...because everything is funny when it's happening to someone else!

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Taj Mahell, Part One

The Purchase

In the past six months or so since my last post, we've just been slogging along through daily life.  Tank's speech therapy is ongoing and today he had a really good session.  I have finally heard that magic sound: my child looking at me and saying "Mama."  I absolutely cannot get enough of that!  I am guilty of following him around as he tries to play, cajoling him to, "Say Mama!"  There is no sweeter sound than that and it is only made more special for the struggle we had getting here.  Having originally been known as "dude" and later as "buh-buh," this is really a step up.  Living in the south, my child mis-pronouncing "mama" as "bubba" caused some confusion, I can tell you.  Try having a child holler "Bubba!" in a crowded Georgia Wal-Mart.  Twenty heads turn as all the local Bubbas try to figure out who's calling them.  Good times.

Anywho.  For a couple of years now, the hubs and I have been considering buying a house near our families.  We live about 3 1/2 hours from the small town where both our families live.  Because we are the lone transplants, this means that Thanksgiving, Christmas and various other travel-worthy holidays are spent with us on the road.  We have been very fortunate to have had a separate house to stay in while we spend time with family.  Originally, we kept the little house I lived in before we married.  That worked well for a while, although it did not have central heat and air and there's only so much one window unit can do when it's 100 degrees in the shade.  Then, my brother in law offered us the use of his vacant house.  He had "lived" there before he married and moved to his wife's property in a neighboring town.  I say "lived" because like any bachelors with three jobs, he basically just used it for a crash pad and a place to house the microwave and TV.  We spent the past couple of years doing little home-improvement projects on that house in return for using it rent-free.  We finally got to the point where we had done enough and spent enough on a house that wasn't ours.  The thought occurred to us to buy the house from my brother in law, but a) I never do business with family and b) we really wanted an undervalued property that we could rehab, since our housing budget is pretty much used up by the cost of living here on Gilligan's Island.

So, we started looking at foreclosures in the greater Mayberry area, where our peeps reside.  Greater Mayberry is a thriving necropolis, with a closed mill and lots of For Sale signs dotting the landscape.  There were plenty of houses to be had, but we had trouble finding just the right fit.  We thought we found it last July, but the deal didn't go through and we were just disgusted that the seller rejected our bid of $22,000 (the house had gone to auction) and a month later took an offer of $17,500.  In retrospect, it was a blessing in disguise, because the house was cute and had lots of potential, but it was on a very busy street and had no yard to speak of.  I worried about Tank playing outside there and getting too close to the cars.

About a month ago, I checked the auction sites again and located another likely prospect.  We had the in-laws check it out for us and they reported back that it was in need of a roof and lots of cosmetics, but that it could be a real looker with some work.  The realtor who had been trying to sell the place before it went to auction echoed their thoughts.  So, I zipped up to Greater Mayberry and checked it out, taking tons of photos and poking at walls, floors and dead bugs.  After many late-night discussions, we set a walk-away price and decided to bid.  Interestingly, his walk-away was $25,000 and mine was $26,000.  We won the house at $25,500. 

As of now, we're still awaiting the official contract and acceptance, but it looks like we own two homes.  Good God, what were we thinking?!

And now, this blog becomes a home improvement project blog!
Tank in front of the Taj
The hallway bath.  Original PINK tile!
Updating, Schmupdating!  This is a 40" stove, y'all!  And yes, that IS a window unit A/C stuck in the kitchen wall!
It has a POOL!  With FROGS!


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