House hunting was again high on our priority list yesterday. The first house, as usual, looked absolutely nothing like the picture on the flyer. Also, there was no evidence of the touted view of the lake as the property was surrounded with mature trees. In reality, we concluded the only lake view possible was if you wedged your body into the far corner of one bedroom, snaked a periscope along the side wall, out the window, and elevated it to above tree top level, you might then be rewarded with the teeniest glimpse of water. Stem to stern the structure was dark, dark, dark. “I’m confined in a dungeon shackled to a wall with a caretaker looking disturbingly like Quasimodo”, kind of dark. Who lives in a house like that, bats and moles? Main living quarters were so devoid of light, I couldn’t help but wonder if the former owners cut their meat with a flashlight in their teeth. Definitely a light motivated human, for me, this lack of light would encourage me to dig my way out like Madeline in the Fall of the House of Usher. Confusing that a builder actually developing plans would design a house with so few windows to the outside world. A bomb shelter would be more cozy.
Once the blinds were opened in the living room we could at least identify the players in the room. Walking in the kitchen I sank into what I would describe as a “sinkhole” in the badly worn linoleum nearly relocating my knee to under my right elbow. The kitchen itself wasn’t totally unsalvagable, and after viewing the bathrooms and the bedrooms ended up being the most stellar room in the house. A sad, sad statement on the rest of the dwelling.
The previous decorator, as became quickly obvious, was heavy-handed when it came to color, not discerning about mixing willy nilly whether the hues complemented each other or not. It was like the Easter Bunny on LSD. Carpets in the living room were a wrinkly pea soup green. Further down the hall, depending on which room you entered varied from military pooh brown, to burgundy, to a sort of horrid peacock blue even a male peacock wouldn’t display on his tail. Thankfully I hadn’t eaten before we left the house. Both bathrooms were a mess, and quite possibly the bathtub had never returned to its original white since the owners had signed on the dotted line. Informed that the pest report had come back negative, I wasn’t the least surprised. Even insects and vermin have a certain level of expectation as to their standard of living. Good God, give me a martini.
At our second address things improved markedly. Still a house in need of some degree of TLC, at least we weren’t talking last rights. Carpets were abysmal, with the look of a badly constructed afghan laid on the floor. What the material was I have no clue, but you actually dropped down in the thickness as you walked across the floor. View, in this house, was everything. Lovely spans of the valley floor and the buttes beyond that made me want to linger and reflect on the inherent possibilities of the house itself. There were two decks, an upper and a lower. A place was definitely laid out for a hot tub, and a darkening spot on the deck indicated perhaps one had been removed. Bedrooms, again were unusual in shape. Light far improved, but not perfect.
I liked this house. It had character and I could picture myself living there. The more time I spend house hunting, the more time I find myself wondering what the architects are thinking when they lay out these plans. Entering the kitchen, the refrigerator kind of stood out from the wall. Not in the way exactly as you passed really, but giving the impression the contractors had built the kitchen and surveying their work when finished smacked their foreheads and said, “hell, we forgot about the refrigerator”. Nothing is perfect, at least not so far during my travels. All in all, it was a great house with a great view. Sort of a diamond in the rough, if you will. Our tour of the garage made my other half stop. In the center of the cement floor there was an enormous crack with a swelling underneath, looking for all the world like a banana bread just ready to pull out of the oven. Pretty much the focal point of the room. We were told this was to be repaved. Really? I’ll have 2 olives please.
Early afternoon we pulled into the driveway of the third house, this one in town. Before we’d even turned off the ignition in the driveway a neighbor approached us, two enormous dogs in tow. She informed us that the long two-laned driveway between the houses was shared and we were on their half. Now there was a left lane on their side and a right lane on the side we were to look at which was where we were parked. How does that work exactly? After further discussion we determined that they had staked out the front half of the driveway and the new owners of the house for sale were supposed to park in the back half. Essentially if they are parked in their half the only way out is by helicopter, or to roll over the vehicles parked in front. Nice to meet the neighbors before you make an offer. So much easier than having to sit in your car honking for an hour like a remake of Cujo with two snarling dogs licking your window.
At this point I’d be quite happy to buy a nice lot and drop a trailer or manufactured home on it and call it good, but I am known for my tenacity so press on McDuff.
I have done quite a few potato salad recipes but this one is the first that simply never has to be adjusted when it comes to seasoning. It is the perfect potato salad. My mother shared the recipe and I love it. Let me know what you think.
8 med-lg yukon gold potatoes
4 hard boiled eggs, divided
3 ribs celery, finely chopped
6 green onions, finely chopped
2 medium dill pickles, chopped
1/4 cup reserved dill pickle juice
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
4 1/2 tsp. prepared mustard
1 tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
In large pot cover whole potatoes with water. Bring to boil over med-high heat. Reduce heat and cook at low boil for 20-25 mins. or until fork tender but not overcooked. Allow to cool.
Mix together all remaining ingredients but eggs and paprika and refrigerate until ready to use.
When potatoes are cooled, dice into large mixing bowl. Chop 3 of the eggs into the bowl and add dressing slowly, stirring after each addition until desired consistency.
Spoon salad into serving bowl. Top with remaining hard boiled egg, sliced. Sprinkle with paprika. Serves 8-10.