7. We live in an eclectic neighborhood. We had been told that before we moved but now that we have been here a few months we have first hand knowledge. Just a few of the people we see on a daily basis:
- Very elderly gentleman who lives in the apartments across the street. He wears a trench coat, a suit and tie and carries a brief case and umbrella. He leaves home about the same time every morning and heads out for about 90 minutes. Not sure where he goes but it must be important work he is doing.
- The man who goes everywhere on his unicycle. Something I see every day but you probably don’t. Unless you also live near me. He also sings while he is riding past.
- Dog people. There are a lot of people with dogs in the neighborhood and they all walk them. There is a three legged dog. There are great Danes, Saint Bernards, tiny yippy dogs, people walking three dogs at once. They are all friendly and George (our dog) used to bark at all of them. Now there are just a few that he clearly doesn’t trust.
- Extremely heavy set man in electric wheelchair who “walks” his tiny dog every day. The dog is always in the lead so I am not sure who is walking who.
- Lots of kids on bikes
- Families with toddlers on bikes and babies in strollers
- Michael, the friendly neighborhood odd job guy. He is always on his way to a job and is happy to do any work you might need a hand with for a very fair price.
- Occasionally there is a homeless man sleeping in the park across the street
- The lady with the pom-pom hat and purple coat (even in the summer.) She heads to the burger place and will ask for change or a dollar as she walks by.
8. We expected to have guests in our house and we have actually done far less entertaining than we did before we moved. Partly this was due to the fact that we were getting settled and it is difficult to entertain when there are holes in your ceiling, walls torn out, no water in your powder room and you are without a functioning oven. This didn’t detour the overnight guests though. I would estimate that we used a guest room over 90 times. There were times when we had several overnight guests here at the same time so we didn’t have 90 nights with guests but it was still a lot. More than we had expected but great to have so many family and friends spend time with us.
9. We learned that the budget for any project should be $10,000. Or in increments of $10,000. New shower $10,000. Plumbing $10,000. Bathroom $10,000. Furnace $10,000 times two. All the big projects that are on our wish list require $10,000. A fence for the yard, a pool, a new garage, tree removal, additional plumbing repairs, flat roof repairs, kitchen remodel. All big expenses.
10. The house is about 25 minutes from our old house and we felt like we were pretty centrally located and close to all the places we needed to get to at the other house. We have found that for the most part we are a lot closer to everything here except a good grocery store. It takes less time to get to school, work, church and practices for the girls. The boys are farther from school but not so much that they want to live closer to campus yet.
11. We found that even after the exterminator comes and inspects and treats your house, a house this old that hasn’t been occupied for a long time still has pests. We have had a few mice try to take up residence. The cats took care of them. There are a lot of weird creepy crawly bugs that I hadn’t ever seen. Many only come out at night. We also have had two bats in the house. I didn’t know before but have now decided I am not a fan of bats inside the house.
12. It is impossible to even attempt to keep a house clean when there are holes in the ceiling and contractors coming in every day. Don’t even try. Just get used to the dust and know that eventually the holes will get covered. Of course there will also be new holes but don’t think about that!
13. No matter how carefully you inspect an historic home and how much you think you know about what needs to be done to restore it and what you think needs repairs you will be wrong. The list will change and the scope of the project may be more or less than you anticipate but there will always be a to do list that doesn’t get shorter.
14. We learned that a house that is 115 years old does not have enough electric outlets to adequately support a family of six in 2015. For example, there is ONE outlet in the master bedroom. Bedside lamps and alarm clocks are a challenge we still haven’t managed to overcome. The outlet is under the windows and not behind the bed. Try to make that work!
15. Finally, we have learned that this historic house is much improved since we got here but has many challenges ahead. It has turned out to be a great place for our family to live. It has been a real blessing to have all four kids here with us on this crazy journey. There are many hurdles remaining and I am sure I will shed more than a few more tears in frustration at the challenges that we will face but in the end I don’t think any of us has any regrets about making this move. Our historic house is now our family home.