Another Saturday, another house for sale to view. I scheduled this one, not with a lot of hope that it was “the one,” but only that it fit certain criteria–enough room, in our current school zone, close enough to the freeway, and near some natural areas. I convinced my husband and all but one daughter, who had a riding session, to give it a look.
It was pouring, and any house that could look good on such a day would be worth considering. The realtor met us on the porch and warned us that the tenants were there, with all five children and a dog. I thought they were the owners, so figured they’d be somewhat glad to have us look at least, but they were only renting, so it must have been an uncomfortable invasion. Were the owners selling it against their wishes? And here we were walking into all the rooms, with or without children and busy parents, looking in and out of doors and windows. It was uncomfortable. But I understood the difficulty of transporting five young ones somewhere on a rainy day for just an hour on a Saturday afternoon.
There was kitsch Jesus art on the walls. My daughter counted three. And nice family values quotes and hangings, cases full of mainstream Christian best sellers. Still, I liked the house–three whole stories with an unfinished basement and unfinished office space over the garage. But all stacked one on top of the other so there was no central place for the whole family or more to hang out. Also, the house was backed up pretty close to the next one, despite the half acre lot. The half acre was a poor compromise between our present third of an acre and the five or more on which we hoped to keep horses. There was southern exposure, but partially blocked by huge evergreens, which blocked the busy road, so not feasible to remove them.
It was a thumbs down, again. Some of us could picture living there, but most not at all.
There must be something for us out there, but we’ve been searching the web and exploring the county for months (as we did several years ago, unsuccessfully) and the same properties keep coming up, all with issues and nothing just right that we can afford. And, my husband reminded me, we have to finish off our own house so it’s rent- or sale-ready anyway, and that will take a few months. Still cabinets, trim, fencing and interior doors missing. I got quotes, and now have to follow up–got to get on that again this week. Yes, we could sell as is, but we’d really like to keep it as a rental/investment, possibly to downsize back into in ten years or so. We’d only sell it for a really good great place we could live in long term.
We could also remodel. We’ve renovated inside the envelope a good deal, but it could be time to add on. I’ve already designed an addition that would greatly expand living space, and we could do some of the work ourselves. But before we committed to acting on the plan (but after we’d dismantled part of the fence on that side), we decided to look at the market again.
My husband asked what is it I really want, or would want if I hadn’t anyone else to consider. But I told him I really couldn’t answer that, couldn’t imagine being happy where things weren’t right for all of us, or at least a good compromise all around. I feel like I’m the easiest one to please, but I suppose any one of us could say that. We each have only a few criteria, but they’re hard to overlap with reality. To consider also are the inevitable changes we can expect over time in our needs. Each child will be changing schools in one to three years, starting to move out most likely in two to eight years, and two probably not wanting to keep horses in three to five years. My husband may find a good job nearer home, I should be going back to work in one of the local school districts in two years or less, and there will be fewer people with less time at home who could take care of a mini-farm anyway.
I wish someone could help us develop an algorithm for this. Each person’s criteria entered, with formulae for changes over time, level of priority, exclusions and additions in special cases. and so on.
There also the possibility of hanging tight where we are. Seems I’m the only one who’s not okay with that. Something about not having any sort of space of my own for creative pursuits indoors, and not having permission to purge lots of other people’s unused possessions (I have purged and continue to purge my own) so we have room to flex inside this small space for the next few years. In the summer, it’s livable, but come fall rains, I feel very cramped, like we’re too many rats in a cage. It’s definitely not big enough to host visitors for any length of time, and I have regretted that.
Not that I want a mansion, even if we could afford it. I’d actually be ashamed of owning a megahouse, even if it weren’t for the trouble of taking care of it and paying high taxes. Unless we turned it into a retreat center, bed-and-breakfast or shelter.
Meanwhile we’ll keep saving from the paychecks and keeping our eyes open. And I’ll keep working on my attitude, trying to cultivate patience, contentment, thankfulness, and hope, as well as wisdom.