Sunday, December 30, 2007

Thanksgiving in Wytheville

We took a week off from househunting to spend some time in Wytheville, VA with Grandpa Greiner. When Jason got off of work on Wednesday, we loaded up the car with all of the Thanksgiving fixings and headed out to I-40. Needless to say, we were in for a real trip that evening. We have traveled before to Wytheville on Thanksgiving Eve, and we know that at the intersection of I-77 and I-81 the traffic gets really backed up. Imagine our shock to approach the exit to get onto I-77 in Statesville and there is a cop car parked in the lane and an officer waving us away from our exit! Luckily, Jason is from Statesville, so we took the next exit and he promised to get us onto I-77 in no time at all.

That evening, we saw a little bit of everywhere in Statesville. We turned around here, took a cut through there, but we kept running into traffic wanting to go the same way we were headed. Finally, Nancy called her parents and asked them to check NC DOT’s webpage for news about traffic. Turns out that a few miles north of where we had originally tried to get on I-77, there was an accident that involved a downed power pole. Realizing that our fate was sealed, we sat in the traffic to get to an alternate road that would intersect with I-77 north of the accident. When we finally got on the interstate, it was really eerie because there was only the trickle of cars heading northbound that had made it through the detour.

Anyways, we made it to Wytheville in one piece that evening. The next day Jason started the turkey when we got up. Yes, we cheat and get a turkey breast instead of a full turkey. With three of us there, it works nicely with just enough left overs to cover Grandpa for a week. Jason and I then set out to hang the Christmas lights for the front of Grandpa’s house. Most of the decorations have been Susan’s work through the years; the rest of us just help put it up and take it down. You can almost hear the guy from the twelve pains of Christmas by Bob Rivers complaining about stringing up the lights! Yes, they all went out at one point, though we didn’t have any blinking problems.

When we finished trying to approximate Susan’s ideals of the perfect light set up, Jason worked on the fixings to go with the turkey and Nancy started peeling, coring, and cutting apples for the pie. In the past, we have run into minor issues making Thanksgiving dinner for Grandpa. There was the year that we single-handedly kept Food Lion in business because of everything we forgot to get (and yes, there were multiple trips involved). Then one year, the pie blew out of the top and made a mess in the oven. We have since learned that it is a good idea to put a cookie sheet under the pie pan for that very reason. This year, though, we are proud to say that we had a successful Thanksgiving dinner.

We were able to spend some time talking to Grandpa about our house hunting adventures. By this point, House #3 has fallen off of the list, never to be seen from again. Maybe it is a result of a bigger swarm of gnats in front of it now. Who knows. We are starting to note more problems with House #1. The only plus that we have come up with is if we do have Nancy’s parents living in the mother-in-law suite downstairs that since the washer and dryer are down there, they can do the laundry. It would be a long commute to Atlanta for Nancy’s dad, but it wouldn’t be the first time that he had to commute to work. Anyways, we discussed House #2 over pie with Grandpa and his friend from church, Joan. We sketched them a floor plan, tried to describe the wallpaper, and looked at the pictures we have of the outside. Joan wanted to know all about the living space possibilities; Grandpa wanted to know about what kind of shape the place was in. We answered as many questions as we could and noted all of the others so that we could find the answers.

Air conditioner installed in 2004; heated with oil (full tank recently); how old is the furnace, though? Is gas an option?

Outside of Hickory city limits; in the community of Long View, which purchases utilities from Hickory (all the benefits of living in Hickory without the taxes); hooked up to city water and sewer (no septic tank); what condition are the appliances in? Which ones stay?

Quiet neighborhood with convenient location for work and shopping; not on a main street so traffic is light; house was built in 1968; What condition is the roof in? Is it in a flood plain?

Great space for gardening; trees look to be in good condition (including a few that would be good for a hammock, Jason notes); little under an acre of land; Jason’s mom said she will mow it; How close is the fire department? What is the crime rate?

The number one piece of advice that Grandpa gave us was not to get an adjustable rate mortgage. Too many people have been ruined financially by this option. All in all it looks like a good place if we get good answers to the questions, according to Grandpa and Joan. It was really fun talking to both of them and sharing our excitement. We would still like to check out a few other places, though. As of leaving Wytheville that night, House #2 was heads above the rest.

Next time: We go for a Sunday drive to check out some new listings that our agent sent us. Learn why Coach didn’t take us everywhere in Long View.

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