I’d been working at the gear factory for a couple of years. I’d saved some money. Time to buy a house.
I contacted a realtor, told her what I was looking for, and waited. Should have chosen a different realtor. She was new, inexperienced, and didn’t move as fast as I wanted. I did my own looking.
I knew I wanted buy cheap, to keep my payments low. I didn’t mind rural/small town; in fact, I preferred it. Also, the farther one gets from major populations, the lower the mortgage. I drove all over western Wisconsin during my search. I wanted to stay in St. Croix County, because that meant a commute to work I could handle. In winter, this would matter. Driving during that season was often perilous.
I found the house I wanted on the edge of that county, in a small town of one thousand called Glenwood City. Way back, it used to be the center of activity in St. Croix, but over the years, Hudson took over. Hudson is a lot cooler, way bigger, and offers people more bang for their buck as far as entertainment and drop-dead scenery goes. I’d lived in North Hudson for five years and knew it well. Because of it’s proximity to the Twin Cities in MN, however, it’s become too expensive for people like me anymore.
It was difficult to arrange a viewing of the house. The owners had been renting it, and the current tenant had mental problems. She also had a dog and a cat, and I found out later the feline was using the dining room carpet as its litter box. My gawd, the reek! Not to mention, when you stood under the chandelier, it squished under your feet. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Valerie was the renter’s name, and she finally agreed to let me and the realtor in one sunny March morning. The house was run-down, the yard not well cared for, and all the carpets had to be torn out, but the minute I walked through the mud room into the kitchen, I knew this was the place I wanted. It was flooded with sunlight, and it just felt right. You know what I mean. I got good vibes from the place.
The house was wall to wall shit, especially the basement, but I was not deterred. Even aqua fixtures in the bathroom, and a half-exposed pipe in one wall, didn’t put me off. The backyard was fenced, there were two black walnut trees and a 100-yr-old maple, evergreens, and a two-story garage that opened on the alley. Even better, it was in my price range.
Before making an offer though, I talked with my boss. “Are you sure I’m not in danger of being laid off?” There had been a number of them recently, mostly on the floor, not in the office, but I still worried. He assured me I had nothing to worry about, even telling me the man in charge told him he appreciated the work I was doing for the company, and I’d have a job as long as I wanted it.
The commute was forty minutes one way, but except for the first ten miles, which was on a rural highway, it was freeway the entire distance. I made the offer, it was accepted, and I moved in a few short weeks later. My neighbor told me a couple months later, if I’d bought three miles east, in Dunn County, my property taxes would have been half as much.
I was thrilled! I couldn’t believe I finally owned a house. I was full of plans for it and looked forward to staying there until I retired, at which time I was going to sell it and use the equity to buy a place in Florida. Even then, I’d already decided to return. Back in Wisconsin only a few short years, and already winter was driving me crazy again.
R loaned me his truck, and I ended up pretty much moving myself from Somerset to Glenwood City. Those back roads are gorgeous. I couldn’t wait to explore on the scooter. I moved in early summer, the absolutely best time of year to be in the upper Midwest. I was so happy! I got up every morning, bursting with energy, went to work, practically whistled while I worked, and came home every evening, excited to be there, enjoying my new yard.
My friend David helped me rip out the piss-soaked carpet and then generously replaced it as a housewarming gift. He and another friend even fixed the plumbing problem with the tub.
I discovered someone in town had a new litter of puppies–Pomeranian/Chihuahua mix–and I fell in love with one of the puppies. Both her parents lived there, and I got to watch Suki grow up before taking her home.
Three months later, I was laid off.
Have a great week! See you next time.