When I was little, I loved going to my grandparent’s house. Just a few miles from our own house, it was a completely different type of farmhouse. My grandfather moved to town in 1980, and although my dad still farmed the ground, I’d only been in the house once since. Every now and then I dream about being on the farm. Creeping up the back staircase, hiding in the barn, or chasing kittens around the crib. I’ve thought about the farm many times over years and wondered what the house looked like on the inside.
In late March, my mother began a conversation with “Before I tell you this, your father said to tell you ‘Don’t even think about it!'” I was fully engulfed in the fundraiser from hell, so when she told me the tenants were moving out after 28 years, I thought, “Gee, it would have been nice to live there.” Then I moved on the 1,137 things I had left to do before the fundraiser was over.
Two weeks after the fundraiser from hell was over (except for the 1,153 things left to wrap up), my mother called to say that she thought I ought to know my dad was telling the farm owners that his daughter was interested in renting the house. While I’m sure this was news to them, it couldn’t possibly have suprised them as much as it did me. Apart from that two minute conversation with my mother, and an even briefer discussion with my husband, I hadn’t even thought about the house. Let alone thought about us living in it.
The idea began to grow on me though. Quickly and thoroughly, I was sucked in. The barn is gone, any cats have been eaten by coyotes, and in some areas the house hasn’t aged well. Still, my husband and I took a tour. And then my father, my brother and I went around and around and around. Should the house be saved or bulldozed? Would the owners be willing to put money into it, or would they feel their ties to it become smaller as the cost of repairs grew larger? Were Pete and I aware of the issues of living in an old house?
In the end, my brother drew up a list of immediately needed repairs. Things that had to be fixed before the house could safely be inhabited. My husband cringed at the thought of living in a house one step from being condemned, but reluctantly agreed to give it a try. Last Thursday after three very confusing months, everyone finally agreed that a few things would be fixed, and we would rent the house for a year.
I don’t know that this house is really our dream house. I suspect that for each thing we were forwarned about, two more unexpectedly unpleasant things about living in the country will turn up. I’m hoping we love it. I’m hoping that the peace and the space will turn this from a farmhouse fling into a long term home.