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Blogging about gardening in zone 4, marriage, our golden retriever and life in general.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Thoughts on Home

DJ and I met with Joe, a dear friend of ours who is a real estate agent, last night. We’re contemplating, well, probably going to, put DJ’s condo on the market. The condo next to us FINALLY sold (it’s had a “For Sale” sign in the yard since before we started dating), and we’re ready to make the leap into a detached house, with a yard, with a fence, so I can finally harass DJ into getting a dog. (That’s a whole separate post). Overall, the meeting went well and we both felt pretty positive about our prospects of selling it. We’re in a good spot; we don’t have to sell it, so putting it on the market for six months is really kind of to test the waters.

As I got ready of work this morning, I started thinking (and making a mental list) of all of the things I/ we should do to the condo before putting it on the market. Overall, it’s in very good shape. There’s not a lot on the walls, so not many nail holes. It’s already pretty minimally decorated. We could clean out our closets , have the carpets cleaned, wipe down walls and woodwork, and generally deep clean. But no major repairs. I can move some potted plants onto to front porch to make it seem more inviting.

Thinking through this list, I started thinking of all of the places I’ve lived. Due to dad’s career, we bounced around a lot until I was about seven, when my parents bought a house on Skyveiw in Cheney. We lived in the Skyview house for nine years, and when I dream of “home”, it’s still mostly this house. It was on a hill, with a walk-out basement where Gretchen and my rooms were. Man, that hill was seriously a killer to ride your bike up. I swear that my calf-muscles can be mostly attributed to walking home from school or swim practice up those hills. (photo of Me, Gretchen and our cousins Blair and Taylor in front of the Skyview house).
My parents sold the Skyview house in April of 1999, and bought another house on Cherry Tree Court in Cheney. The basement wasn’t finished, so that summer’s project was finishing the basement. I lived upstairs with Gretch until my basement room was finished in October. Ironically, dad took the job at MSU in November, so I don’t have many photos of this house. We really only lived there for eight months or so.

Upon moving to Bozeman, my parents leased a house (great mid ‘50’s rancher that I’d love to own again), then rented an apartment, before building our Morning Sun Drive house. Despite my mailing address being on Morning Sun for eight years, I only lived there half of my senior year of high school, during summer and winter breaks in college and grad school, and for a year when I moved back from Kentucky. It’s a nice house, in a nice neighborhood, and felt like home when my family is there, but I’ve never dreamt of it when I dream of “home”. My parents did have som gerat post-football game parties there though! (Photo of my dad making a Thanksgiving pie after beating the 'Griz in 2003. Notice all of the open cabinets and drawers in the background)
I think my Bozeman home is AOII, on 5th and Garfield. The sorority is a beautiful 1941 with a 1967 addition Colonial Revival house. It was a great place to live for four years while going to school; I walked to class and work, had a cook, someone who cleaned the bathrooms, and had a lot of great friends around. As a member of the Corporation Board, I’m now in charge of property maintenance and upgrades. It’s a labor of love. That house is really my Bozeman home up to this point. (Photo of AOII House)

In 2005 my parents bought the Harrison house, on Lake Coeur d’Alene (apparently I’m going to wax poetic about C d’A in every post). When I think of my family (mom, dad, Gretchen and now DJ too), our “home” is really in this house. I get teary-eyed at the prospect of ever selling it. It’s more than my parents, and by default Gretch and I, ever wanted. Beautiful views, fun little town, private dock, bike trail. I’ve told DJ again and again how I think my heart is tied to that house. No matter where my parents end up, and where Gretchen ends up, or where we end up, Harrison, I think, will always be “home” for all of us. I can imagine summer vacations, Christmases and Thanksgivings in Harrison. (photo of Harrison House)

I of course, also had my Lexington apartment. It was a great little pad for two years. I absolutley LOVED living alone, and would reccomend it to anyone!

When my mom and dad moved back to Washington in August, DJ and I made the choice to live in sin. Since moving into his condo, I’ve never felt like it wasn’t mine. He’s been incredible about making me feel welcome and like its mine too. We seem to have established a good rhythm of shared household responsibilities, and really, the condo is a great place for the two of us. Why sell? Well, there’s my aforementioned want of a dog, but I want a yard with a fence for it (I don’t want to walk a dog at 6:45am when it’s -32 out in February!). I’d like a yard to have an in-ground garden in. It’d be nice to not have to scrape my car for another winter. I kinda want a clothesline to dry clothes on (It’s the Sandi in me coming out. I love the smell of line-dried sheets!). Mostly, we’re quiet people, and hearing the neighbors is getting irritating.

So, with all of that written, I’m interested to embark on the home-finding and buying process with DJ. I’m ready to put down roots, literally and figuratively. I find it humorous now that this spring I planted all my garden plants in mobile buckets or pots, so if we move I can take them with me. We’ve agreed not to actually go and walk through a house to buy until we have his sold or under contract. I don’t want to get attached to something when we’re really not in a position to buy. But we’re both surfing the MLS. There are a couple of historic homes kind of in our price range, that we’d have to buy knowing we’d put time and money into. I’m ok with that. I kind of like the idea of putting elbow grease into my house, rather than buying totally “move-in-ready”.
Of course, I’m not without my opinions and biases. DJ emailed me a link this morning of a split-level entry house; not knowing that I despise split level entry homes. I think it’s from the various numbers of split levels I lived in until my folks bought the Skyview house. I’ve often said that the day we put a split level on the National Register of Historic Places, I’m out of this business. Thus, DJ now knows what my biases are. I also don’t want to live any farther out of town than we already do, in Valley West. Isn’t it funny how Montanans will drive to Billings for dinner (2 hours) but loathe the idea of crossing 19th every morning on the way to work?

As I’ve been thinking a lot about “home” I’ve realized that for me, it’s somewhere I have a strong emotional connection. We think we’ll be in the next home for 10 years, maybe more, so it’s interesting to think about all of the changes that could happen in that home over 10 years. It seems incredible to me that both of my grandmothers have lived in their homes in Colton for over 50 years. Colton, and Whitman County, are another kind of home to me too. (Kramer Farm at Thanksgiving, 2007, with the Snake River Canyon in the background)
In the meantime, do you know anyone who might buy a lovely 2 bedroom, 2.5 bath condo, with detached garage and great neighborhood?

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