On Wednesday, I checked my email to look at the bazillion houses that went on the market the night before. Every day, we get between 5 and 10 new listings or price reductions. Its sort of like dating on e-Harmony, actually. "Oh, that one looks good!"
"oh. ew! Yuck. Nope." And so forth. But instead of wrinkling my nose when I clicked on this little blue house and looked at the pictures, I thought, "oh. huh. wow." And then I looked at the aerial photos, and immediately sent it on to Prof. "I think this house should definitely go on our list."
He was enthusiastic about it. And he should have been. The house is in about the exact location I wanted it to be in. Its got a huge backyard, a huge deck, trees, across the street from open space, on a culdesac (ok, not so much of a selling point for me. I despise culdesacs, but after living on a road where people whip by with their stereos blaring, culdesacs are starting to look a bit better), and very close to a park with wooded walking and biking trails. And a lake, for leisurely after work paddling. It has bamboo hardwood throughout - almost the exact floor I just put down in my own house. It pretty much met all of our criteria, and the price is decent.
I showed it to a couple co-workers, and T encouraged me to go see it immediately. I was going to wait until next week when we already had an appointment to go see some other houses we weren't that excited about. So, after a flurry of emails back and forth, our real estate agent got us in to see the house that day. Dude, in this market, the owners must be super excited. Who gets a showing on the first full day the house is on the market?!
We spent almost an hour inside and outside the house. Prof really, really likes it. Its got some design elements that weird me out a bit, but with paint and my furniture (our furniture?) I'm sure it would be workable. And did I mention the location and the price?
Up until this point though, buying a house and living together has been an abstract concept. Something that would happen far in the future. And when it happened, we'd be fully prepared. Like, we would have talked about how we would deal with our money and mortgage payments. And how we would deal with housework. And how we would deal when one of us wants the other one to just get out of their hair. And what temperature we keep the house at in the summer (80! No. 68! No! Too cold! No! Too hot!) And how we would rectify the fact that we are making an investment of hundreds of thousands of dollars together, without a long term agreement.
I don't know why I thought these things would magically be resolved. Now is really the time that we need to be serious about house shopping and making offers, since Prof's lease runs out this fall. And this perfect house and this perfect situation drops in our laps, almost exactly on schedule.
And we choke.
Well, I choke anyway.
I mean, holy shit. I've got a house. Its got bamboo floors and an awesome deck. I've also got autonomy. He's got autonomy. We don't get on each other's nerves - because its so rare that we get to spend real time together. We don't fight about money, or the trash, or whose socks are on the floor. But my house is small and in an area that doesn't really work for me anymore, and certainly doesn't work for us. And have I mentioned my annoying neighbors? And I'm getting tired (been tired) of having to schedule time with Prof, and maintaining two houses and having all my food spoil cuz I'm not here to eat it.
It feels like a real commitment to buy a house together. No, strike that. It IS a big commitment. Him moving into my house? No big deal. No long term agreement. If it doesn't work out, he moves out and finds something else. No divvying up equity, because I would keep it and I can afford the payments on my own. A house together? Well, that's pretty different. If things go sour, jointly owning real estate makes shit really difficult. And even though the house we are interested in is really affordable, I would never be able to make the payments on my own, and Prof would be stretched to. I mean, you don't want to think about breaking up when you are supposed to be excited about taking your relationship to the next level, but you'd be irresponsible not to consider it.
So, after we saw the house, we talked for a long time about stuff like this. Where the money comes from, the commitment it means, how its weird... and that led to our second real conversation about the benefits of marriage. And its something that I've been thinking a lot about. And something that I think he's been thinking a lot about. But neither of us really have faith in the institution of marriage. He's been burned by it, and I'm just cynical as hell about it.
So, we have to decide to shit or get off the pot. In so many ways, I'm ready. But in so many other ways, I'm not. I'm so happy right now, sitting in my living room with my couches, watching what I want to watch on tv (well, not really, because there is nothing on and my netflix won't be here until tomorrow), with the windows open (even though its making it hotter in here), doing my thing and relaxing. But at the same time, it would be really nice to also spend Friday night hanging out and relaxing with Prof, instead of Leroy the cat and Dateline.
We will go see it again next week, with some other similar ones. In the meantime, we are looking into mortgages and moving forward. But will we make an offer? I really don't know at this point. But I do know that Prof and I have a lot more talking to do.