Tuesday, July 31, 2007

House Hunting 101 - Part 1

Okay it's time to start the house hunting process.  This week we've been pulling them off the internet and driving around, and if empty, looking in windows.  We have a list of 4 we want to see that are in a price range we think is affordable for us.

Hubby is drawn to a little 2 bedroom rancher in town.  The neighbor lady was very nice and an animal lover.  It's on a decent size lot for being in town and there is growth potential with it.

Another is outside of town in a little neighborhood.  The boy next door told us it had been empty for some time.  The kitchen is extremely small and has white metal AND wood cabinets going on in it - shame it's not all the wood.  Carpet in living room is dated as well.  However, it does look as though it has potential so we thought it's worth a look.  After all, cabinets can be replaced and well, we learned to lay carpet when we did the room in the basement.

Me?  I'm drawn to an older 1908 house.  It apparently has set empty for a long time.  The kitchen is huge.  The neighbor down the street said that it had been rented the past few months and the renters didn't take care of it - that was obvious when I saw a board in place of a window pane.  There also seems to be this huge (refrigerator size) black box sitting in the kitchen and we couldn't figure out what it was or what it may be hiding (and the kitchen already has a refrigerator and oven)!!! It does have a beautiful flagstone back porch patio though and the yard is fenced and a decent size.  The biggest eyesore is the garage, it's ready to collapse and we both agreed the best thing there is to tear it down and be done with it.

Though neither of us admitted it, the best of the lot is another little rancher in town.  On a small lot, it is move in ready and updated.  It also has central air which we've grown accustomed to.  So it's on the list as well.

There's a few more I want to drive by as well.  They're about 10 miles out of town, but you seem to get more home at a decent price there.

Still sad, but dealing with it.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Ode To A House

I love my house.  It's a little 2 bedroom, 1 bath brick rancher in a nice neighborhood and the back yard goes right into a neighborhood park.  It's quiet, the neighbors are all nice and it's considered one of the prime areas to live in my town.  I always thought I'd be here, I thought wrong.....

We're only renters.  Hubby's been here 13 years and I've been here 9 of those years.  The owners bought the house to retire one day, unfortunately the husband died several years ago ending that dream.  We've since taken care of the house as if it were our own in the anticipation of being the owners when the wife was ready to sale.  She wants us to have it as well.

Last week she called to start those events.  She's planning on retiring next year and wants to get her finances in order.

Yesterday, came the appraisal.  Once we knew that the "real estate king" of the city was the appraiser - we knew we were done.  Even before he arrived, we were sitting on the front porch and this red truck kept going up and down the street, moving slower in and around our area.  I have no doubts that "real estate king" has already sold our house.  Despite water damage in the basement, despite the outdated kitchen, despite anything - the house got appraised at $189,900.  She, of course, wasn't expecting it to be that high and knows that's out of our price range.

"Real Estate King" advised her to think of her future (which she should), advised her that he can sell the house within a week due to the area, etc...

"We" advised we can't afford the price and though she came down a little, it's still way out of our price range.

We're going to the bank this week to get a pre-approval on what we can afford and then it's off to look at houses.  She's coming back in 2 weeks to see what we're doing and let us know if she feels she can come down to our price range.  But realistically, why should she?  She doesn't owe us that.

Hubby took the news hard, he had it in his head this is where he wants to live.  I was a little more realistic, and once I knew she was ready to sell, got on the internet and started looking at houses, but the reality of everything hit me this morning...

And I'm very sad.


  • Tuesday, July 31. 2007 Kim wrote:
    That sucks in more ways than I can count! I am so sorry! And technically, and this is only my opinion, as you two did so much work in that house, she could come down in price! On the flip side, looking for a new house is pretty exciting really. Maybe it will all work out for the best...God is obviously leading you somewhere!

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Mouse

I got to work the other day at around 7:30 a.m.  Mary had beat me by 5 minutes and we ran reports and processed the morning paperwork.  Since the office doesn't open to 8:00, we got ourselves and the garage mechanic coffee and headed to the garage for a break.

We went out the inner door and just chatting away.  Mary's hands were holding both her and the mechanic's coffee, so I, having a free hand, went to reach for the handle of the outer door.  Glad I looked down before grabbing it.  I came to an immediate halt.

