A Little Ray of Sunshine

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Moving again

I shall be even more absent than usual, as we are moving yet again.
We had thought we would be able to stay in this house another year, but that is not the case. The landlord wants very much to sell, and is willing to lease only as a lease-to-own. We were willing to consider doing that, and hired a house inspector. The cheapest $235 we ever spent. The house is even more of a disaster than my dad thought, and that's saying quite a lot!
The front porch is wood on earth construction, which, for those of you who know as little as I used to about construction, is a Very Bad Thing. In this case, it let termites in. They ate the ends of the joists that hold up the north side of the house. They used to be set into the foundation but are now pretty much gone. The house is slowly falling down. To fix this, one would have to find a contractor who had very skinny workers, as the crawl space is only a foot high. These hypothetical very skinny workers would have to crawl under the house, jack the house up, remove the damaged wood, and sister in new joist ends. Jacking the house up is difficult to highly improbable. It appears to be two layers of brick. The inner layer is plastered over, the outer layer has lately been covered (mostly) with vinyl siding. The mortar on the visible parts of the outer layer (where not covered shortly before we moved in) is pretty much shot. The inner layer, of course, is hidden between the outer layer and plaster (existance is infered by the fact that the wall sounds solid and is too thick to be a single layer of bricks) and there is no telling what shape it is in.
Anyway, there are a great plenty of other issues, falling down chimneys and the like, but this is the one that would cost more to fix than the house is worth. Sooner or later, (perhaps sooner given Kelo vs. New London) a business will buy the land and raze the building. It is a shame, as there is a lot of old woodwork that you can't find the likes of now, and the brickwork on the front is spectacular.
So, we're moving. Our lease is up August 1st. We signed a new lease and put our money down, this is a lease to own, on a one-year-old mobile home. It will be paid for in six years. It is in a park, so the owners have the ability to screen potential residents for criminal history, and I find it a relief to get away from the current neighborhood's molester contingent. The new neighbors are friendly (on one side and across the street, the other side was sold the same time ours was, that is, this week, and I haven't met those folks yet). The couple next door babysits their great-grandsons daily, who are just a few months in age different from our boys. The lady across the street was at the next door neighbor's when I went to introduce myself, and seems very nice as well. The neighbors have a good sense of humor. I'm not sure what it is about older neighbors, but they always seem to have better senses of humor than young neighbors.
"We're Mel and Marilyn. You'll remember us, just think Mel Gibson and Marilyn Monroe! This is Marie who lives across the street. We're the M & M & Ms. Wouldn't you like some lemonade? If you have any questions about your place, just come ask us."
That's one nice thing about small town folks. They may be nosy, but they'll help you out even when they just barely met you.
I'm looking forward to a place that's actually ours that we can paint. It's a little thing, I guess, but I am so sick of all the rules about what you can and can't do when you're living someplace. All these rentals look like dorm rooms or hospital rooms, white and sterile. Well, the home does, too, but I can do something about that.
And it has a gas stove. Really, now, what's not to love? (Okay, I'm a little worried about the stove because the controls are on the front, but on the other hand, the garbage disposal switch is above the counter.) And AC. We've never lived in a place with AC. My folks have a passive solar home, so I never groked what AC was for until I moved out. You pretty much have to wear a sweater inside their house even when it's over one-hundred outside.
I don't plan to use the AC much, we've gone without it for so long, I think we can just set it to, oh, maybe eighty or so, and keep the place from roasting. It doesn't get really miserable in the house we're moving out of until it's over eighty inside.
And, did I mention, we'll own the home free and clear in six years? You can keep your 30 year mortgages and your hyper-inflated housing prices. Sure, we'll pay lot rent, but if the city decides that lot would be perfect for, say apartment buildings (it's close to campus), we won't loose our home.
Long term tentative plan: find a more rural lot to purchase after the home is paid for. Move the home there. Save our money, then build. Of course, we'll do our best to make sure it's a non-attractive building site to developers. Fortunately, there are still places like that around here.
Oh, and if you're thinking about buying a house, make sure you get a house inspector. Most states don't liscence, there are some professional associations, but the standards vary. We got a recommend from a realtor friend, emphasize the friend part, we weren't buying through her. The gentleman we hired has a franchise from a company, Pillar to Post, that has training and testing requirements as part of the franchise. It's very much a buyer beware sort of field, but it's not at all hard to find someone good even if you don't know the first thing about the field. Just use some good, old-fashioned, common sense. Proof postive that we don't need government to regulate all the stuff it does.


  • At 9:59 AM, June 30, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Enjoy your new digs.

    I had a friend who said she always wanted to live in a trailer park.

    Check out the cult film Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me for a funny, weird movie about trailer park life.

    Look up the title on www.imdb.com



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