Mischief Managed

Made it home.

36 hours: whew.

The family and I had a busy and productive trip to Iowa, spending Friday afternoon scouting out eight potential homes. No repeats of the now-amusing “snake house” visit of six years ago. About the most alarming experience was the “yuck house.”

Anita and I were keeping small notebooks, jotting down observations and such. Parents and child were each asked to rate each house on a zero-to-ten scale. One house was pretty bad. My wife just wrote, “yuck,” and circled it. We briefly considered a townhome. Briefly. Two homes we viewed were built in the forties, and the others were from the 1910’s.

One sprawling ’49 home still had the previous owners’ closets filled, 2 tv’s, and a stack of kids’ games. Over dinner, my brother asked me if the home had a faint ammonia smell. Why, I asked. Meth, he said. My allergies are starting to kick in this Spring, so I didn’t have any olfactory input on the house in question. I wanted to like it. It had five bedrooms, a great room, plus the usual stuff. Huge front yard, smallish backyard. I nice upgrade from a post-WWII ranch.

Like I said, I wanted to like it. But it was pretty dirty. And in need of some sensible work. No wonder the asking price was more than $20K below the assessed value.

So last night we came down to three homes. Anita and I went back and forth on them till about midnight. And even after a second glance at them around the noon hour today, I think we still have three. One is the best house. Another has the best neighborhood. The last is a sliver of a step down from the other two, and more economical to the tune of about $20K. Between Brittany, Anita, and me, each of us slightly favors a different house. The home with the smallest kitchen has four bedrooms. The one closest to the church has been engineered with a side entrance for a renter and needs a doorway reopened to connect the two inside to inside. The nicest home has another interested buyer. And of course, it’s all contingent on selling our current home.

I was pretty tired pulling into the driveway an hour ago. But I’m feeling an inner excitement about change ahead. I confess I was dreading a move, dreading even the contemplation of it a month ago. But I have an inner speck of hope this is all going to turn out just fine.

The snake house of ’02. Here’s the scoop:

Anita, Brit, and I viewed seventeen homes on Friday and Saturday of Memorial Day weekend six years ago. One of them was a pseudo-rural homestead on the fringes of the city limits. Nice home, but not much basement and smallish rooms. We were wandering around the big back yard and there was a wooden platform and a pump. Our daughter started pumping, and Anita cautioned her to stop. Next thing I know, both of them are running, screaming. From a harmless (but fairly sizable) grass snake.

“I take it to mean you’re giving this house a zero, right sweetie?” I called after my wife’s retreat.

Our realtor and I were laughing pretty good about that one, that maybe there was a whole den of snakes in the dry well.

Later on, he mentioned to us that that home’s realtor asked him why there wasn’t a lot of interest in the house. “You might want to get rid of the snakes,” he mentioned.

Some people bury St Joseph upside down. I think St Patrick would have been a better choice on this one.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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3 Responses to Mischief Managed

  1. Nice story. It’s good to hear you are choosing your house so carefully and with help of all your familly members. I am dealing with West Toronto homes and I often see that children are excluded from hoome choosing. Parent’s often forget that bigger is not always better, at least for their kids.

  2. Patti says:

    I have a friend from Montana that likes to tell a story about a house she once live in that was infested with milk snakes – they were living between the walls and in the crawl space under the house.

    I’d be sleeping in a motel – ugh! Snakes in my garden I can deal with, but between the walls – no thanks!

    Buying a house is a big decision, best of luck.

  3. Jimmy Mac says:

    I once lived in central Washington State on a hill called “rattlesnake hill.” Every spring the little buggers would migrate from the now-darker side of the hill to the sunnier side. Needless to say, during that short but noticeable period of time, walking barefoot through the grass was a no-no. One also learned to check your shoes for scorpions (year-round residents of the hill) prior to donning them.

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