This is the house we chose. Note the soothing green color scheme and curb appeal:
This is a portion of the basement. I very nearly cried tears of joy at the sight of the wall o' shelves (miniature chairs not included). I was repulsed by the green carpet at first, but later decided it wasn't so bad. Now it might be growing on me:
And here we have the egress well outside one of the basement windows. You can get these murals from any major DIY center, and you can choose from several styles to make your egress wells more pleasing to the eye. In the event that you actually need to egress, the serene setting depicted will take you to your happy place while you claw your way up to the back yard and call the fire department:
An older lady lives there now, but her grandkids are over all the time, hence the toys and mini-chairs and such. She's pretty sharp, too...all the improvements she made to the house were done well and in good taste. We felt very fortunate on this one, because sometimes matching tastes with an older lady can get sketchy. We looked at another house where the previous owner (a much older lady, now a late older lady) had kept everything original from 1962. Dark brown appliances, an in-the-counter warmer complete with zodiac symbols, green shag & berber carpets in the living area, orange shag, blue shag, and brown striped berber in the three bedrooms, and an orange berber so bright that it alone kept the basement illuminated. No overhead lighting necessary. It was the most fantastic retro house EVER, but sadly way too much fix-up work for us to take on in this season of our life.
Anyway, everything went swimmingly. With His Highness and me (and my mom) looking at houses, combined with nightly debriefing telecons with the Cat Daddy, we were able to make a decision with surprisingly little weeping and gnashing of teeth. The most exhausting part was looking at 40 houses in 3 days, which isn't quite as bad as it sounds when you factor in several properties we were able to rule out just by driving by. And it turns out that the house we chose was the second one we looked at all week. Second. Exactly like trying on 20 wedding dresses and deciding on the first one because really you knew all along, but you just had to rule out the others.
While I loved this house from the moment I walked in, I did not like the location as much. It's one of many cookie-cutter homes in a newer subdivision, so it doesn't have the character of an older, more mature neighborhood. As time went on though, I kept being pulled back to this house. And then one night talking to the Cat Daddy he said, "I just keep getting pulled back to that one house." Which was good 'cuz I'd been worried about how I'd choose which house to buy, and that confirmed it.
So after we got the offering, & counter-offering, & negotiating, and signing all squared away, Mom, His Highness and I headed to Phoenix for a week of rest and relaxation. Then the Cat Daddy joined us for the long weekend, which was made even more cool by the fact that my uncle was also in town. So the whole fam-damily got to hang out, catch up, and goof off. The grandmas were able to pamper His Highness up to his standards while the more obnoxious members (that would be my dad, the Cat Daddy, and myself) took an early morning to do some 'caching--seven finds out of 9 attempts! It was hot and sweaty and fantastic. Then we did a blow-out-cook-out with frou-frou Omaha steaks and Dad's new phatty-phat-phat grill. Yum.
By the time we hit the road yesterday, His Highness had been declared "brilliant" and "so far advanced for his age" by several completely objective family members, and had been stuffed so full of candy that since we got back I've had to give him something to alleviate the withdrawal symptoms (no, not really).
I'd really like to go into more detail, but after a week in the 112 range, I'm compelled to go outside & play in the 71 range. Also I fear that His Highness may have turned the living room into some sort of disaster area/giant canvas for ballpoint pen marks...