Photo: One of the last pictures I took at the old apartment. The boys decided to help me pack a box of their clothes. Maybe we made a mistake when we moved here? Maybe most of our recent decisions haven’t been good ones?
Shall I tell you about the home inspection? Are you ready to start wagging your finger in my general direction? Or maybe shaking your head with the pitying “tsk tsk tsk” that I sorely need?
The Husband went to the house on Monday and the inspector went through it with a fine tooth comb. With company: My realtor, the selling agent, and a member of the selling family (who lives next door–we’ll get to that in a second). The bottom line? “This is a solid house. Well built, beautiful. A great investment.”
Yeah, ok, so what’s the bad news?
Aside from the septic, it needs a new plumbing system. Most of the pipes, in and out going are corroding and need to be replaced.
But that’s cool, because when they do the septic, they’ll be replacing most of that anyway as part of the proceedure.
Great, so what else do you got?
The electrical system needs to be replaced. The house has the old “knob and tube” electrical system, and we won’t be able to get home insurance if the house keeps that. So an electrician needs to come in and replace all of that.
How much does that cost?
“Well, somewhere in the ballpark of $10k.”
Oh, is that all? Great.
Finally, the heating system is completely shot. Not working at all. And the hot water boiler is missing. We don’t know where that is. So you pretty much have to convert to gas.
Oh wow…that’s, well, wow…
It will cost somewhere in the ballpark of another $10k to get that done. Also, 10 weeks to get it done. But we can’t get it done until after closing (potentially the end of September, if we even go through with this at all). Oh, and of course, they won’t dig in the winter.
“But it’s such a great house! So solid! Such potential! So many cool features!”
The woman who grew up in that house lives in the house next door. She’s older…probably my grandmother’s age (and you know how I feel about respecting the elderly). She says to my husband, “You can choose to gut it or do whatever you want to it after I die.”
That’s not creepy.
I don’t know what we’ve going to do now. The realtor is going to try to take some money off of the offer so as to help with the costs that we would have to incur. There are a lot of good reasons why we should go ahead and buy this house, doing the work on it and growing some equity. But I’m worried that we’d sink all of our money into the important structural work and have no money left over for some of the other important things that need to be done. Like the kitchen, which is currently unworkable. We need a full range (there is a mini one in there), a dish washer, a new fridge, and at least a kitchen island or something to facilitate more storage and counter space…
I don’t know, man. I don’t know. We’ve slept on this for two nights, brain dead as we are, and we still don’t know what to do. We’re doing all of the follow-up phone calls and information gathering…but I’m really starting to wonder if this just isn’t possible for us.
Which means that we should just settle into this place. This place that we’re lucky to have and is perfectly fine…though I hate having to shepherd two babies up the stairs whenever I want to change a diaper…
But besides that, it’s so damned isolating.
I tried to take the boys out yesterday for a walk. I try to get them outside every day to get them some sun and to use up some of that energy (so that they can take a nap and I can write). Well, there isn’t a lot of room for walking around this little neighborhood of ours–it isn’t that large and there are no sidewalks. To get to the park, you have to go down a very steep hill that features 2 very sharp turns and no sidewalk. So even though it isn’t terribly far away, I still feel like I have to drive. Great. So yesterday I decided to take a left turn instead of a right turn, in hopes that I would find some sidewalk for the boys to walk down and explore a bit.
Nothing. Not a single sidewalk. Just more sharp turns, a narrow bridge over the commuter rail tracks and mini-vans zooming by me going at least 35 in a 20mph zone.
Defeated, I came back here, took the boys to our little (communal) “back yard” with the season’s remaining bubble solution, 2 balls, and 5 sticks of sidewalk chalk and the last shred of my patience. The boys fought over the chalk, refused to kick the ball, spilled bubble solution all over me, and ate my patience in about 10 minutes.
I really should have anticipated the isolation that I would feel after moving here. Even though there weren’t a whole lot of moms to hang out with at our old complex, there were lots of places to roam and I loved talking with the maintenance staff who were always popping in and out of buildings doing this or that. We also had the coffee shop for good gossip. There were just adults (and other kids) to find and commune with, even if it wasn’t always meaningful or intellectual. I know that we’ve only been here since Saturday, but I’ve met two other women since we’ve moved here: One was on her way to work but gave a pretty friendly hello. The other, a mother of an 8-week-old, was more interested in her power-walk than talking to me.
I have to survive these 3 weeks without the car. I hope I can do it without really losing it.
I thought I’d distract myself by focusing on the playgroup that I run at one of the colleges here in Massachusetts. Most of last year’s veteran families are leaving, making way for a whole new crop of families. While I’m looking forward to meeting everyone, I’m facing a lot of problems this school year. There was a fire in the space that we usually use on campus, and that fire destroyed all of our toys and supplies. I have to use my tiny $300 budget to replace toys and supplies, provide animal crackers and water, and schedule a field trip or musician to come play with us. I’m grateful for the challenge: Managing the budget, scheduling parent/caregiver roles and schedules, and organizing a community has been a great leadership exercise and supplement. That being said, I have a lot to do: A website to set up, a schedule to create, two more families to recruit, and toys/supplies to order. I was hoping all of these needs would be a distraction that would inspire me and get me moving. But typing all of that just made me more tired and befuddled.
I’m not overwhelmed, but I’m certainly uninspired. I can’t seem to wrap my mind around anything that requires important thought. Indeed, I’m bored…and a little lonely. I know that I haven’t been here terribly long, but there is nothing about this new place that inspires me to put out the best I can be. It may very well be “freshman” complex: I’m in a new place, I’m starting on the very bottom…
I hope I can have some more inspiring quiet thoughts on Friday. I’ll try to write from my little balcony, maybe. Coffee, muffins, and the rising sun should bring me some inspiration, right?