Hangin’ at the “Hobo Shack”

What kind of people would purchase a vacation home ten minutes from where they live? Evidently the Schencks. As of Friday we own a tiny bungalow two blocks from the beach in the neighboring town of Hull. How small is this thing? 675 square feet. And it needs work.

The evening after we closed on it, we brought the boys over to check it out (they’d seen it when we were looking at it and were not impressed). After unlocking the door for the first time as owners, Zack took one look around and asked us “Why did you have to buy this hobo shack?” Now, I have no idea where he learned the word “hobo” or what it means to him but that’s how Bryna and I now refer to it. As in, “I’m just running down to the Hobo Shack to drop off some soap and paper towels.”

This wasn’t quite the impulse buy that it appears. After living in rectories for the past eight years we’ve been talking about buying something for a long time. You know, the equity thing. We’ve also realized that as a family without weekends off (I couldn’t negotiate that into my letter of agreement with the parish), it made no sense to have a getaway that took three hours to getaway to.

So soon enough we’ll be meeting with a contractor to discuss some possibilities. But in the meantime I’m enjoying having some projects to work on. No, I can’t do anything about the heating system but I can paint and do some other work that won’t destroy the property, get me injured, or humiliate me in front of my children.

I spent some of the last day ripping out the ugly wall-to-wall carpeting and was delighted to find hard wood floors underneath it all. My hands are a little chewed up from yanking out hundreds of staples but it was also a lot of fun. In my line of work you don’t always see tangible results. Ordained ministry is kind of like sowing seeds. You toss ’em all over the place and while you sometimes see fruit, much of it ripens unbeknownst to the sower. Which is fine but it’s nice to occasionally do something you can literally touch. Like painting a wall and standing back to admire your handiwork — though I recommend not touching it until the paint dries.

Here’s hoping this doesn’t turn into our own personal money pit!


7 Comments on “Hangin’ at the “Hobo Shack””

  1. Nancy West says:

    Really enjoyed this, Tim! The idea of smaller spaces (downsizing) has been on my mind a lot lately, so this was very much in synchronicity with my thoughts. I’m not particularly interested in home improvements, but I’m VERY interested in hearing about how you and your family use this wonderful little structure in the future. May it bring you much happiness.

  2. Magdalene says:

    The lack of tangible results is why so very many of us knit, I hear. Congratulations! It’s charming.

  3. Bob Chapman says:

    I see one advantage. Being close and very small, you probably won’t have to worry too much about drop-in guests that make you practice the gift of hospitality (whether you have it or not).

  4. David says:

    two things; if the wall to wall carpet didn’t have the pungent scent of incontinent cats, you’ve missed half the fun. And it will be a money pit. No question about that. Its a house and you own it. That’s the parameters that define money pit. And for all of that- enjoy it!

  5. Bruce Replogle says:

    That’s about the size of my first condo in Back Bay.
    It’s a delightful existential experience to turn around too quickly and bump into yourself.
    And then the voice of the Realtor pops in your head and whispers, “Location, location, location…”

    This is, of course, the hobo shack the Lord hath made.
    You will rejoice and be glad in it!

  6. Sarah Brockmann says:

    ALL homes turn into personal money pits. It is the way of the world. Speaking as a family who just dumped another $200 into a house that we’ve been trying to SELL for the last 18 months. Yay. Congrats!

  7. Dave Clinton says:

    Welcome to Sunny HULL!!!!

    You are now a Hullonian!


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