Saturday, July 25, 2009

In Which Ev and Kwach Go to Town

We've been keeping a secret.

It's not that we didn't want to share it with the world, it's that we didn't want to jinx it by publishing it and then having to rub salt in the wound by retracting it, as has happened in the past.

Those of you who've been reading us for awhile may remember that we've been looking for a house to buy in Cairo, Illinois for a long time, and that we came very close a year or so ago. When that didn't pan out we dithered about building on our land vs continuing to look for houses in Cairo vs buying a house we didn't really want as a temporary step on the road to one we really did want, just to get out from under our not-entirely-honest-as-the-day-is-long landlord. (We dither almost as well as we process, which is really saying something.)

Ev spends a goodly amount of her online time perusing Craigslist and realty sites, keeping her eyes peeled for the perfect house, and once in awhile she shows one of them to me if she thinks it's a good possibility. A couple of weeks ago she showed me one she's been watching on Craigslist for a long time. It gets listed repeatedly, but apparently without any takers. I took one look at it and said, "oh HELL, yes!" After a few e-mail exchanges with the seller and a trip down to Cairo to look at the house, we're there! The seller has the earnest money, we're signing the contract next week, and we're getting the keys on August 12th.

Folks, patience and perseverence have paid off and we found our house! It needs exactly nothing in terms of rehab, and its only miniscule fault was that it sits on only two town lots. But the six (yes, I said six) adjoining 25' x 100+' lots are all available and we're in the process of buying the first two from the city.

The best part of this transaction is that it's been conducted between the seller and ourselves in a very friendly and non-adversarial way. She had us write the contract, she's paying the costs for filing it, and she's selling us the house on a zero interest contract for deed, so it will be completely ours and paid for in three years. Why is she doing this? Because she's going to California to study for the ministry and she doesn't believe in usury and she does believe that we're a gift from God. (We could have told her that!) It sounds flakey when we try to explain it, but you'd have to meet her to understand it. She's got that big open friendly honest people vibe, and this has all happened so effortlessly that you just know in your gut that it's right.

So, about the house ...

It was built in 1897, it's got all the original woodwork and chandeliers, the plumbing and electricity have been upgraded, it has a working furnace and dual upstairs and downstairs central air, a full concrete-floored walk-out basement, three full baths (one with a clawfoot tub), three big living spaces downstairs that are joined by enormous oak pocket doors, a fireplace, original wood floors ... and an ENORMOUS eat-in country kitchen and walk-in pantry. Did I mention it doesn't need any work and it's move-in ready???? Hallelujah!

I fretted about finding new homes for the ducks, but that's working out better than I imagined. Our friend, Fritz, is taking some of them to his small farm in Iowa, where they'll live on his pond and share the land with his chickens and pheasants. His daughter plans to name one of them Ferdinand. The turkeys are going to one of Ev's co-workers who already has turkeys. Our neighbor (who has turned out to be a secret Duck Whisperer, and has even begun to tame the skittish new ducks who sit at his feet and eat corn out of his hands) has asked for the duck dome and four babies, and the other six babies will be moving to town with us to become ornamental yard ducks. The seller checked, and there's no ordinance against ducks in town, so she's leaving us her chicken coop, and there's already a small fenced yard to contain them. Six ducks is a good number for town. There, I think that's as many times as you can include the word "ducks" in a single paragraph without incurring some kind of literary fine.

Happily, we won't even need to change the name of the blog, because Cairo is still pretty much Nowhere, Illinois, which is exactly why it's our kind of town! The history and demographics of Cairo are endlessly fascinating. It's 60% black, 40% white and 0.2% lesbian. Now it will be 0.35% lesbian. You gotta start somewhere!


FlippyO said...

Congrats! I want a house - imagine the lesbian percentage shooting through the roof!

The house looks great. When will you move? Is it further to get to your jobs?

Ev said...

I would love it if you were our neighbors! That would bring us up to 3 lesbian couples...practically a gay mecca!

We're planning to move in the middle of August, and'll add probably a half hour to our commute. That's the only real downside. But since we'll have it paid off in 3 years, we can afford to cut our hours back to 4 days a week if we want.

marl said...

Congrats, you guys! If you end up turning Cairo into a gay mecca, be sure to let us know. We might just show up for the floor show. ;)

Anonymous said...

I don't even believe this is real. Where I come from a house like that would be close to a million bucks. And we'd all look at it and gawp and oooh and aaaah and then say, "ya, right". And here you are moving in. (Wait a minute.... this house looks suspiciously like the Farm Town mansion...)

Ev said...

Ummm...yeah, well....We're paying $43,000 for ours. But remember, a person would have to be willing to live in Nowhere, IL to get a million dollar house for $43,000.

However,if you're interested, we have connections in the Alexander County government office. In case you want us to hook you up with a new job. :-)

Kwach said...

The housing prices were a serious shock to my system when we moved here three and a half years ago. We'd just come from Arizona in the middle of a housing boom, where we were shopping for modest subdivision houses on postage-stamp lots that started at $250k.

The first house we looked at here was a three story Victorian with a carriage house underneath it on the best street in town ... for $79,000. Unfortunately, someone beat us to it by a few days. Then we looked at a turn-of-the-century two-story farmhouse on 20 rural acres for right around $50,000, but someone bought that one out from under us off the Internet.

The other day we saw some big SUV advertised for $50,000 and we both said, "Jesus! You could buy a house for that!"

How our perceptions change, huh?

Anonymous said...

$43,000??? Is this going to be one of those Amityville things were demons are living in your bathtub drains and an undead Karen Black in your attic? Because that's what I would think if someone tried to sell me this perfectly lovely, innocent-looking house for $43,000

Kwach said...

lol ... XUP, that's actually more than you'd have gotten for this house ten years ago. You can still buy houses in Cairo for $20,000 or less. They aren't haunted, they're just sad.

FlippyO said...

Wow, 43k. It's great that you already have jobs that are close enough to keep. It's an awesome looking house, especially since it doesn't need repairs. I'm jealous. Does it have a basement, too?

I want my next house to have a basement, mostly because I've never had a basement and it seems like a great place for storage or for hiding out or for being cool in the summer.

Ev said...

I think most Midwestern houses have basements. They're good for storage, but usually that's all. Everywhere I've ever lived the basements has had a musty smell that make them pretty much unfit for long-term usage. Lori says she'd like to make her dollhouses in the basement, but that sounds awful to me, like making them in Newcastle Prison.

Anonymous said...

Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

Ev said...

Thanks! Who are you?