03 January 2006

House hunting

Along with moving always comes finding somewhere to move to. As pathetic as it sounds, I actually like house hunting. Not quite as much fun with the empty houses, but always fascinating with the ones that people are still living in. You see so much that you wouldn't normally be privy to and from people you don't know and will probably never meet. I go out of my way not to pry in the occupied houses - I don't open cupboards, I only briefly open closets and try not to notice anything, I try and imagine how my furniture would look rather than staring at theirs. But sometimes, the stuff that is there overwhelms my ability to be discrete.

Yesterday we looked at three houses. One was purely frightening, beginning with the old tractor and dumptruck/plow in front of the house (I'm guessing the neighbors were thrilled to see the realtor's sign go up), continuing to the 1/2 bath with a toilet so close to the washer and dryer I think you'd have to be a contortionist to use it, a floor you could just about fall through in the kitchen, along with appliances probably original to the house in the 1940s, and having a stunning conclusion in a spiral staircase so narrow and rickety that living in that house would be pretty much a death sentence for someone as clumsy as I am since the only shower was up there. It also appeared not to have been cleaned in the last 20 years.

House number two was considerably less frightening, but K was completely distracted by the contents. After he pointed out the 47th guitar and/or amplifier, I snapped. How am I supposed to notice important things about the house - like whether it looks like the ceiling is going to fall in, or what the heck is wrong with that siding, or how many pieces of trim are missing - when every 5 steps someone is wanting me to look at something completely irrelevant?

House number three was empty with both the electricity and the water turned off, so it was about 40 degrees inside. K commented later that it was sort of hard to picture that house as warm and inviting since it was so darn cold, but we actually liked it and will probably put an offer in on it today. The most entertaining thing there was all the faux finishes. The kitchen was "country" with crackle finish on the cabinets and wire mesh in the doors above the fridge. The 1/2 bath downstairs also had some sort of odd "antiquing" on the cabinets. The wall by the stairs was maroon with a gold random leafy pattern stenciled on. The walls in the master bedroom were green with a stencil pattern that resembled abstract palm fronds. I can't even imagine the hours it took to do all that, nor the desire to do it.

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