Saturday, November 26, 2011

Square Footage

This post changes and evolves the longer I let it marinate in my mind. That happens some time.

This post this time last week would have been to tell you that you were right. The haunted house was our gateway walk through. That it set us on a path that led us to a house that would be a right fit.

This time last week would have been to tell you we found it and it is all I can do to make space in my brain to think about anything other than The House.

Great location. In the mountains. On over an acre of land. Walking distance from a couple we really, really like. Modern construction. Tons of natural light. Huge kitchen pimped out with appliances we would dream about when there was a Wolf store within walking distance of a place we used to live. Dudes, this kitchen - it is the opposite of the kitchen we tolerate now.

It is the first place we have looked at that didn't feel like a lateral move. That didn't feel like we would be giving up something if we move from here to there.

The catch: it's priced high. Way too high. Well above what we thought was our comfort level.

So we bid low. Way too low. Knowing we had a few factors in our favor:
  • the sellers separated right as they bought this house. As in, she never even moved in (ouch)
  • he lost his job
  • the place has been on the market for 7 months without a bid
  • we were comfortable with the bid we placed and,
  • we have nothing to lose. No urgency. No need to move. The worse they could say was no.
They didn't say no, but after a week of waiting, well past the deadline given, they did say, um, come back when you want to offer something "a little more reasonable."

So, we took some time to reflect. And to make them wait, because they made us wait. And we're mature like that.

So we've been sleeping with the idea of owning a house. For the first time ever. It's a pretty big idea for us to get our heads around. The more we sleep with the idea, the more we think about things that are less than ideal about our ideal house:
  • While the location is great, it's not in the city. Things that are walking distance for me would no longer be. A second car would probably be in the works sometime in the future.
  • While the place is incredible, I wouldn't mind if it were about 1000 sq feet smaller. In my mind, It. is. massive. And while I think I could grow into it, I know the size makes M uncomfortable. A little self-conscious, even. Several rooms would go unfurnished for a bit.
  • What would we do with a place that is clearly built for entertaining we rarely have people up in our space (see "social anxiety" post from a few days ago)
  • While it would still be a steal if we could grab it under a certain amount, holy shit that is still a lot of money. For a house. What other things are negated once the down payment is made and the mortgage becomes a monthly obligation? Do we want a house more than those other things?
And you see where this is going, right? We're well into existential territory here.
  • Do we want a house more than we want to head to Poland for Eur0 2012 next year, more than any other travel plans?
  • Do we want a house, this house, enough to commit to living in this city, a city where job prospects are less than golden for M, for the next several years?
  • Do we want this house enough to dedicate our funds to it?
  • Do we want to buy this house when perhaps we could build one for a comparable price?
  • Do we want a house????
  • What exactly do we want from a house?
So the "building a house" idea took over a HUGE portion of my daydreaming this week. Especially when M sent me to this design site and showed me his dream house. Whoa. Those dreams faded a bit when we realized that empty lots are somehow almost as much as ones with houses built on them. How is that possible?

So we sat on the idea and thought about it all a little more. What do we want? We want to make as minimal an impact on the environment as possible. Building a completely new construction doesn't necessarily gel with that. But living in a nearly 100-year old building that was here before we were and will probably be here when we're gone might. Maintaining a single-car household and ridiculously low energy bills does too....

Holy crap, what if we are totally OK right here, where we are?

It feels like this might be the conclusion we are coming to. And part of me feels really ok with that - like after you put your own clothes back on after a particularly brutal afternoon in a dressing room trying on new skirts. Part of me wonders if the easiest thing to do is nothing. But if nothing's broken, is there really a need to fix? Is inertia always a bad thing?

I don't think this conversation is over just yet. I think these questions are good ones to ask. My acupuncturist called it "mindful reflection of life" or something to that effect. Whatever she said, she made me feel not bad about setting off on this journey only to end up right where we started. At least for now.

No comments: