Friday, March 07, 2008

Homes I have yet to live in

I'd love to think about something that isn't work or money related - but it is very, very hard to do. I think the closest I can come while actually at work (where I have much free time, but am stuck at a computer and can't read or play true escapes) is 2 homes - both of them future hopes & dreams. It's almost like a 5 & 30 year plan....but that would be thinking about money - so I stick to the visuals, the dreamy parts.

In the next five years...

I want to buy & sell a house at a profit. I've been watching a lot of shows where people "flip" houses for loads of money - but that's not what I really want to do. Well, sort of - on a very protracted basis. What I want to do is buy the ugly house, the fixer-upper with excellent structure but hideous paint & a couple of walls that need careful knocking down. I could learn to knock down walls. Surely there's a self-help book out there "How to Knock Down Walls for Fun & Profit".

But this house wouldn't just be about profit - it would be about testing my many design ideas, discovering my limits in some new & exciting ways...and all without winding up with a "Disaster DIY" or some such. Careful planning is the key - I think, careful planning and lots of good advice & help. That and friends who are carpenters, plumbers, etc. And we would live in this house for the 5 years while Scott is getting his doctorate - and we'd pay it off, coming out of the bargain with enough profit to buy a nicer house for our "permanent home"...and hopefully without a huge mortgage on that one. This is all "the plan" - and I dream about "the plan" and the house, and what I might do with it...and I look on realty websites and find out where I could spend money well and where it would be silly...etc. This is my five year plan. Isn't it lovely?

In thirty years...or maybe 35...

This is our "retirement" plan, the way to be relaxed and happy at age 55. And it is called "The Green Lady." It is a home, but also a business. We assume that by this time, Scott will be an established professor with tenure at a lovely university. We have been putting money back, hopefully ever since Scott got his first position at a university and we moved into a little "family house" to raise our little family. So, we've been putting money into a special savings account labelled "Green Lady" - and once we get a nice tidy sum, (say $1000), we'll put that into a good mutual fund...and just keep contributing to it.

The Green Lady is our little pipe dream. And we talk about it all the time. It is a pub, it is a boarding house and it is our home. We hope to build it ourselves...but would not be adverse to restoring some old monstrosity. It is close to the university, right on a corner between commercial & residential. It has 3 floors at minimum. The basement is the pub. We have limited hours and do not depend on income from the pub to do more than support the pub. We sell the best burgers & fries anywhere and we have procured the recipe for Mushroom Pepperpot from the Eagle & Child. We bring in esoteric beers...and attract the beer snobs. We encourage philosophy clubs and the occasional poetry night. This is the heart of the Green Lady - this is where you can join your professor for a pint. We host poker nights but not Texas Hold-Em tournements.

The second floor is for boarders. This is where a few (between 5 & 10 probably...but it might be more...depending on roommate situation) students get to live. We promise their parents that we'll look after them and we promise the students that while we won't interfere - but that we will care. We are not an apartment complex or a dorm - we are a boarding house. We have rules and expect our tenants to follow them. The idea is that eventually living at the Green Lady will be a kind of "secret priviledge" - something that is neither the talk of the university nor completely unknown. And that the right tenants would begat future tenants, through recommendations, friends, siblings, etc.

Who am I kidding, we'll be starting this project as soon as it's affordable! I get so excited just writing about it. Once Scott gets tenure...we shall proceed! This is my big dream - the reason I'm so interested in the hotel and B&B business. A way to bring a little bit of the UK home with us and live in it always. Big comfy chairs & little Victorian cozy booths with lots of woodwork & wrought iron.

So...these are the things that I think of when I want to avoid thinking about the stresses that are currently majorly bugging me out. These are my long term live happily with my make enough money during the semester that we can travel during the summer...and to have a little place that is all our own, and distinctly so. I can't think of the "reality" of these dreams yet - I can't even put aside any money for them, there are too many immediate things going on to do that. But I can scheme. I can know WHEN I should be putting down money for them. I can collect pictures and watch home improvement shows and visit lots & lots of pubs, B&Bs and "college student housing." These things I can do. So that when I'm a little older, a little greyer, but no less spry of mind (I have high hopes of taking after my paternal grandmother who is a force to be reckoned with to this day, all leather and wit), then I can paint a wooden sign, put up a chalkboard with the "brews of the month" and polish a bar 'til the granite gleams. (or wood...but right now I'm thinking dark green granite on a wooden base...sounds nice, huh?)

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