hankrules2011

A polymath rambling about virtually anything

Posts Tagged ‘moving’

We Just Bought A New House and We’re Moving!

Posted by Scott Holstad on November 24, 2019

We have been house hunting all year in another primary region of the country for several different reasons, and I initially thought it would and should turn out to be quick and easy, but it’s been the most hellish house buying/moving experience of my life! Because of things like my poor health and my wife’s busy schedule, we simply couldn’t work out the logistics of a long trip, so we’ve been doing this remotely, which I’ve never done before. It’s really way too long of a story to tell, but we looked in a 3 state area for the whole year, and it has been the worst and toughest year of our lives! But we finally closed on a house a couple of weeks ago, and we’ll be moving to Pennsylvania in two weeks. I’d love to tell the story, but it would take too long and I don’t have the time or energy. So this will be another photo blog, with picks of the house we’re going to be moving into. It’s not what we started out looking for, it’s not ideal, we would probably prefer a number of things it lacks, but for here and now, it was the right place in the right location at the right price, and it’s actually a nice little house, I think, although I do cringe at the idea of downsizing. Heh. We’ll be living in a TINY community in the middle of the state, north of Baltimore, in between Pittsburgh and Philly, so there are many reasons why that’s an ideal location for us, which I won’t go very deeply into, but basically my health is so bad that numerous specialists have given up on my health even being MANAGED, let alone treated here in Chattanooga, the state itself, and even the entire region and I’ve been repeatedly advised to move to one of the following places: Mayo Clinic (Minnesota), Cleveland Clinic or Johns Hopkins (Baltimore). And since Gretchen is from Maryland and her family all live there and since she worked in Baltimore, and it and DC nearby, and they have a much better job market than here, and she’s also excited about seeing old friends and more, it just makes sense. (Frankly, it’s time for us to leave the South.) Additionally, this will be about a one hour commute for her to Baltimore, or if she could find a closer job, we’re 20 minutes from Gettysburg, 10 minutes from Hanover, 30 minutes from York, 45 minutes from Harrisburg, an hour and a half from DC, an hour and a half from Philly, and it’s more to Pittsburgh, but in the event Johns Hopkins can’t handle all of my issues, both Pittsburgh and Philly have top hospitals in some my areas (neurology, neuroscience) that could serve as backups or supplements. So as much as I would like to describe how insanely nuts this year has been, what we’ve had to go through to make this work, and how grueling this has been for us, I simply don’t have the time or energy to describe it and write more than I am here, so I’m going to go ahead and mainly post some pics of the new house we’ll be moving into in early December.

First, a few basics: It is a small, older two-story colonial (built in 1930) that we think is fairly attractive. It’s got three bedrooms and one bathroom, a nice covered front porch, small but nice back deck, small level yard, lovely real original hardwood floors with a pleasant and good sized living room, dining room and kitchen. Upstairs, the master bedroom is uniquely shaped, but not a bad size and has a door leading out to a back upper story covered balcony. The other bedrooms are somewhat small, but they fit the house and we knew we’d have to downsize. There’s a very large unfinished basement that will provide excellent storage and if we ever get the funds to partially or fully finish it, the listed “living space” square footage will shoot up tremendously because the literal square footage is actually over 900 more square feet than the listed livable square footage. We didn’t have many requirements and were forced to lower our expectations because Maryland (our original intended location) is such an expensive state to live in, and we wouldn’t have had many options, and yet even in podunk PA, in the neighboring county, the property taxes were just insane! We’ve been spoiled in Chattanooga, because the taxes are the lowest we’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen monster ones in Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Phoenix and Malibu, but all the time we were looking at regular sized, regular priced (cheap even) houses in that county, I kept asking the realtors WHY a 1800 square foot house with three bedrooms and one bathroom that runs about $220K-$250K would have property taxes of $6000, $8000, even $11000 and $13000 a year?!? There? Manhattan? Sure! Newport Beach? Sure! Santa Barbara? Of course. But what the hell is in the sticks that is such a big draw that people are dying to move there and pay those kind of property taxes for a generic rural area??? That’s nuts! I offended some people by asking that question about some place no one has ever heard of, that has no draw at all to merit robbing people like that – why?!? In any event, this house’s taxes are much more than we’re used to, but less than the examples I gave and for that area, about average. Even though we didn’t have many requirements, most of the houses in that area are very old. I knew that because I spent a decade living in that state as a young boy and I can recall all of the many houses from the 1830s and 1790s, etc. So almost none of these houses have any AC at all — and I get massively hot. Also, I prefer gas heat, and most had electric. We also prefer city water and sewer, and of course, most were on wells and septic tanks. BUT, this house has gas heat, central AC and is on public water and sewer, so YAY, that makes a big difference to us. There’s so much more, but I have very poor health and am tied up in trying to make arrangements with movers, auto transport services, utility companies, and all the details that go with this, so I’m just going to move on to the pics. The only other thing I’ll mention is that the house is located in Adams County, PA, where the county seat is historic Gettysburg. Our town is the fourth largest (of 18) “borough” in the county with a massive population of all of 3,000 people, making it the second smallest place I will ever have lived. It’s called McSherrystown (Borough) and it’s old and cute. And here’s something we really like! No crime. Like none. During  this century, no murders, rapes, assaults, one arson every other year, two robberies, and fewer than 75 thefts total for the whole damn century! The “city” has a police force of FOUR! Hell, that’s how many cops got killed on my block in LA every night when I lived in 18th Street Gang Territory, as well as when I was in North Long Beach (and dozens of other places there and elsewhere). Since we’ve been crime victims multiple times, this matters greatly to us. You may not be impressed with this house and it won’t be the nicest and will be the smallest I’ve ever lived in, but we do like it, think it’s attractive and it has some really nice features, and since every place has its pros and cons, we’re happy to have found this after 11 hard months of work trying to get a house and we’re especially happy to have gotten it for so much less than most others anywhere around there and others we were considering.

