The thing about this little activity we’ve been embarking upon, called “When Madeleine Goes House Hunting” is that I am the exact opposite of these people. My standards, I think, are too low.
I don’t balk at a tiny floor plan, or the lack of an en suite bathroom. I don’t need a walk-in closet, or granite counter tops, or stainless-steel appliances.
No, instead it’s tiny, old, borderline-decrepit houses that are my kryptonite.
Arched doorways, old fireplaces, peaked roofs and gabled windows – drool. Throw in something like an old-lady pink bathtub and I’m basically purring. So when we look at houses I see one and I immediately fall in love. Hard. I can instantly see us puttering around the overgrown garden and hear Olive running up and down the worn hardwood stairs. I am completely capable of ignoring the sagging roof and old wiring, the original plumbing and large neon sign outside flashing “MONEY PIT!” over and over again.
I love houses with a story, one where I can imagine who lived there, who left there, how many years were spent shuffling around in the same routines, performing the same rituals. There’s something really comforting to me about that. It feels right somehow, that we would move into a place like that, it’s like skipping the record back to the beginning and playing it all over again – with a few new notes.
I don’t know, these houses just FIT me. I could paint the cupboards mint or install a clawfoot tub and it wouldn’t look one iota out of place. There is doing to be done, and I am just itching to get started. But the hard part is choosing. Choosing the right house in the right location and the right price and, of course, it goes without saying that none of those “rights” is finite, or measurable, or objective. They all vary depending on who is on the other end of the search. So it is sort of overwhelming sitting here clicking through dozens upon dozens of listings and the issue isn’t slim pickin’s, the issue is my ability to talk myself into any one of them because I am just so excited by the prospect of ordering a little address stamp and painting our front door.
A thirty minute commute wouldn’t be that bad!
That cemetery down the block might actually help with my tarot readings – and just imagine Halloween!
Yes the kitchen is small- okay tiny- alright practically non-existent, but now I have a great excuse not to cook!
It’s terrible. The most indecisive person in the world, tasked with making one of the biggest financial decisions she’ll ever make.
Initially I thought that the difficulty in this endeavor would be finding something that Adam and I both agreed upon. It goes without saying that we never agree on anything ever, so I had the feeling that this would end up being a real estate hunt of attrition, with the final decision made out of sheer exhaustion on the one property we could both tolerate. But, in a surprising turn of events, Adam has essentially given me carte blanche in this matter.
It’s what I’ve always wanted! How many times have I thought to myself (and said. Out loud. To him.) If you would just do what I say all the time, everything would be perfect! And now with him working so much I go to see most of the showings by myself, and if there’s anything promising he will accompany me for round two. But so far, that hasn’t happened. Because now I have to be the voice of reason in addition to the lovestruck house sentimentalist.
So while touring the house and pretending to listen to information about zoning and hot water tanks and shingles, I am having this weird internal debate where I try and present both points of view to approximate having Adam there to temper my enthusiasm with a much-needed dose of reality.
This is SO CUTE.
It’s alright, I guess. The neighbourhood’s a little rough
But look at those old wood kitchen cabinets! They don’t make ’em like that anymore!
Yeah, there’s a reason. And they’re avocado green.
The ceiling looks a little-
And the electrical is all-
It’s also only 700 sq ft.
So cozy! Do I need to read the pillow to you again?!
I don’t know. This is one of those decisions I find myself wishing that someone else could just make for me. I’ll write out all of my criteria, and you just DO it, OK? Do the scouting and the showings, the deciding and the bidding and the negotiating. Deal with the realtor and the lawyers, the bank people and the movers. Sign all of the paperwork and, while you’re at it, do the worrying for me too?
Worry about whether it’s the right decision, whether we’ll regret it. Worry about the money and the market, the schools and the neighbours. Worry about whether something better, more perfect will come up the day after we’ve signed on the dotted line.
As for me, I’ll show up at the end, when it’s time to unpack my books and hang mug hooks; daydream about where Olive’s big girl bed will go. I’ll (finally) order the Kilim rug and (finally) plant our vegetable garden. I will get to work making this house a home.