Monday, January 4, 2010

How Looking for a House is Like Dating Part II

I am cheating on my house.  Pushed toward commitment, I've been checking out others every chance I get, and their novelty is certainly pulling me in. They're bigger, have updated bathrooms, new shiny appliances.  The charm of my little place, with its graceful arches and well-worn hardwood, is looking less appealing next to the the smell of fresh paint and new carpet. It's fun imagining myself opening another front door when guests come over.  Will friends see me as different, more substantial? 

I've been neglecting my old place, too, and getting grumpy.  I don't want to clean those ceiling fans.  What if I don't live here six weeks from now?  And every time I wipe down the kitchen, I see all those awful ceiling lights, and my own failings: that floor with the traces of red paint ingrained in it because when I moved in I decided to paint the back shed a brilliant crimson (bad, bad idea, which was promptly covered up in beige, but nevertheless a little got tracked in and I've never forgotten the ill-advised choice of my recently separated self) and never mind the roof. How is it that I've not really looked at the roof of every house I've driven past?  Now it's all I do. 

It's like dating a guy who has a lot of lovely qualities, but he's gotten a little soft over the years.  And his hairline is definitely receding.  The hairplugs are going to cost some coin, and even if I encourage him to join the gym, he still might not look that great, even with some work.  I can't be sentimental about it, because after all, I've haven't married the fellow.  We're just in a long-term, comfortable thing.  Do I really want to wake up every day and know this house belongs to me?

The truth is, I've got it bad for another structure.  It's got an extra bedroom, and this perfect family room at the back that I can just see the kids hanging in with their friends.  And then there's this huge deck at the back.  Oh, the deck.  A couple of steaks and some wine, and my friends and I will solve all the problems of the world. 

I'm infactuated to the extent that I've let my friends look at.  My kids, too, which I've never done with a house, and only once with a man.  He broke up with me two weeks later, but that had more to do with us (or more likely me) than with them.  Still, it's a cautionary experience. 

An inspection is a lot like meeting the in-laws, since most of us turn into our twelve year-old selves around our families. Or is that just me? At any rate, once I look under the crawlspace and see the wiring, I might think twice.  I'd like to think I am old enough to see past that deck, but there's no fool like an old one.  Or at least a middle-aged one.  Again, stay tuned.

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