May 20, 2018:

Hola!

Yesterday Prince Harry married American Meghan Markle and I couldn't get enough of the royal wedding. What a gorgeous dress, the bride was radiantly beautiful and the church at Windsor - oh my goodness, the flowers alone were soooo beautiful. There's nothing like a good love story to make one appreciate how precious we can be (and should be) to each other.

I'm glad the weather was perfect yesterday for the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex's wedding. I can't say the same for around here. Spring keeps teasing and then going away. This morning I woke up to a "balmy" 47 degrees F outside, rain, damp, and I turned the heat back on! It's May 20th, the heat. should. not. be. on. Period.

Last Thursday, however, was beautiful. I was able to get a goodly amount of yard and garden clean-up done over several days last week. I also took some photos of my flowering tree anchoring the north corner of my house and made the current collage. I think it's an ornamental cherry, and on the the other end of the house, I think that's called a purple sand cherry? I'll have to check that. The blossoms on the tree do not have a distinct fragrance, but the purple shrub that wants to be a tree (despite my hacking it back, back and back yearly - I'm losing, by the way) has myriad blossoms with a distinct fragrance. I can't decide if the scent is too beautiful to bear or too awful to smell, it certainly can be overpowering!

This coming week will be the third cut of the grass this season. We had rain late Friday night and then for several hours earlier this morning. This rain, on top of the rain we had over four days the prior weekend, and the grass is growing like nobody's business! I don't mind doing the grass, though, as long as it's not too hot, too cold, not raining, and not too windy. I'm not picky at all, am I...

I still have a lot of raking out of areas that suffered from snow mold over the winter, and have not yet really tackled cleaning out the north flower bed in the backyard. That will be a chore!

But Memorial Day weekend is coming. This coming Saturday I will be out with a friend (who has a nice large van - goody!) stocking up on potting soil, top soil to fill in never-ending low spots in the yard, grass seed, and lots of plants! For some reason, this spring seems busier than those in prior years. I can't figure out why that is...

Jan

Saturday, June 28, 2014

I Got the Kitchen Blues

Hola darlings!

This is the kitchen I wanted -- at 4029, the house I did not buy (could not reach agreement with sellers on a purchase price, we were $2,000 apart in price and both stuck to our guns; ultimately, this house, listed for $169,900, sold for $168,000 -- much more than what I paid for 3982 with identical square footage and general lay-out, just up the block):


This is the kitchen I'm buying at 3982:


The basic lay-out and floor area of each kitchen are mirror images of each other, right down to the angled double sink in the corner looking out through two corner windows.  But - oh my - the differences.  Holy Hathor!

And the Winner Is....

Two houses in contention, but I can only buy one...

4002
 

3982
And the winner is -- 3982.  I am closing on its purchase on Monday - finally!  It took a ridiculously long amount of time to get to this point.

I really really liked 4002, but in the end, I was swayed by the list of recent improvements that the owners of 3982 had undertaken: new siding on house and garage; new concrete patio in back yard; new privacy fence to screen patio; new furnace and AC unit in 2013; beautifully refinished hardwood floors in the bedrooms; newer architectural style shingle roofs on house and garage; new vinyl plank flooring in the kitchen/dinette in a luscious dark cherrywood tone (that clashes horribly with the oak finished cabinets); newly remodeled main floor bathroom; updated kitchen; new front and rear exterior doors; new windows; new sliding patio door with steps down to the backyard (not shown on any of the listing photos, but if you look in through the picture window above you can see straight back through the living room to the patio doors in the dinette). 

I still have tweaks of panic now and then that I bought the wrong house (4002 has many appealing aspects), but to back out now would be disastrous for the young couple buying my house, and the young couple selling me their house, and the people who are selling my sellers their house!  Just cannot do it.  My rational side tells me that I will have little to worry about for years to come in buying 3982, other than installing a new water heater in a couple of years and decommissioning the old chimney.  Oh, and the brick veneer across the front of the house needs to be "re-tied" to the studs in some places and the stone cap on the brick half wall underneath the bedroom windows needs to be reset.

