Wednesday, August 17, 2005


The head spins with a myriad of houses: dormered and flat, classic and cantilevered, fenced-in and set back. Looking back, they blur into each other, until we cannot remember which wooded yard goes with which garage, which stairs were too narrow, which finished basement smelled like catbox, or why that was significant.

Most have a single but fatal flaw. The pondside beauty has too many stairs; the saltbox has too many tiny rooms. One has bedrooms upstairs but the shower downstairs; a few have two bedrooms upstairs and a master downstairs, a definite disaster while the children are too young to be that far away in slumber. Two have signs of mold in the basement. Too many are too close to the road.

Some make us nauseous. The fixer-upper, a bad acid trip of a house complete with sinkholes in the yard and a cracked foundation, warps and pitches in every room. Another, an otherwise-perfect three-story newly built atop a steep driveway, shows a subtle tilt forward, as if any moment it might slide over the unplowable dirt road into the lake below.

Eleven houses in three days, and a half-dozen before that – a month of searching, of half-hour stopovers in other people’s houses long-empty of habitation or so recently vacated the tub is still wet.

But not for naught.

We’ll spend the weekend talking mortgages with banks and mortgage go-betweens. God, real estate agents, and the Federal Housing Authority willing, we’ll make an offer on a house by Tuesday. We’ve even got a second house in mind if the first choice falls through.

In the end, you see, there was only one real criteria: If we’re going to be in debt forever, I want to come home every day to a house that seems absolutely worth it.

And so far, either one or the other would be worth every bent penny we might scrimp and save over the next 30 years or more.

Wish us luck, eh? For the kids’ sake, and for mine.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:38 PM |

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