Saturday, July 3, 2010

Bought another house

We bought a house yesterday.  Its not a great house but its a house nevertheless.  Our reasons for buying it are complicated but they come down to not being able to buy insurance.  The only real struggle we have not been able to resolve since we started living in the bus is how to buy insurance. 

We had some issues with ICBC around vehicle insurance but I think we could have resolved those.  Property insurance on the other hand is a whole different matter.  We could self-insure basic theft and loss, in fact we probably will continue to do that.  The possessions that we surround ourselves with aren’t really worth all that much when you get right down to it.  They certainly aren’t worth what the insurance underwriters think they can extract from us in premium income.

The boat is a whole ‘nuther matter.  You can’t buy insurance for toys without a physical residential address or at least we never figured out how to do it.  All of that type of liability is covered by a rider on a residential policy, either a tenant package or a home owners policy.  Again, self-insuring the basic value of the boat wouldn’t be such a big deal but the kicker is liability.  There’s just too much personal liability when we run the boat.  All that needs to happen is some idiot (and there’s no shortage of idiots on the water) …. some idiot runs into us and then manages to convince a lawyer that it was somehow our fault.  In theory we should then be able to rely on the wisdom of a judge but in reality judges are nothing more than politically connected lawyers and usually sleazy, politically connected lawyers.  But I digress…..

We bought a house in order to be able to buy homeowners insurance which will in turn allow us to add the liability insurance which  is what we actually wanted to buy in the first place.  However we didn’t spend much on the famous house.  As it turns out it was so inconsequential that I didn’t even bother to take a picture of it and I have looked long and hard for a picture ad for it on the internet but I don’t think one exists.  We looked at it Wednesday on our way through Buchanan and tried to phone the owners but only got their cast iron secretary.  Thursday night while we were getting drowned in the Yorkton flood one of the owners called and we agreed to come back on Friday to have a look at the inside of the house.  We had looked the outside over fairly thoroughly but obviously couldn’t get into any of the buildings.

Before we arrived in Buchanan Marilyn and I agreed on a lowball number that we were prepared to pay for the house.  We have accepted that whatever we pay for this house is money that we will likely never see again.  Most of the small towns in Saskatchewan are dying.  Its sometimes hard to determine why and often its just an accident of fate but dying they are and many of them are long since dead but nobody has buried them yet.  50 years ago when Mom & Dad moved us to Shellbrook it wasn’t much of a town – it was maybe slightly more advanced than Leask and definitely ahead of Parkside which in turn was greatly ahead of Holbein.  Today Leask is “doing very nicely, thank you”, Parkside is dead but not buried but Holbein on the other hand has several recent new residences.  There’s still not much there but it is way too soon to predict its complete demise.  Through all that Shellbrook has grown steadily. 

Our new hometown, Buchanan, appears to be one of the non-survivors, part of the community of undead towns, a civic zombie.  There is no real reason for it to survive – it doesn’t have any critical mass of people, it doesn’t have any industry or government service and its not in a particularly prosperous area.  Which explains why we were able to buy a really cheap house there.  It doesn’t bode well for us when we go to sell the house but it will make it a lot easier to lock the door and walk away for most months of the year.

Having said all the negative about the house, its also a 20 minute drive from the beach at Goodspirit Lake which can’t be a bad thing for our boating future.  It has a huge yard which could be a maintenance headache but …….. wait for it ………… the village mows the grass.  We’ll plant some raspberries because my great regret about the Nipawin acreage is that we left raspberries behind that were ready to bear fruit the year we moved out.

The house is also part of a larger picture in that it enables us to officially move back to Saskatchewan.  We got sick and tired of the money grab that calls itself BC.  Somebody quipped that BC stands for “bring cash” and that certainly was our experience.  The management of ICBC should be jailed – if any business did what they do it would be considered fraud.  The healthcare cards that cost us $1200 per year delivered what ???   We seriously considered buying property in BC but then we looked at where we are currently working and decided that BC was just a huge fricking mistake and the sooner we turned it around the happier we would be.  So we did.

Along the way to buying the house in Buchanan we had a delightful trip around Saskatchewan.  We entered at Lloydminster, crossed the north through Shellbrook and I went as far east as Nipawin.  Then we went down through Melfort to Watson and across to Kamsack then south and into Yorkton from the east.  We arrived in Yorkton in the middle of their once in a century flood.  Then we went south and visited Grayson and Neudorf.  From there we headed back north to Buchanan and then over to Regina.  The constant theme in this trip was small dying towns with cheap houses for sale but along the way we saw most of the province and stopped for lunch at some really cute little rest areas.

Almost every town has one and nobody ever uses them.  The capital cost to construct them is significant but the cost of upkeep has to be huge.  Some of them are real gems, they’re often hidden in the town and they are a great spot to stop for a meal. 

I was a little concerned about getting whacked by an errant golf ball when we stopped for supper in Ft. Qu’Appelle but we got away with it.  The Ft. Q. goof course seems to attract a lower calibre of goofers than some and they evidently have no restrictions on how many family members can ride in or hang on the outside of a goof cart.

My guess is there’s a lot of places on the prairies where a lot of trails used to cross each other.  And wherever the trails had to cross a river they were more likely to come together at the natural fords.  I guess that’s part of our heritage but I’m not sure I’d have spent the money to engrave that information on a marker.  As a taxpayer I didn’t have any effective voice in the decision to do that so I’ll get my taxes back by stopping there for dinner as often as practical.


LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Boy! It's getting bad for fulltimers when they have to buy a house to get insurance on their home and/or boat.
But it will give you a home base, and I think that will give you a warm feeling of 'a place to go home to'.
Are you one of those who would like to have a workshop?
Congratulations, and Happy Trails, Penny, TX

Jorgito's dad said...

We certainly weren't missing having a house and all the maintenance headaches that go along with home ownership. I do miss my shop and this place comes with a garage and another outbuilding. So that's OK.