 

1. Our new house, front from street.

 

 

2. An angled street view of the front of our new house.

 

 

3. A different angled street view of the front of our new house.

 

 

4. The foyer. Needs a touch up here and there, but otherwise nice and in good condition with access to all of the important parts of the house.

 

 

5. The well lit, open living room with a lovely opening to the large formal dining room next to it. Original hardwood. Lots of windows. Good size. This is especially important to me as I have serious mobility issues due to my health, and so I spend the majority of my time on the ground floor, and so obviously the living room.

 

 

 

 

6. Another vantage point of the living room.

 

 

7. From the living room looking into the foyer.

 

8. Spacious cheery formal dining room!

 

 

9. Dining room, looking into the kitchen and the living room.

 

 

10. Spacious kitchen. This honestly isn’t our favorite, but we looked at so many houses throughout three states that we saw every kind, size, style imaginable and while this lacks the cupboard and counter space we would really prefer, it’s MUCH better and massively larger than the one in the house we had signed an agreement to purchase the previous month, only to have the inspector find so many “invisible” problems that the likely repair bills would likely have been in the six figures alone — and so we walked. That house seemed very nice, was quite large, but had the tiniest, most useless kitchen we’d ever seen, so we’ll take this present one any day over the former. Hey, can’t get everything you want, right? It’ll be good.

 

 

10. Kitchen facing entrances to other rooms.

 

 

11. One of the bedrooms.

 

 

12. A (small) second bedroom.

 

 

13. The master bedroom. Oddly narrow and long, but still pretty nice, we think.

 

 

14. Another view of the master bedroom.

 

 

15. The back deck with small, level back yard and a decent shed in the background. I’m not much of a “deck” person, but I’m actually pretty happy about this one, because our current one — which we’ve had to have ripped up, torn down and rebuilt twice in five years at great expense — is SO incredibly high off the ground, and the stairs so steep and vertically challenging with small, narrow steps, that it’s completely unusable for me, while this should be, so maybe I’ll actually become a “deck” person…

 

 

15. The back of the house. The cool thing about this photo is the funky thing I didn’t show in previous pictures. If you look up toward the top floor, you’ll see that the master bedroom has a door that opens on to a fairly decent, comfortable covered balcony, which is a little unusual, but we think it’s pretty cool.

 

I won’t bore you with any more house photos. It’s just that I literally have no one to show, and even though it’s probable that no one will even see it here online, at least I’m getting to attempt to show some photos of our new house, so it would be nice to know if anyone saw this post. As I said, it’s been a demanding, exhausting, draining, frustrating, infuriating, tiring, impossible, expensive as hell year culminating in finally finding a house we could buy, but now the end of it all is finally getting near and we’ll (hopefully) finally be able to sit down, take a breath and relax in a couple of months. Unreal year. For so many more reasons not mentioned here.

