Tuesday, May 08, 2007

home sweet...

So some of you have been asking about the new house.

Here she is!
(hmmm....the new inanimate objects in my life are female. innnnnteresting.)

Uber-suburban, aint it?!?! I'll expand on that in a minute. But first...

The house is in a little town called American Canyon, which makes me feel very oddly patriotic. I guess a name like that is supposed to make you feel that way, but I still find it odd that it has that effect on me.

American Canyon is billed as the, "Gateway to Napa Valley." Because it is. When you are coming from the East Bay to spend a day winery hopping, American Canyon is the little blip you pass through on the way into wine country (if you know the area, think Marine World). Being very close to the Napa Valley, it's a region full of culinary superstars and resident foodies, which will make me very happy. American Canyon is only about 20 minutes farther north from where my current house is, so I don't believe it's going to be all that big of a deal to get back into the Bay Area or San Francisco for activities and events.

The schools in American Canyon are great, there is less crime there, there are still a few wide open spaces, it's quiet....and my house....it's accessible, and it's within my budget. It's going to be a great place for MyFavoriteKid and I to live while he gets through school. Oh. And one more big thing about the American Canyon house: it's close to my folks, whom we are really looking forward to being close to again. We've missed them!

Escrow was set to close on the 17th, but on the day of the home inspection, the homeowner took a tumble and landed herself in the hospital with a hip fracture. I am feeling sooo badly for her. Because her hospital stay is estimated to be 10 days, her agent (in all of his convertable BMW, gold chained, Hawaiian shirted, infinite wisdom), asked us for a 10 day extension.

Now, I don't know about you...but if I had lived in the same house for 16 years, and if I was planning on packing everything myself, and if I was downsizing to an apartment (so I wouldn't have a garden to tend to because I'd already fallen twice while weeding), and if I was actually LYING IN A HOSPITAL BED at the moment my realtor was proprosing an escrow extension so that I had time to get my shit together....well, I'd be asking for a whole lot more than just a measily 10 days. Just me.

here's one section of the yard that she has NOT fallen in: 3 of the 7 fruit trees (front to back: babcock peach, asian pear, and some sort of crazy grafted apple tree that grows multiple varieties simultaneously). Not pictured are two cherry trees, a lemon tree, and some species of orange that makes for good juicing. Nope, no avocados, John...and that is sad. I have an avocado tree at my current house, by my evil neighbor climbs my fence when I am not at home and steals them all ...and he's even had the audacity to tell me so.

So back to the seller and her broken hip. I had met her on the day I first toured the house, and she was also there during the inspection (her fall was later that afternoon). I really like her. Maybe she's never really injured herself before now, and maybe she really only does need just 10 more days to compensate for her 10 day hospital stay....but I think she's nuts. Ok, not nuts. Just doped up on pain meds and not thinking straight. The other times I met her, she seemed to totally have her wits about her.

I did something a little strange, being that buyers and sellers usually don't have contact during the escrow. I called the seller at the hospital to say hi. Not to talk about the house stuff, but because I happen to really like her and I am worried about her! Honestly, I think she has no sense of the scope of her injury yet. In my experience, being in rehab is a horrible measuring stick for what life will look like once you get home. I have a feeling that once she is discharged and she is hobbling around her home with a walker and trying to pack, she'll be asking for another extension. Whaddya think?

I'm actually okay with giving her a bit more time if she needs it. A bit. Although I haven't figured how much more time "a bit" is. At some point though, I am going to need to set a limit to how far out I can push my own moving date. I do need to get moved and settled in over the summer so that MyFK can get start the new school year up there...but to be honest with you, there really isn't a huge need to close escrow in May. I wasn't going to move there immediately after the closing date anyhow. My plan is to let MyFK finish out the school year where we are. I was kinda thinking we'd move during the first couple of week in July.

I figured I use the time between closing and moving to change a few things about the new house.

Like the white carpets.

(from the kitchen into the livingroom..pardon the current owner's dust...hey, she she was packin')

I mean, really. Plush white carpet. Let's do the math:
White Carpet + Wheelchair User + 9 Year Old Boy = Stupid
I'm thinking installing wood floors are definitely in order before we even set foot in the joint.

Along with the change in flooring, I'd like to put some color on the walls. Yeah, you heard it. Color. Color color COLOR!!! As you recall, I'm forty years old and I've had either white walls or wood panelling my entire life, including the home I am in now, and I OWN it. I've had 9 years here where I could have painted the place any color I like, but I haven't.

