It's a big day for the city girl. Just love that house; willing to drive 30 to 60 miles for employment. Am I kidding? Confident that I will find something closer; after all, I have skills. Grab the trash, the map for the dumpster locations, camera, phone, directions to "The Big Rip." and I'm off.
First, find the dumpster. Nope. Drove the whole darned complex. No dumpster. Running late, still have to hit the bank for proof of funds, so the trash has to make the ride. SunTrust, Bank of America, Citi, and Wachovia are here, along with a million others. Somebody has money. There is a bank, if not two, at every block. Aha, SunTrust, and in we go for a rather simple transaction. Did I say simple? Not. They won't give me a letter stating that I have the funds to purchase. Oh nooo, they don't do that any more. But they will print out a statement showing the total amount of funds on hand, sign and date it. But, I don't want them to know exactly how much I have on deposit (like I'm Miss got-rocks) because I'm not offering full price. If they know I can afford the whole thing, negotiations are going to be tricky. Sorry, this is what we do. Fine.
Off we go, Abby and me. Didn't miss the turn for I-40 this time like I did the other day. Hit it like a pro. Blended right in with all the other truckers running 75 mph, even had the nerve to pass some of them. Exit 35 coming up, left at the fork, two-lane road to nowhere. Still can't get over how clean the roadsides are. Through Isaac's birthplace (did you know he'd had a stroke?), and on over to Rte. 51. Flying past Henning, got to do the Alex Haley museum, and down to Ripley. Do I know where I'm going, or what?
Made it to the realtor's office right on time. Asked to walk through the house once more. Did I say walk? You can walk to the house. It is two blocks from the square, a block from the post office, and right across the street from the library. A library across the street? I'm in heaven.
Hmmm, more work than I thought. The offer price is dropping in my mind. Roof, maybe it can be done in sections. Gutters, my brother thinks they've just pulled away and can be renailed. Maybe...but some look like they need to replaced. These ugly, ugly heaters have got to go. No question. But not right away. Loving the kitchen but appliances are in order. Don't like electric stoves (and after 14 years, this probably doesn't work anyway) and I can clean the walls, doors, etc., but I AM NOT touching that refrigerator (which probably doesn't work, anyway). Where's the washer/dryer hookup? Can't find one. Must have a washer/dryer.
Loving this huge kitchen totally done in knotted-pine, including the ceiling; a fireplace (get out!) and ceiling to floor, glass-front cabinet (think pantry). Oh, man. Hmmm, flooring is worn and, I do mean worn, linoleum. Ms. Childress wants to know what I would replace it with. Tile. Good choice. Just went up points in her estimation. Loads of cabinets, door to enclosed porch which was the canning and potting room. Inside shutters at windows need cleaning and some need repair. No big thing. If they can't be repaired, they can be replaced. Not a factor.
The foyer is as large as the living room was in DC. Huge dining room with fireplace; huge living room with fireplace; strange place for a bathroom but it has a claw-foot tub (and a leak). Marvellous wood floors throughout. The bedroom which I have claimed has a small room off of it that is sitting room (haven't you always wanted one?) or office. Yippee, no computer within steps of the bed. But it can't be too far way. Did I say the bedrooms are huge? It's being marketed as a three bedroom house but the small one doesn't have its own entrance so it doesn't qualify, in my book. Bath between two bedrooms, totally outdated. Both baths will need updating in time but not now. Must husband the resources. Cedar-lined closets, everywhere. No need to build closets. Another enclosed porch, wide enough to be used for something (give me time) that opens onto a brick patio. Okay, patio needs weeding. But I've got enough wrought iron furniture to accommodate the patio and the front porch. Can't see anything else, let's write the offer.
Ten thousand less than asked. I didn't want to drop it to the revised figure in my mind. Not trying to alienate anyone. I know only too well how I felt when I got an offer almost $50K less than I was asking. The offer is a starting point; let's see what happens.
Noticed a barber shop around the corner. I AM getting my hair cut. Just made myself right at home, chat, chatting away. So, why did you choose Ripley, I'm asked. Why not? Well, it'll be alright for you, 'cause you're settled. I laughed and asked the barber why didn't he just call me old? Oh, no, ma'am. I didn't mean that. Sure he did. And each person wanted to know the same thing. Oops, here's the realtor. We'd been kicking such a fuss, I never heard the cell ring. Owner has countered, still a little higher than I want to pay. I check with an advisor who gives his opinion. Okay, let's try this. Back into the barber shop. Now it's my turn for the chair. He's finished and I'm on my way back to the apartment. Down the road I go. This time I'm going to retrace the route I took to Ripley to get back.
I'm doing fine until, all of a sudden, I'm seeing unfamiliar scenery. Okay, hit the uie; I did say I was getting good at them, didn't I? Down the road in the opposite direction. Nope, wrong way. You would have never known I was lost until you saw me coming back from the direction in which I'd just gone. Zip, zip, lost as I could be. Pulled into a gas station sitting in the middle of nowhere and asked directions back to I-40. I smell chicken. This is a gas station, where is the fried chicken aroma coming from? Get to the counter. Not only do they sell gas but they sell fried chicken, fries, fried bologna and cheese (hadn't thought of or had one since I was small) and a host of other take-out food. Give me a breast to go, with hot sauce, please.
No one behind the counter knows how to get to I-40. Finally, this fellow, in line, tells me to take whatever road I'm on and go to Rte 14, which will take me to I-40. I'm off. Seems like I drove forever. At Rte. 14, you have to go right or left. Great! He didn't tell me that. When in doubt always go right, so right I went. Time to stop at the next gas station. Well, damned, they're selling fish dinners. Had a regular steam table inside: fried rice, green beans, chicken, fish, and more. Also a mini-grocery store. Everything you want but directions! The help can't help me! Finally, a customer takes pity on me and leads me outside, showing me the direction I need to go. Austin Peay takes you right into I-40. Okaaay.
Beautiful countryside, lovely homes. Good thing I'm not in a hurry because it is a long way to I-40. Alrighty then, here's the exit. Jump on and the first sign I see is I-40, Little Rock. Little Rock? I'm not trying to go to Little Rock! Under any circumstances. Got to get off of here. Realized that Austin Peay put me on the interstate too far below the exit I needed. Okay, pull off and get back on. Easier said than done. Here's a gas station. Please give me directions back to I-40. Well, you don't need to get back on I-40 to get to Germantown Parkway. James Road turns into Stage which empties onto Germantown Parkway. Bless you.
Yes, it does. But like Austin Peay, it was a long drive. I'm now eating the chicken breast because I haven't had anything to eat all day. No napkins; can't reach the paper towels in the back seat. Licking my fingers and gnawing on the bones. Abby and Gloria were disgraced. Sorry.
TWO HOURS later, I made it back to the apartment. Needless to say, I took the wrong turn on Germantown Parkway but realized it in time to, you guessed it, make a uie. Talking about tired. I'd left the house at 9:30 a.m.; it's now after 5 p.m. What a day.
Nothing to do now but wait.