Well, enough of that. I’m going to post a few final pics I got off the Net of a few parts of town so you can see how tiny and quaint it is. I won’t label each of them like I did for the house, but the one of the church is of the town’s Catholic church, and the biggest one around, while the one of the diner shows the only restaurant they have, and the hilarious one of their police car is of the only one in town for the four police officers to share while not having to do a darn thing about the near total lack of crime. LOL! Thanks for indulging me, if anyone did. We’ll be moving in a couple of weeks. Catch ya on the other side…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Lived In Look

Posted by Scott Holstad on March 21, 2014

Well, we’ve been living in our new house for exactly one month today and things are coming together. We’ve got just about all of the boxes unpacked, which is good, and most things have been put away. We still haven’t hung any pictures yet, though, but that’s the norm for me. It takes me awhile to hang pictures, mostly cause I hate putting holes in nice walls. So we have them stacked and lying about the house. I guess we’ll have to do it sometime.

We started out by meeting the neighbors across the street, who seem nice, and the neighbors on one side, who are nice, but we haven’t met anyone else yet. Gretchen has exchanged waves with the neighbor on the other side of us, but they haven’t come to greet us, so that’s that. I guess we’ll have to go introduce ourselves to them. Where I came from growing up, when someone moved into the neighborhood, you went and introduced yourself. I don’t like it when people don’t do that. In our last neighborhood, no one ever came by. I guess times have changed.

We’re really, really enjoying how quiet it is here and how peaceful it is. It’s also very private, particularly out back. That’s nice. We have a deck and a patio and when weather permits, we try to use both. The weather hasn’t been that great here though, although yesterday was nice. It’s also safe here, which has been important to us. People actually leave their garages open during the day! I would never do that! Everything’d get stolen from it in areas I’ve lived before. It’s a very nice change.

We’re almost done with contractors! I’ve got one here right now working on the screen door to the deck. Some more work needs to be done on the deck, and the floors squeak a bit too much, so we’d like to have that looked into, but otherwise most things have been taken care of. And let me tell you — it’s cost a pretty penny! Contractors aren’t cheap.

I’m going to post some requested photos of the place as it currently is (even messed up a little bit). It’s the “lived in” look. I hope you enjoy.

Our entryway

Our entryway

The entry leading into the living room

The entry leading into the living room

Living room. We're going to get more chairs.

Living room. We’re going to get more chairs.

Looking into the dining room

Looking into the dining room

Kitchen

Kitchen

Master bedroom

Master bedroom

Guest bedroom

Guest bedroom

Hall bathroom

Hall bathroom

The library

The library

Another view of the library

Another view of the library

Yet another view of the library

Yet another view of the library

The den

The den

Another view of the den

Another view of the den

Another den shot

Another den shot

Office

Office

Another view of the office

Another view of the office

Garage

Garage

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We’ve Moved!

Posted by Scott Holstad on February 26, 2014

Well, we moved this past weekend. We’re very excited, but it’s been a lot of hard work and will continue to be as we continue to unpack and get electricians and plumbers and the like in here to do some work. We sure miss Toby and wonder how he would like the new house. Henry seems to be adapting finally, although the first two or three days, he seemed kind of freaked out. He’s followed us both around relentlessly, not letting us from his sight. He’s always been kind of independent, so we think it’s a sign that this has been traumatic for him, in addition to Toby being gone.

We packed most things, but had packers in the day before the move to pack fragile items and pictures. One was sick or something and was coughing and hacking without covering his mouth. It was gross. However, the moving crew was pretty good and the whole thing only took eight hours. Let me tell you, we were exhausted that day though. You’d have thought we’d moved our own stuff! We were also exhausted all weekend as we unpacked tons of stuff. I’m going to post pics of what our house looks like now, partially unpacked. Hopefully, when everything’s done, I’ll post finished pics.