So the closing of escrow on the new house....right now it's set to happen on the 29th. We shall see. I'm not holding my breath. But I'm also not sweating things, either. That's a switch. Usually I'd be tweaking on the not knowing. I must be getting more relaxed.

Okay. Let's get back to the uber-suburban topic.

Take a look at the house again:

It is not your normal construction home. It's a modular home. It was built almost entirely off-site, and then one fine day, it (and all it's neighbors) just sort of landed where it is. Kind of like a whole bunch of houses in Kansas got sucked up into a tornado and landed in American Canyon (except we don't have tornadoes in California, and it's not Munchkinland. But close.).

The set up for living in this community is a little different from owning your own freestanding home. The best way I can describe it is that it's more like living in a condominium complex (there is a clubhouse, and a pool, a HomeOwnersAssociation, and a monthly property fee), but all of the houses are freestanding. All of the houses here are set back the same amount of space from the street. All are painted in HOA approved colors. All have HOA approved landscaping. The neighborhood super organized...super tidy...super clean....and normally I despise this type of environment. Usually a place like this would feel manufactured and sterile to me. But there is just something so charming about this place, and I have a very difficult time articulating it. I guess it's just so far over the top dollhouse looking that it's totally working for me. I love it.

I'd gone with my agent to see homes in four different neighborhoods before narrowing my house hunting down to this particular community, and the environment felt so contrary to who I am, that I was needing more analysis about why I loved it there so much. I had a discussion with TheMostImportantGuy about it, and he said, "You like it because it's like Disneyland."


The Disneyland moniker became a major point of reference when talking to friends and family about my house hunting. For weeks, if I went and looked at a new home anywhere in the American Canyon, they'd ask, "is the house you looked at in Disneyland?"

Why yes, Walt...it sure is.

Except my mom. Mom saw something entirely different than Disneyland. She came with my realtor and I one day to look at a couple of places, and we weren't 30 seconds in the gate when she got all excited because it looks like the town where Edward Scissorhands lives.

Hmmm. She's got a point there.

And personally, I have no problem living in a Tim Burton movie.

But I'm still calling it Disneyland.


Mouse said...

Edward Scissorhands is exactly what I thought of when I saw the photos.. I couldn't help it. Hey.. if you're happy nothing else matters!

Anonymous said...

We used to live in Fairfield and we have been to Fantasyland - and my children LOVED IT! They did not want to go home. And, they did in fact ask if we could move to that little town.

You are lucky!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! Don't overthink why you love it - just love it.

Anonymous said...

And I would have no trouble living in a movie with Johnny Depp.

I'm so glad your back!! And so glad to hear the house details.

Got your email and I'll call soon!

M-H said...

If you need to be there on a certain date - stick to it. It's sad that she's broken her hip, and I agree that she probably has no idea of how disabled she will be for a while, but in the circumstances she may just have to pay someone to move her and take time to sort out her goods and chattels later. She can have stuff put into storage to go through when she is more able. Please don't take on her problems - you have enough things to deal with yourself!

Oh, the house looks lovely and easy. Comfortable and low maintenance and... easy!

M-H said...

If you need to be there on a certain date - stick to it. It's sad that she's broken her hip, and I agree that she probably has no idea of how disabled she will be for a while, but in the circumstances she may just have to pay someone to move her and take time to sort out her goods and chattels later. She can have stuff put into storage to go through when she is more able. Please don't take on her problems - you have enough things to deal with yourself!

Oh, the house looks lovely and easy. Comfortable and low maintenance and... easy!

Sheepish Annie said...

It's wonderful! Congratulations! I can see you being so happy there.

Diane said...

The new place looks just great. I'm with m-h, just set the date and stick to it. It sounds like the seller will be able to supervise whoever does the actual packing for her. You said yourself that you need to take out the carpet and put in hardwood before moving in and that will likely take more time than you think.

Romi said...

Many congratulations! I'm over the hill in Geyserville, which is in the Other Wine Country (Sonoma Cty). Enjoy suburbia! :)

Carrie said...

I love all of the fruit trees, and the cute house, which looks so cute inside, too. Yay! If you pay a monthly association fee, will they mow your lawn? We lived in a community in MN where that was the case. Cute lawn guys, too =)

Anonymous said...

Oooh, fruit trees in the back yard. That would make me want to move there all by itself.

I don't remember when avocados ripen on the tree, but maybe you can bring a pit from one of yours and start a new tree?

Lorena said...

What a great-looking house! Horrible about the seller's broken hip, but... cute house! It's going to look even better once that carpet is out. Congratulations!