After a month of house hunting, we’ve decided to rent for now.

Our realtor connected us with a family who is renting us their parents’ home on a flexible basis. It’s located in a friendly neighborhood and has a big yard and a patio. I’m ecstatic to reunite with a kitchen, even if it’s borrowed. During the past month of hotel life, I’ve maintained a checklist of foods I want to cook as soon as I get a kitchen. Knoephla soup and buttermilk pie are at the top.

We never expected the market to be so hectic. We hear that many senior citizens are moving to Mason City to be close to it’s hospital. Homes sell before Realtors even list them online and there are always multiple offers. Sometimes sellers list homes but prefer to sell to family or friends, and sometimes sellers don’t actually want to sell at all. On our last unsuccessful bid, the other party offered over the list price in cash. How do you compete with that?

Renting will allow us to pursue a home at a more relaxed pace in which we only offer what we want to offer. Hopefully, we’ll have a better chance at landing a home as the season nears winter when less folks want to move.

Hotel life still prevents us from dining out during the work week, but I’ve gotten to explore my new community. Here are some snapshots of communities in northern Iowa and southern Minnesota.

Charles City, IA

Suspension Bridge crossing the Cedar River

Reading Girl statue in Charles City’s central park. Cool, creepy or both? Why is she popping of the ground like that? Where’s her bottom half? 

Clear Lake, IA

Clear Lake dock on a hot and sunny July 3rd. 

Dows, IA

Dows is located about 30-minutes south of Mason City on I-35. There’s a large welcome center and restored blacksmith shop. According to TJs Great Places, Creme de la Creme is a nice place to stop for lunch and ice cream. The terrain is interspersed with little lakes. 

Owatonna, MN
On the way to the Twin Cities this week, my friend introduced me to Albert Lea, MN, located about 40 minutes north of Mason City on I-35. She treated me to a huge slice of homemade pizza from Jake’s, a popular lunch spot. 
You’ll find this statue along I-35 in Owatonna, MN in Christian Family Church’s parking lot. It’s visible from the freeway and located near Cabella’s. 
I found mention of this statue while searching Roadside America for detour possibilities. The statue is officially titled “This Coming King,” though the article mentions locals may refer to it as “Burger King Jesus” and “Hi Ho Jesus.” 
Strangely enough, the statue’s artist Max Greiner, Jr. claims he and his family, along with the interior of their home, were covered in millions of Glory Dust particles. He writes on his website that the particles are a miraculous substance not found on earth and also cites many other miracles related the creation of this statue.  

Sadly, I had no encounteres with Glory Dust. I’m not sure the statue is worthy of a detour, but you might as well stop by if you are visiting Cabella’s.