Our Keep

I first heard the term “keep” to describe someone’s home about 10 years ago. It was during an NPR radio segment about homes in Russia to describe the cozy feeling that one’s home can get through years of love and life. Then, I realized I heard it many times before in one of my favorite songs of the 80s by ska band extraordinaire, Madness…

“Our house–it’s our castle and our keep..”

And the term “our keep” came to mind, when we first saw this house. It is our keep.

Our wonderful new keep–cozy, yet roomy and bright with a big holly tree out back to hang a hammock from. A lemon tree to make lemon sorbet year round. A big garage for Pinkie our 1957 pink station wagon to snuggle into at night. The brightest kitchen with the original metal cabinets to house my vintage kitchen goods. And a room that is begging to be our nursery. Perfect for our little Peach.

We have the keys in our pocket. A month from our first viewing.

And two months before the baby comes… I can pack up a house and unpack a house during my third trimester, right? During the holidays? During one of the busiest times for my company. Right?  Wish me luck!

Hunting for Houses

Yes–I know we’ve heard much about houses dropping in price and I must admit as a person looking for a house, this housing meltdown has certainly opened the market for new houses.

Currently we rent a darling little house. On a darling street. In a totally craptacular school district. Our place is really quite nice, but as with most rentals there are downsides. Like no proper garage for my sweetie and only one bathroom and no coat closet or linen closet.  Our dear home has been owned by the same family since it was built in 1911, and it’s been a rental for the past 50 years, which means that it really hasn’t had any upkeep done to it in FOREVER. Upkeeps like oh–insulation. Or new plumbing.

So we’ve been out hunting for houses and every now and then we see something that would be just perfect. Like this:

PROS: Three bedrooms! Coat closet! Huge kitchen! Good school district! Button cuteness galore! And dream of dreams–a RUMPUS ROOM! I’ve always wanted a room to rumpus in!  But really who doesn’t?  Can you imagine how much yarn/fabric/just plain stuff I could stash in a place like that?

CONS: More than $80,000 in pest and foundation work to do.

That’s a big con if you ask me.

Back to square one!


What of our rights?

Happy fourth of July, everyone! Hurrah for our good old Yankee Doodle dandiness!

I must admit that if I wrote the Declaration of Independence, I would have added a bit re: “the right to have affordable housing in the Bay Area.” Sheesh! The prices to buy a house in San Francisco and its suburbs are insane!

As noted in my last post, we are trying to get our finances in order and purchase a house. Man–as if that isn’t tough enough! And then what do we do–we see this little charmer of a house for sale. A probate sale no less in the sweetest little neighborhood on our island.

Seriously, could it be more button cute?

It was in pristine condition. Clearly it’s last owner loved it and took care of the house. Alameda is a little forgotten island where families are moving in as older couples are moving out. Ten years ago, the average age of person living in Alameda was 69 years old. Today, the average household in Alameda is a couple in their 30s with 1.5 kids.

Anyway, this house was perfect. And featured the original 50s wallpaper. A different one for every room.

Just like what I imagine would have been featured in Lucy’s Westport house in “I Love Lucy”. Very colonial, eh?

I wish I bought that great sofa. It was going for sale for $150. It was too cute for words!

And look–the original stove with a built-in steamer. Could it have been any more darling? Well, yes, it could have been bigger than 1200 square feet and we know it. Oh and word on the street is that it is going to go for more than $60K over its asking price. Sigh! And the asking price was $600K.

So, it’s back to the board with reading up on buying a house and keeping our fingers crossed that by the end of the year or so we’ll be in our sunny sweet house in Alameda.

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