Voices of the Clarion: Getting ready to move

Planned domestic change brings plenty of new ideas

Posted: Sunday, July 17, 2005

In less than two weeks I'll be doing something I once thought I might actually avoid, at least until I was ready for long-term care.

I'm moving.

This house I've lived in with my wife for 20 years is quickly assuming the aspect of a pre-D-Day storage depot. The casual observer might be excused for believing we've been driven to drink considering the number of boxes salvaged from local liquor stores. Now, I didn't know libations like "Extreme X Rum" and "Arrogant Bastard Ale" existed, but there's the proof sitting stacked against the walls bulging with our collected domestic detritus.

Tons more (well, not literally) are arranged in the garage ready for transport over the final weekend of July.

As moves go, this one may be the easiest I've ever experienced — presuming, of course, some unseen shoe isn't falling.

Two months ago, Lynn and I were struggling with designs for a new house we were planning to build on a lot we'd purchased last year a mile away in a new subdivision on the west side of Homer. All winter we tried fitting the 3,000 square feet of house we needed into the 2,000-square-foot frame we actually might be prepared to pay for, wrestling with floor plans that would accommodate the possibility that some tuna would build a two-story monstrosity across the road from us and rob us of our view of the bay.

We needed a guest room for the in-laws, a music practice room and closets, lots of closets — you know, all the stuff everyone wants.

Much as we love each other, we rarely agree immediately on mundane details like colors and dimensions. We tend to circle solutions until we have nowhere else to go and then settle. That is, in the interest of domestic tranquility, I defer.

Then in May a house we'd always admired just three doors down our block came on the market. I suggested to Lynn that we at least take a look. We called the Realtor, who arrived shortly after with key in hand.

Within five minutes it was obvious this house had all the rooms we were trying to design — not the best possible arrangement necessarily, but much more than simply adequate. And it had the added advantage of being near neighbors we didn't want to leave and offered the same million-dollar unobstructed view of Kachemak Bay we had come to love.

The present owners are retiring teachers about to set out on a yearlong RV adventure while their own new home is built in Arizona. We made an offer, they accepted — all in a matter of hours.

Then we set about doing the myriad cosmetic things necessary to put our own home on the market. The housing stampede being what it is in Homer, however, word of mouth soon brought an offer we couldn't turn down even before we'd officially put it on the market, and soon we were signing a preliminary sales agreement.

The stars seemed to be aligning to make the transition about as smooth as one could hope. We are scheduled to sign papers on both deals the same day.

Advantageous timing will give us four full days to vacate our house. I'm planning to buy a couple of kegs, put one in each garage, and get my pals to help me hump our stuff the few hundred feet down this quiet residential road to my new abode. If everything goes as planned, this should be accomplishable with a minimum of headaches.

My daughter, 12, is keen on the move, too. She's been sleeping in a small daylight basement bedroom that has no view to speak of out its one ground-level window. Her new room is more spacious and looks out over Kachemak Bay from a second-story height. She says she wants a hammock. We'll think about it.

Lynn's busy planning the kitchen and living room layouts and we are about to invest in some new furniture. It's kind of funny how you can spend years watching your pennies, but once you've flattened your spending inhibitions with a mortgage mallet, it becomes much easier to shell out a couple of grand on new bedroom sets for two of the three bedrooms.

My mother, 83, will occupy one for a couple of months beginning in mid-August. She's coming from New York. It will be her second visit to Alaska.

I'll be taking a couple of weeks off surrounding the move, which should make it all go much easier. There will be no need to link the computer to the Web in haste. Hooking up to cable, however, will be a priority. Got to have my daily baseball fix.

Lynn and I are keeping our fingers crossed that the spectacular weather that has graced the bay area continues a couple of more weeks. Truth is, though, rain couldn't dampen our enthusiasm for the move.

Hal Spence is a reporter for the Peninsula Clarion.

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