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Starting Over

June 29th, 2017

By Karen Osburn, Archivist

One of the amazing things about life is that once in a while you get a “do over.”  I am always surprised when this happens to me, because I don’t expect it.  Usually I make a choice and deal with the results of my decision.  Most of the time the results are good, because I did some research, a bit of planning and put in some work. Once in a while, in spite of doing those things, events do not come out as I had planned.  That is OK; it gives me an opportunity to be creative, positive and learn something.

Recently I was surprised by getting a “do over.”  Back in 2004 I moved to Geneva and eventually I found an apartment I loved, in a neighborhood I loved, with a great landlord!  What a combination!  I often thought, “I will never own a house again.”  “I will just stay in this apartment and rent for the rest of my years.”  But “Surprise!” recently I became a homeowner again.  A good friend and I have purchased a home in Geneva and I am happy I have the opportunity to have a house again.

Geneva has a large supply of older homes.  Because there is very little space to build new housing many of the houses date to the early 1900s or even mid-1850s depending on the part of the city you look at.  The housing supply is somewhat less than normal at this time. I believe they call it a “seller’s market” and the choices are pretty limited.  My friend and I looked at 11 houses before we got lucky on the 12th try and found a place with beautiful natural woodwork and some really interesting architectural details.

House hunting is interesting and frustrating.  You see homes with things you love about them and things you don’t like.  You see houses with some incredibly deferred maintenance and some that have been taken care of in an excellent manner.  Of course, you will see everything in between. I learned that it is really hard to find a home with a dry basement!   I also learned that there are very few ranch houses for sale in Geneva and those that come up for sale are sold almost immediately.

This has been a fun adventure, however!  I have fallen in love with 2 houses that did not pass inspection.  I learned that a stained glass window and natural woodwork can make me overlook almost any fault in a house (thank Heavens my friend looks past the fancy stuff to the basics and wonders how he will fix the problems).

The last time I owned a house it was brand new, I watched the house go up and from the first day the southwest corner of one bedroom leaked.  Nothing we tried ever seemed to fix the problem, so it is not only older homes that have problems.  Brand new homes can be just as challenging.  This time my home is about 120 years old and it has a good deal more character than the one I had built 40 years ago, and it seems to have less problems.

The most difficult part of this new venture now lies ahead.  It entails blending two houses full of furnishings and belongings in to one house.  Which table to keep, which sofa to keep, where to put desks, craft supplies, tools, books and how many bookcases will the house hold?  I currently have 19 book cases…. And then there is introducing two pairs of cats to each other and hoping they will learn to get along.  I can hear the hissing now….Oh, wait!  I think that is the radiator!

Stay tuned for a sequel at some later date!

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