Climate change is the ultimate buzzkill.

Last week, the following email landed in my inbox.

Thank you for your support of Ice Castles! We regret to inform you that due to unseasonably warm temperatures and rain this winter, Ice Castles Wisconsin will not be able to open on our targeted dates. We apologize for the disappointment this may have caused. All tickets will automatically be fully refunded. Thank you for your understanding as we work through these weather-related challenges.

Well, bummer. We’d been looking forward to this event in Lake Geneva, but alas, a month’s worth of abnormally warm weather killed those plans. How cool would this have been?

Ironically, right around the time they cancelled the event, the weather turned colder. Instead of rain, we started getting snow again. After several weeks of bare ground, it’s starting to look like a proper winter in Wisconsin.

In fact, we cancelled our plans to venture into Madison today. A decent winter storm is moving in and they’re forecasting 5-7″. Best to stay closer to home given those conditions. And it’s turned sharply colder, too. Check out those temps…

At least this bodes well for next weekend’s plans. We booked an overnight stay in Lake Geneva for the annual Winterfest celebration. National Snow Sculpting Championship? Igloos? Bonfires? Sign me up!

Maybe they’ll add new Ice Castles dates, too. If not, there’s always next year.

Provided the polar ice caps don’t completely melt between now and then.

Inspection Reflection

Friday afternoon, we spent a few hours at the house with Justin the Realtor and two inspectors: the home inspection dude and the well/septic tank inspector. Both guys were great and knowledgeable, though I was a little worried about the second fella. He was definitely up there in years, and at one point joked that he might keel over on the job someday. We snickered a little, until he said he’d had a stroke two weeks earlier.

“Just a little one,” he assured us.

Geez Louise, these Sconnies are hardy souls. Especially traipsing around in the cold and snow.

There were certain things that couldn’t be inspected given the weather. Like the roof and outside spigots. And it was about 30 degrees too cold to safely turn on the A/C. But they did a pretty thorough job otherwise. The well and septic system are in great condition, and the inspector didn’t die midway through, so that was a solid win. It’ll be a couple of days before we have lab results of the water samples, though.

The home itself has no major issues. There are minor things here and there, as you might expect in a home built in 1978, but most are simple fixes. The mechanicals are old and near the end of their lifespan, so we’ll have to budget for a new A/C compressor and furnace in the next couple of years. Beyond that, we’re pretty golden.

We took advantage of all those hours in the house to take measurements and start making plans. Painting and new flooring will be our top two priorities, though we’re still undecided on carpet vs. hardwood in the main living areas. We also spent some time in the backyard, cold be damned. There are so many great decorative elements back there and random sitting areas. Come summertime, we might never set foot inside the house.

The only thing we’re waiting on is the appraisal at this point, and that shouldn’t take too much longer. Needless to say, we’re growing increasingly excited and looking forward to dropping our apartment like a hot potato.

Charmed Life Edit

Five minutes after hitting PUBLISH on this post, I got the following email:

Mother Nature took her time this season, but we are excited to let you know winter has finally arrived in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
Ice Castles at Geneva National Resort will open on Saturday, February 4, 2023!
We have opened up tickets for an additional week, through February 20, 2023. And since Ice Castles wasn’t ready for your original ticketed date, we want you to be the first to know that new tickets are available.
To make it up to you, we’re offering you an exclusive discount to rebook. Use the promo code NewDates to get 15% off your tickets online.

Needless to say, I snatched up tickets. We’ll be heading out there on Feb. 18, just a few days before closing on the house. Woo-hoo!

50 thoughts on “Climate change is the ultimate buzzkill.

  1. Our warm winter has killed all the ice festivals as well. Little to no ice on the river means no ice fishing and there’s a resort up the coast that always does an ice bar… always, until this year. No climate change my sweet patootie.
    Good news on the inspections, glad everything passed. The main part of our house was built in the 70’s too so you have to expect some wear. I’m excited for you and look forward to moving day!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Late but wonderful bonus in finding you can still be king of the ice castle! That actually looks like a really fun event Mark. I plan to live vicariously through you and Tara as you remake the house into your own. It’s nice to be an armchair observer rather than the one ripping up carpet, or walls, or climbing into dark and critter filled spaces. I’m especially excited to see how you use the back yard. So much possibility there.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s exciting to make plans and have a vision of what your home will look like. I just had my rental re-done: high end vinyl that looks like wood and carpet in the bedrooms. I have hard wood in spots in my house and it shows everything. Plus, in spite of being hardwood, it scratches. It’s a tough call; there are plusses and minuses with everything. Sorry about the ice castle event; it sounds like it would have been lots of fun!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We’re definitely leaning toward that high end vinyl that looks like wood ourselves. There are some pretty good engineered products out there that look a lot like the real thing, minus the exorbitant price tag.


    2. Not only that, but the interlocking vinyl tiles do not require the TLC that “real” wood does: growing up we lived for a few months in a house with real wood floors, and they are beautiful and comfy on the feet, but helped me understand why shows like Downton Abbey need so many servants (they actually need more :P)

      What is the delightful red berry looking tree?


