Today Matt & I drove to Kenyon, in SE Minnesota to tour the inside of a house I discovered for sale yesterday. If we re-wind the clock about 60 hours, that’s where it all innocently began. Short version: Google Maps for directions to Morristown Zielske Family farm; Zillow popped-up properties for sale in area; rabbit hole; ooooh! Look at THIS one!! Must see. So, I went to Matt’s family reunion without him, (that’s a puzzler in itself), then wandered east to do a drive-by. Had trouble containing my excitement and/or sleeping afterwards. Got home at 9:30 pm all jazzed, watched the final episode of the BBC version of Sherlock, then went to bed with sugar plums dancing in my head. After an hour or so of crappy-flopping, it seemed only decent to go elsewhere and quit disturbing Matt. Then the P.I. instinct kicked in, so I cracked open the laptop again to read the Wikipedia entry for the town of Kenyon, then searched for property tax info on the Goodhue County website. I can really imagine myself living there. The terrain is beautiful. The town itself is thriving and looks to be expanding. Lots of small town charm minus the suburban cookie cutter commercial malls. It’s quiet. This house sits on the outer edge of town, down a quarter mile gravel road with 4 other homes and no outlet. Therefore, no traffic. The house pushed all my buttons and I felt very comfortable and at peace. It’s secluded without being isolated in the middle of nowhere. It’s fully landscaped with flora I would have chosen myself and a trickling granite water feature made me feel very zen. There are lots of windows on all sides of the house, some triangular. Vaulted wood ceilings, a bathroom/shower/mudroom just inside the entrance from the garage, a hot tub for Matt and a sauna for me. The property is the same size as our current lot, but much of the back yard is a steep slope to a stream leading to the Zumbro River, which means very little mowing or yard work. No “keeping up with the Joneses” or spraying your yard to keep the creeping Charlie from invading the neighbors yard. I’ve got no time for that sort of nonsense which is rampant in Minnetonka. There’s tons of storage in every room of the house, 2 fireplaces and The Kitchen. Now, I think I’ve made clear my position on this particular room of the house in previous posts. Kitchens are where I like to hang out at other peoples homes, but not MY home. That’s because my kitchen… well there’s just no other way to say it. It sucks. There’s very little counter space and if there are two people in the kitchen, they are standing in each others’ way. I am uninspired to be there, let alone cook there. By contrast, The Kitchen in that house has all the features I like, for instance: standing counter for a quick nosh or to hang out with a friend and cocktails, the stove, sink & frig are on different walls, there’s room for a proper dining table with sliding doors out to the covered patio. Built-in drink station with wine rack. It’s not a huge space, but what it has is well laid out and gorgeous, not too frivolous and over-the-top, though, it does have a customized, wooden-door SubZero refrigerator. It even has a pantry. I love everything about The Kitchen. There’s an office with a custom built-in corner desk/computer nook/files, a large bathroom with linen closet space inside.
The woodwork throughout the house is Mission/mid-century modern style. The doors have character unlike any I’ve ever seen. There’s room for a pool-table in the basement and a separate rec-room with a fireplace, a workshop, a sauna with shower and lots more storage.
The garage is about the same size as Matt’s current garage, but it’s got a ceiling mounted heater plus a wall and a half of built-in storage cabinets. Attached to the garage is a room he could convert to a guitar workshop with plenty of countertop and overhead storage. Then there’s a separate shed that looks like a children’s playhouse. The backyard area is smallish and cannot be seen by anyone else which I find inviting, though I get the impression Matt would probably like more open space and an outbuilding or two. The indoor person in me would be happy to have the interior cozy with lots of natural light and a minimum amount of yard work. The driveway is big enough to play corn-hole. Kenyon has a community pool, horseshoe pits, Frisbee golf, hockey rink, ball fields & running track. Plus, there’s a Mayo Clinic outpost right in town and senior living homes too. I love the feel of the town, and felt strangely compelled to go there yesterday, yet seemingly out of the blue. People of all ages were out and about, but the streets were not crowded nor were they ghostly like some small towns you pass through. Rose trees line the divided main boulevard. Main Street is a short walk from the house on Deer Ridge Road, with Highway 60 providing a natural boundary between the two which I think would alleviate the feeling of “everybody knows your business”. The Kenyon Golf Country Club is less than a mile away with an annual membership of $595. That’s less than Matt spends golfing in a year now. In addition, there are at least a dozen other courses relatively nearby including his long time favorite, The Summit in Cannon Falls.
Truly, I feel that this weekend has been a serendipitous discovery of a solution to a lot of the things that have been stressors for both of us. Were we to pursue this idea, we could cash out one last time on this property, pay off one or two large debts and make a lateral move to a nicer place in the area we want to ultimately finish out our lives. We need to get established wherever we intend to retire and we had kind of agreed years ago that we both like the southeastern part of Minnesota. After all, we are Minnesotans. Not snowbirds. If we’re going to move from Minnetonka, we should do it soon while we’re both young enough to make the transition to find local employment, establish connections to a new community, make friendships and learn what’s out there. I don’t want to move AFTER we retire because then its too late to do any of those things. We’d just be sitting around alone in an unfamiliar house among strangers. Also, I have recently realized just how fed up I am with the constant distractions around here. Cars passing our house every 30 seconds, packs of spandex bikers, walkers with & without dogs, daily delivery trucks, the weekly onslaught of trash haulers in their choreographed dance around the neighborhoods, razor scooters (which Leroy fears above all things and sends him into frothy, panic barking), sirens, traffic noise from Hwy 7, airplanes, random firecrackers. I’m sick and exhausted from dealing with the general public and the congestion everywhere. I just want to be left alone to enjoy the peace & quiet, to contemplate and to create. I don’t want to negotiate the interstate, the parking lots, hoards of people at Target and Costco and everywhere in between. I don’t want to have to remember at which of 7 grocery stores I bought a certain brand of something. It’s all so anxiety producing and frankly, my tolerance for anxiety has gotten pretty damn shallow. What I DO want are the twin sisters: Simplicity and Solitude. Somehow, I must find a good compromise that will satisfy both Matt and me. Personally, I’m ready to write an offer on the house on Deer Ridge Road. Matt may take some time to join me and he may not get there at all. In his defense, he worked roughly 70 hours last week up through yesterday. He’s got some sleep to catch up on to restore his brain and his cheery disposition before he can wrap his head around this big idea I sprung on him today. He was a good sport about it, which I appreciated. My family has a history of “bugging out” with some regularity, so he has experience waiting for the initial manic buzz to wear off before boarding the crazy train to the mythical “Somewhere Else”. Cuz I’m weird like that and I refuse to apologize. It’s genetically encoded. Can’t change your programming. What was that line in The Matrix? “We’re all here to do what we’re all here to do”.
Time to walk away from the keyboard. Got blisters on my fingers and its about to storm. The acorns pelting me and Leroy aren’t much fun either! Let’s just sleep on this and see how it looks in the light of tomorrow. kb.xo