We’ve already met some neighbors, which is more than we can say about our last house and neighborhood. We’re very pleased with this neighborhood. We live on a cul-de-sac. It’s not a through street and it’s very quiet. Of course, we have virtually no one behind us, so it’s private too. And SAFE!!! Gretchen feels like she can go out walking out night without her pepper spray or packing. (We had our home alarm/security company come and install a system here anyway.) People are friendly, it’s quiet, it’s safe — it’s everything we wanted in a neighborhood. Let’s hope it stays this way.

We got a good deal on this house. We knew it at the time, but since we bought it, two houses nearby have gone on the market for 65K and 80K more than what this one was listed for! Wow. We got a good deal. We’ve had to have a little work done, but nothing overly major, although our handyman is essentially recommending a new deck, which I’m not thrilled about or convinced is necessary. I’m hoping a friend who knows decks can come over and either confirm what this guy is telling me, or tell me otherwise.

I guess that’s it for now. Time for some pics. The first one is of our flag we put out when we moved in. It was a windy day. The others are of rooms in various states of unpacking.

Our flag flying in front of our new home!

Our flag flying in front of our new home!

Entrance. Messy!

Entrance. Messy!

Living room

Living room

Dining room

Dining room

Kitchen

Kitchen

Another view of the kitchen

Another view of the kitchen

The hallway

The hallway

Guest bedroom

Guest bedroom

Lots of boxes of books to unpack in the library

Lots of boxes of books to unpack in the library

Four bookshelves in the library. Hoping to add two more.

Four bookshelves in the library. Hoping to add two more.

My shoes!

My shoes!

Master bedroom

Master bedroom

Master bedroom -- other view

Master bedroom — other view

Den

Den

Den -- other side

Den — other side

The office

The office

Our new gas grill

Our new gas grill

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Snow!

Posted by Scott Holstad on February 12, 2014

We don’t often get snow here in Chattanooga, but when we do, it shuts the whole city down for days. I think I read that we have eight snow trucks for the whole city. It’s ridiculous! There are all sorts of false reports by the meteorologists, but then we got hit pretty hard two weeks ago. All we got was an inch of snow, but it’s the ice underneath the snow that’s so dangerous. I couldn’t get up my driveway to park my car. I had to park on the street and pray no one would slide into me.

They’ve been calling for snow this week and today we finally got it. It fell hard, but it wasn’t cold enough to stick to the roads, so while it’s nice and white and pretty, we’re not snowed in this time, which is good.

I’ve been frustrated with the weather because I’m trying to get crews in to the new house to do all of this work before we move next Friday (weather permitting), but it’s too cold to caulk, to paint, to work with mortar, to do stuff on the roof (the shingles will break), to do just about anything. And the house is on top of a mountain, so even getting up there is a real problem. I’ve had to reschedule my garage door opener installer three times. Now they’re scheduled to come on Friday and I hope it will work out. Time is running out.

My wife’s working from home today and was just bitching about the weather — about how she could have gone into the office and how the storm was just a fraud. LOL! I like working from home. Of course, I/we have been doing a lot of packing and we’ve made a lot of progress. I think we’ll be done with most everything by the weekend, except for the hanging clothes and some other assorted items. The packers are bringing wardrobe boxes on moving day, so we’ll have to pack those then. I’m going to pack up my computers the night before and I guess we’ll take the cats to my mothers’ the morning of and pick them up when it’s done. I guess. They’ll be traumatized, of course. Toby is already acting depressed, possibly because of all the packing and strange people who keep coming here. We don’t really know. I’m going to leave you with one picture from this morning. Enjoy.

Snow in Chattanooga

Snow in Chattanooga

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Busy!

Posted by Scott Holstad on February 10, 2014

Boy, I’ve been busy since I last wrote! Lessee….

We had the house closing. That went pretty well. The sellers were nice. It didn’t take too long. I immediately went to the house and had the locks changed, though, which is something I always do. I’ve made arrangements to have a handyman start working on some projects the inspector pointed out in his report, the alarm security company we have to come out and find out what they’ll need to do to install it in the new house, a garage door opener installer, who needs to install two new garage door openers, a roofer, an electrician, a tree man to cut down a tree that’s too close to the house. I’ve had to call the utilities, the insurance company, and I just made arrangements to have our Internet/cable installed the Monday after we move in. The cleaning agency is coming to our house next Monday to do a survey to see what it will take to clean it for showing when we put it on the market, and I’ve got a painter to paint the interior walls. Our current place is hardwood floors. The new place is carpeted. I prefer hardwood floors and we talked about getting some, but we just didn’t think we could afford it, so we’re not. We did order a new china hutch, since we have two sets of china and no place to put it, and two matching recliners for the den. They’ll all be delivered on Sunday. We also got a nice rug for the dining room. We don’t want to spill stuff there and ruin the carpet.