Me:      Mary, don't touch that door.
Mary:   What?
Me:      Don't touch the door.  Look at the handle!
Mary:   OMG!!

There on the DOOR HANDLE sat a mouse - glaring at us!!!

I opened the door to the right instead (that leads into the garage).  Sam (mechanic) and a Deputy were in there.

Mary:   Let me through the door, I'm not staying in here.
Me:      Sam, come here immediately!!
Sam:   What?
Me:      Come here!!
Sam:   What?!
Me:      Look at the door handle!!!
Sam:   There is no way!! (after finally noticing the mouse)

I'm not kidding you when I say that mouse never moved from the handle, he just sat there looking at us as if to dare us to touch the handle.

Needless to say, the mouse had "death by broom" courteous of Sam. 

I'm an animal lover, you didn't think I'd kill it - did ya????


  • Monday, July 30. 2007 Kim wrote:
    I couldn't have let Sam kill it! Poor little mouse! And he was like a stunt mouse! I'll bet not every mouse could get on a freakin' door handle! You should have gotten him an agent! Think of all the trips to London you could have financed with that!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Harper's Ferry, WV

Yesterday was my anniversary and Hubby and I decided to spend it in Harpers Ferry, WV.   We spent one of our first dates there and in case you ask - "What made you go there?"  I think it was because we went for a drive and just ended up there (it's only an hour drive away).  When we got married we honeymooned at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, MD, but on the way there, stopped in Harpers Ferry.  It's a nice quaint little place that we like.  Another addition is that we could bring the Toby dog with us.

Harpers Ferry is a historical landmark, and anyone familiar with Civil War history is familiar with all that happened there.  When I was in school, we always took bus trips there.  The bus pulled up in the parking lot and dropped everyone off.  Several years ago, they put in a visitors center 2 1/2 miles past the park.  You can park there and shuttles take you to the historical area (which is the lower town....).  Parking is very limited in "lower town" (where the school buses dropped you off is now for the shuttle service only). 

Anyway, we heading to the visitors center.  Since we had Toby we knew we couldn't shuttle, so we parked in the back and followed the sign to a path in the woods towards the "lower town".  This was a nice path (though steep) and steps had been made out of stones to help.  We reach the bottom and come out at a rode - no sign.  But there IS a pedestrian walkway going across the road, and we can see a path through the woods.  We head that way....now we come out at a railroad track (no sign)...we cross, enter the next woods.  Now the path is practical weed overgrown and we decide we definitely have missed something.  We head back - no signs UNTIL we get back to the hill leading to the parking lot (and the sign states that).  But, here's that hill, and it was fairly easy coming down, but by this time I'm gasping for breath.  We start up....I go first.  We're not that far up when my legs decided we had had enough.  I drop to a stone step...we have to sit for 20 minutes until my legs are workable again.  We get to the parking lot and have to rest in the car.  At this point, hubby decided we were going to drive down to the park and take our chances. 

We drive down and there's no parking anywhere - people have even MADE their own parking spaces - no free spaces what-so-ever.  We gave up, and started out the other way and find a little parking lot off in the corner about 1/2 mile up from "lower town".  It was full, but someone was pulling out - so we lucked out.  We parked and walked the path back to the park (all level ground, so I was okay). 

Because Harpers Ferry is "historical", I was amazed at the number of people dragging their kids around as if they thought this was enjoyable for them.  Since we had Toby we weren't able to go in the shops, museums and such...but we didn't really need to do that.  We came across The Iron Horse CafĂ© and decided to eat lunch.  Toby was welcome at the restaurant as long as we sat at an outside table (there was another dog there as well) and since the day was beautiful that wasn't a problem.  From there we went to The Swiss Miss and got ice cream cones.  However as soon as we sat down, a train went by and that freaked Toby out, so he couldn't even concentrate on his ice cream.  I had to throw the $3.50 cone away (and I keep letting him know the price).

We eventually walked along the river back to our car.  I suggest this path rather than the one along the rode, as it's shaded and quiet.  We then headed home.  I was extremely tired.  It was a nice day but I DID get some poison ivy (or oak or sumac...not sure which)...hopefully I can control this one little patch (I attract this stuff like you wouldn't believe).

Here's some pictures:







Sunday, July 1, 2007


Today in honor of my 7 year anniversary, I'm sharing some wedding photos: