Hello darkness my old friend...
It's the first day of autumn and I'm right on schedule for my annual bout of brooding Irish melancholia. Woot. Fall is a time for turning inward, shedding illusions, reflecting, and resetting. The chartreuse rebirth of spring came to fruition in the lush, deep, green foliage of summer. And now, as the leaves turn a panoply of gold, red, orange, yellow, and brown, they begin to wither and cascade from the trees. We are all heading back down, down, down into the abyss of darkness. The cycle of birth, death, repose, and rebirth continues endlessly.
Yeah, it's deep like that.
I have been house hunting for months. It's been exhausting. Everyone has advice for me. I appreciate their advice. The thing is, I'm not going to settle. A house is not a shirt or a TV show or a hair color. It's a huge decision. It's a semi-permanent decision from which it is difficult to extract oneself. It affects every aspect of your day to day existence. I refuse to settle for something that doesn't make me happy, because that will make me very sad. It will make me deep, dark, brooding Irish melancholia sad every damn day. I do not wish to be that sad on a daily basis. I am 54 fucking years old, folks. I'm not doing the 'sad because I hate where I live thing' again by choice. Buying a house is a huge commitment, it's a leap of faith. You're going to be there for a while, at least that's the conventional wisdom.
I have the luxury of being able to choose my house. I am not adrift on the ocean, or huddling under a cardboard box in the cold, or seeking refuge from a war torn or post disaster reality. I don't forget how lucky I am to have a choice of a home, not even for even a nano second. You know, in case you're thinking, "What a lame ass first world white lady blog post."
Raises glass of Sauvignon Blanc, "Oh, hello!"
That being said, buying a house when you don't have much money and you live in an expensive area is a challenge. Most of what we see are sad, dark, dumpy houses in neighborhoods filled with people who, based on the random array of decaying crap on their lawns, aren't feeling super happy about where they live. The key when you are buying a house when you don't have much money is to ask yourself this question,
"What is the compromise I'm willing to make?"
Is it distance? Is it size? Is it condition? Is it budgeting in a tall fence so you don't have to see your neighbors? Is it proximity to the road or a toxic waste dump? If you like a certain era and dislike another, are you willing to live with a house from an era that you don't love? Can you make it lovable, you know, with some shiplap, white trim, and happy paint colors?
I can't live with carpets, this is a problem when you are looking for a house. A lot of people love carpets, so a lot of houses are filled with wall to wall carpets. There's a fun game you can play called, "Guess what's under the carpet?" I am allergic to dust mites and I have three bad little rescue doggies who seem incapable of getting the "pee outside" memo. This means if a house has carpets, I have to hope there is hardwood underneath or hope we can scrape up the money to replace the carpet with laminate flooring. I'd prefer hardwood flooring, but that's not in the budget. Our dogs, given a choice, would prefer carpet, because it's soft on their nether regions when they pee.
My three bad doggies need a small yard in which to spramp, occasionally pee, and bark at squirrels and neighbors. I'd prefer it not be a vertical yard, because we've done that already in the Smoky Mountains. I'd like it if this horizontal yard had some sort of patio or deck. The "poop deck" from our vertical yard mountain house is the reason our three doggies are broken. Or it may be us, I'm not ruling that out. I'd also like it if the yard had the semblance of privacy, because I like people but not up in my face when I'm sitting in my horizontal yard yelling at my dogs for pooping on the deck.
In a perfect world, I'd find a Craftsman or Arts and Crafts era home or a 1920s-40s bungalow with beautiful architectural details flooded with light, outfitted with gleaming hardwood floors, a roomy kitchen with a chef's quality gas stove, two bathrooms so that no one ever need wait if they're having a poop-mergency...three generously sized bedrooms with generously sized closets, and an extra room somewhere for a studio/office. Bonus points for a studio/office with a plethora of windows. I'd like a dry basement, finished if possible as I am allergic to mold. No hay fields nearby, please, as I am allergic to hay. Also no busy roads with lots of exhaust and noise out front.
Finally, we'd like the house to be located in a quiet older neighborhood that backs up to the woods situated on the Cul de Sac.
Did you know that Cul de Sac is French for ass bag?
We would like to live on the ass bag, or butt sack, or what have you. This fits in with our poop deck and need for two bathrooms. I'm sensing a disturbing theme here, and yet...we do not wish to live in a shitty house in a shitty neighborhood.
And so the search marches on, in spite of my annual descent into brooding Irish melancholia. If I end up in a limewashed cottage with a thatched roof, you'll know why.