I’ve written about fifty drafts of this post, not wanting to commit to one lest something happen, but I guess it’s finally time to let the cat out of the bag since I already did so on Instagram: we’re officially homeowners.
As people who have rented our entire adult lives, this is momentous less for the buying of the house itself and more for the decision to intentionally stay in one place for a while. We didn’t necessarily intend to buy so soon, but a combination of factors led to this decision.
It's finally official: just over two months ago we went under contract, and today we closed on the apartment directly beneath the one we live in now. It's an awesome space and we have so many ideas on how to make it more special. Let the painting and moving…begin! #homeowners #realestate #baltimore #omfg
1.) Our current apartment has been on the market since September, and while there hasn’t been a ton of activity on the showings front, we knew that the unit’s owner was eager to sell it and it was only a matter of time before the right person came and potentially snatch it from under us. That hasn’t happened yet, but with the arrival of spring we know that the listing agent will try to get more people to see the place now that we’re leaving. It was way too rich for our blood (I didn’t want to become house-poor on a place with no walls and no cable connection for high-speed internet) and while it has been fun as a rental, I had little interest in owning.
2.) The place we’re buying is directly underneath our current place, and far more affordable. It also has more walls, and discrete rooms, and that all-important cable connection–we already have the installation box from Comcast ready and raring to go. It’s smaller and we’re going to have to try some things out to put everything in their places, but we still have 14-foot ceilings so it will all feel slightly more reasonable.
It’s funny–the unit went on the market the day after the second showing of our current place, and this is a good approximation of the subtlety and restraint we exercised in jumping on the opportunity:
I’m so excited, you guys. It’s in great shape so it doesn’t need a lot of big work right away, but naturally we’re starting to make a list of all of the projects we’d like to do. Since we have about three weeks of overlap in both places I’m hoping to get some painting done, and Michael wants to build a pantry in the kitchen with some shelving, and I want to do a swap out of shower heads. Later down the road we want to install a counter on the kitchen peninsula (I don’t understand why the original builders of these units didn’t install them, but whatever) so people can actually sit on our stools and eat from the bar and we have a killer tiling project in mind. I promise this won’t become a home decor/DIY blog, but I may share some photos of projects we’re working on from time to time.
During the two-ish months of being under contract writing here and cooking have definitely helped to keep me somewhat stable as I had an outlet in which to channel all of my house-buying anxiety. I’ve even done a little experimenting, as evidenced by this sage and sausage pasta with butter: I made it back in the wintertime when I was craving something warm and comforting and it came out really well, so I wanted to try it one more time to a.) get a better shot of it in natural light and b.) write down the ingredients so I could remember exactly how much I used of everything. It’s a pretty fast dish to bring together: the main thing is you have to cook the sausages most of the way through, and then take them out and melt down the butter and add the sage, pasta, and cheese. You could even turn this into a brown butter sauce if you had the inclination; just let the butter go longer until it starts to get that brown (but not too brown!) color before removing it from the heat. I also found myself really liking the sage as softer leaves all blended with the pasta, but if you felt like frying them ahead of time that would be tasty too.
It’s kind of the perfect dish to be enjoying right now since the weather wants to give us some winter weather now that we’re in April; when I’m feeling more optimisticI try to think of this as our last chance to make some warm comfort foods before we give way to hot summer nights and not even wanting to look at the stove.
Spaghetti with Sausage and Butter-Sage Sauce
- 1 lb spaghetti
- 2 links sausage of your choice (I like using a hot and a sweet, or a regular sweet and a flavored sweet–mix it up!), casing removed
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 20 sage leaves
- 3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
- A little olive oil
- Kosher salt to taste
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While the water heats up, add a little olive oil to a large saute pan and bring to medium-high heat. Add the sausage, breaking it down into smaller pieces and cooking it through until the pieces are no longer pink. Remove with a spider and let drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
Salt the water (a good tablespoon or so is enough) and add the pasta; while it’s cooking add the butter to the saute pan and melt over medium heat. When fully melted, add the sage leaves, let them cook for a minute or two and take off the heat. Add the sausage back into the pan
Reserve a cup of the cooking water from the pasta, and when the pasta is just about al dente, drain and add it to the pan with the butter and put it on medium heat. Using tongs, toss the pasta well to coat with the butter and sage and sausage, and slowly start to add in the cheese so that it melts evenly. Add a little pasta water here to help with this if needed, and let the pasta cook in the pan for about two minutes to get to the right texture. Remove from heat and serve immediately.