Anniesue asked if I'll tell y'all about the house, now that we've got it. Oh. Yeah. That would probably be handy, wouldn't it? I'm sorry. I forgot that I'm such a cynic and wouldn't say anything before.
Well, it's just south of here, near the Tennessee River. It's only a half-hour drive to Huntsville, and is near a cute little town with a population of 347. That was in the year 2000. It may be up by a coupl'a births by now, but by the looks of it, it's not up by many.
The house is a four bedroom ranch-style home built on a walk-out basement. That sounds so... bland, doesn't it? Really, it isn't. It's nestled back into the property, so you cannot see it from the road. It's got a balcony off the kitchen that overlooks a meadow and stream. You can't see that in the picture I posted below - the balcony is off to the right. The photo is taken from the top of the driveway, and isn't great, but it's the MLS photo. I'll post others when we get them. It's got a nice open floor plan that's about to become a bit more open, and a great division between living space and sleeping space.
And this is where it gets good: it has paneling! In every room. On every wall. From floor to ceiling, and tucked into every closet. Dark, thin, 1974 paneling! The closets all have lovely 15-color indoor-outdoor carpeting, circa 1974! The rooms are all carpeted in that incredible NASA-developed shag carpeting that can withstand anything and will probably outlast the roaches when the world comes to an end. (Yes, the world, at the dusk of man's reign, will be coated in roll upon roll of acrylic shag carpeting... Orwell has nothing on that image.)
WHY is that good, you ask? It's good because the structure is sound, so we won't have to build new trusses or backfill the foundation, or give the boys pre-emptive rabies shots in the process of remodeling. It's good because I will not feel one iota of guilt in ripping out this carpet and paneling to replace them with designs of our own choosing. It's good because I also won't have to pay extra on the selling price for someone else to slap down crappy white carpet with a thin pad and no Stainmaster coating, then live with that because I'd feel guilty tearing up "perfectly good" carpet. No, my friends, the interior of this home has served its masters well for 31 years. It's time to go to a better place (ie. not my place).
It hasn't been updated since it was built, and since it's a foreclosure, it's expected that it'll need some work. Mostly, it needs some TLC, and it needs the attention to detail that the previous owner just couldn't maintain after so many years. The porches need tidying and updating (as it stands now, Smidge could, of his own volition, or with the assistance of certain relatives, go soaring off the way-up-high balcony without even touching the rails, so obviously that's among the first to fix!) The path to the front needs to be relaid and planted with perennials. (It looks better in the picture than it does now. I'm guessing the photo is older, b/c that concrete path is really torn up.) You know, little details. Fruit trees (it already has a pear tree and an apple tree, and some wild blackberries on it), pecan trees, and some berry bushes will need to be planted this spring. The barn needs mucking, and when it's done, we'll have a strong, well-built 8-stall barn with a tack room. The basement has a huge colony of polygamist crickets that need to be evicted. It'll need the basics - new plumbing, new water heaters, basic renovations. It'll be fun. We have designs on that kitchen that make us quivver with anticipation!
As for the property itself, it's much smaller than we thought we would be willing to buy. But it captured our imaginations. It captured the boys' imaginations. From the moment we set foot over the creek, the boys took off and had a fantastic time among the rocks and trees. It was the only property we looked at that the boys specifically remembered, and cited things they loved about. Even Zorak's eyes sparkled when he saw the creek, and the trees, and the fruit trees, and the tree fort, and, and, AND!!! WOW. So, it's our own little six acres in the boonies. It has the stream, some texture and slope to the land, some open and some wooded. It has everything you'd need to really make an adventurous childhood come to life. We're five miles from good hunting, two and a half miles from a boat launch. It's a two mile trek to a little cafe and a small market, but we aren't en route to anywhere at all, so the traffic is nominal down our little country road.
But best of all, it's ours. And if we're here for 30 years, we will have no regrets. We won't spend the rest of James' childhood constantly fixing things "for someday". This is Someday. We can enjoy it, and work on it. We can spread our little wings on it, and put down deep, deep roots on it. It's our Forever Home. (Oh, and in a couple of years, we are going to put in windows galore! I don't know what the builder had against windows, but we're going to fix that, too. Windows. Windows. Windows.)
Roots. We did it. We're doing it. I can't believe it! Wow.
Thanks for letting me share.
Kiss those babies!