The handyman met me at the house today and started working in the garage on some projects, but it started snowing and sleeting and since the house is high up on a mountain, we left early, worried about getting snowed/iced in. We may try again tomorrow, but as it’s supposed to snow overnight, I doubt we’ll do it. I do want to get all of the projects out of the way before we move next Friday though. The handyman was able to get a couple of necessary things done in the garage before we left though, so that’s good.

Meanwhile, last weekend I went on a vestry retreat. It was at a convent in the Tennessee mountains and it was pretty good. This weekend, we went to Knoxville to attend the diocesian convention, which was also pretty good. Last night, however, we had a long vestry meeting and now I’m feeling churched out.

My Penguins are having a great year and I’m very excited. I’m thinking Stanley Cup. This has to be the year! Even with all of the injuries. Go Pens!

We’re packing now and it’s coming along. The movers are going to pack the kitchen and the pictures/paintings, so that will be helpful. However, while it’s easy to pack books, DVDs, and clothes, it’s the miscellaneous stuff that’s tough. Not sure how to handle that.

I’ve been reading a lot of books and writing book reviews, as you know. Most have been science fiction recently, but I’m reading a bio of Frank Sinatra — which is huge — and I hope to finish that in a bit and write a book review on that. I have other books lined up. We have a nice, big used bookstore here and we love to go there and find bargains.

I’m sorry I haven’t blogged much outside of writing reviews. I’ve been pretty busy. Plus I haven’t been overly motivated. Sorry. I have 266 followers here now, but only one of you leaves comments, so that confuses me. Still, I’m glad for the followers.

We’re going to miss our current house, but you may remember that it’s haunted, so we’re really not going to miss the ghosts. We hope the new house won’t be haunted, though we know at least two people died there. Hopefully their spirits will have departed. The new house looks great and we’re eager to move in already and be done with it, start the unpacking process, begin our new life.  It’s all very exciting. Cheers!

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New House!!!

Posted by Scott Holstad on January 18, 2014

We have a new house! We made an offer on a house on Wednesday. Yesterday, the sellers accepted our offer and we’re thrilled. Not only are we getting a great house for less than they wanted, but we’re getting a big grill, patio furniture, and more. Sweet! I can’t believe they accepted the original offer. I’ve never had that happen before.

The house is about the same size as our current house. It’s about 2100 square feet. It’s got four bedrooms and three full bathrooms. A roomy two car garage, which we’ve never had, ever and which I’m so excited about. A nice deck covering part of a nice patio. And it’s in a nice, quiet, safe and small neighborhood on a mountain, in the Big Ridge section of Hixson, a Chattanooga suburb.

We started looking last month mainly because of crime. And noise. But really crime. Our house was broken into and burglarized last year. Last month, there was a murder at our grocery store only a half mile from us. Over the past few months, there have been 52 crimes in our neighborhood. It’s a nice, middle class neighborhood that’s been invaded by thugs, and it sucks because we love our current house. It’s got a huge kitchen and the biggest den I’ve ever seen.

But the new house has a nice sized living room, a pretty dining room, a decent kitchen, the four bedrooms, one of which will be an office and another a library, a nice sized laundry room, and a large back area full of trees and woods making the house across a little valley seem very far away. In other words, very private. We like that.

We hope to close this month, believe it or not, and move perhaps the third week of February. We can’t move on a rainy day though, because while our current house has hardwood floors, the new one has carpets and we don’t want mud tracked through the house.

We’re very excited about this and my mom is possibly more excited than we are. It’s funny. I think she wants to live there. I’m going to try and post some pics. I always have trouble posting pics on WordPress, so I don’t know how they’ll turn out, but here they are:

The new house

The new house

Living room

Living room

Kitchen

Kitchen

Dining room

Dining room

Master bedroom

Master bedroom

Den

Den

Roomy garage

Roomy garage

Garage from exterior

Garage from exterior

Private back yard

Private back yard

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