Friday, January 6, 2012

So, this happened yesterday.

Yesterday, on my husband's suggestion, I went to see a ridiculously cheap (for the amount of land and for the size and history of the house) former inn for sale less than a quarter mile from me.  So, in the "historic" Middletown district, meaning an original house/inn from the time period I'm interested in, the 18th century.  From Phebe's time.

Here's the picture of the house (they only posted exterior photos in the listing, a red flag, that):

Well, anyway, I was a glass case of emotions yesterday.  And today too, to be honest.  And here's some correspondence with a friend and big supporter of mine, the primamomma, in which I explain everything about my visit to the house.  For to enjoy.

From: Penny
To: Primamomma
Subject: Am I crazy?
Date: Wed, 4 Jan 2012 10:33:17 -0800

Hey!  I'm going to see this house tomorrow and am excited.  It's right off the Red Hill Road bridge that goes over the railroad tracks.  Right over, meaning the property abuts the railroad tracks, but that doesn't bother me.  There are people living there now, so it's habitable?  I guess?  It's a lot less money than the current house and we'd have no neighbors and it's hella historic.  OMGOMGOMG, Phebe may've gone there.  Shizz.  Now I've done it.


PS Hope you can read that, if not, go here:

[Note:  I'm not including the actual listing, because I don't want to get sued.]

From: Primamomma
To: Penny
Subject: RE: Am I crazy?
Date: Wed, 4 Jan 2012 12:13:45 -0800

HOLY CRAP! I LOVE IT. It's historic and beautiful and I can't even imagine the stories those walls could tell.

*caution* Don't buy it if the main reason is financial, because historic houses are HUGE money drainers.

I'm so excited!! Which room is mine?


From: Penny
To: Primamomma
Subject:  RE: Am I crazy?
Date: Fri, 6 Jan, 2012 09:00:05

Oh K.  Oh, oh, K.  *sigh*  If we had about $100000 saved (and had already saved for the kids' college tuitions), I'd totally be buying the shit out of that house.  The shit out of it.  Sadly, we are only starting to save now (which, in a catch-22 type sitch, is not made easier by our more expensive house's mortgage payments).  Chris and I didn't make shit in our 20's, yo.  Grad school salaries are for shit.  At least we made salaries, though.  Unlike law school or med school students.  I guess.  *sigh*

So, let me explain.  First of all, the real estate agent (who's a nice neighbor - shocking, I know) and I were fucking appalled with the way these people were living.  Appalled.  Walking through the house, realizing that children lived there, made my stomach turn.  And turn.  I was fucking itching to call Child Services.  That bad.  It was Child Services followed by a call to Hoarders.  It would not have surprised me to see a rat in the basement, is what I'm saying.  Thankfully, there was only one cat.

Surprisingly, it wasn't cold, which was nice.  Also, surprisingly, the house itself is not in *horrible* condition.  Not good enough for children to be living there, trapped as they are by their circumstances, but ok for a crazy adult, I suppose.  So, if we were to buy it, we'd need to completely renovate it before we moved in.  I couldn't accept living there otherwise.  Oh, so also that means we'd have to live somewhere else for a year and we don't have the money or family close by to do that either.

OK, that's all the bad, let me tell you the good.  A FUCKING HEARTH FROM 1684!!!  A HEARTH!  I COULD HANG COPPER POTS AND GO ALL COSPLAY ON JAMIE FRASER AND SHIT!!!  FOR REALS I COULD GET A COLONIAL DRESS AND DO IT!!!  *deep breath*  OK.  Part of the house is from the 1680's.  And it's in *great* condition.  Exposed beams in the hearth room/original kitchen are low (6 feet), so Chris wouldn't be able to stand up in there, but it's OK!!!  I've got a plan for that room!!!  Dining room!  Can you picture it?  Oh, K, I can.  It's two steps down from the modern-ish kitchen, so would be perfect.  An old, long table, colonial style with old chairs (on a good note, I'd finally be able to get rid of my mom's ridiculously formal and big round dining room table we have now - God, the arguments she and I have had over that thing - gone!  It would be gone!  I'd be free!  Man, I'm an ungrateful child, I just don't want anything from her, you know?).  

The other good/fantastic thing is that, because it's an inn, it's frickin huge for that time period (the main part of the house was built in 1802).  Four bedrooms, two and a half baths.  It's slightly bigger than our current house, which is really just a box built in 1966.  But the inn is all quirky, with odd angles for everything, because of the settling and lots of built in closets and cabinets and it's just overall wonderful.  If the current people took out all of their horribly horribly depressing furnishings/trash.

Oh, it's even worse outside.  For some reason.  They're the kind of people who just put trash, you know, anywhere on the ground.  Hey, whatever.  Who gives a fuck, really.  CHILDREN!!  CHILDREN LIVE THERE AND THERE'S SHIT EVERYWHERE, INCLUDING GLASS EVERYWHERE!!  Also there was a gravestone.  Which was cool and creepy.  Also a 1940's fire truck.  Just sitting out by the garage.  Not even in the garage.  And some sort of heater.  And toilets (naturally) and a former well and a former privy and lots of just crap.  And more crap.  It was horrible.

BUT!  A herd of deer trampled by while we were outside.  And a train went by and it wasn't too loud (it's right on the NJ transit line).  And it's truly amazing that the 1684 hearth is still there, because there were all kinds of felled trees (fallen trees?) everywhere on the property, which would have to be removed, although really, maybe they're providing a blockade against the deer herd.  Which is saving them getting run over by the train.  Holy crap, I just remembered that months ago, adjacent to that same property, a deer *had been* hit by the train and jesus, it stank to high heaven.  And *all* the children walked by there for weeks and we *all* watched that poor deer decompose.  Dis-gus-tin.

The other sad thing, is that, although I know it's there (THAT FUCKING HEARTH!), I can't have it *and* I have to walk past it *every goddamned day* when I pick up Anna from school.  Every day.

I'm going to find a picture of a hearth for you, from Marlpit Hall (a house Phebe owned at one point).  And then I'm going to spend the day sighing.

Still thinking of calling Hoarders/Child Services/This Old House (so those guys can sponsor our renovation and film it - extra human interest angle - I have MS).

In other news, Chris's vasectomy went as well as can be expected!  He's walking like he just got off a long horse ride (oh, Jamie) but he's doing ok.  Anna has strep and is home too and Henry is the happiest little boy on the block.

OK, longest, whiniest email ever.  For to apologize.  My house is nice, my children are safe and live in a clean, warm place - although, shit, maybe some filth would do their immune systems some good, amiright?  We really only have to paint a few rooms and redo the patio in the back yard.  And that's years away, if we want (the patio I mean).  Otherwise, we're super comfortable.  I shouldn't complain, even though we don't have a 1684 hearth.  Goddamn.

Hope you're all good!



Hearth in Marlpit Hall in Middletown, NJ (from here)

*sigh*  The end.  Until next time...


  1. I sound kind of snotty here. Huh.

    I don't think the house really warranted a call to Child Services. Not really. And I realize how truly lucky I am. The whole day was so surreal, this wonderful old house that somehow had survived intact in juxtaposition with all that crap. Modern crap. Surreal. OK then, I feel better.

  2. Oh, my heart is breaking for you. I still remember this one house we saw, a good 150+ yrs old, but it backed up onto Rte 22 and it had a Burger King behind it. I still imagine myself on the old porch, or in the tiny but perfect living room. I tried to convince Paul that I could live with the smell of whoppers wafting over the lawn and that we could tell ourselves that the traffic sounds were the waves at the ocean because didn't this house really deserve to be in Massachusetts anyway? But no, we drove away. Sniff.