Friday, June 25, 2010

Home is where the mob is

The last time I looked at houses with a boy, we broke up the very same night. Its true. I couldn't make this kind of stuff up if I tried. I think when we really thought about what life would be like in the future, our irreconcilable differences over children and religion got in they way of built ins and crown moulding.

So it was a bit scary when we scheduled and appointment with my realtor to look at houses (but not nearly as scary as what we would see). I think we are both having a hard time with giving up what we have now and buying something in an area we don't know well with the uncertainty of what its really going to be like to live together.

At my suggestion, we are targeting houses about midway between his house and my house. My commute will get slightly longer, but I'll be closer to good restaurants and culture than I am now. The downside for Prof is that he will be further away from work, and good restaurants and culture. That's a problem for him, and it would be a problem for me too frankly. Who wants to give up the convenience of having the best Thai restaurant and ice cream place 3 minutes from your house, just to be with some girl who will nag on you all the time? Sounds like a losing proposition to me.

So, Midway Town is a collection of neighborhoods in what used to be the middle of nowhere, peppered with strip malls. Five years ago I would have never considered it to be livable, but a new park and YMCA make it a little better and its the best option available. The neighborhoods are randomly scattered - some adjacent to industrial type areas or warehouses and some fancy developments smack next to trailer parks. It is totally bizarre.

Prof and I carefully selected 4 houses to go look at, using the list that our realtor had provided. They were all in neighborhoods in different locations, with different features and way different square footage. I think one had maybe 1500 square feet, and the biggest one had close to 4,000 square feet. They were the same price. More on that later.

Once we picked the houses though, both of us started having some serious doubts. I mean, yeah, we can go look at houses an not do anything, but its scary. We are initiating a big thing here, and talking about buying a house in a kinda lame area that neither of us really want to live in. Hard to get excited about that. I started it. I got really grumpy and negative early in the week. Thank god Prof was still positive and upbeat. He talked me out of my grump and I was ready to go again. Then the next day or so, Prof got in a grump about it. I tried to be positive and upbeat, but it didn't work because I was still feeling a bit unsettled. It really brought me down. I felt like there was no way out. I can't move there, he can't move here, I'm not doing this back and forth thing anymore because its totally killing me so what's the point? Maybe we should just quit.

Those thoughts are absolutely absurd, but, that's where I went with it. Its so easy to overreact when you are feeling uncertain about a choice you are about to make.

We got our wits about us by the time house shopping day rolled around. I mean, we are snooping in four houses and don't have any intention of buying anything yet. What's the big deal?

House #1 was a 70's colonial deal on a huge lot, with a pool. The house was a bit too 70's - we'd have to knock walls out to make it livable. And all the bedrooms were painted some sort of purple. So, on to the next one, which was new and much smaller. It was in one of those neighborhoods that is nestled next to a little manufacturing area. Neither one of us liked that, and Prof thought the houses were too close together. If we had to though, I think we could have bought it and worked with it. Third house was unremarkable except it smelled like dog and was so close to the highway that you could hear the constant buzzing of traffic. Nope. We got out of there pretty quickly.

Then on to the final house, which I actually liked the best from the pictures. It was huge though, nearly 4,000 square feet, but had this great big wrap around front porch and was a really reasonable price. Too bad it was a Russian mob house.

I swear to you. This place was absolutely insane. All the furniture had been cleared out - I think it was a foreclosure or short sale or something. The front entrance hallway was the size of a hotel lobby. It had two rooms on either side, one with blue carpet and curtains, and one with red. It had a huge stairway to the second floor - but something about it made you not want to go up there. I'm not going to belabor the point, but this was a creepy house. It had two stairways, 5 bedrooms (one with no windows) and a finished basement. That locked from the OUTSIDE. Who has a room that locks from the outside? Man, this place was horrible and we just wanted to get the hell out.

Then we saw through a window, a sliding glass door that we didn't see from the inside of the house. Where the hell is that sliding glass door? We went into the room next to it, and no door. Nada. This place had a room we could see from the outside of the house, but couldn't find from the inside. Something very unusual was happening in this creepy house, if not criminal.

Mob house notwithstanding, I think we both feel better about the area and the houses. We mostly agreed on stuff that we liked and didn't like, and general neighborhoods. Its going to be a slow process, but maybe we'll find more creepy houses I can blog about.

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