Living on a River
A post moved from my other blog.
I moved this one here because the wusssies that run my other blog felt it was too commercialized for their taste. Meanwhile they provide all manner of ways to monitize your blog site as it grows. If I wasn't so heavily published there, I'd start a new one entirely. But for this post, I decided to just move it over.
This will be a shameless plug. It didn't start out that way. A romantic at heart, I was just inspired to sit down and write. You see, the biggest heron I ever saw just glided down the river at treetop level. This creature looked like a flamingo on steroids, a pterodactyl with feathers. So write I did. I waxed poetic about how this experience reminded me of seeing pelicans for the first time, gliding with the kind of cool only they can display, inches above the swells in the Atlantic, just off the beach in Dam Neck. But after scribbling for a while I realized that there was an opportunity here.
Some Back Story
Almost 8 years ago, Lyn, aka she-who-must-be-obeyed, and I were evaluating our situation, living in Governor's Green, Fredericksburg, Virginia. We were empty nesters, living in a large home, which had doubled in value in just 4 years. Real estate junkies that we are - we'd purchased that home on a whim and a 20% up-front discount - and knowing full well that we were at the peak of the market, we decided to cash out and find THE home. The search was on. I had many times looked at the home we occupy now and passed it up without the slightest thought. Lyn however found it on her own search and it had the magic ingredient. Water. True to the definition of her name, Lynette, she always want to live on water. When she pulled up the ad for this house on Realtor.com I was inclined to just say no. But the look in her eye had me saying yes. I bought here for two reasons: To let Lyn have the home she wanted and because there would be room to build a proper wood shop on the property. There were countless properties in this market where I could have built a shop. But they don't light Lyn's eyes the way this one did.
This is how the house used to look. It was just a simple
river house with four bedrooms, good storage and little else.
To be perfectly honest with you, it wasn't much to look at when we got here. But it was SMALL. That is what we were looking for. A simple house in Thornburg, Spotsylvania County. After years of big neighborhood houses, creating lawns that people used to take pictures of and ask pointers on; after maintaining spaces for social gatherings and high living, we now had a little split level on the Po River that didn't NEED anything and made us feel like we were living in the Pocono Mountains every time we came home. Not bad, not bad at all. We have an abundance of wildlife for our three little acres. There are deer, owls, red tail hawks, bald eagles, cardinals, heron, rabbits, groundhogs, foxes and on and on. As it was, we had a perfect little hide-away.
Not So Fast, Lazy Man!
My contentment was not to last. One day I came home and saw Lyn contemplating our west wall. "What are you doing?", I asked, not really wanting to hear the answer.
"Ya know," she said, "If we blew out this wall we could put in a big living room and a garage."
OUCH! But what does a husband say to that. I took the profits from the previous house, minus what I spent building the shop and gave her a huge living room, a two car garage and three decks. I know, you can say it. I'm a sucker. But $100,000 later, we have more than doubled our footprint and beautified our home. My girl was thinking. The extra glass just below the new roofline was Lyn's idea. It came to great.
My Man Cave
Before there was a garage with a room-over, I had already added my dream shop. I make furniture as a hobby. I call it a hobby because I never sold very much. With the help of some friends to stand up the walls, I built a wood shop that occupied as much ground as the original house, 24' x 36'. It stands at the opposite end of the property, near the road, on the crest of the next hill. I was surprised how quickly my tools filled it. But if you spend 25 years collecting shop tools they'll have a big footprint. And for the first time I was comfortable working in a large shop rather than a garage or basement.
It has a wall-mounted heat pump that could use a shot of refrigerant, but fully charged it will just about chase you out with the heat in the winter and cooling in the summer.
Two cars can fit in the shop with careful maneuvering. By adding another bay door, or two you could easily fit two with rom left for quite a gear head heaven here. And there is a raceway going in as I write this not ten minutes from here. The track will be open to privates cars several times a week.
Or Next Adventure
Lyn and I have come to a new crossroads in our life together. We are planning our retirement. But we don't want an ordinary retirement. Sadly, we can't keep our hideaway on the Po River and maintain our present lifestyle. So we must let go.
Our river house is for sale! Shameless plug, I know. It's my blog. It's my laptop. I can do what I want. We are presently interviewing for a new agent.
We will take a bit of a bath on the deal. The market is still flat. So somebody is going to get a free two-car garage with great room above, and a nearly free workshop. Poop! Personal pride notwithstanding, I can live with it. We will be one step closer to our retirement plan.
Main and upper deck and storage shed.