So, I will live right next store to 4002 and be witness to see what the lucky person(s) who eventually move in do around the place; it is under contract but has been pending for months.  I believe the buyers cannot sell their house, or more likely, cannot sell their house for the money they need to afford to buy 4002. 

So, shortly I will be embarking on the next phase of my life -- that of living in a much smaller house and yards.  My hands are itching to get at it.  As you can see, 3982 doesn't have much curb appeal, and there is lots of painting and minor remodelling to do inside.  What a thing to take on nearly at my 63rd birthday.  Geez, Jan! 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Shopping for a New House: House 5

Hola darlings.

Spring has, at last, sprung at Maison Newton and I've been so busy the past several weekends doing yard work, OY!  This is one of the reasons I wanted to downsize to a smaller house and smaller yard than what I have now. I love my yards and my gardens, but they are, quite frankly, too much for me to handle on my own at this point in my life.  My plan was for Mr. Don to be here with me during our Golden Years to help with the necessary.  He loved puttering around in the gardens, too.  But it did not come to pass.   

So - on to House 5.  If you take a look at the prior posts, you will see my adventures with Houses 4, 3, 2 and 1. 

House 5 went on the market on or about May 1st.  When I opened up the browser early one morning, still half asleep, sipping my instant coffee before doing the trudge back upstairs to get ready for work, my eyes widened and I instantly became fully awake when I saw A NEW LISTING!

The house is 3982 S. 74.  In fact, next store, directly to the north of 4002 S. 74 (House 4).  I had finally viewed 4002 on May 2nd, and so admired what it had to offer and its potential, I was ready to put in an offer to buy it.  BUT -- I wanted to see 3982 before reaching a final decision.  I was itching to pull the trigger on a house at this point. I had had enough of looking at houses and dickering with sellers.  I wanted to settle on a place and BUY IT. 



There she is - 3982.  This is a typical basic ranch style house for our area: three small bedrooms, one bath, one living room, one kitchen with dining area.  Full 11 course concrete block basement as large as the square footage above.  Stone or brick facade on front of house, aluminum or vinyl siding on the rest of the house.  Ranch-style windows (narrow and short) in bedrooms.  Separate garage built at the back of the lot.  They were put up in our area by the thousands during the 1950-1960's.  This particular house was built in - 1955.  4002 and 4029 were built the following year, in 1956, but have the exact same floor plan, with minor variations in bedroom configurations, and identical square footage on the main living area. 

Here is what 3928 did not have: 4002's lovely bay window with crank-out windows on either end to provide cross-ventilation with the dinette window (that had two narrow windows on either side of a large picture window that could be opened), and a curved front sidewalk with a beautiful decorative flowering tree, expertly trimmed shrub linking the public sidewalk area to the house walk-way, and the driveway-side lot line adorned with climbing roses at either end of the house;  OR 4029's cute and smartly-designed front garden area, sharp decorative paint job with cool colors, decorative shutters, and decorative metal thing hung between the two front bedroom windows to provide the final finishing touch.

All can be fixed, of course, but still...

OF COURSE 3982 sellers' schedule and mine did not coordinate.  I had hoped to see 3982 the same evening I saw 4002, but alas, it did not come about.  I was not able to view 3982 until the evening of Friday, May 6th. Four long days of waiting, tick tick tick, and having ants in my pants the entire time...

The property listing for 3982 made a point of noting that the following items were new: (1) furnace; (2) air-conditioning unit; (3) remodeled main floor bathroom, with new bath tub; (4) siding on house AND garage; (5) exterior doors (front door, side door that exits at driveway and -- PATIO DOOR!!!!!)  The Patio Door is extremely important because that meant these owners took the time and expense to replace the 1950's style picture window in the dinette area looking out over the backyard with a brand new (mini-blinds inside) sliding patio door, with new steps, down to a (6)  beautifully finished concrete patio and (7) fully privacy-fenced backyard.  Let's see, did I miss anything? Oh yeah, (8) a new high-end laminate floor installed in the kitchen/dinette area in a rich deep red mahogany-like color that I fell in love with instantly upon seeing it in person.  This flooring was NOT shown in any of the listing photographs, BTW.  Neither was the patio door.