Friday, September 23, 2011

The House

The shingles along the edges of the roof are coming loose in places.
The lawn especially in the back but also in the front needs to be mowed.
The landscaping in front is full of weeds and the trees need trimming.
The shutters need to be replaced.
The privacy fence in back needs some work.
And so does the back porch.
Much of the inside needs to be repainted.
Some is a big deal and some is quick and easy to take care of, but the house overall is in pretty good shape..............

Right after my divorce and as I was beginning to think about where I was going to live, I had planned on simply renting a place.
I was still living under the same roof as my ex-husband which was not only fraught with stress but was also unfairly expensive.  I had signed off on the home we had shared and I really needed out.
On the spur of the moment I visited a bank to see if I could qualify for a home loan.
It was not that I had bad credit - it was that I had very little credit so I did not hold out much hope.
But the credit I had was good, I had been employed continuously for many years and it was still during the time of the housing bubble so credit was being given out easily. 
Too easily as it turned out but I did not know that at the time.
Not long after I applied I received a phone call from the bank telling me that I was pre-qualified for $120,000.
My first reaction when I got off the phone was GREAT!!
My second reaction was "Are they crazy????  I can't afford a $120,000 house!".
And so I called the bank back and asked them how much house I could buy for $600 a month.
They told me about $85,000.
With that max in mind I began looking at homes and about 30 houses later I walked into this one...........

My realtor told me that the house had just gone on the market and was not even listed yet.
I walked into the house, looked around inside, walked into the back yard and knew that this was the house that I had been looking for.
I was looking for something around 1000 square feet since it was just me and Jamie, and this house at 1400 square feet was bigger than I needed but that was OK.
It would accommodate my kayak and my canoe and my road bike and my mountain bike and my untold boxes of adventure racing clothes and gear.
It had a big back yard and a privacy fence for James.
A spare bedroom if one of the boys visited.  A place for a home office. 
A car port and a garage-converted-into-a-den. 
It was five minutes from my work.
It was close to the base where I ran and rode and paddled.
Lots of older and well maintained ranch style homes with mature trees in the area.
I was definitely interested.
I called a friend of mine who worked in maintenance and asked if she would come look at the place and tell me what she thought.  She was used to that drill because I had asked her to do that before.
To look at the wiring and the plumbing and the roof and all those other things that were far more important than the paint colors and the carpet colors, but which were also things I knew very little about.
She provided me with invaluable information for which I was so grateful and which helped reinforce my decision that I liked this house.
It was not big or fancy but I liked it.
I went back to the house one more time the next day just to be certain and it just felt......right.
As the realtor was locking up the doors and turning out the lights I stood in the living room absently looking at the many photographs that were still on the wall.
Cute kids.  Nice looking lady - must be the wife.  Obviously the grandparents.
And then one picture caught my attention.
It was a picture of a guy on a mountain bike.  The bike looked to be a serious bike and the guy was geared out like a serious rider.
He wore sunglasses and a helmet so I could not really see his face but now curious I scanned the photographs for more pictures of him.
And then I found a family picture of him, the wife and the two small children.
I think I may have laughed out loud when I saw it because I knew the guy.
He was my bike mechanic - the guy who for years had fixed up my mountain bike when it was bent and broken after so many crazy trips into the mountains during adventure races.
.The guy who liked to listen to my crazy stories as he good naturedly handed back my straight and repaired mountain bike, but who was such a better rider than me it was not even funny.
I did not let on to my realtor that I knew the home owner but did find out that he wanted to buy a larger home to accommodate his growing family, and that purchase was contingent on him selling his current home.
He was asking $79,000, I countered with $72,000.
A few more back and forths and I ended up getting the house for 73.
From the time I first saw the house to the time we agreed on a price took all of three days.
Built in the 1950's the mountain bikers wife's parents had owned the house originally, then sold it to the daughter, and then I bought it.................

A view down our street.................
While still looking for a house to purchase and a few weeks before I found the one I ultimately bought, I moved into a campground and set up a tent.
I was there for six weeks while I searched for, found and then closed on the house.
I made a conscious decision to live as cheaply as possible during that time in order to pay off debts incurred during the divorce, so I could start my new life as a single person in a positive way.
Many people at work thought that I was crazy for sleeping in a tent for so long, and some thought that I was enduring real hardship, but it was the middle of summer and I loved every minute of it...................

LC and I have spent some time doing work on the outside of the house recently.
Cleaning out two years worth of leaves from the gutters.
Setting in concrete two new posts on gates of the privacy fence.
Scraping down the deck so we can renail portions and then repaint the entire thing.
Repainting a storage building and light post.
Nothing major or extremely time consuming.
Just enough to make our presence known.  And then known some more.
There is a woman, three children and a man who was shot in an apparent case of mistaken identity living in the house.
We have met the woman.  The three children seem like nice kids.  We have not met the guy who claims to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time.
On the 30th we will move back into our house..................

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