Our New Home

Have you ever tried to Blog? It ain’t easy. I don’t know how people that record every detail of there lives in words and pictures do it. I get so involved in what I’m doing I forget to take pictures and by the end of the day I forget or don’t have the energy to record my day’s activities and bits of wisdom. It probably doesn’t matter because I doubt that what I have to say will generate much interest. I’m not likely to go ‘viral’ anytime soon. Nevertheless a few people have asked about our new housing situation and it seems to me to be easier to record the adventure in one place and refer those that are interested to that place.

Get a cup of coffee. This is long winded. You have been warned.

My last post regarding where we will be living was on Sept 6. Nearly 2 months ago. A lot has happened since then. Here is a rundown on how we got to this point.

Sometime in 2014: JoEllen and Gregg Hothem (daughter & son-in-law) say they are going to sell our mansion out from under us and downsize when the girls are off to College. They want to move to a condo and not have all the issues of home ownership. Since we live in our own lovely, custom built (by me) apartment over their garage we will have to move too unless the new owners want to adopt us. 🙂 JoEllen suggests we get two condos in the same development to stay close together. We look at some condos in N. Kentucky that might work but after some contemplation I conclude that my shop and lifestyle is not really condo compatible.

Early 2015 I begin surfing the internet in earnest for a place to live since the Hothems say the house will be on the market in the spring. I have in my youthful mind that I will buy an inexpensive ‘fixer-upper’ that I can make our own just like I’ve done with all our previous houses.  By early June while we are on vacation in ND, based on internet photos, I settle on a 19th century 2 story with a large detached garage located in N Kentucky. I’m ready to buy sight unseen but saner minds prevail. Jo & Gregg tour the house and determine that the burned out garage and very steep stairs in the house among other things make it completely unsuitable. Death of a vision!

Jo & Gregg decide to hold off selling till the girls return to college in the fall. Our search continues and we look at several more houses in N Kentucky but conclude that what we like and can afford are too far south of the river and our center of activities.

During this time we are getting credit checks and finding out how much money we can scare up for down payment and what level of debt we can support. By September 2015 we have narrowed or focus to the area within a few miles our church, wood turning club, and quilt club.

We focus on single story with suitable garage and/or basement for a work shop that is in our price range.

September 8, 2015 we tour the house we eventually buy. Vision restored!

It is a 1959, 1700 sq ft ranch with a full unfinished basement with walk-out access, in a great neighborhood ten minutes closer to most of our activities. It is totally livable without any major remodeling although we have already created a redesign that will make it more our own. Tiny pink and grey tile bathrooms are not our cup of tea. Also I would prefer a level walkout basement (not fixable). Nevertheless it is livable the way it is. Everyone agrees that it is a good fit for us. And we can upgrade and remodel as time, energy and money permit. Knollview Dr 001 (Copy)

Our front yard. Note HUGE Oak tree in back yard. Must be around 100 years old. Another Oak in front yard as well as an unidentified tree in foreground. It has leaves similar to maple but seed pods that are large jaw breaker size with prickly points on them. Anyone know what it is?

September 9 we make an offer.

September 10 they counter our offer. We counter their counter.

September 11 they accept our counter offer and closing is set for October 15 giving them 30 days after closing to move.

September 16 we have the house inspected. There are a number of issues that the owner is not willing to fix. We decide that we will accept the issues and deal with them ourselves. They are all relatively minor issues all within my fix-it capabilities.

September 29 After much paperwork back and forth the loan is approved. 2.99 percent. WOW! The Lord is good! Just need to wait for closing.

During this time I have been investigating all my options for moving. This is only a 10 mile across town move. I look into 2 men and a Truck, Pods, U-Haul, friends with trucks and trailers. In the end I think we have settled on imposing on friends. It’s a good way to find out who your true friends are. 😉

October 15 the closing goes without a hitch. I’ve never seen so many pieces of paper to sign. My hand has a cramp before we are done. It all seems so ridiculous all of the disclosures, warnings, declarations, CYA papers from everyone involved. What’s the point? If I didn’t sign I couldn’t buy the house. Why can’t I just sign one paper that says I want this place and I’m willing to pay for it? What are my options if I don’t agree with some of this? None! Sign or walk away. If I had exercised my right to read all of it we would still be there. Don’t we love lawyers and our litigious society. What ever happened to a hand shake and a good faith promise??

