Hi! I'm still sick, so much so that the new OB-GYN at the practice refused to shake my hand today. (Pffft! Amateur!) I'm back at home cocooning and trying to get some rest. Needless to say, there is nothing exciting to report in the past two weeks. I've turned into a hermit. In the meantime, I dug this up in case you need something to help you procrastinate.
Stay warm. And don't shake germy people's hands.
Few things have tested my sanity like trying to buy a house in Massachusetts. I have a toddler, so that’s saying a lot. We’ve been searching for a house for over a year now, and I see no end in sight – even in this buyer’s market. The only reason we haven’t given up and moved to a state where sellers of little old mildew-infested houses with plaid wallpaper and one tiny bath don’t expect a million dollars (ha!) is because of the optimism of our real estate agent - The World's Most Patient Realtor - who dutifully digs through the MLS for us even though he knows that my husband and I are convinced that a decent 4-bedroom house does not exist in our price range. Looking for one is a fool’s quest, like looking for leprechauns at the end of a rainbow, an activity solely for the very young or naïve.
A few months ago we went to see an antique colonial so perfect that it brought tears to my eyes. It did! While the house was built in 1847, the kitchen is a marvel of modern technology, with a Wolf stove and Sub-Zero refrigerator, a prep island with a sink, a sunny sitting area for six and a huge family room. The living and dining rooms have floor to ceiling windows, and the house is surrounded by a white picket fence. I could walk to a coffee shop and bakery within 2 minutes, drive to a major shopping area within 5, and be in downtown Boston in 20 minutes.
This city woman didn’t even mind the fact that the location is more picturesque than urban. My husband, however, completely freaked out at the sight of farm animals, even though we would only be 15 minutes from where we currently live. It doesn't bother me as much as it does him, because as far as I'm concerned, if this town is good enough for Neiman Marcus and Whole Foods, it's good enough for me.
Despite my husband's hesitation, he couldn't hide his excitement at the beauty of this house. The best part is that we've seen houses at this price, houses that are a fraction of the size and dumpy and smelly. Not this house. This house has been cared for, lovingly restored and maintained. Unlike most of the other houses in our price range, this was a house where I could see us really living.
“ This is a great part of town. You get the best of both village and city life.” Our realtor was clearly sensing our interest and was having high hopes of his own. Maybe he would finally be rid of us and be able to move on with his life.
“I know!” I replied.
“They must have invested at least $50K in the kitchen.” He was impressed too! I was already dreaming of having my morning Cheerios in a $50,000 kitchen. “The amazing thing is that the basement is dry even after all the rain we’ve had this week.”
I tried to act cool, “Yes, this house is nice.”
“However,” (our realtor always points out the negative), “this house is next door to a cemetery. Do you know what that means?”
“It means that we would have really quiet neighbors,” I said, desperately, as I fondled the French doors leading to ‘my’ sunroom/office.
He looked at me for a second, then pointed at me, and said, “You! You should go into real estate!”
Ah yes - I forgot to mention the fabulous deck with a view to the great beyond. (Which, interestingly, the seller’s agent forgot to mention as well.) But after months of touring houses that I just wasn’t that into - I was finally in love. And who’s going to let a few tombstones come between them and true love?
Of course, real estate is more complicated than love. I tried to be positive (“just THINK of the Halloween parties!”) but my husband wasn’t buying it. So we passed on the house. I was heartbroken, but time has healed the wound, mostly. And the search goes on.