We are buying a house in Fort Wayne this Thursday, God willing (note to self: prepare unblemished calf for sin offering).
The house is located in an historic neighborhood. Since nothing historic has ever happened there, this is just a fancy way of say old neighborhood. And, I suppose, it is an old way of saying fancy neighborhood. Large brick homes line the street behind towering oak trees at parade rest. Neatly hedged flower gardens vie for attention as one strolls along the root-heaved sidewalk. The multi-story homes have porches and turrets and other architectural accessories from the days when brick and mortar were a medium for art, and yet these homes are modest in comparison to the monstrous, hundred year-old mansions a block further south.
The house we are buying has no such pretensions. In this neighborhood, it is something of a batty old lady with fifty-three cats. It is a large, four bedroom, Art Deco box, which fills most of its tiny, sadly neglected lot and has probably done so since its construction in 1937. Sometime not very long after I graduated high school, the entire facade was wrapped in gray vinyl siding. The siding matches the Art Deco interior. Somewhat. Unlike brick and mortar, there are limitations to what one can convincing pull off with vinyl siding, even if the front door is painted a rich plum.
There is a basement, three fireplaces (two wood, one gas), a formal dining room with French doors leading to a deck, a Jack’n’Jill bathroom for the children to fight over, a laundry shoot for dropping small toy soldiers with parachutes, remnants of knob and tube wiring to scare the inspector, a built-in clock in the hallway, a set of liquor and glass cabinets over a counter, and a hot tub. Dawn intends to requisition the liquor cabinet for fiber storage. She also intends convert the hot tub to a mikveh as soon as she can figure out how to redirect the drain pipes.
One of the bedrooms, the smallest at 8×10 feet, will become my office. I had been trying to figure out why it has a sink in it, but Dawn knew right away. The upstairs bathrooms are only accessible from the other three bedrooms, and not the hallway. So this is the mother-in-law room, the room for your unwanted visitors, where they can brush their teeth, but if they need to pee, they have to go downstairs.
As with previous house buying escapades, this one comes complete with seven phone calls a day, half of which involve spending money. Today I arranged house cleaners and carpet cleaners. I also tried to rent a washing machine and dryer (we have ordered a high-efficiency, low-water, made in the You-Ess-Ay washer from Staber that will take six weeks to deliver). Our real estate agent called looking for the mortgage agent. The mortgage agent called asking for the insurance paperwork. The insurance agent returned my call to say she gave the paperwork to his assistant a week ago. I spoke with someone at my bank about advance instructions for wire transfer of the down payment, not so much to ensure a successful transfer of funds, but rather to make sure that if it fails, it will fail in some spectacular and unforeseeable fashion worth writing about. (Note to self: add two unblemished, male pigeons for guilt offering).
In other news, did I mention my computer died last weekend? Well, not so much “died” as “dying.” Persistently, agonizingly, dramatically dying. It moved snail-like from task to task, like my children getting ready for bed. Also the CD drive suddenly became blind, or at least illiterate. And constantly whining and kvetching. Why was nobody helping it? Didn’t we care? We never loved it, not really. We were all just spiteful, selfish humans who couldn’t wait to cannibalize it’s parts for … for … whatever they use two year old computer parts for. Probably modern art.
So I gave it a lobotomy. And then I reprogrammed its personality. It now thinks it is a young lamb, kicking its heels in the sunshine. It boots up and shuts down with the agility of a three-year old.