September 25, 2010 § 2 Comments
Well, we seem to be moving towards a resolution of the well problems. The sellers are having their attorney do up a shared well agreement. The well seems to be free of e.coli and coliform bacteria, although I have to admit that I am nervous about the fact that our home inspector’s test came back positive for both. We’re thinking about having one more test done the week before closing, just to be sure. On the other hand, the seller’s agent says that the people at 37 Lewis Rd are drinking water from the well and have not gotten sick. Perhaps I should just relax and have some faith that the sellers wouldn’t intentionally sell me a house with a bad well, especially since their tenants are drinking from the same well.
I hope that by next week we’ve got all the water stuff out of the way. Then the mortgage process can proceed. We’re hoping for a closing date of October 18. That would allow us to drive up to Maine for the closing and stay a few days in order to meet with the builder, do a bit of yard clean up before winter, and get other odds and ends taken care of.
We met with two contractors in Maine. They both gave us estimates for the work we want done. Both higher than we can go, of course. One was much more detailed, but quite a bit higher priced. Honestly, I just have a good feeling about one of them. And even though he hasn’t given us a super detailed estimate, he’s been very honest and shared a lot of ideas for how he thinks we should proceed with a renovation on a tight budget. I’m going to call his references this weekend and, if all goes well, I think we’ll move forward with him next week. That means we drill down and get a much more detailed plan and budget and then make a contract for the work.
Realistically, I think the first phase of work will be mostly on the outside of the house (we builder types call that the “envelope”). We’ll get the upstairs dormered, install some windows, new roof, new shingles and new trim throughout. Then, if there’s anything left, we’ll likely get the downstairs bath done. I’m trying to think creatively about how to spiff up the current kitchen, perhaps painting the cabinets and getting a new countertop, but keeping the layout and appliances for now. It’s going to have to last for a few years.
I’m away from home this week, in New York City for work. I’m staying in someone’s apartment rather than a hotel, which I found through a short term rental broker called NY Habitat. Anyway, the apartment is cheaper than a hotel by quite a bit. But it is amazing. It’s on Park Avenue South at the corner of 24th Street, so I’m a stone’s throw from Madison Square Park, my favorite city park. And there is a cute cat who lives in the apartment whose name is Gogo. So it’s like I have my own NYC pet. The apartment is roomy enough that there is a grand piano in the living room. The upshot is that I don’t have access to any recent photos of the house or Five Islands (or Cinco Islas as mi maestro de espanol says).
So, I thought I’d include some photos of Five Islands from years past to give you a sense of why we love it so much. So here you go. Nothing much changes around there, so this is what it looks like now too. The picture at the top and the one below are of the harbor, one in sun and one in fog. Some mornings the fog is so thick that you can’t see the harbor at all. You just hear the seagulls shreaking and the buoys clanging.
Above is the village beach. It’s probably a 10 minute walk from our house, down a pretty little lane, Ledgemere Rd. We call it mosquito beach, for obvious reasons. But you can’t love Five Islands unless you’re willing to embrace the Deet. There is a little bit of sandy beach and a long stretch of rocky shoreline starts here. You can put in a kayak, walk on the rocks, or just relax and gaze at the islands or the lobster pound in the distance.
Now, if you want to go to a real beach, you need to go about 3 miles up the road to Reid State Park. One of the Maine coast’s longest and most beautiful sandy beaches is here, as well as a lagoon which is very tranquil and a bit warmer for swimming. There are hiking trails as well. We’ll get a park pass for the house each summer so that our guests can go to the park any time.
But, perhaps the most special thing about Five Islands (only half kidding) is the Five Islands Lobster Co. This place is routinely mentioned in the press as one of the best lobster pounds in Maine. You can get a lobster roll or a variety of sandwiches, fried baskets, etc. in the Love Shack (that’s the brown building in the foreground). Or, you can get your lobster steamed and served with drawn butter, corn, and all the fixins at the pound next door (red building). There’s an ice cream window across the way.
This little dock is also the home of the local fisherman’s cooperative. So the local lobstermen store their lobster pots and bait on the dock and they bring their catch in here. You can go down and meet the fishermen on the dock in the early afternoon and buy your lobster right off the boat at a reasonable price. If you stay close to the pound, which we have the last couple of years, you can hear the college kids who work there in the summer calling out the order numbers all afternoon, “ORDER NUMBER FIFTY FIVE PLEASE. NUMBER FIFTY FIVE PLEASE.” Luckily, Lewis Rd is just far enough that you can’t hear the action, but you can walk to it in five minutes.
So that’s downtown Five Islands. Everything you could want in a home away from home.