Welcome tonight's sandbox. A few thoughts about our abode (mine and Calamity Jean's), but first a few words from our sponsor:
WYFP is our community's Saturday evening gathering to talk about our problems, empathize with one another, and share advice, pootie pictures, favorite adult beverages, and anything else that we think might help. Everyone and all sorts of troubles are welcome. May we find peace and healing here. Won't you please share the joy of WYFP by recommending?
As many of you know, Calamity Jean and I are working towards getting a new house up on our little farm in NW Illinois. My wife developed an interest in growing much of our own food, and keeping a cow (and probably some other livestock, too) several years back. Living cheek-and-jowl in the City of Chicago helped, too, since you can't easily (and inexpensively) keep a cow in the City. And despite my being an unapologetic city boy, having worked for the City of Chicago for 27+ years, as a traffic engineer, and being exposed every time that I go down a City street to my former line of work has become a strong incentive for me to want to move out to the country, as well.
Actually, though, we aren't doing the working. We have an architect who we hired to lay out the interior for us, working through three or four revisions before we submitted the layout to the company that makes the shell (we are building a concrete panel geodesic dome), and who serves as our liason to the contractors. We also have to wait for the company-approved dome assembly specialist to be available, to assist the general contractor in putting up the shell. There will be other subcontractors as well, as we already have the base in (concrete), and a connection to Commonwealth Edison (electrical: can't wait for the second bill to come in!). But the new house is still just the base, and stacks of dome panels stowed inside it, even though we (and the bank) have owned the property since 2007. We visited the farm this past Thursday, and it was somewhat gratifying to see the base standing there, albeit a trifle unfinished.
And then there's our current house.
Well, it's old. Probably one of the oldest, if not the oldest, bungalows on the block. We figure it has to be over 100 years old, and it's in poor shape. And I could spend several paragraphs describing the flaws it has, but I will mention one that, had we known of it back in 1989, would have been a deal-breaker.The west wall of the basement seeps when it rains hard for long periods of time, and fixing it would have cost a tishload of money, and have involved our neighbors to the west, requiring us to replace their fence, at minimum. We have spent about $20,000 on it to keep it liveable for us since 2010, replacing some major stuff and having some stuff repaired, money that we will never get back. But the mortgage was paid off long before the mortgage bubble burst, so it's ours, until we can sell it. I suppose it could be rehabbed by a really good contractor, but I'd rather sell it to someone who would reuse the nearly-new furnace, water heater, and air conditioning equipment elsewhere, salvage recyclable material, tear it down, and build a new house. A narrower house that didn't crowd the raised ranch to the east, built on what once was the east portion of the original lot (our house is wider than most later bungalows, having been built on a 50-foot wide lot). I want to avoid someone buying it with the idea that they could move in, and live here while rehabbing, as the place would need a gutting before reworking it. There's only a air space in the walls of the brick portion, between the plaster and wood lath walls, and the outside brick, for example, and, well, there I go, expounding on those faults!
Suffice it to say, I wish that we had taken care of all this sooner, but you know what they say about wishes...
So, what's your FP?