The way to love someone
is to lightly run your finger over that person's soul
until you find a crack,
and then gently pour your love into that crack.
~Keith Miller

Thursday, May 18, 2017

It's a bit of a quandary

If we buy the rented house that we live in we will put glass sliders across a lot of the back of it and a covered patio to extend the living space.  This weekend we saw a model home (pictured) near Dripping Springs that perfectly modeled our idea (theirs was on a grander scale) and educated us on the electronically actuated "blinds" which are ~perfection~.  The house (that model home house) itself is just huge, as in 5,000+ and it's beyond my imagination to "see" a family actually living in it, iow, I don't know people who live like that.  The agent hosting the open house said every person who visits asks if the second floor (half of the house) can be deleted on a new build.  Of course anything is possible for so lofty a price tag.  Here is a link to pictures of the home when it was staged for the Parade of Homes Tour (2016) ... it was furnished differently when we visited.  I especially loved the glass partition wall between inside and outside and a scaled down representation would be perfect for the rental house if we renovated here.  I think we will reach a decision about buying it within the next 30 days.  The owner is offering it at almost 20% above the appraised value ... and it has several hundred less square feet then he has believed (and has been paying taxes on for the past many years) ... don't know how that happened.  It would be hard for me to justify spending above the appraised value.

A man was in to clean the HVAC this week.  He said he doubted the duct work or the condenser had ever been cleaned (the house is plus40 years old) and because he was contracted by the landlord for a "light" cleaning and it was ... more ... he left without doing any cleaning.  He offered a new quote for the work to the landlord, who in his usual style has decided to "get a few more estimates".  Normally, as least as I make sense of what I observe, he brings in three or four different tradesmen/vendors to provide estimates for the cost of repair.  In the past none of them actually is hired to do the work.  Landlord has a long term arrangement with an after hours "handyman" who will "do" a barely passable, half cooked, version of what was initially needed.  Here is an example:  There is mold coming out of the vents and completely coating the air-conditioning unit, coils, wires, housing, etc. in this house.  The evidence points to some cosmetic clean up prior to our moving in two years ago ... by that I intuit, a person with a bleach rag wiped the vents and probably the outlets right next to the vent coverings. The ceiling near those vents shows signs wear and tear (maybe scrubbing) on the popcorn ceiling treatment, some Keltz paint (maybe, one can hope) and some probably white spray paint to finish the cure.  It did render the mold problem undetectable to the uninitiated (me).  The "HVAC - pro" who came in said it was the worst he had ever seen, definitely not the light cleaning that he was sent out to complete, and that he suspects the house needs complete "mold remediation" which will cost thousands of bucks due to the removal of affected sheetrock and studs.  If we buy the house it is our intention to basically gut it so that's not a huge deal ... the problem is in paying premium dollar for an uninhabitable home.  Because maintenance has been deferred for(ever) so long on this house, it is hard to assess the extent/cost of a remodel project.

Here's my quandary - the lot is perfect.  It is a perfect place.  I feel very blessed to be where I can see what I see from the back porch.  It's great.  The house is - a mess.  It's a mess that is going to take a lot of money to clean up and I don't have a way of truly knowing how much money and time it's going to take.  It may be too costly on all levels of consideration.  But, the lot is great.  My husband is able to make extra money which would go to remodeling the house.  It seems to be enough money to make a remodel ... easy.  What if the availability of those funds "disappears" before we finish the work?  The remodel would be largely dependent on his extra (post retirement) income.  Did I mention  the lot is truly amazing.  This morning I saw deer wading in the river, frisking around on the lower lawn, and standing on their hind legs while stretching up to eat low hanging foliage from a tree. It's time for baby deer.  Last year we saw one, as small as a cat, still wet and able to take only a few steps before settling back in to the grass.  Remembering makes me smile. The forty year old single pane aluminum windows don't make me smile ... neither does the dry rot ... L, though he has replaced most of the back porch decking constantly reminds me to watch my step when I go out there lest I fall through as he did.

If we don't buy the house we will be in a different situation by the end of July.  We are developing "Plan B and C".  I can't really call buying this place "Plan A" because we are still working through the possibilities.  I am very mindful that when we decide what we will choose we are also deciding what we will do without (like spending extra money on travel ... like the luxury of not needing extra money ... like not having an amazing walking trail right out the front door, ... like these trees and the variety of birds they give perch to, etc.).

This filter "highlights" that hard earned grey hair!

What I saw on a recent walk

And then you're gone and home might be something like this
strangers walk by snapping pics with their phones,
it's behind a fence but that doesn't keep the critters out ...

All this "important stuff" is so temporary.

the magnificent trees he planted are flourishing

 at two miles Max thought to protest
I have to remind myself that he is still a puppy
6 months old now

this - not on that Berry Springs walk, but in the stream in the back yard

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Brushy Top pics on the drive through

These pictures were snapped while on a little drive around - we were near enough to one of my very favorite places and decided to drop by to see what we could see.  Center picture is a five or so acre - they call it a ranchette ... I think that is a stretch, and mostly about an ag exemption with the tax man. Herds and lone grazers meander around - they are mostly exotics and a vet is on staff compliments of the HOA to tend to them.  This is a project called "Brushy Top" - I've linked it before I believe.  It's a bit out for how my husband likes to live.  Nearest town is Blanco, Texas ... probably 45 minutes in to either Austin or San Antonio.  It would be quiet out there, but I think I'd like it.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Wow, May is well on it's way to gone!  I have been neglectful of updating here.

“Until I know this sure uncertainty,
I'll entertain the offered fallacy.”

~Shakespeare/ Comedy of Errors

I keep on thinking we are going to find "our" house over here in this red hot seller's market!  House hunting, along with living in a rental house that has a reputation for not being maintained has just about worn me out!  Have you ever known me to use two exclamation marks in a row?  I'm not much of an exclaimer!  

I've probably said before - I love this lot/location.  With the river visible from every window on the back of the house I get to see all kinds of birds, big and small and literally herds of deer. It's beautiful at night too because of the fireflies and the insect serenade.

Here's today's walk: