Home Sweet Home

by Bella Rum

home-sweet-homeFrom Friday morning until Sunday afternoon, this weekend was an up and down affair. We went house shopping on Friday, and that got the ball rolling. We found two (TWO) houses in our favorite community that would work for us. You have  no idea how unbelievable that is. We’ve been looking for almost a year. I was so excited on Friday night that I wrote a glowing post about one of the houses, but did not publish it. I became superstitious, and decided it could jinx the whole thing.

We looked at one house that was workable, but it needed some help on the interior. The floor plan was pretty nice: first-floor bedroom, ample living area, another small room that could be used as an office and two bedrooms upstairs for the kids. There was no storage space. The kitchen was not as open as I would like, and it needed a lot of updating, but overall, considering what we’ve seen to date, it looked pretty good to us. We seriously considered making an offer, but we had another house to look at first.

We went to the other house. It had a very steep driveway, but after we crab-walked our way down and made it through the front door, we fell in love. It was an ideal living space for us. I couldn’t believe it. It was much smaller than our house. It had everything we needed on one floor. It had a deck that ran the length of the back of the house and three doors opened onto it. It looked out on a beautiful grove of trees and a quiet backyard, AND the inside had a lot of well-chosen upgrades.

Yes, it had minimal storage and that damned steep driveway (Mt. Everest steep).

But we were filled with excitement. H could see himself drinking a beer on that deck, watching the birds, playing golf on that course, and grilling steaks for our friends who were still nimble enough to make it down that steep front yard. Surely some of them could manage. I pictured myself being only a few feet from the coffee in the morning, everything conveniently on one floor, cleaning the entire house in an hour, reading in the sunroom as raindrops slowly drizzled down the windows, reading in the sunroom as leaves turned from green to gold, reading in the sunroom as spring brought new life to the world. It had a damn sunroom, y’all.

We nudged the steep driveway to a shadowy little corner of our minds, declared that we would buy a few pieces of furniture to provide plenty of storage, and go home and purge down to our skivvies. We suddenly realized that it would, in fact, be better for the kids if they were not stuck with all our crap when we died. Why hadn’t we seen that before? We made an offer at $15K below asking price with a contingency on selling our house. Then we went home and waited.

They countered Saturday night at $2K more than our offer and included the washer/dryer/refrigerator and the Bose speakers . Not bad. They were worth more than $2K and were all practically new and nicer than what we have here. But they wanted us to wave the contingency on the sale of our house. Decision-making time! We told our realtor that we would call her “tomorrow.” We slept on it.

You know what happened. We had time to think about that driveway. Time to have nightmares about that driveway. Time to go up and down that driveway all night long. That house was a jewel. It was perfection with a cherry on top. It was Christmas morning with snow on the ground and a new sled under the tree. It reminded me of so many of my brother’s past loves: beautiful, beguiling, filled with admirable and substantially good qualities that made you want to spend the rest of your life with it,  but with one utterly fatal flaw that wiped all that goodness away.

If we had more than two guests, the others would have to walk down that driveway. I envisioned my brother with two hip replacements and my friend with one hip replacement and two knee replacements in the near future. That decline was steeper than Jay Leno’s chin. A billy goat would have trouble negotiating that driveway. I thought about deliveries. I thought about someone plowing though the garage door. I thought about EMTs sliding up and down the hill on ice-coated grass with me on a gurney. I know how this works. Dad’s house was built into a hill, and it was always dicey getting him out of there.

When H woke the next morning, he came into the office and said, “I think we should refuse the offer.” He had thought all the same things I’d been thinking. He called the Realtor and told  her. She was disappointed. Join the club, but it’s for the best. You know it is. It would be ridiculous to buy a house to get first-floor living when you can’t even get to your mailbox without a pulley system. What were we thinking?

Oh, and in case you’re wondering why we didn’t go back and make an offer on the first house that we looked at on Friday? It had been on the market for three days. Someone made an offer on it a few hours after we looked at it. We really need first-floor living around here. Why can’t developers see that? Do I have to do everything?

H says he’s giving it till June. If we don’t find anything by then, he’s calling a contractor to put a bathroom in downstairs, and turn the living/dining rooms into a bedroom.

For now, the search continues.