Wednesday, January 30, 2013

House Hunters.

No, we're not going on HGTV. We are, however, moving. Follow us on our journey?

We headed to Augusta last week for, as my father would put it, "a rocket run." Husband, Wife, and child-REN hopped on a plane to head South- away from the snow and towards family. Aunt Susie picked us up the next morning to start the tour of 15 houses that we emailed her. By the end of the weekend, the list would grow closer to 20. From the original 15, we agreed on four.

This one was my favorite:


Husband said it was not on the valuable side of the street. He was right, but MAN- it is a cool house. It had a sleeping porch. I've always wanted one of those. What's not to love about a staircase like this and those Victorian details (that would be a beast to dust)...


And can't you just see this being a precious little one room guest cottage?  Imagine burying the wires, expanding the porch, updating the plumbing (it had plumbing, albeit old) and putting in a tiny copper sink and fridge? Mount a TV on the wall and put gas logs in the fire place? I think I might even stay out there- the idea looked so cozy in my mind.



But, Husband had a point. And the house lacked a working fireplace. He'll be the predominant breadwinner, thus I think he should have more of a say-so. Meaning, we should both love it [equally] and I should not stomp my feet and cross my arms. It won't get me anywhere anyway, so why show my bratty side? Save it for something big (and still get turned down...).


From the four- we got it down to one.

***

Not this one-- but, we both liked this one. Lots and lots and lots of potential. Pick up the rugs, paint some rooms, polish the floors, knock out a wall, eventually update that old kitchen and voila! A home for the ages. It is across the street from the club, so the lack of a true neighborhood would be compensated.

The attic could convert into a second story with minimal effort as it already has plumbing and wiring run to it and the staircase was wide. The downside of this home on the acre lot was that if we sank a bunch of money into it or kept it the way it was, it would always be a ranch on the mansion street. The neighbors on both sides are million dollar homes (literally, not figuratively). Those driveways would be mighty long to go ask for a cup of sugar.




***

This was Husband's top choice. It's in the picture perfect Hammond's Ferry. The thing about Hammond's Ferry is you are buying a lifestyle. A lovely, lovely 1950s-esque lifestyle. Neighbors, kickball tournaments, restaurants within walking distance, riverfront lifestyle. The neighborhood is second to none and a great place to raise a family. We'd be happy here, there is no doubt about that and if it comes down to it- we'll take it, but the home didn't make my heart sing. 

And my heart has to sing. 




***


And here you have your traditional, lovely home- for a cat, dog, and 2.5 kids. .. Husband's other favorite and very similar to the homes he grew up in. I liked it well enough, but there was no song in my heart.




***


One. One home made both of our hearts sing and dance with glee. Every home was pale in comparison. But when your home could be called a Cinderella House-- how else would every home in the whole wide world compare?


But, let's be honest-- it needs a LOT of work... it has old-school glass fuses and not a breaker box; compound that with non-GFIC plugs that might or might not have been grounded. The sole water heater is 25+ years old. The kitchen, well... it would work for the time being- if the appliances work, but there would be a need to rip the whole thing out and start from scratch. The lighting was old and dim. There is no central air conditioning. In Augusta. Let's pause for a moment and allow that to sink in.

No. 

Air. 

Conditioning. 

However, there is a radiator-- that's 85 years old- same as the original roof line.

The house has been vacant for a year and a half.

The addition on the back of the house was done sometime in the mid 1960s and the roof has seen better days. I say the 60s because it has a very modern pink tiled bathroom. And one of those flat stone fireplaces that were so popular at the time.

There is a one room efficiency over the garage with stairs leading up to it that are rotted out and rickety to climb. The garage below has been converted into a workshop.

It's a charming home and would be awesome to raise a gaggle of girls- however, we refuse to go into the poor house trying to make the Cinderella House work. It is work we would want to do ourselves, over time to make it ours and put our memories and thumbprint next to the former dwellers.

So, Husband called Aunt Susie and offered $170k less than what they were asking. (I am glad I was not a fly on that wall!) The owners politely refused and probably laughed at it, which we figured they would. But-- you never know unless you ask. So, our offer stands if they change their minds.

In the meantime, we are scouring the internet for a new list of houses for Aunt Susie to add to the list. She seriously has her work cut out for herself with us as clients! I will keep you posted as we continue to look.

