Category Archives: House

The Ballad of House Buying: Part 2: Initial Look

Saturday was the day of the big Ottumwa Blitz. I made plans to see the houses on Saturday morning before Jay and I headed to Ottumwa.

I had drove past the house on Union a couple of times and determined that the backyard might be a little bit too cutesy.

I snapped this picture with my camera phone and sent it to Shannon, Sara and Jen with the caption: “The too cute backyard.”

The Great House Hunt

Sara sent me back a message indicating a desire to have tea parties there.

After some time at the house on Union, we went over to the house on Aldrich. It had a few things I really liked.

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A Pink Bath Tub

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Yellow Kitchen Counters

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Poured Concrete Foundation

However, it had some things that were problematic. There were only two bedrooms, but three bathrooms. There was no dining room. The yard was dreadfully small and I would like to get a dog at some point in the future. By dog, I mean a real dog that is going to require some space to roam around.

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Dreadfully small.

We looked at several other houses, but what I was beginning to call the house on Union Street AKA The House with the Cute Backyard was clearly the leader. It was only the second house that I had seen that I could really see myself living in.

The Ballad of House Buying: Part 1 The Surrogates

So I think I can be a little freer with the experience of house buying that I have been enduring.

I guess the most important news is that I am officially going through the process of buying a house now. I would like to at least go through the process of how I came to where I am today to update people that may have very unintentionally fallen out of the loop. I have gotten very busy with the process, work and Jaycee functions. Plus, there was Symposium and helping Derrick and Jen move. You could say that my plate has been more than full. It has been overflowing with crawdads, honey.

To start at the beginning of finding this house you have to go back to December 30 or 31. I can’t remember which.

I joined my Mom, Teresa and Ernie for lunch. When I got back to the office my phone rang and it was my Aunt/Realtor Lori. One of the great parts about this process is that now I can recommend Lori as a Realtor to anybody and include the phrase, “And not just because she is my Aunt.”

Lori was going to look at a new listing that had just went on the market. It was on Garst, which is to say that it is in a good neighborhood. She told me that the house was a foreclosure and I know from the time that Carla spent as a Realtor that meant two things. You could buy the house cheap and that is was probably trashed.

I work for a living, which is to say that I haven’t figured out a way for the Computer Mine to pay me for not being here yet, so I had to decline checking out this house on Garst. I did mention that there was a house on Union and a house on Aldrich that I was interested in seeing. We set up an appointment to see those houses on Saturday.

Then I remembered that somebody that has so many crawdads on their plate should use a surrogate. So I called Teresa and asked if she and Mom could swing by and check out the house on Garst to see if it was even worth viewing.

She agreed to do just such a thing.

About 45 minutes later I got a text message that said, “Garst house is disgusting.”

I called her back to find out what disgusting might mean. Did it mean saloon doors between the dining room and the kitchen? I can change ugly.

Disgusting ended up meaning covered in mold.

Well you can’t just take mold down and store it in the basement, so the house on Garst was eliminated from contention.

But Teresa told me that they had went over and checked out the house on Union that I wanted to see.

Earlier that week I had told my Mom about how I had high hopes about a house on Union, but last time I had gotten my hopes up real high for a house they were dashed by bulging basement walls.

She had mentioned the house to Lori and they had went over and checked out the house.

Teresa recommended that I check out this house on Union.

House Hunt – Potential Progress

One of the four houses I saw this weekend I actually liked. In fact, it is the first house that I’ve seen that I’m going to go look at again.

Living Room

Technically “Master Bedroom”, but potentially an office.


Vanity in addition to sink in bathroom.

Dining Area

2 Car Garage

The furnace was two years old and most of the windows were new. One of the negatives was a basement that was essentially a dirt basement.

I might have taken more pictures, but the battery on the camera was dying.

More House Hunt

Over the Thanksgiving weekend I looked at 4 more houses.

One house didn’t have a basement, which was kind of bad, but the fact that it didn’t have any yard eliminated it.

I did find a few interesting things in one house.

Mirrors for closet doors? What a great idea!

A tragic waste of a claw foot tub.

Although I didn’t like this house all that much, I think mirrored closet doors are going on my want list, right next to having a garage and having a yard.

Words, Words, Words

Polonius: What do you read, my lord?

Hamlet: Words, words, words.