  4. Woohoo! Will you be able to get out of your lease easily?
    I also say Jeez Louise. I know someone who says Holy Moley, which I tried for a while, but you can’t change that sort of thing easily.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. On the day we moved in, we changed our lease from a 12-month to a 6-month, opting to pay a little more for the flexibility. That ends on March 1, so it couldn’t be any more perfect! We’ll still give ourselves a few weeks of overlap so we can get some things done in the house before moving out of the apartment.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. When we were visiting last summer, we were parked at a bar in Baraboo and struck up a conversation with the couple next to us, who happened to be from Lake Geneva. They really talked the place up. We’ve been curious ever since.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think you both will enjoy it. Definitely return in the summer. It’s extremely crowded then, so go on a weekday and definitely take the boat tour.

        Geoffrey Baer hosts a great show called “Chicago on Vacation.” He is a wonderful source of information for the Chicago area, but that show goes into great detail about many Wisconsin spots, including Lake Geneva. I think you and Tara will enjoy it. It’s on YouTube.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Love the update – which you practically wrote about in the original post so it’s a little spooky prescience! Or maybe the weather app made that a logical conclusion!

    I love all the dreaming you guys are doing about the new house. How fun is that!! So excited for all the plans — and to read about them here… 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, I almost mentioned the discounted ticket prices. Bonus win! And we get to go on a Saturday instead of Wednesday evening as we’d originally planned. This is just a better deal for us all around.

      Yay for 1978 houses. It was the year of disco and “Grease”. Good vibes all around.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’d say go with hardwood floors (and area rugs if necessary) . Better for allergies, cleaning, resale value, etc.

    You’ll be outside in the summer until you can’t handle the bugs anymore. Did Dick put up bat boxes?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m not sure if there are bat boxes. There are at least a dozen birdhouses, etc. attached to the trees back there, so it wouldn’t surprise me in the least. If not, we’ll have to add one ourselves.


  7. Sounds like you’ve scored a pretty solid place – I’m not sure all 70s era stuff can claim the same.
    I have a cousin who’s lived in Lake Geneva seemingly forever, but I’ve never been there.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Omg stroke two weeks before? Have you considered the really cool and not cheap vinyl flooring. With snow do you want upkeep of carpet or hardwood? Assuming you continue to get snow in wisconsin

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, and actually, we’re leaning toward a laminate wood flooring alternative. Some of it looks very realistic nowadays, and it’s low maintenance, too.

      We had close to a foot of snow over the weekend, so I think it’s safe to say that’ll pretty much still be a given around these parts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The new laminates are gorgeous and so easy to maintain. In a wet climate like yours I’d lean to easy to maintain. No matter how hard you try you will track mud and snow in the house. You can always just carpet the bedroom for warmth, or throw rugs if you need

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Nice to see Ice Castles was able to move forward with their season after all, and you’ll be able to experience it first-hand. I know the ski resorts around here are hurting, and as for our landscapers who provide snow removal and ice prevention they haven’t even had to come off the bench yet! Sounds like the home inspection was pretty much routine, and you’re good-to-go!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. As a person who detests snow, I get annoyed when people start in on the climate change lament, as they’ve never seen grass in January. It’s going to snow; just be patient! LOL!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. You & your manifestation skills at work again there eh Mark? Nice work on the Ice Castles!

    I know you didn’t ask our opinion, but I vote flooring over carpet every time, ‘cos I far prefer sweeping/mopping over vacuuming. Also those pesky little mites won’t have that option to nest in if you decide to have a furry friend join you in your new home.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. As a first time home SELLER who hasn’t met with a real estate agent yet so still knows nothing about the process, I’m surprised to learn that the home inspection takes place AFTER you buy a house? I would’ve thought that was done first.

    I hope whoever looks at buying this house is excited by the fact that the roof is new, the AC/Heat are new, and the septic tank is new.

    I have the vinyl plank linoleum flooring in the small bathroom and in the kitchen and I like it a lot. Definitely looks cleaner longer than the real hard wood flooring in my apartment in L.A.

    I like your back porch or balcony or whatever it’s called and is that a little bridge over a creek or something? Love that. Also love the color of the outside of your house and hope the color is staying. lol


    1. Well, you have the inspection before closing on the house…you haven’t officially bought it yet. If something negative comes up during the inspection, the buyer has an opportunity to back away from the deal, or renegotiate terms with the seller. In our case, it’s an “as is” property, so the inspection was only for our own peace of mind. That just means the seller isn’t prepared to negotiate if major repairs are needed. Fortunately, they are not.

      I love the color, too! Tara is less of a fan, but I think it really works. Our house stands out from the rest of the neighborhood, where practically every other house is the same sort of drab monotone gray(ish).

      Good luck on the house sale! Will you be moving back to CA?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for explaining! That makes sense! As soon as our streets thaw out and a realtor can get to me, I’ll make the call. I will be selling as is, too. I can’t afford to make any repairs or anything. I just want out. Lol

        And yes, back to my beloved L.A. I go, as soon as I figure out how to get my cat there without traumatizing her beyond repair.


  13. The Ice Castles event looks soo cool. (literally!)
    Yay for your inspector surviving the actual inspection; bonus points if he gets it all documented before expiring.
    Hardwoods/tile/vinyl all the way. I can’t imagine having carpet in living areas…but then again, we might be a bit messy. Well, mostly Peanut, but the humans aren’t perfect either.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m surprised by just how many people despise carpet in living areas. I like the nice, cozy feel of it at least, even if it can’t compete with the hardwood aesthetic. But I guess pets bring a whole new dimension, huh?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Kids, pets, husbands. 😝
        We have all tile and use area rugs to cozy up living/sitting/dining/bed areas. Easier to replace an 8 x 10 rug every five years as opposed to wall-to-wall carpet.

        Liked by 1 person

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