringing the rest of the team, he was running late thanks to a meeting but that the kids and I would take the tour.
He decided to show us the property first, hoping Doug would show up before we went inside. The yard is indeed huge. There is an ancient apple orchard in the way back of the property, overgrown and in need of love from anyone who may be interested in maintaining it. Doug just may feel like doing that. It's his kind of thing. The zen of pruning... he doesn't like to clean in the house, but will spend hours working on the branches of our trees in the yard...
There is a garage for storage, more of a shed. Lawnmower, snowthrower, bikes... that kind of thing. We turned to the exterior of the house, there was some damage this winter in the big snow storms. The deck off the back of the house needs to be replaced, so he'll have that done this fall. I kind of see that as the primary entrance especially during the winter. There is a porch with the main entry door to the right, so he brought us in there. Doug still hadn't shown up, and he had someone coming at 6:30 so we had to move on with the tour.
Walking in, there is a living room directly to the right, a stair case in front, and a dining room open directly to the left. There is a closet towards the back wall with a laundry hook up in it, and a bathroom off of that. On the other side of the house he said that the laundry is in the basement and this set up is a full sized bathroom with shower. I am happy to have a half bath instead, and have the laundry on the first floor. Cool.
The dining room is small -- but enough for our table and perhaps a hutch for the china. Turning to the left, you enter the kitchen. There is a huge open hearth similar to what we have but he's put a woodstove into it. He said his insurance company is giving him a hard time about tenants using it. I told him we were, not pun intended, seasoned woodstove users. We have heated this part of the house for six winters, we know what we're doing. He liked that, and I told him that I wasn't sure how much I'd even use it since it isn't in the livingroom where I'd be sitting watching movies feet up and cozy. I don't know that I spend that much time in the kitchen, but it will be nice to have. The kitchen is small, they had a dining table in the center of it but we probably won't since we'll use the dining room as the dining room. The current occupants had the dining room set up with pets in cages and a couch and TV. So two living rooms pretty much right in the front. Sort of weird. I didn't check out the kitchen too closely since the table was in the center, but it has built in storage, cabinets and drawers like an old scullery kitchen. Everything is painted white. It looks a bit garish after my exposed tudor beams, dark cabinets and brick hearth.
I didn't even notice if there was a dishwasher. Heh.
Continuing towards the left is what he calls a "3.5 season porch." Huge windows, knotty pine walls. The room was full of boxes as the tenants are starting to pack for their move. I could see sticking the Boy and his play station in there. Initially I thought it would be a good place for the computer but Doug didn't like the idea of sitting somewhere cold to work in the winter, and wants to use another room for his office. It has a beautiful view of the backyard, simply lovely. A fold out couch would be nice in there too, as long as guests in the winter time don't mind using some heavy quilting. Perhaps the woodstove in the kitchen here is a great idea if we get one of those fans that can suck the hot woodstove air into the room. Hmmm.
He said that there is electric heat in this porch, ceramic flooring which retains the heat very nicely. It looks very pretty and I see a lot of potential. I also had mentioned that I kind of see it as the winter entry, simply because of that ceramic flooring - easy to clean and a wide open area by the back door to stick all of our shoes out on when we come in, and coat pegs on the wall ... no more Geoff dumping his coat on the dining table when he comes in. Hallelujah.
We walked back through the first floor and went up the stairs to the second level. Turning left at the top of the stairs, there is a long hallway down to a back bedroom and a good sized bath. The bathroom used to be over the porch, but the pipes kept freezing so he ripped everything out and converted a small bedroom into the bath.
Our bedroom will probably be this back bedroom on the second level. What used to be the bathroom is now really a large walk in storage closet, which is good because the attic isn't good for storage and the basement is old and damp. All of our stuff that we have that we don't want to part with and don't necessarily want to put out on display can go in there. And camping gear, Christmas ornaments, that kind of stuff. There is a bedroom in the front, which the current tenants use as their bedroom. Initially I wanted to put Geoff in there, but Doug wants to make it the office. So we're having a difference of opinion.
Turning up the next set of stairs to the third floor, there are two bedrooms and a "hallway" which is more like a big hang out loft kind of area. Doug wants to put both kids up here, Jess wants the back bedroom and Geoff will end up with the front bedroom. I think Doug wants to put Geoff's playstation and everything up here in the open hang out area - I don't know if Jess will cotton to having all that out in front of her bedroom door, especially because he doesn't keep it very tidy. The ceiling is sloped, obviously, as it is pretty much the attic. Arranging the furniture for the 6 foot and 6' 2" kids will be challenging. wondering how we'll do beds and storage and what not with their rooms since they won't be able to use literally half the room because of their height. heh.
It is a lot of space really -- four full bedrooms with closets, decent flow to the first floor. As opposed to B's daughter, my kids immediately saw themselves living here and started to argue (playfully and in a good way, which was a relief in front of a total stranger... I hate when they fight) about where what was going.
Doug finally arrived after I finished going through the house. He had the two old dogs with him so Jess ran across the street to the car to get Brodie. I took Jack and Gonzo and Doug went through the house with the owner. The kids and I walked the dogs down to the back of the property. Geoff was impressed with how much yard there was for him to mow and told me he would be "raising his rates." I laughed at him.
Eventually Doug and the owner came down, and we had a talk with him. All the kids, adults, and dogs together. He asked us why we were moving, which is something that makes me cringe every time it comes up with a potential landlord. Doug explained and he didn't bat an eye at hearing the story. We told him our goal was to keep Geoff at Pentucket, and we hoped this would work out for us. We told him we could provide character references
We took the dogs home and Doug and I decided to go out to get a bite to eat. Geoff didn't want to come with, so we left him with hot dogs and whatever. A half hour later, my phone rang and it was the owner, offering us the place. He met two more people who were looking at the house. One complained about the size of the yard and wanted the owner to pay for the mowing. The other was looking for something more updated and modern, kind of like B.
So one person's style choice and another person's attitude cleared the way for him to make an immediate choice without much ado. He told us that he'd be happy if we took it, knowing he was helping us keep Geoff at school. His kids all graduated from this district, he knows how important this is to us.
And we accepted his acceptance, and just like that we have a place to live.