Sunday, January 17, 2010

Out With The Old…In With The New

So, I've Facebooked a few hints about the new house we bought, but I didn't necessarily want the "official" news there; too many students I'm "friends" with, and I thought this was info that should only be shared with those who are truly friends…or, outright random strangers who might read the blog. Either way: hi! And thanks for coming over.

And, yes, it's totally true: we are now renters in our beloved house. We got an offer in early December…what I felt was a fairly lowball offer, truth to tell. Those of you who have been here (or read the blog over the years) know the kind of work we did to our 110-year old house, and while many of those upgrades were indeed labors of love, nevertheless I had hoped that we'd put SOME equity into the place! Still, the same market conditions that were making it possible for us to buy a home that we would otherwise never be able to afford were also making it tough to justify getting a sales price on our place that I thought it deserved. After hemming and hawing and going back & forth with counter-offers, I finally asked our real estate agent what she thought. She paused for a moment, then said "I think…you should treat this offer like it's gold." (Her emphasis.) And, she was totally right, of course: the market, Christmastime, etc. etc. We accepted after a tearful night of inner wrangling, and the next day put in an offer on the very first house our agent had shown us. At first we thought it was rather characterless and plain, but of course we soon discovered what every home-buyer finds: the ones we really liked were just out of our price range, and those that were comfortably in our price range were not a step up from what we already had. So, we made our move, and two days later had our offer accepted.

After all of the legal wrangling, what with inspections and assessments and financing and all the rest, we came to closing week. Last Thursday we met our buyer and sold him our house. Feels like such an anonymous process, really…the fact that you're basically agreeing to sell the house containing all of your blood and sweat and good family chi to someone who might be, for all we knew, a total douchebag. But he turned out to be very cool, somewhere between my age and Miss Tessmacher's, a teacher of high-school English right here in town. While we were chatting with him, he said the magic words: "After looking at tons of houses in town, I walked through the front door of your place, and it felt like coming home." Ahhh. That's what we wanted to hear! Because, of course, we totally felt the same way when we first walked in.

For a few scary hours we were solely renters, praying that the people we were buying from wouldn't suddenly have a change of heart. But, the very next day, we met them and discovered that they felt much the same way we did: they were selling a house they loved in order to get the money to build the place of their dreams, and they were thrilled that we felt like their place was perfect for us. He's a doctor (a doctor-doctor, not like me and Tess) here in town, with two pre-teen girls. And, that's it!

Now we're living among hundreds of plastic tubs (cheaper, in the long run, than buying cardboard boxes from the moving company), because of course you still have to pack all your shit, whether you're moving two miles or two thousand. We get possession of the new place on the 22nd, and we'll spend a furious weekend moving over everything that I'm willing to lift (couch pillows: yes, 75-lb. tubs of books: no) in order to shave some bucks off of the estimate from the movers. The official move is the next week, the 29th, and after that…a new place is home.

The details: the house we've been living in has two bedrooms, one bathroom, a Michigan basement, and is about 1500sf. The new house has more or less the same square footage on the main floor, but ALSO has 1500sf. of fully. Finished. Basement. WA-HOOO! So, room for drumsets, and (dry) comic book storage, and all kinds of good things. Three bedrooms, three full baths, a great open design from the living room to dining room, and a studio in the basement where Tess can teach. In the photo, it looks like a 2-storey, but the dormers are merely architectural niceties.

To the people who have been here: thank you. We've loved the potluck nights. The help with drywalling the dining room ceiling. The rewiring. The wallpaper stripping. The smokes on that wide front porch. The overnight stays. If you've never been here: my apologies. I'm really not as bad a friend as my rare contact might make you believe. Please trust that life, in all its busy-ness, is my sole shitty excuse for not having you over. Meantime: know that we're planning a series of housewarming parties, where the only gift you need to bring is yourselves. Either way, I hope to see you all in the coming months as we get unpacked and settled in. And with that giant basement, those legendary Halloween parties of our Ville Montee past may yet live again. Party on, Wayne! Party on, Garth!

The "old" place…

…and the new one.


The back yard and deck…future site of many happy lazy hours.

Dining room, looking into living room. (Not our stuff.)

Basement, looking one way. (Again…not our stuff.)

Basement, looking the other way.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I Now Pronounce You…Domestically Partnered

Reading the news today, and of course HAD to click on the link describing the newest gay-marriage fiasco in California. In case you haven't been following, there is a challenge to last fall's reprehensible limitation of civil rights known as Proposition 8; the challenge is in federal court, which means we'll probably ultimately see the U.S. Supreme Court decide the issue for ALL states. (Decide on your own how much you like states' rights being trampled like that…)

The attorney for the Prop 8 dipshits supporters had this to say in his opening statement:

"It is the purpose of marriage — the central purpose of marriage — to ensure, or at least encourage and to promote that when life is brought into being, it is by parents who are married and who take the responsibility of raising that child together."

Well, once you get around the terrible way that was phrased (don't these lawyers have to go to college for at least a little while?), he seems to be saying two things: 1) that the central purpose of marriage is to have kids, and 2) that those kids should be borne by married parents who'll share child-rearing responsibilities.

So. My aunt and her husband, who have been married for 18 years, are somehow "less" of a couple because they are childless? Should we enact a statute of limitations on marriage, so that couples who don't have a child within 7 years automatically have their marriages annulled?

And, what does that make my mother? A whore, some less-than-perfect parent because she (for all intents and purposes) raised me alone? 'Cause, yeah, I turned out oh-so terribly. Menace to society that I am, with my long hair and radical views and rock-&-roll music…

Then, what about Gene Simmons and Shannon Tweed? No one besides the two of them will ever know why he won't commit to it, or how badly she wants it, but by law, they ain't married. So, what about their two kids? Right, Nick and Sophie, couple'a drug-addled young adults, right there…total wastes, always trying to overcome their broken household, which is clearly a den of total iniquity…

Get it? Do ya fuckin' GET IT?!? There's no "ideal" marriage, there's no standard that everyone who takes on that mammoth commitment should have to uphold…there's just life, and family. Good families and bad ones, happy homes and shitty ones…and you don't have to be married or not in order to be one or the other. Let's face it, those Prop 8 dweebs are only interested in one thing: creating a club of exclusivity for themselves, based on some misbegotten notion of their own religious brainwashing, and too afraid they might one day have to define themselves when they claim the mantle of marriage. "Oh, you're married? To a man, or a woman?" Pussy-ass dudes afraid of their own sexual curiosity are ramming an abhorrent affront to civil liberty and stable families down all of our throats. Which, you know, is not an accidental metaphor.

Personally, I liked what the judge had to say: "If California would simply get out of the marriage business and classify everyone as a domestic partnership, would that solve the problem?"

You know, I bet it might.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Matching Drumsets

The holidays were indeed merry at our house, with lots of gatherings, sharing of good company and wine, and overall a general sense of good spirit. For the record: the present below was purchased by MY MOTHER…what, you think I'm crazy?!?

Anyway, it should be a good match for Dad's when we get to the new house. More on that soon, but meanwhile, here's a comparison photo…