The sellers said they would be out two weeks ahead of time by the 24th. Here it is the 24th and they say we can pick up the keys tomorrow. We’ll see.

Since closing I’ve been puttering in the back yard getting the lay of the land. My intention is to build a 12′ x 16′ storage shed for some of my junk that doesn’t really belong in the house or garage. I’ve gotten acquainted with some of the neighbors, so far nice people, and with the town building department for the permit. I hired a tree guy to give the giant trees that threaten the house a hair cut. I’ve found 3 of the 5 survey stakes that define the property and inferred where the other two should be (saved $300 on a survey) and I’ve hauled a pile of lumber to the site in preparation for shed building.

2015-10-22 12.41.21-2

Our first picnic in our new back yard during survey stake hunt. Our friend Mike Pankion brought his metal detector. Unfortunately there was not metal to detect on two corners. I hope there will be many more picnics to come. Note HUGE Oak tree in background. We have plenty of acorns, squirrels and deer as a result.

I designed the shed myself using Google Sketch-Up, (a free 3D design program that I just love). I can build it from scratch for half the price of buying an equivalent kit version. While working on the design I researched various floor options. I found it interesting that the price of building the floor using beams, joists, & plywood vs. ready-mix concrete, vs. sand, gravel, cement (rent a mixer, mix your own concrete) are all within 10 percent of each other. Ready-mix wins this one, (less work, better floor).

ShedShed 2

This is my shed design in Sketch-Up. The design was good enough to get a permit.

Our apartment is currently about 60 percent in boxes. Mostly dishes clothes and kitchen left. We need to finish packing during the next week. I hope to prevail on my friends to help move the big stuff on Saturday the 31st.

I had built some nice built-in bookcases and sewing center for Hannah. I’ve decided to un-build-in these units and move them. It will save me a lot of work on the other end not having to recreate these units. Nevertheless it is a bit of a chore getting them disconnected from their current location without damaging them.

My shop is going to be the hardest to move as it consists of some rather large benches and some very heavy machines that will need to be gotten into the basement of the new place. Fortunately there is an outside entrance to the basement albeit with rather steep stairs. A big issue is that there is no 220 volt electric in the area of the basement that I want to put the shop. I will probably get by with a long extension from the clothes dryer till I can do some electrical work.

My biggest headache at this time is trying to figure out what to do for TV and Internet service. I’m finding out it ain’t cheap and there are a lot of options. We have been using JoEllen’s cable and Internet up to this point letting her make these decisions.

I’m pretty computer savvy but with the many options out there for service providers and black boxes to connect to the service. Non of which are inexpensive, I’m struggling. Without boring you with the details at this point I think I have decided to go with Cincinnati Bell Fioptics Internet plan that includes WIFI. I will buy an HD antenna and my own TiVo DVR. No phone (we’re on Jo’s family plan) or Cable TV. We will see how we do with broadcast TV (16 stations within range), NETFLIX and Amazon streaming TV via the Internet. Probably enough for now as I suspect I’ll not have much TV time till I get the house the way we want it.

Although we have been paying Jo & Gregg rent I’m a bit concerned about keeping my cash flow in check. Adding a mortgage, utilities, taxes and Internet/TV monthlies to the list is going to exceed our current rent by quite a bit. Not to mention the inevitable one time expenses of upgrades and remodeling we would like to do. We will see how it goes.

So all in all we are very excited and stimulated by this new turn in our lives. I’ve got lots to think about and do that fit my personality and skill set. The Lord has blessed us I believe with a very workable house and it has come together rather quickly and painlessly. I don’t relish the actual move and I have some concerns about finances but I’am excited about the prospects of our new location after we are settled.

I take comfort in a verse that turned up during packing that a colleague gave us as we left Texas 10 years ago.:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)