Monday, July 23, 2012

More House Hunting plus Something Of My Very Own (What This Blog Means To Me)

My house is deliciously quiet right now.

The baby is sleeping. Poor baby, she has been sick this week.

The boys and their Daddy are on an errand to Grandpa's house. Poor boys, they have been sick too, and we had to miss church today because they are all contagious. Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease, if you must know. It's been going around in the family and neighborhood this summer. It's not as horrifying as it sounds, but it's no fun either. Only the baby has the rash (the worst is on her feet, only a few spots on her perfect chubby feet), but they have all had fevers, etc.

I have a quiet house, and a house that smells good, thanks to my Natural Lemon-Vanilla-Thyme Air Freshener. Side note: One important instruction I left out of that tutorial is to use a cheap old pan you got for $1 at the thrift store. You know, just in case you are the forgetful type who might accidentally let the water run dry and scorch the pan and leave the house smelling burnt and stinky instead of heavenly. Not that *I* would ever do that! [Did that last week.]

Quiet houses make me feel reflective, and I find myself thinking about this little old blog (and my other one, too). I started these blogs as learning experiences, yes. But I also started them so I could have something of my own. My "bit of earth" so to speak. Something to tend and water and nurture that is just mine.

We have moved oh-so-many times since we got married. I think maybe thirteen times in not quite seven years? Always a new house that never seems moved into, organized, and decorated. Always starting over in a new church congregation, new neighborhood, new town, trying to make new friends. I have supported these moves, but they have all been for my husband's education or career. (To be fair, there was one time we stayed put because of my career.) Ever since I left my copywriting career when our first child was born almost five years ago, I have felt sort of like a balloon on a string - and the string is in my husband's hand.

I didn't identify the feeling that clearly at first, of course. I just felt uneasy, uprooted. I felt like I couldn't get a job or even a freelance career because I never knew when I would need to up and leave. (There were also, of course, child-related reasons for not restarting a career.) I thought about starting a blog for a long time, but I didn't do it because my husband didn't like the idea. Maybe I had given him the wrong idea, or only a vague idea, of what  I meant to write about. Maybe he envisioned me laying bare all or most of our personal details like Dooce. In any case, I put it off.

Until I realized a blog was one thing I could truly take with me. I could keep at it wherever I went. My investment wouldn't be lost due to a change in location. Maybe I would make some friends who would never be *gone* because they were never *there* (physically). So I started.

So, this blog means a lot to me. It's my "thing" right now, and I'm glad I have it. Turns out we might be moving again soon. Tyson has had a job interview in Salt Lake City (about 80 miles from where we live now) that seems promising. He wasn't really looking, and is actually due to start a different job with his current company in a couple of weeks...but we shall see. I decided it shouldn't make me stop house hunting here, because I don't want to miss the right property if it ends up coming up and we do indeed stay here...


...So we looked at three new listings yesterday, all within a few blocks of each other, all close in size, all near the bottom of our targeted price range. If we purchase a home in this price range it will increase our monthly payment by somewhere from $35 to $100, depending on down payment, interest rate, and purchase price. That's a pretty small change in the monthly budget to gain 1000+ more square feet and a real yard. Of course, it also means a lot more work and maintenance, stuff that is currently included in our HOA.

There are things we give up to be in this price range, though. None of these houses had attached garages (two of them had detached one car garages that I would more refer to as "garages" - quotes meaning they don't really measure up to what a garage should be). None had central air conditioning. Only one had a master bathroom, and it just had a shower rather than the nice separate tub and shower we have right now. They all had large yards (just under a half acre). They all had five bedrooms. They each had their unique, fun little things.

The first house was a cute little Craftsman listed at $159,850. It had some nice built-ins and updates upsstairs, but other parts needed a lot of work and it definitely wasn't the house for us.

The kitchen cabinets were painted a dark blue (looks weird in this pic) that I liked surprisingly well).

We moved on quickly from that one. The next was a raised rambler from 1981, listed at $164,000. It had a great backyard with a garden spot, raspberries, strawberries, fruit trees, a cute fire pit, and two sheds with electricity. The interior was nice and updated. It had some of the typical drawbacks of ramblers from this era: the front door that enters right into the living room, the small dining area, and the small master suite. But at least it HAD a master suite! It needed work on the roof, and it had the parking and A/C situations I already mentioned.

Nice little place, huh? I mean, it's no 1970s mansion dream home, but it's a great place!

The third place was an updated farmhouse-ish house, with a big addition on it. That was fun for me because it kind of was the perfect mix: the character of the old (window casings, wood floors, wraparound porch) with the convenience of the new (open living space, large kitchen). This one had a great front porch, a big great room in the addition plus a formal living room and another small family room downstairs, a cute treehouse, and a big master bedroom with plenty of other bedrooms. Again, it had the downsides I already mentioned: the lack of garage, A/C, and master bath. And as cute as that split rail fence is, we would need to have a real fence. This was the biggest and most expensive of the houses we looked at, at 2868 sq. ft. and $179,900. Still way within our budget.

 So, what do you think?


  1. I definitely know what you mean about having your own "thing" I actually love my job because it combines something I love (medical terminology nerd here) with talents I never really considered talents before (quick fingers and really good hearing). I love "owning" this, it is mine only. I'm glad you are enjoying writing because I am enjoying reading! How fun if Tyson's job in SLC works out and you can be closer to Girls Night! But definitely wonderful whatever job works best for your little fam!!

  2. Love that description -your own bit of earth. Love the yard on the second one. The third has the formal front room and grand living area with plenty of eating/bar space and counter space. That's the layout I would really love someday. Prices seem better than I would have expected for both of those.

  3. Love your blogs, Lisa. You are such an expressive writer - everything comes alive with your words. Love, Grandmom

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