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.
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!