Long time coming

MY house!

It’s been a while since the last post, but for an extremely good reason. I bought a house this summer (imagine someone mentally jumping up and down for joy and grinning like a fool). At 64 years old, it’s the first home I’ve owned. And I love it. It’s got an upstairs, and a basement, and a whole floor in between, with two bathrooms. The downstairs bathroom is right outside my bedroom door, which is absolutely wonderful. The porch goes from one side to the other, and there’s a small back porch as well. The yard is 1 1/2 lots. It’s 99 years old and has aged gracefully. It gets a birthday party next year. Anything that has been prayed for, wished for, dreamed of for as long as this house has been deserves a party for turning 100.

We celebrated our first Christmas in our own home quite simply. A thrift store tree that came with three sets of lights (with the middle ones being out), crocheted ornaments and a dodecahedron near the top. It’s a little sparse, but it’s our first Christmas in our own home and I love it. It’s a very special feeling to wake up Christmas morning and actually live in your Christmas present.

Fig and Pan died this summer, both from old age. They did get to spend some time in the house, however. Remy, Daisy and Riley are all doing great, and love having windows they can sit in when it’s warm. They’ll get a catio when it warms back up.

Wild pear tree

All the plants in the previous post are dormant and look quite deceased in their pots covered with snow, but I wanted to wait until next spring to decide where to plant them. I need to know what’s currently underground before I dig up something nice. I know there’s tulips here and there, but anything else will be a happy surprise. This will be the first time I can plant things and not have to worry about getting permission or leaving them behind when I move. There’s a lovely wild pear tree in the back yard. It doesn’t have edible fruit, but it looks SO good when it blooms.

Buying a house with a VA loan seems at first like a great thing, which it is, but until you actually do it you have no idea what all it involves. It requires a home appraisal by a VA-approved appraiser. It has to pass specific requirements: it has to be worth what you’re going to pay for it, and it has to be safe, structurally sound and free of any health hazards. Even though I was more than willing to buy a fixer-upper, it was a no-go with the VA.

This meant putting all the houses we’d looked at previously to the side, and finding another one. Almost all of the houses in our budget range wouldn’t have met VA approval, and the ones that did were priced too high. As first-time buyers with no one to help, I was getting to think it would never happen. But, when we were looking at one house (just from the outside – this was my first time looking at houses, and I had no idea about using a realtor or even what to do to buy a house) we happened to meet the best realtor in Michigan. He asked if we were interested, and if we had an agent. Yes, and no. So, he started helping us find houses we liked, the VA would approve, and we could afford. Not an easy task with the VA reqs. It seems houses that don’t need to have repairs don’t go cheap, and houses that go cheap need repairs. But after looking at almost 100 houses, we finally found one that I fell in love with before even walking in the door. Mike talked and worked with the sellers a lot, until they, the loan company, the VA and I were all satisfied.

4th of July
Happy short people christening the front porch with frosty drips.

The house has lots of toasty insulation. I was worried about how good it was going to be in the winter, but it’s keeping us nice and warm without having to turn the furnace up high. The neighborhood is quiet, even on July 4 and New Year’s eve. In six months, I don’t think the number of times I’ve heard a siren would take five fingers. When it’s warm, there’s lots of fireflies and very few mosquitoes. The roof doesn’t leak, the windows all work, and I no longer have to walk two blocks in the snow to check the mail. Life is good.