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Last Saturday I went house-shopping with Z.  We checked out the "Planet Express" house (dome home with stone additions).  It was super-cool and the land was great:  wooded/hilly/rocky; it was even within commute distance of Madison, and there was a small herd of buffalo nearby!  But it wasn't within easy distance of the hiking/kayaking/etc. land that Z. wanted to be near.  And it was a money sink:  it had so many unique features that, when they did need repairs, would need really special people and/or parts.  High property taxes, too.  It did not have the feel of a place where one could relax and not think about the house while one was at the house. 

Anyway, Z. did the sensible thing and ran the numbers for actual-cost-of-house over the next few years, and said no.

The other house in the running fared better on the spreadsheet, and Z. is now in the process of sealing the deal.  She timed it well:  (they say) the housing market has hit the bottom, and mortgage rates are at a new all-time low.  The house is on five wooded hilly acres, with a stunning southern view.  This is what Z. was originally looking for:  a place that would give her the much-needed sunshine, and be close to all the fun places in the driftless area.  The house itself is solid and low-maintenance, and a bit of a blank canvas.  There's a well-placed 3-season room and a big garage/workshop.  Just to add a little weird to the mix...there's a two-way mirror looking in to the downstairs bathroom.  So, that will be one of the first things to be fixed.  A plus for this place is that I was actually able to get lost in the woods:  it took some thinking to get back to the right house.  But the other first thing to be fixed will hopefully be the abundance of poison ivy in the woods.

Speaking of the driftless area, someone died at Devil's Lake again.

Between houses, we (K. joined us) ate at a good lunch at Ravina Bay, stopped at the Leopold Nature Center, took the Merrimac ferry, and at one point Z. spit electric green Powerade all over me (she blames the llama, but I never saw the llama...).


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Constructive criticism is also welcome - whatever it is, trust me, I've heard worse.



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