Road trip report

We’re back from our exploratory jaunt across the Great Plains. On the drive up north a few thunderstorms billowed into the Eastern Kansas sky.


We looked at roughly 15 homes in Grand Island. Three are possibilities, including the one pictured in last week’s post. A different one, however, stands out above the rest.

It’s a flip and has its quirks — the new kitchen cabinets desperately need to be rearranged, and new carpet was put down over original oak flooring — but is an incredible home for the price. The neighborhood is great (for us), well-kept and about six blocks from downtown, three blocks from a great park and half a block from the bike trail. The craftsmanship is excellent. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a house of this age (75 years old) so perfectly square! The space is sufficient, although the bedrooms are small. There’s room in the very clean basement for my clay studio, and a shared garage would function as a wood shop.


The doors and trim are in immaculate condition for a house of this age.

However, we did not make an offer on the place. The wife doesn’t have peace about it at the moment, and another option crept into the mix (although it’s more complicated in some ways) while we were up in Nebraska. My father started the process of purchasing another building in downtown Grand Island, one that would not need fire sprinklers to be lived in (on account of existing kitchen and baths).

Also, we didn’t even drive to Lincoln to look at homes after finding the taxes on the houses we could afford in the capital city to be too much. We knew property tax was high in Nebraska — people up there talk about moving down here just to get away from it — but it’s somewhat offset by significantly lower sales tax. Regardless, the taxes in Lincoln were high enough that we would not have saved money on housing costs in comparison to the Siloam Springs’ market.

The waiting is trying, but also an important discipline. For my wife, waiting is difficult because she likes to plan, she likes to know what’s coming. For me it’s difficult because I’m a doer. I don’t like waiting around for things to happen when I can be doing something about them. I knew this about myself before last week’s trip, but in the context of house-hunting it’s a new consideration. I also learned that I have a hard time passing up a good deal on something I like. The house above seems like a good deal and I like it, so I’m having to reason with myself when it comes to not making an offer.

We’re home for the next seven days. Next Tuesday we fly to Florida for a family reunion. I hope to fire the kiln before then, and perhaps finish one or two thunderstorm sculptures in clay this week as well.


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

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