Well, that probably isn't news to most of you. We were relatively sure we were moving back when we left last July, and absolutely certain (as much as you could be as a UM-pastor) in December when the Bishop made it official. But when we left Beantown last July, you might remember that we had to give up the spacious, lovely, home we were living in (as we did not own it) at 102 Oak Terrace which sported a two-story playhouse, HUGE kitchen, and a in-home theater complete with 100-inch screen (this is where you click if you want to learn more or buy it from the owner) when we opted to move as a family to Wilmore. For those who didn't know, the original plan for this Beeson Pastoral year was for Aimee and the boys, after a month with me in Wilmore, to remain in Lima the rest of the year while I commuted back and forth from Asbury. One month here with all these wonderful Beeson Pastoral families, and my family balked at that plan. Thus all our stuff went into storage, and we did fine in a townhouse living amongst all our new friends.
Fast forward seven months later.
Now, with a pending move back home on the horizon, we began to realize that we needed a house. Thus about six weeks ago, we started looking in earnest for the next "Bucher Castle", which we would, in fact, (with a little help from the bank) own. We looked at a house with an in-ground pool and two (not one, but TWO) jacuzzi tubs, both of which (I am not making this up, or trying to offend anyone) were surrounded by mirrors and colored spotlights. We couldn't decide if this would cause a scandal in the church, evoke envy, or both. So (actually with a little reluctance for reasons I don't dare mention) we passed.
The next house which was a serious candidate was located on Bunker Drive in the (in the Pro Drive subdivision). It was a great house (lots of space, nice Florida room, etc...) but had the distinction of being surrounded by streets on three sides, which I did not think was possible, but is. For the money, we just decided to, once again, pass.
Our next serious contender was the lovely home of Glenn and Jo Derryberry (which is located on Elmview Drive). It's a great house! It's in a great location (near Elmview Elementary School), has been thoroughly updated, and sports three (with a possible fourth) bedrooms. There's a great kitchen/living room that Aimee loved, a dining room, a living room and huge garage. It's a winner of a house, and it remained a contender until Wednesday until we ended up passing only because it sits on a crawl space. If it had had a basement we'd have jumped on it (but then again, if it sat on a basement it would have been way out of our price range... so there you go). We just needed a little more room for the boys.
The next house we were really excited about actually is owned by Sharon Barr, the choir director at Shawnee UMC. Her house, which is on Sandy Lane, a little neighborhood literally two minutes from the church just off of Zurmehly Road which was by far our favorite neighborhood in Shawnee. Sands is basically just one long street, ending in two cul-de-sacs... perfect for boys who like to ride bikes and scooters. At the end of street is five acres of woods, complete with trails, lots of mud, and creeks, that are owned and maintained by our own John Thomas (once again, perfect for boys). To cap all of this off, Sharon's house is amazing. There's a big kitchen, a nice sunroom, a huge deck in the backyard, a finished basement complete with a kitchenette, three bedrooms, and master suite that's bigger than most Great Rooms in Shawnee (or anywhere, for that matter). Couple that with a second garage (which was solid enough to be converted, if necessary to an apartment for my father-in-law, if he were to decide to join us), and we were ready to go. Alas, the home (upon appraisal) ended up being out of our price range (making my wife quite sad). Sharon, I'm sure will be putting it up for sale on the market soon... check it out if interested.
In the end though, our decision (today) came down to two different homes. One was located out on Kemp Road across from the Oaks Golf Course. This house was, for us, kind of confounding. It's in a great location! You can't go wrong with a house across from a golf course. What's more, it's located on a 2.2 acre lot, totally fenced (they owned horses). There was a huge second garage/horse barn, and two great balconies, one on the front overlooking the golf course, and the other on the back overlooking the bulk of a lot that ended at a small creek in some woods at the rear (perfect boy territory). And the house was huge, sporting three bedrooms, a huge great room, a den, a living room, and a dining room. There's even an above-ground pool out back. What's not to like, right? Well..... the home itself needed, in our opinion, a lot of work. How much is a lot? More than what we wanted to do. Not to mention the fact that 2 plus acres of land and a pool need lots of maintenance (not my strong suit) and the place sports well water (also not a fav). None of these things, in and of themselves, couldn't have been fixed (even the yard... Max would have been helping ride the mower next summer), but the sheer amount work coupled with my job, Aimee's growing Web Design business, and raising three kids just sounded like a lot. Besides, my brother is the golfer... not I.
Of course, that didn't preclude us from making two offers on the house, the first being outright rejected a few weeks ago, and the second, made Wednesday, which was counter-offered. If the second had been accepted yesterday, this house would have been ours.
But in the end, while considering the counter-offer, Aimee and I started talking about one other place that we had not only looked at, but had actually admired for a number of years. When we lived here during my v1.0 stint back in the nineties, two different families who were good friends of ours lived in the home. They'd invite us over for dinner or hang out, and we'd just marvel at how nice the house was. It wasn't all that big, but it had plenty of space upstairs and a nice finished, dry basement. The kitchen was tiny, but we always talked about how we'd change things to make it bigger, if necessary. It was just a nice place.
When we moved back, other friends of ours from the church lived in it. They bought it four years ago, and had done serious work to the place. A new roof, new windows, new furnace and central air, new driveway, a new second one-car car garage, a new deck off the back of the house, paint, carpet.... no stone had been left unturned. What's more, it was on the same street as Sharon's house, with the woods and place ride bicycles and the location two minutes from my work and a whole lot of people we knew from the church as neighbors. They found out awhile back that they'd probably be moving, but they weren't sure as to where and when until a few weeks ago. Thus, they were willing to deal and get out of the place by Memorial Day weekend.... which worked for us! I'd always thought that if you took out some of the walls (not load bearing) in the basement you'd have a nice rec room down there, and that at some point a new Florida room off the back of the house would be nice. I called a friend of mine (Don Knepper) who does some building and knew the house. He couldn't praise it enough and said we could probably put that Florida room on there pretty reasonable (if at some time we'd so choose). Our real estate agent (John Lockwood) too told us that for the money, we couldn't do any better in Shawnee and advised us to go for it.
So, we turned down the counteroffer on Kemp Road, and made an offer on the house on Sandy Lane... the one that used to be owned by the church (our friends who lived there were the Burns and Heckamans) and now is owned by Joseph.
He accepted, and we'll move in the end of May. We look forward to the blessing of a fine house, in a fine neighborhood, with great neighbors (just call us if the boys give you any trouble or the dog gets past the electric fence).
We couldn't be happier!