One of my favorite blogs, HouseUnseen.com, is so named because the couple bought a house in Michigan off the Internet and moved from California. I’ve been thinking about them a lot lately. I bet they saw pictures of that house beforehand. They probably knew the layout, number of rooms, etc. We’re not buying a house, so the financial risk is off the table, but we are moving across the country to live in a house that I don’t know anything about. I wonder if that’s more or less stressful.
From what I could gather from the Internet, there are five bedrooms. With four kids, we knew we wouldn’t be able to fit in a smaller home. Shoreham (population 1200) doesn’t have a big supply of homes for sale to begin with so, when the offer of a large rental house appeared, it seemed perfect. The owners had mentioned eight bedrooms. I’m not very picky about these things but now that I’m packing boxes I realize that I really do need to know which it is is so I can figure out what furniture goes where.
Our friends, who own the home (but have never lived there), are out of town so they gave me the number of the former owner. I called, left a message, and she called me right back. Think about that for a second. I don’t even think we ever had the phone number of the people who sold us our Michigan house a decade ago. Now imagine them calling a possible renter on my behalf.
She seems super nice and told me all about it. The five bedroom/eight bedroom confusion is a matter of labeling. The rooms exist. I still don’t know the room dimensions, but our furniture is pretty small and we’re not taking all of it so I’m not terribly concerned that it will fit.
There’s both a parlor and a living room. There’s a kitchen and a walk-in pantry (score!) There’s a dining room, downstairs bedroom, and a “back room”. Upstairs there are four bedrooms and three “other” rooms (my sister guessed that they might not officially be bedroom because they may not have a closet). So my worry that we won’t fit is gone. Owen suggests that we adopt some extra kids to fill the house.
I forgot to ask about the laundry hookups. Hopefully they exist. I don’t know if I can really stay on top of laundry for six with a washboard.
The house is 200 years old. It’s heated either by something that comes in tanks (oil?) or there’s an outdoor wood furnace. I had to look up what an “outdoor wood furnace” is, which is when the whole country living being different from the suburbs really hit me.
Google maps says there’s a cemetery in the side yard. I’d built up a a whole back story for the dead people in the side yard. The former owner guessed that there might be a broken headstone out there, but really played down the cemetery label. I was a teeny, tiny bit disappointed.
The current plan is to leave Michigan at the end of the month with just what will fit in our cars. Our stuff will follow along by mid-March. It looks like the documentation requirements for traveling through Canada has changed yet again since last summer and, since my kids don’t have valid passports, we’ll have to go the long way around Lake Erie. What does an extra three hours matter when everything is about to change so dramatically?