Archive | April 2013

When I get to Detroit, I’m shopping here

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We found that house! Still, I will miss the oldness of my old house. So that’s why, on a whim and a search, I found a great blog www.reclaimingdetroit.org

Not only can those old glass doorknobs and beautiful old hardwoods be found here, lovingly rescued from crumbling buildings, but the organization provides much needed jobs and training to Detroit’s population.

I’m putting this on my list of places to check out just as soon as the last box is unpacked:

putting the love back into your older home?.

Jumping For Joy

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The months of uncertainty are over.

Ever since October 5, when General Motors announced it would be shutting down its Western New York research facility , life’s carpet of stability had been snatched out from under my family’s feet.

Every night – and I’m not kidding – EVERY night before managing to get to sleep, I’d look around the teal walls of my bedroom and wonder – what’s next? Where will we find a house? What will it look like? Where will home be next.

House hunting in the Detroit area did not put my squirreled brain at ease. Contrary to what everyone believes: (You are moving to Detroit!? You can probably buy two mansions for a dollar!), the housing market in the Detroit suburbs, the ones with the lakes and the great schools, is murder.

NO inventory.Still a decent amount of foreclosures that need so much work that someone would do them a service to tear them down and start all over.

So when a good house comes up, the buyer better be ready and jump on it.

And jump we did. At an open house. Cars lined up and down the street and around the corner to check it out.

We put in our bid. And waited. And the sun went up and down and still no word. And the sun did that two more times.

There were fourteen offers on the table. Ours made it to the final two.

And then the phone call from my transplanted beloved.

We got it!

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So overjoyed was I, that the months of pressure, worry and uncertainty were finally over, that upon calling my parents to tell them the deal was done….

I screamed for joy with them over my phone in the backyard.

And we screamed. And laughed. And I jumped. And jumped and jumped.

And busted my knee.

There a was a pop. And a freakish twist that no leg should ever move.

And I wound up on the ground on my patio. Writhing in pain. Gasping, crying and laughing all at once.

Go ahead. Laugh, it’s funny!

Now, I’m off to my doctor and hope that I will not have to find a orthopedist as soon as I move into my new home.

Got a Garden? Let me live horticulturally through you this spring!

This is going to be a weird spring.

For 13 winters something has been growing in my basement.

Now don’t be frightened, especially if you are a potential buyer of my house.

The things that grew were my seedlings. All through the winter. Under grow lights set under timers.

Trays and trays of seedlings growing in plantable peat pots.

Annuals. Perennials. And Herbs.

All legal herbs, that is.

From the tiny seedlings grew the fully grown plants that populated my garden each year.

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zinnia2 ZinniaEnvy genovese-basil

This Burpee "raspberry lemonade" zinnia did not make much progress under grow lights. Zinnias need heat to thrive

But this spring, the spring of transition, the only thing I’ve planted has been this:

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The only gardening I’ve done is the kind where you weed while kneeling on a gardening pad and watch the bulbs you’ve planted from previous years emerge from the ground.

So, this gardener without a garden needs your help.

Won’t you write to me with your gardening plans – especially if you live in my current town of Rochester, or better yet, if you live in  Detroit, tell me what the gardening scene is like in the motor city. Write to me where you find my contact information and I will feature you as a guest blogger right here.

So, get your green thumbs out of the dirt and onto that keyboard and write me!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Change

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Change

The weekly Photo Challenge this week is: change:

It’s kind of spooky, because a big sign of change JUST popped up on my property. Today.

I knew the sign was coming up today from our realtor. I’ve known for over two months. It still is a shock.

But still, it seemed as if it came out of nowhere. No knock on the door. It just sprouted up like a mutant spring bulb.

To me, this is a big life changing event, selling one’s house. And to me, being Jewish, there are usually rituals associated with life changing events.

But trhere was no ceremony, no blessing for putting up a sign as in Judaism, when there is a blessing for putting up a mezzuzah on one’s  door.
I just opened up my heavy, ancient oak door this morning to let my kid get on the schoolbus, and there it was. This to me is clearly a sign of change.

If you have ever sold your home, what were your feelings the first time you saw the sign on your lawn?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Colors

T-shirt sale at Campus Den

One thing I learned this week, (besides fretting over the sorry state of our house hunt) is that people in Michigan love…., no WORSHIP – the color blue.

Sometimes, You have to Live like a Refugee

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Okay, April fools! We’re really not refugees. But during this very weird week of “vacationing” in extended stay corporate housing, you can say we are a family in between states.

This week, the kids and I joined my husband to live in a hotel just outside of Pontiac, the blight-stricken city just outside of Detroit where General Motors has relocated him.

The hotel is just across the street from the abandoned Silverdome, the former home of the Detroit Lions until 2002.

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This stadium cost $55 million to build in 1975 was auctioned off in 2009 for $583,000, property and all.

That’s about the cost for a starter home in the Boston area.

I’ll talk about housing in the Detroit ‘burbs in a minute, but back to the Sonesta:

We are in the company of other GM families in our situation: spouses living here on a temporary basis and commuting back “home” (wherever that is) on the weekends. Wives and children also spending their spring break here in hopes of finding their next home. Only problem (and it’s a big one): there just are not that many homes here on the market that are worth living in.

So many of us are scrambling for the same properties in the same subdivisions.  We talk in terminology like “foreclosure” and “short sale” and “HUD ownership” over the breakfast buffet in the common dining area.

Our first room was a bit – fragrant. The previous guests liked to cook with a LOT of cumin and turmeric and the pungent aroma invaded our nostrils the minute we entered. The hotel manager claimed that the room was ionized yesterday when we were out for the day house hunting, but the stench was that of “the beast.” Like Jerry Seinfeld’s car that could not be purged of the B.O.

Then, there were the roaches.

Yes, it was starting to feel like home more and more.

So, after I woke this morning to find a tiny cockroach crawling up the wall of my bedroom, I demanded the front desk to be switched from our cumin-encrusted suite to a smell free, cockroach free one. So now I am sitting in a much better suite.

I may have to like it for a few more months into the summer.

Yesterday, our realtor, sick with a horrid cold, greeted us at the first property.

Now, as we get ready to list our home (no, I can’t call it that anymore. It’s our house. A house. An investment.), we fret about the chipped brick on the front porch stoop. Or the grouting around the kitchen sink.

When I saw these properties, listed for way more than my house could ever fetch, I wondered, “WHY am I killing myself about the clutter?”” The hardship that the previous owners must have faced, to walk away from a house with an underwater mortgage, was evident with each cracked door, torn off sheet of wall paper, or appliances ripped from the wall:

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Still, there are friends who have settled happily here, who have transplanted themselves to Detroit, who gave us shelter from the house-hunting storm to feed us not one home-cooked dinner but TWO, and show us around the neighborhood that they are glad to call home.

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So, I will still hold out hope. It’s early. Too early to settle for a house that will need months of work before it can even be lived in. Come May, I’ll start to panic. There’s got to be a house out there somewhere that will be our new Detroit home.

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