Mother’s Day Reflections

This beautiful bouquet arrived this morning, a gift from my eldest son and his family.

To my American readers– Happy Mother’s Day! And virtually the rest of the post has nothing to do with Mother’s Day…

Earlier in the week, a property came on the market that is an excellent candidate for the Net-Zero-Energy-Use Home conversion project. It is in an ideal location. It is a good shape and size for my project. It is distressed, so has a low asking price. I made an appointment to tour the property. And while I was waiting, I read a news story that unemployment in the United States is nearing 15%. While I was touring the property, my real estate agent got a text from the listing agent that she had already received multiple offers for the property over the asking price and that if I was interested, to submit my best offer by midnight.

I thought about how I had counselled all of you, just last week-that this is not the time to make big changes. I thought about how the housing market may change drastically in the next 12-18 months due to the large amount of unemployment. I thought about how eager I am to get started with this project……and then I let the property go.

I’m a little sad about it, but overall think it is the best decision for now.

Then, I went for a walk in the park to cheer me up.

Japanese Purple Irises (foreground and right) are one of my favorite flowers.

Why There Is No Blog Post This Week

Well, okay, there is this….but there is no real content.

That is because I have been busily working behind the scenes to create content. Like the cleaning/repair/re-grouting of the bathroom tiles. I have devoted a couple days to this project and will likely need one more before it is done. And I so wanted to wait until I had Pinterest worthy before and after photos. They are soooo satisfying.

One of the other big things I did this week was put in an offer of a hot mess of a house. It hasn’t been condemned, per se. But the city basically told the owner to either fix these structurally unsound things or sell off. And they decided to sell off.

Southern exposure–one and a half stories of solar gain!

Here in one photo, you can see all that attracted me to the property–the collapsing deck and stair, the defunct hot tub, the cheap, disintegrating siding, the native species weeds in the back yard.

What really attracted me was the location in a walkable city, in a market that has been increasing in value in recent years, the above mentioned one and a half stories of southern exposure, a highly rated school district and the price, which was set to ensure the interest of rehab flippers.

And one of those flippers may get the property. So for now, I wait, and rest up….because if my offer on the property is accepted, I will be working hard to gut/rehab it for several months.

Just think how many blog posts I can get out of this wreck of a house!

A New Home

A paper map of the city of Saint Louis and surrounding suburbs.

Maybe it was the smell of cigarettes in the hallway. Maybe it was the natural gas bill that charges me $22.00 USD for the “privilege” of using their climate change creating fuel each month–before I actually use any product. A typical summer bill is $10 for actual fuel and taxes and $22.00 for access. Then the winter bill shoots up as the apartment has single pane windows and there is no financial incentive for the landlord to replace them.

All that just burns my hide…and we don’t need THAT contributing to climate change.

I have decided to create a Zero energy building home as a sanctuary space for me and my disabled son, and also to demonstrate that it is not necessary to be rich to do so.

I have been poking around my current neighborhood, looking for a property that will fit my needs: either a empty lot that I can move a manufactured zero energy home like this to, or a older home that needs total rehab, so I can gut it and create the energy efficient space I desire. Since my son does not drive, we need to be close to public transportation.

Then, through a friend, I met the awesome architects at link to Instagram photos, who specialize in sustainable architecture! When I described the project that I wanted to create, they were as excited as I am. They also were realistic about my budget, saying, “It is not impossible, but we will have to be creative.” Creative? Humans at their best!

They gave me some tools to work with. The Saint Louis Land Reutilization Development link which is a government body designed to help re-own abandoned properties in Saint Louis and the Walk Score which allows people in USA, Canada and Australia to evaluate the walkability of property that they are interested in.

All these online tools…. and still the old analog me felt a need to get a paper tool to map out what I am planning. Turns out that is harder to do than when I was a child. Back in the 1960’s every gas station had maps of the local area, state and national maps. But now we all have that on our phones. It did find a paper map of Saint Louis (see photo above) at a local bookstore.

I have been using a combination of the online tools and the paper tools to identify neighborhoods that I think might be good homes for me and my son. I have focused on the Metrolink electric train, as that is his transportation to school. But, he may be up to a short bus ride to the train, and if not, I can give him a hybrid car ride to the train station.

I  got in my car today and used my GPS to drive to 25 separate properties that might be the start of our new home. I could rule many of them out by driving by. Others seem more appealing when I view the “walkability” of the neighborhood.

I’m a little bit tired and a lot excited.

More later.