Polonius: What is the matter, my lord?

Hamlet: Between who?

Polonius: I mean, the matter that you read, my lord.

Hamlet: Slanders, sir: for the satirical rogue say here that old men have grey beards, that their faces are wrinkled, their eyes purging thick amber and plum-tree gum, and that they have a plentiful lack of wit, together with most weak hams: all which, sir, though I most powerfully and potently believe, yet I hold it not honesty to have it thus set down, for yourself, sir, should be old as I am, if like a crab you could go back word.

Polonius: Though this be madness, yet there is method in it.

That has always been my favorite moment in Hamlet. It has stuck with me enough that frequently when people ask me what I’m reading I invariably answer: “words, words, words.”

I bring this up because I’ve taken on the task of reducing the amount of words, um books, in my collection. It is a task that is slightly herculean.

So it begins…

Some would say that I don’t need any direction in male chauvinism, those people would be mistaken. (Although this book was downsized.)


That is a lot of unnecessary writing manuals.

Most of the downsized books will find their way to book sales. However, I might try to find good homes for some of these books on my own. So keep tuned to this frequency, I might post some of those books here.


One of my vacation projects was to attempt to bring as much of my stuff together as made sense and downsize as much stuff as I could.

I was able to accomplish some downsizing. I think my major accomplish was getting my old Hoosier Kitchen Cabinet out of storage. I knew it was slightly damaged when it went into storage, but it looks like it declined even further.

The Hoosier

The Hoosier

The Hoosier

The Hoosier

The Hoosier

The Hoosier

The Hoosier

The Hoosier

The Hoosier

When I was explaining the existence of this “Hoosier” to Shannon she became excited. You could even say jealous. She even had a recommendation as to a person that would be able to fix it and return it to its former glory.

Shannon’s dad picked it up on Friday. I’ll be excited to see what it looks like when he gets done with it.

House Search

On Wednesday I looked at about 10 houses. I kind of liked 1 house, so I might have a bit of direction as to what kind of house I want.

Here are some pictures.

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I think I want to build something like this at some point.

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This house had a fireplace and built in glass cases, but kitchen floor and all of the electrical would have needed to be replaced.

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The tub too. You can’t really tell from the picture, but this is the smallest tub I’ve ever seen.

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This was listed as a “full” basement.

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Beautiful wraparound porch destroyed by turning part of it into a 3 seasons room.

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Not even in the top ten of the scariest stairs I descended on this day.

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I might be too impressed by built in cabinets.

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This was the kitchen in the house I kind of liked. I actually was surprised how much I like the window over the sink.

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I’m not even going to comment.

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I kind of liked the kitchen in this house. But there was no electricity upstairs and all 3 bedrooms were upstairs. Actually the kitchen was the only thing to like about this house.

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No electricity upstairs, but a brand new 3 car garage???

It was definitely an educational experience.

There was a weird experience where we looked around the house while the current occupants were still there.

Maybe I’ve lived in a cave, but I was shocked by how many houses only had access to the basement from outside. I didn’t even realize that there were still houses like that.

On a small unrelated note, I did gain some insight into the “idiot” sign at the suffrage march.

The term idiot is in the Iowa Constitution.

Article II, Section 5:

No idiot, or insane person, or person convicted of any infamous crime, shall be entitled to the privilege of an elector.

I would write more, but I want it to be a surprise when you get in the voting booth on Tuesday. If you are voting in Iowa.


I had the pleasure of waking up this morning to water in the basement.

On the plus side, tonight is the first Ames on the Half Shell event of the year. I’d say if it isn’t raining, the place to be tonight is Ames on the Half Shell. Redzband is playing tonight. The event lasts from 5-8. Bandshell Park. Don’t know what else you need to know.


I got home from a Jaycees meeting tonight. We were able to hammer out the details of the band contract. This was actually way more difficult than I figured it would be. It included some quite lively debate about whether or not we should follow the law or not.

I got home and saw an envelope from my bank (Bank of the Bear). I was expecting this letter but was not expecting what was inside. Apparently my bank, that hasn’t been all that good to me in the past, is actually willing to throw me a ton of cash to buy a house.

This was pleasant, but now I have to start actually doing some research and start saving up some funds for the expenses. At least I have the money and I know who my realtor is going to be. That much of the process is done.