The Great (House) Hunt

I can’t truly call this a vacation, despite spending a couple of afternoons splashing about with the HA in the hotel swimming pool. No, this trip has a rather more serious purpose. I spent the last couple of days driving about with MBW and the HA, meeting the real estate agent at this house or that. That’s right: the dreaded house hunt.

It is a compelling sport, full of drama, hope, and pathos. One experiences, for example, instant dislike. Why did we think we wanted to see this one? (Pictures can lie.) There is giddy anticipation. This would be fantastic. That is often followed by sinking disappointment as all the problems and issues become apparent: too many repairs required; impractically far from the HA’s school or MBW’s office. (We realized our mental map-to-reality conversion algorithm was off kilter and subsequently narrowed our search range.)

The critical factors are the two Ps: price and pool. Swimming pool, that is. With a low enough price we can afford to have a pool installed. And we can agree to a higher price so long as the place already has a pool. I’ve already lost count of how many houses we saw. I think the first one was an absurdly far drive from anywhere we needed to be. The second had all the amenities I’d want: pool with slide and water feature, poolside bar and grilling area, outdoor shower, game room. But the house itself was in a sad state of repair. The next couple we saw were contenders. MBW liked them. The asking prices were low enough we could budget for pool installation. But thirty + minute driving time to school would add up to more than a couple hours on the road each day.

Then there was the quasi-Victorian, built in 1980, and located in a beautiful neighborhood. The sort of neighborhood you see in movies and wish you could live there. And there was an octagonal tower room I could use for my library. But note the year it was built. To me 1980 doesn’t seem that long ago. However a substantial amount of wear and tear occurs in a house over forty years. (Forty two years, to be precise. How did that happen?) MBW did not share my enthusiasm. And yes, there was a smell. And electrical issues. And, and, and.

We found an option in a gated community. The price pushed hard against the limit, considering we’d need to factor in the cost of pool installation. Still, we all liked it.

And then we found The One. Angel chorus time, light shining on us from the heavens. Happiness. Followed by anxiety. Because locating the quarry meant we’d need to make the kill: and that starts with putting in an offer. An offer. A blind bid against several other people who must necessarily have heard this house’s siren call. After consultation, we went in aggressively. So aggressively that my skinflint, cheapskate spirit cried out in agony and began seriously considering leaving my body for a more convivial host.

It’s like firing a bullet and then having to wait twenty-four hours for it to strike the target — or miss altogether.

Or, as the wait goes on, perhaps more than twenty-four hours. As I write this sentence, late in the afternoon, I still don’t know if the offer has been accepted or not. If not, then we’ll make an offer on some other house.

Either way, I’ll have to pay. Have I mentioned I write books that are available for sale?

Because I care, here is a picture of baby ducks.

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