We heard the house was for sale, so we decided to go check it out. It was a long way removed from the part of town we live in now, but it was a big house, and if we could make a good deal on it, it might be worth it. Besides, Lisa’s sister lived nearby, so we would not be so all alone up here.
It was a long house, single story, and finished in stucco. It was painted earth tones, with white trim. The outside looked to be in relatively good condition, but the style of the building told us it had seen more than a few summers. The home stretched out long, like a capital “I”; the main entrance was at one side, and we were coming in the other.
The door opened onto a long hallway that stretched the length of the house. We started down the hall, and walked into the first room on our right. It was a large room, sunk down a set or two. I immediately saw it for an office, but I knew Tori would want it as a play room. The far side had long, flat tan and brown stones piled around a fireplace and covering the whole wall. We would have plenty of time to fight over this room later, I needed to see the rest of the house.
Continuing back, the next room was not nearly the same size; it did not go as far back, nor was it as wide. I saw this less as cramped and more as intimate; this would be a fine guitar room with just enough space for all my gear.
The final room to the right was as deep as the office, but only as wide as the second room. It did not impress me with any character or use like the other rooms, so I discounted it as only a storage space. It was light and dry, but had no windows or other access.
This side of the house inspected, now we set our sites on the left side. We knew all the bedrooms came off the hallway to the left, away from the street. The first room would be the master bedroom, the room furthest away from all the other rooms of the house. That suited me just fine, as long as there was a good master bath.
We entered the room, and instantly saw the problem. While the room was good sized– gigantic even– the decoration left a lot to be desired. The crown molding was heavy cut wood, gilded and glazed. It was twice the size of any crown molding I had ever seen. It looked like the cheap frames that go around the black velvet paintings that are so abundant in border towns and swap meets. It HAD to go.
I went deeper into the room as Lisa went to check out the master bath. She opened the door and there was a blood-curdling scream. It seems we were not asl alone as we thought we were! The owners were still there, one in bed, and his wife in the bathroom.
“Out of my house!,” she was screaming at us.
“But we are thinking of buying it,” Lisa tried to explain.
She would hear none of it. “Out. Now,” she continued, as she pushed us out the back door.
Lisa and I left the house, but we stayed on the lawn. We liked the house, it suited us we thought. We went to the other side. The front door was open. We looked into the house, not wanting to face the wrath of the home owner again. The kitchen and the living room were on this side. Both looked nice; not modern, but acceptable.
We had finally gotten wood floors in our house, and I remember thinking it ironic that after all the time and money to get the floors we had always wanted in our house, we would be back to carpet. I actually gave some thought to removing the floors and bringing them with us. Lisa told me I was crazy, we would just start over.
The Realtor was now with us, telling us of all the great features of the house. We did not care, we did not need to hear it, we were sold. They were asking 400,000 for the house, and I knew we could get them to 360K. A year or so ago, this would have been more than 600,000. I figured we could get 300 for our current house, so this was all doable.
Lisa and I considered the extra drive time from this house. But the house had won us over; we felt it was our home.
The Realtor then brought up the monuments in the front yard; part of the deal would be that we keep them, and keep them in good repair. I went over to the front yard and inspected them. There were four of them, evenly spaced across the front yard. They were wooden frames set in the yard, about 4 feet by 6, and painted white. They were dormers, set into the Earth. The paint was peeling, and that would have to be addressed.
And then I noticed the yard. The grass was all dead, if there was any grass at all; most of the yard was dirt. I just assumed with a yard in this condition, there would be no sprinkler system. I could not have a house with no sprinklers, especially not a house as long as this one. And I was in no mood to take on installing them as a project. No, I would need a concession from the sellers, a discount to offset the cost of greening up the yard.
I thought thirty thousand would just about cover it, but they Realtor told me they would not go for it. We argued back and forth a bit, and we settled on ten thousand. With as good a deal as we were getting ion the house itself, it seemed like a good package.
I sat there in the yard, and looked up at my new house. My new home. It was beautiful.
I woke up.