Friday, May 22, 2015

Becoming Homeowners

After looking at houses since Christmas, Greg and I are finally homeowners! It's been a long and stressful process. There are not nearly as many houses on the market in the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti area as there are people looking. Our Realtor said that the number of houses is up over last year, but the number of homebuyers is also up - way up. And houses in our price range just weren't showing up in the neighborhoods we wanted, within walking distance to stuff.

There were plenty of cookie-cutter homes in suburbia, but living in a place that requires driving to reach any little thing profoundly depresses me. (And I don't mean that metaphorically.) I like walking and biking - being active - and I hate driving. It's a drain on the environment and my finances.

The house we bought is a short walk from downtown Ypsi, and the strip of restaurants across from Eastern Michigan University. If I get restless from writers block, I can just toss my tablet in a bag and hike over to a number of cafes. I have always found that walking is good for writers block, not to mention a simple change of scenery. Where we are now, I have to drive to reach someplace safe to walk. The house is also about a thirty minute walk from Depot Town - quicker if we ride bikes, which means I'll soon be in the market for a bicycle (and a shed to keep it in since the house lacks both shed and garage).

The lot is quite large and very blank, which suits Greg quite well. I look forward to seeing what he comes up with. My father was a master gardener and the yard was his domain. My mother helped out, but the master planner and the one who took real, active interest was Pa. I foresee a similar relationship in my future. I like gardens, don't like grass, and love the outdoors. I just don't really know what to do with it. Once handed something and told what to do, I can maintain it. I'm better with the interior of a home. (I almost went to college for interior design, but writing just makes up too much of me.) 

Speaking of yards, one of the neighbors behind us have chickens! Hens to be exact. Ypsilanti, along with most cities, does not allow you to have roosters. We've talked about having chickens and goats, but neither one of us is home long enough to get a dog let alone farm animals. If we had "normal" Monday through Friday, 9 to 5 jobs, maybe. Last night neither of us got home before 10:30pm, not uncommon for us, so more animals than our two independent cats is out of the question.

We intend to do some repairs right off the bat since we can't break our lease for another few months. (Better to do it while we're not living there than dealing with the mess in-residence.) We've already mapped out the kitchen to begin updating that. The cupboards are crumbling and the oven door doesn't sit right (I think one of the hinges is busted). There are also pieces of the floor tiles missing, and the chandelier has lost a canister and a light. One of the door knobs is also troublingly dented. It works fine, just... what the heck? How does that even happen? Our first scouting mission to Home Depot resulted in a how-to packet on remodeling a kitchen and scads of paint samples. Hoping to set up an appointment to get an estimate on the kitchen project soon. 

I am really excited! I've even geared up to clean up our junky apartment with the help of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. I know this book has been getting a lot of attention lately, and there's a reason for that, it's really that good! Her philosophy boils down to this: keep only the things that spark joy. The crate of empty glass bottles that has been sitting next to my trash for two years does not spark joy. Quite the opposite, in fact. They are a contributing factor to why I don't want people to visit us. Ever. Which also makes me sad because I used to entertain all the time - from elementary school on - and I really don't feel like myself without it. I just hope I can convince Greg to give it a shot and part with some things. (I highly doubt the Christmas card his sister sent us two years sparks any joy for him, or that he's even seen it since she sent it to us. But it's still in our
apartment, I guarantee it.)

Ok, I am off to do laundry and finish stage one of the KonMari method, purging clothes. I can't wait!!

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