***

Wondering what we are looking for?

Wish List:

four bedrooms- at least
three bathrooms- I don't want my girls to have to share a bathroom with guests.
I would like a powder room, but beggars can't be choosers.
fireplace... wait, a working fireplace.
A place for Husband to build his boats.
An ability to make it our own- a room (or rooms) to update, redo, etc.
I don't have a green thumb and have probably already been black-balled from the local garden clubs, but a nice yard would be lovely. Someplace for the kids to play and the parents to cook dinner on a BGE.
Young and fun neighbors
Staying out of the poor house, so we can invest in a BGE.

Is this all too much ask? We aren't even looking for our forever home-- just our "Get us back to AUG and get us settled" home. But if it turns into forever, that won't be so bad.



Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Dixie.

Last Christmas, we bought LMC a Disney CD for the car. It has all kinds of kid songs on it, some of which the likes of this generation have never heard.

Like.... Ten Little Indians.
          Or Jimmy Crack Corn.
                   But, better still - Dixie is #26.

The cd has made its way into the player and out again. Yesterday, I found it stashed in the glove box and turned it on for LMC to hear Pop Goes the Weasel, her current favorite. #25 ended and #26 began.

"Mama, are they singing about my Pixie?" - my mom is Pixie.
"No honey, they're singing about Dixie. Daaah Daaah. Like Daddy."
"Oh."

a long pause.

"Mama, what's Dixie?"

I slam on brakes, jerk the car over to the side of the road, and whip around to stare at her in astonishment... in my mind. In reality, I kept driving. This is DC and it would be hard to explain.

What child of our generation and any generation before us does not know what Dixie is? Or rather, where? Have I failed as a mother? What have I been teaching this child to not tell her about God's country. Who cares where the fork goes in a place setting if she does not about the land of milk and honey, rather cotton and tobacco. What does it matter the sterling pattern of her best friend's grandmother- if the word 'antebellum' is nothing more than a spelling bee stumper and not a well used adjective.

I have failed as a mother.

Failed.

The land where words are spoken slowly and savored. Church is on Sunday... and Wednesday. Mothers are eternally young as the humidity keeps their skin soft and their hair big. Dixie is more than just a confederate flag, it's a way of life and takes in everything and everyone from the farm fields of Doerun and Cassville to the metropolis of Birmingham and Atlanta.

Somewhere along the way, Dixie became a four letter word, being replaced with 'The South,' or rather- any number of states that encompass the land where ladies carry lipstick and the shared flask into the college football game, the land of gentility and being a feminist is not in direct contrast to being feminine.

"So, darling- what's Dixie, you ask? Dixie is Home."


Monday, January 14, 2013

Getting out

I have had a seriously serious bout of cabin fever the last few days. I've been getting out, but no where far and no where fast. And certainly not by myself. Let alone with t-w-o kids. I have made a jaunt to the grocery store, where LMC pushed the basket and we picked up M&Ms and a loaf of bread (the necessities), but otherwise- we've been to school and home again. Husband is back at work and it's been me and the diapers, the laundry, and the very busy 3.5 year old.

Mom? It's okay I take a picture of da elle-a-FANT?
She'll be the first to tell you she is not three, "rather, I'm free and a HAFF!"

So, today is rainy but warm. Overcast but totally manageable. I made a decision last night, laying in bed. We were getting out of the house and heading to a museum. Even if it would kill me. Strapping on my tennies, running skirt and baggy shirt, we pile in the car and head out.

MOM! Take a picture of me with da bone!
After causing a pretty serious traffic jam to get a very-much-sought-after parking spot, LMC and I held hands with MB strapped on for our first 'benture post baby birthin'. Speaking of the traffic jam, did you know that drivers still "flick" other drivers off? And you know what happens when you smile and wave back at them and their gesture? Oh, let's just say a steady stream of expletives are woven into a lovely tapestry. At least, I assume that is what they are saying; fortunately these virgin ears could not hear, only see. ["Smile and wave, boys. Smile and wave." -Madagascar]


LMC was beyond well-behaved, a wonderful contrast from the past few days and we had a delightful four hours running around one of our favorite spots in this town we call home. She asked to take a few pictures and I happily agreed.

