Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Life and Death

Today, I was sitting at a red light at an intersection. The light changed and the cross traffic stopped. As I prepared to pull out, I noticed a semi truck coming very fast to my right. I hesitated, and watched him apply his brakes hard. The tires were smoking, and the brakes were hissing, and there was this horrifying moment when I realized that he was about to hit the little car waiting at the light.

My horrified gaze met the horrified gaze of the driver of the car and there was nothing to be done. I knew that it would be bad, very bad.

The truck got stopped. I mean, you can not even imagine how close this was. Seriously, the truck was no more than six feet from that little car.

It was over in seconds, really, although it seemed to take forever to unfold.

I finished pulling into the intersection and made my left turn.

I imagine that it was a terrifying moment for both the driver of the car and the truck. I pulled off to drop off a donation of hunting clothes to the Goodwill, and I watched that truck coming. He was flying in a 45 mile an hour zone.

I drove home the rest of the way wondering about that. How can you have such a close call and not be changed, not be filled with such relief and gratitude that you slow that rig down?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Cheap entertainment

Tim has been talking about a house.

He's been talking a lot about this house, and yesterday he said, "I've got an appointment to go see this house. Come with me."

I said, "Tim, I don't want another house."

And Tim said, "It doesn't cost anything to look."

I said, "But I know how you work. We've been down this road before."

He pushed. I did go to see it, because I really did want to see what it looked like on the inside.

It is a big house with about 20 rooms on three stories. It has a big front porch, and across the street there is a big house that looks like a castle. The thing is THAT house caught the imagination of a child many years ago, and I imagined what it would be like to live in a castle. Every time that I see that house sitting there in it's quiet dignity, it reminds me of being a little child in the back seat of a car, daydreaming. I wondered what it would be like to remember that memory every single time I looked out my front window.

The house is huge, and it's got a bunch of neat details that appeal to the two of us. Like, for instance, window seats in the big bay windows. A winding staircase to the second level. A servants staircase going up to third floor which is not completely redone, but has the remains of an antique bathroom there that could be renovated. I looked at all the angles and knee walls and windows and that space runs the whole length of that big house.

We agreed that it would make a great bedroom for us, using the southern end of the space for a sitting area for the two of us. The north end could be walled off for his 'mancave'. The space is so huge that even with a bathroom, we could have a bedroom that our bedroom furniture would be lost in.

On the second floor there are six bedrooms, two sitting rooms, another bathroom. The second floor is a split level design which we've never seen before, but is remarkable. On the first floor there is small room that would be a perfect office, a kitchen, a butler's pantry, formal dining room, a half bath, a laundry room, and a living room.

On the plus side, there's lots of parking, something that is a problem right now. A little garage which could be used for a business venture we've been rolling around in our heads for some time now. It has a huge basement, with a walkout, which would make a great workplace for Tim. Plenty of room, exquisite details that neither of us have every seen in a house before: a dutch door for the main entrance, arched doors to the living room, five fireplaces that have been set up for gas. A dumb waiter that was used to ferry the firewood between the 3 stories. A new roof.

It would certainly be a nice investment property.

Downside: lots of renovations. The kitchen needs to be redone completely. One bathroom would have to be redone completely. Carpets ripped out. Some windows replaced.  Way bigger house than we actually need. A bunch of very crappy 'modernizations' that need to be ripped out completely, including huge fricking plate glass mirrors installed everywhere (including one in a fireplace! Who DOES that?)

Long story short, this is a sweet house, but a lot of work, and we can take it or leave it. We're in no rush, because we are happy in our own house now. But we will watch it carefully. Last night, in bed, Tim and I held hands in the dark and dreamed out loud.

That's always fun, and dreaming is still free.

http://www.njshattuckhomes.com/index.php?action=listingview&listingID=1349