Searching for Home Sweet Home…

We have never bought a house as an “investment” with plans to “upgrade” a few years down the road or “downsize” when the kids have grown. We have tried to find homes where we could see ourselves living for the long haul; and yet, we have moved house, state, and even country, more times than the average American family. Quite frankly, we’re getting sick and tired of moving.

With our current move to Duluth, we were going to take our time and find a place to rent for a year before buying a house. That plan is falling through at the moment. With such a large college student presence in proportion to non-student population, we have to compete with renters who are willing to live in 4 bedroom/1 bathroom houses with 70s-era kitchens, and no off-street parking. Ack! And, as anyone with a teenager in the house knows, 1 bathroom can get old really fast. 🙂  In addition, if we did rent a place, we would definitely have to move. Again.

We are now living in a furnished house with a month-to-month contract that is slowly and steadily getting on my nerves. I want my kitchen tools out of storage (or at least my spice rack) and to have a real desk again. The current office is not the most ergonomically friendly or private, with my computer sitting in the built-in cabinet in the dining room. However, it does afford us the luxury of time to really search for a home – something we did not have with the last 2 houses we bought.

This go-round will be our 5th home to buy together. The current routine is that I usually look at the homes with our broker and those deemed worthy get put on the “Visit With Bob” list. The basic requirement is that I have some sort of emotional draw to the house, there must be a useable kitchen (no tiny freezer-meal kitchens for me), and of course I have to have a private office space. We also want off street parking spaces (at least 3, preferably some of that garaged), more than 1 bathroom, a deck for grilling and entertaining…and the list goes on. Bob’s basic requirement is that it does not come with an extensive and expensive repair list.

So far, I have had 3 houses on the Visit With Bob list. I was really into the first 2 houses until Bob went through them and pointed out all the blemishes that my rose-colored glasses filtered out. My position is then to take those fabulous spectacles off and see the house from his perspective, and either cross the house off the list or present my case against his. So far, they’ve been crossed off. Visit #2 on the third house is tomorrow. It has the beautiful wood work and original maple floors that I find so charming, a fantastic modern kitchen, and a suitable office space overlooking the deck and garage in the back yard. There are some issues (which are to be expected from homes built in the early 20th century), so if the repairs and improvements outweigh the charm, we will continue searching. I may be going nuts with the roller coaster ride (and taking the broker along with me), but it’s worth it if we end up with our sweetest home ever.

Time Flies When You’re Having Chaos.

Two months since my last blog post? How could that have happened? Where have I been?

I remember years ago when I worked in an office and even before that while working in the service industry (waitress, cashier, etc), very busy days felt like they went by wonderfully fast. It was like you hardly noticed you were working at all. Well, it was sort of like that anyway. Now I find that sometimes, Chaos masquerades as Busy. When it happens, parts of your personal life get flown out the window as a byproduct of all that productiveness.

Chaos has been living with me for the past couple of months.

He must have snuck into our suitcase in Las Vegas when we were coming home from our Christmas road trip. Because that’s where Bob, in a sudden inspiration of “why not?,” posted his resume to every telecommunications job in the country. He was frustrated at not having heard back from many electro-laser optic companies, so he decided to dip back into his past one last time.

Back home, it started out slowly, logically even. Says Bob, “Wouldn’t it be a good idea to start packing everything up so when a job offer comes in, we will be prepared?” Packing=Birthing Chaos.

Middle of January:  Just back from our trip to California for the Photonics West Trade Show with ISU’s Laser Club when T-Mobile calls. The next week and a half is filled with interviews, planning, and dreaming. I mean, What if, right? Wrong. He got the over-used and incredibly frustrating verdict of:  Over qualified.

End of January:  E-mail from hiring manager with AT&T asking if Bob would be interested in the Duluth, MN position that had come open. This is from the Minneapolis job he had applied for back on New Year’s Eve. Another week and a half of interviews, planning, and dreaming (though a bit more cautiously this time), and…Eureka! We were Minnesota bound. Wait…when is that start date? In 2 weeks?!?!?

We have now been in our temporary house in Duluth for almost 2 weeks. We are essentially living out of suitcases with our worldly goods packed very tightly into a storage room, awaiting their final destination into our new-to-us home, which has yet to be found… So, while Chaos still resides here, he has outgrown the “terrible twos” stage and is settling into his teenage years (I think he’s even become BFFs with Michael).

The plan is to lock him (Chaos, not Michael) into the storage room when we clear it out. Here’s hoping, anyhow.

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