It's okay we see the diamonds? ... Dat diamond is DUSTY! (yes it is...)
I was shocked at how few people were in the museum. One of the docents said that they hardly get any visitors, except school groups, in January. Good tip! I'm passing it along. We had the run of the place, which was good- because in a big crowd, I could not have run after LMC if she got away. 


LMC took this picture of [insert the name of the rock here] and I thought it was really cool. 

It was a good day, a good four hours with "just the three girls," as LMC said, "You, me and MB! We going on a 'BENTURE!"

Good day. Great day.

How many times have I stood in this exact same way? 

We will be land locked this weekend with the inauguration, so we are getting out now... while we still can.

No one I want to run into in a dark alley.


Leave it to a toddler to find all the nooks and crannies in a museum.


So old school.


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Good Days

It's been a good few days. Husband has been back at work this weekend and I, while still sleeping late, am recovering and starting to get my sea legs. I was obnoxiously proud of myself on Friday, having gotten dressed in real clothes knowing that I was not leaving the apartment. I did laundry (lots and lots of laundry), I cleaned the kitchen, I kept everyone fed --and for the most part-- happy.

So obnoxiously proud of myself.

Of course, yesterday, I paid big and spent less time being entertaining to those under 3 feet tall and more time resting (AKA- napping with Dora as our babysitter).

I even took a few minutes to take a few pictures of our newest.

When this is your Sweet Potato-- what's not to fall in love with?



She's pretty fantastic and we're pretty in love. The whole family is heading back to Augusta at the end of this month for proper introductions to the rest of the family. Husband's parents will come for a quick visit and Brother's family has cleared the schedule to make room for plenty of hugs and kisses.

It will be a good visit, albeit a fast one.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Homeward Bound

Time stops for no man. This point of fact has been proven time and time again.

Those last days of summer-- no matter the age, swearing that each jump into the cold abyss will be the last one, rising out of the water and pushing its salty sweetness out of the way.

The first football victory of your first high school game. That moment, even if nothing is known about the sport, when the "W" has been solidified and the world seems to move just a half inch slower, it still does not stop for the cheering fans.

Seeing a man dance with his two daughters in the kitchen as dinner is prepared and the music plays on. This moment, while wanting to capture it for eternity- cannot be stopped. Time marches on.

The weeks leading up to college graduation- the weather is beyond perfect and the freshman are just starting to arrive on campus. Looking at them, you know that they are in for one hell of a ride over the  next few years and, looking back, you realize that the journey concluded all too fast.

Dancing. Anytime. With anyone- especially with someone who knows what they are doing. Dancing. The song should just go on forever, and yet... it stops.

It all has to stop. Because there are always new moments waiting to be made. And we are given the opportunity to have more breathless moments and wish once more for the moment to freeze.

If that summer never ended, than I would never have seen that man dance with his daughters. If that football game had paused in the rhythm of life, how would I have gone to college and seen that there was so much more?

And so, here I sit, with two daughters in the den- one playing and one looking around, taking in her surroundings. And I sit with the knowledge that this journey in this metropolis will be making a conclusion sooner rather than later.

We will pack up our 1300 square foot apartment and bid farewell to so many things. Saying goodbye to a nomadic lifestyle that has us living three years at a time and a conclusion to Husband's training are the two easiest things to tip our hats to. Hugging friends and packing those memories into a box to carry with me will be the hardest.

Our family will be returning to its foundation in Georgia. As I have said, our roots were entwined in the red clay of the Savannah River without even noticing. Our daughters will grow up in the shadow of the arches of Athens, on the bunkers of lush green golf courses, the dove fields of McDuffie County, and the waters of Clarks Hill.

They will grow up as I did- in fair Augusta, attending Mass at the church founded by their family generations before them, learning and then teaching ballroom dancing, debbing in white silk dresses in a guild created by the blood that runs through their veins, running down the canal's clay road dug with hands known hundreds of years prior, and making a life for themselves all their own.

Going home will be an adventure- I am determined to make it such.
Going home will be wonderful- There can be no other way.
Going home will be a change.
Going home will be wonderful.

Time stops for no man, no woman, and no child. These children will grow, Husband and I will age, and life will continue to blossom and evolve.

We are lucky, lucky fools that it cannot stop.