Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Shifting sands, part 2

The sun is setting earlier every evening; we are wearing shorts in 60 degree weather; we laugh at jokes about introspective feeling people from Seattle; we’ve stopped taking pictures of beautiful scenes because there have been so many; and we will be closing on a house on Friday (house #2, the one with the view.) This morning, we pulled the trailer into Larrabee State Park, our last campground for the summer. We start hosting here on Wednesday, and will stay until the end of August. Next stop: 2219 Niagara Drive, Bellingham, WA 98229.

I’m including some beautiful shots I took when we drove up to Artist’s Point on Saturday to view Mt. Baker. It’s about an hour drive east from Bellingham, and it was Lynne’s idea to go there Saturday evening after another week of house buying negotiations and decisions. I have a stack of realtor paper work sitting next to me, which includes the 38 page problem list from the house inspector on the first house that we wanted to buy (Cedar Hills Drive). Somewhere in that stack is the distilled list of just those items that we asked the sellers to fix, and somewhere else is the very short list of the items that the sellers agreed to fix. The sellers’ disappointing response motivated us to go out and look at houses again (yes, back to the drawing board).

One of the houses that we asked Ken to show us was one that we had been watching from Kentucky since last spring because it has a spectacular view of Bellingham Bay. It’s also the first house that we drove up to see the first day that we were in Bellingham. The asking price of this house reflects the reality of real estate prices over the last year and a half. The owners started asking a high price in May of 2008; they reduced it to by 10% this spring after a year on the market; last month they reduced it another 10%. We offered them cash to close in six days if they would take 75% of their original price. That’s when we took the drive up to Mt. Baker, not knowing the response. We stopped in at a great Italian restaurant for dinner on the way home. The offer expired at 9:00 p.m., and when we checked email at 9 and found that they hadn’t called Ken (our realtor), we thought, “Back to the drawing board…” We were out of cell phone range at the campground. It turns out that the owners called Ken at 10 p.m. on Saturday night to counter, which we coolly turned down on our way to church (Unitarian) on Sunday morning. During church, I leaned over to Lynne and said the compromise number I though we should pay and she said yes with her eyes. That’s the price they accepted on Sunday afternoon.

So what convinced us to give up the Swainson’s thrush, the cedar forest and the NW charm of the first house? The house on Niagara is on one floor, is slightly larger, is close to the center of town and also close to Whatcom Falls Park. In the end, I think we wanted to be more in the swing of things, we wanted one floor and we are enchanted by the view. The house has 3 giant Grand Firs in the front yard. The house is a fixer upper, which is a pleasure for us both (OK, maybe we are a rare breed. The Re-Store in Bellingham is awesome, too). We are lying awake at night discussing how to get the yucky urine soaked wall to wall carpet out as soon as possible, whether it matters that the Grand Fir root in the crawl space warrants any action, what to do to build a laundry room and add a cabinet to the master bathroom, and where to put the cobbler’s bench. Winnie asked me to say that she has been a very good dog, an excellent dog, through all this time of driving, camping, and moving, and that in the end, she is not getting a very big yard. She says, yes, she can play some on the deck, but really, she needs some good stuff to sniff and some rabbits to chase and at least a letter carrier to terrorize, but she will accept good long walks in the park. Lynne adds that we will still have deer in the front yard and she might enjoy their droppings.

We have a month to accomplish what we can on the new house before we move in. Lynne has gone to Mt. Vernon today to interview for a per diem home health nurse position. As far as the house, I am thrilled to have “a bird in hand,” (although please know that I believe birds are happier in the bush.) I have applied for two jobs but I haven’t heard from either of them, and I have a couple more to apply for.

I hope you all will like the guest bedroom and the deck and the view and the peaceful but convenient setting of our new house. We should have it looking good, so let us know when you’re coming to visit. I send love to you all from both of us, and Winnie.

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