Things are moving at breakneck speed with the house purchase now. We’re rocking and rolling, as the kids say! (Or maybe they don’t, but they should. Rock ‘n roll will always be cool.)
We wrote the earnest money check today. The home inspection, well inspection, and septic tank inspection are all scheduled for Friday. It’s crazy how quickly things can change! A mere week ago, I was lamenting the possibility of being stuck in the apartment for a long time.
“We could very well be signing an offer on a house a month from now!” Tara replied optimistically, in a rare case of role-reversal. Normally I’m the optimist in this relationship and she is the pessimist. Thank god she was right, but also, wrong.
We signed that offer four days after she uttered those words. And never saw it coming.
It was a weekend full of highs and…well, bigger highs. Saturday, I drove out to the park by the house to check it out. It was cloudy and foggy, 24° with snow flurries, but I was dying to explore those trails. After passing by an iced-over pond and through several stands of oak and pine forests, I noticed the trail was heading in the general direction of our house.
“There’s no way this trail leads all the way to our house,” I said out loud. Because that would be absolutely perfect and too good to be true.
The trail, it turns out, leads all the way to our house. It basically ends (or begins) on the corner of our property line.
In Rapid City, I was thrilled to have a hiking trail five minutes from the house. Now, I have one 50 steps away. Still chuckling over my whole “lack of walkability” concern in December.
The park itself is pretty cool. It’s designed to look much as it might have before European settlers arrived. Wide-open prairies, woods, and wetlands. There isn’t much color this time of year, but once all the native plants and flowers start blooming come springtime, it’ll be lush and filled with butterflies, great blue herons, sand cranes, wood ducks, and all kinds of native critters. Including fireflies. I am so jazzed!
Sunday we ran to the grocery store, and afterward, I was driving us home.
“Where are you going?” Tara asked.
“Home,” I replied.
“We should drive by our next home,” she said.
I flipped a U-turn and it was so.
A fresh (but minor) snowfall supplied some nice contrast. We spent a lot of time wandering through the backyard, more closely examining the many plants, shrubs, and trees back there. Tara began plotting out her garden. Afterward, we sat on the porch swing and rocked back and forth for a few blissful moments, just soaking it all in.
Oh, yeah. There’s a porch swing. With all the other excitement, I forgot to mention that.
I did mention several parallels between our experience buying this house and our last one in Rapid City. I don’t want to say they’re uncanny, but they’re kind of uncanny.
- Both houses were only the second ones we looked at during formal showings
- Both houses feature beautifully landscaped backyards
- Both houses have that groovy ’70s vibe
- Both sellers accepted offers that were $6,000 below asking price
- Both sellers were former teachers and well-known pillars of their respective communities
- Both sellers’ first names begin with “D” (thanks to Betsy for pointing that out)
A bunch of people have asked if there’s another Doris-like ghost inhabiting this property. I’m happy to say the current owner, Dick (not an insult — that’s his real name), did not drop dead in the kitchen; the similarities end there. Dick is alive and kicking (as is his wife), though they’re both way up there in years. He’s a former high school biology teacher with a passion for and love of nature and the environment. Dick was a prime catalyst for Fort Atkinson’s designation as a Bird City, a strong advocate for establishing and improving Mush-Ko-Se-Day Park, a builder of duck blinds, and instrumental in the development of a permanent duck hunting exhibit at the historical museum in Fort Atkinson. He was an avid builder of wooden birdhouses and duck houses (which explains why there are at least a dozen in the backyard), served as president of the Fort Atkinson Wisconservation Club, and mentored students on the secrets of hunting, fishing, and improving the environment and landscape. He wrote a newspaper column called Outdoors Calling, authored two books extolling the virtues of the Koshkonong land and waterways, has been the recipient of numerous community awards, and singlehandedly brokered the peace treaty between the U.S. and Japan that ended World War II.
OK, I made that last one up. But with a resume that extensive, it certainly seems plausible! What a guy, huh? We’ve got big shoes to fill. Henceforth, we’ll probably be known as “that couple who bought the old Dick property.” But that’s okay; in Rapid City, we were “that couple who bought the old Doris property.”
My mom, a little concerned over the size of the yard, suggested we fill in the ponds to cut down on upkeep, and I was like, “HELL no, mom!” And then I was like, “I mean, our wish is to continue to honor the legacy of this fine, upstanding citizen of the community by maintaining his elegant natural water features,” because she is my mother, after all. Plus, I’ve always wanted ponds! True story. I volunteered to take responsibility for them while Tara tends to the garden, and she wasted no time in declaring, “They’re all yours!”
Guess I’m going to have to learn a thing or two about ponds, huh?