It takes a village to buy a house

I want to save all these emails from my parents for posterity. All of this falls under the category of "no one can drive me nuts or make me smile like my own parents." After Mom and Dad went with us to look at the new house a few Wednesdays ago, we said we would get back to the realtor by Friday. On Thursday, Mom sent me this email:

I can see that you are in overdrive mode – I think Dad and I are both feeling frustration for you.

You've probably heard me talk about my friend Garnie (when she unexpectedly got pregnant after 14 years of marriage and at age 38 and couldn't get an abortion and had to become resigned, she declared she hoped her baby would be a saint like another Jesus Christ). Anyhow, I was extremely frustrated about buying #9324 [Mom's first house] for $12K (I was still in school, had no job and in process of divorce) – she just smiled and said "it's only money." I can't tell you how many times that I have said that to myself over the years.

I was freaking out in my mind when the lady said something about knowing something by Friday (THAT'S TOMORROW) – I guess somewhere in the stars or something that Dad and I were made for each other and I marvel that we've ever gotten anything done.

After getting the first set of plans last night, I was ready to go back to house and check it all out (I even told Dad that we could go down and at least look at outside without arousing neighbor's suspicions and he asked me what good that would do). I think that I would be a real estate agent's nightmare.

Dad was making fun of me for wanting to go back to #1863 yesterday and yet he just mumbled something about putting on some old clothes and crawling under that house. Gotta get an email together for tomorrow's students.

And about 6 hours later I got this email from Dad:

I went today and crawled under #1863. It is about as good as could expect for what the rest of the house is like.

No termite shields but no sign of termite or powder-post beetle activity, past or present. Probably treated back when the chemicals were potent – 20 year guaranteed and who knows how much beyond.

The crawl space is very dry. The sills and floor joist are not skimpy – as first impression, as far as I went.

The AC air handler is under floor; as I suspected – not what I would prefer – it is so close to ground that for condensation it has a little external pump to take away water. Service is a drag but then I guess it's rare. For such a size house you’d think they could have created a closet for air handler – maybe under stairs – but for AC contractor, it would be a whole ‘nother job (big deal).

I saw a good bit of plumbing drain up-date (PVC) – yet the tub trap is still old slow-flow iron type. Trap has clearance around it so not a major difficulty to replace (just time and energy).

No insulation in floor (no surprise). The radiator heat main (trunk) pipes are old iron type, but small connecting taps are replaced with copper, so may be good for a while.

Looks like a gas pipe going to porch, so must be a gas dryer. I should have checked electric panel for capacity to put electric dryer in bath – beside or stacked.

I noticed yesterday that the roof looks maybe 15 years old – possibly more; yet still holding.

I have some mixed thoughts as to best way to deal with raising upstairs bath roof. I’ll have to go through it with y’all. Have to break some eggs to make an omelet.

I should have been more diligent on investigating the wall/door changes – but structurally I don’t think there’d be too much more than what I saw just walking through (and looking at floor plan you made). Walls between Dining Rm and Bed Rm is very likely bearing walls; so to completely open that up would require big beams (else leave stub walls and lesser beams). Beams could be decorative, with additional faux beams.

I guess we need to get together tonight?

When Dad went with us to meet the home inspector, he was very negative about some items in the house, particularly the roof. He kept saying we should get more money from the sellers to replace the roof and I kept telling him it wasn't that bad. He brought a ladder for us to climb up on the roof and look at it ourselves. My father and I argued loudly in the backyard of a house we didn't own yet. I'm sure our potential neighbors love us already.

After a lot of back and forth with both the selling agent and my parents, we have a contract in, a completed inspection and are just waiting on financing paperwork before we close next week. At the end of last week, Mom sent me another email.

I hope that yall are not flying “American”.

Dad is becoming acclimated to your move – he cut your grass today at [our current house] (I meant to tell him last night that Sarah was high stepping in the backyard but I guess he had already noticed). Last night he was down [our new street], digging dirt so the water would drain when the city resurfaces. Timmy (he’s close to Doug’s age and has a brother, Rick that is older-we bought blue truck from them and they are across the street from your new house, next to O’Neal’s folks on corner)-anyhow, Timmy told Dad that he is renting the Browder house and will buy it as soon as he saves up down payment. Also told him that he was interested in hot tub so Dad called Anne [the selling agent] this morning and told her. [The owner] called their Mom today and said that they have an ad in tomorrow’s paper to sell the stuff. Dad said they have to do that as fiduciary of estate so they may have to charge you something for the bedroom furniture (It looked nice enough to me to be worth something and I doubt if they would try to get big money from yall).

On his way home last night, Dad apparently ran into Linda (the cat lady a couple of doors down from Charlene) and turns out she went to high school with Barry and some of his siblings.

Pretty weather here today but apparently isn’t going to last.

Love, M

Daddy called me last night when I sent him another floor plan of changes for the house and he was completely different from the previous week. He was optimistic and excited about the new house. Daddy sent me another email this afternoon:

Street turned out better than I expected. But crooked side – going around Lynda’s flowers and Charlene’s grass.

They thickened at the sunken pockets, so it’s not too bad for level – but not sloped from middle of block, so not gonna drain well.

I did some more last night down at very end so ditch doesn’t stand water – except for a little place in front of y’all’s house (that was too much to dig down for – easier to fill one day (with something besides mud)).

I guess I should get City to give me an adopt-a-street sign.

I may make my father a sign.