Yesterday my other half and I spent some time with a real estate agent exploring the local homes for sale, specifically within the parameters of the downtown area where we live. It was an interesting, and eye-opening few hours. As I’ve said before what is written about the condition of the house in the flyers or on-line ads, and what is in reality the condition of the house are quite often as unalike as Howard Stern and Billy Graham.
After speaking to the agent, we settled on four houses to tour. The first was built in 1900 and like those of us with a few years worth of birthday cards in their drawer was starting to fray a bit around the edges. The first thing I noticed was walking across the living room floor I bounced up and down as though beneath the well-walked carpets a previous owner had installed a trampoline. Interesting. Also, hidden within the rosy scent of the recently sprayed room deodorizer was a lingering smell of old cigarette smoke and that musty smell old houses seem to acquire over time. In some instances, I actually don’t mind that aged smell in an old home. This, however, was not one of them.
The first tick off my list, it was dark. Bats would have flocked there by the thousands if word got out. Now, for me, as for many women, the kitchen and bathrooms are places we put some serious emphasis on when looking for a place to hang our hats. This kitchen was, to say the least, interesting. There was a window to let in some light, and though old as everything else in view, the flooring wasn’t bad, but to the right of the room there was a three-quarter wall with a door at one end which led into the next room. In the center of the wall was a hole in which a refrigerator was sitting, front half facing in the kitchen and back half facing into whatever room was behind it. Tick, tick, tick, ticktickticktick. Ach, broke my pencil. As it turned out the room with the hind end of the fridge was the laundry room and the only room with actual light in the house. Good, I would want to have lots of light so I could see the workings of the fridge while I folded clothes.
Thanking the gentlemen in residence, we moved on. The second house was a newer edition, I will give it that. It was in a nice area on a corner lot. As we walked by the garage a blind swept in an out in the wind through a missing pane in the window. Ok, these things can be fixed. Entering the front door the kitchen was to the immediate right with a small eating area attached. Someone had had the genius along the way to paint the kitchen cabinets forest green and then complement this by adding a sort of marbling effect in a lighter green across the faces. I had an immediate craving for pea soup. None, however, for the house itself.
Again, the house was dark. In the living room the same ingenious decorator had painted the already dark room a deep burnt orange. Other than olive drab this is one of my least favorite wall colors. There was one light source, the sliding glass doors and two happy big dogs were sitting there liberally slathering the window to show their excitement.
As we made our way to the back of the house there were three bedrooms, one painted sort of a lime green. I was starting to wonder if this was maybe where the Easter Bunny hung out when it was off-season. In the smaller of the two back bedrooms a vinyl floor had been laid, but not secured, so in one half of the room where there was no furniture it laid somewhat flat but where there was furniture it buckled and rolled like the Aegean Sea. Really? It was explained that FHA would require a floor, so the three guys that lived in the house laid this down. Apparently no one had taken the extra step to tell them it needed to be glued down. Exit stage right. Note to self, get new pencil.
The third selection was another old house but imbued with much more character and potential than the first. It was an odd layout, however, like whoever originally built it had kept adding rooms as they went without much thought to continuity. Sort of a Winchester Mystery House in miniature. I will say it had a lovely garden area with grape arbors trailing along the fence and sort of a romantic feel to the backyard. Not bad, but not for us.
Sighing slightly at this point and pulling a bag over my head to get oxygen we moved forward to the final option for the day. Outside of town by about six miles, it was in a lovely small development, quite new, and unfamiliar to either my other half or myself. A sunny little community unto itself adjacent to the forebay of the river and nestled in between fields of swaying grasses. Lovely.
Toying with the lock box we finally gained entrance to a sparkling clean (on the outside at least) little house with fresh paint and tons of windows. Susie, that being me, was doing the pee pee dance with anticipation. Carpets still showing the marks from being recently cleaned were in a lovely rich sage color and the walls pristine off-white. A fireplace showing little use sat in one corner and light, light, light spilled in from every orifice. Yea.
It was a lovely house, and just the ticket for us but most likely came about a little soon for us to move on it and also most probably unless we do decide to stay where we are, not the right town for us.
It was a productive day, nonetheless. We got a feel for what’s out there, what we want and most definitely what we do not.
I made this asparagus last night. No false advertising here. It looked as pretty on the plate as it tasted going down.
When choosing asparagus look for a bright green color and heads with leaves close together.
2 bunches of fresh asparagus
20 cherry tomatoes
2 Tbsp. EV olive oil
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cover cookie sheet with tin foil and spray with cooking spray (I used olive oil spray). Place tomatoes on foil and cook for 15-20 mins. until they begin to pucker and wilt. Remove and set aside.
Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice and mustard. Season as desired with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Cover asparagus with water in large deep saucepan. Add salt and sprinkle the water with a pinch of garlic salt. Cut lemon and squeeze one squeeze out of one half into water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and continue cooking until fork tender. Should be bright green but still crisp.
Arrange on serving platter. Top with wilted tomatoes. Ladle sauce over top and sprinkle with cheese. Cut 2-3 slices out of remaining lemon half and place on top. Yum. Serves 4.