Sunday, January 3, 2010

home, part almost infinity

So my dh and I have been talking about the house question. I ran by him my idea that the longer list of things to do with it, the list whose length depressed us a bit, might all be inexpensive things. (In fact, from a certain perspective, if every room's paint job is flawed, that's a good thing. We'd probably want to choose our own colors anyway, and I'd feel guilty redoing paint in good condition; whereas if it appears to be in bad condition, it could only help our bargaining power.) He said he had been thinking and he realized that what we both really love is that town that we found - so it doesn't make a lot of sense to compare a house in a neighboring town as if they could be equivalent.

I thought about it and decided that he was right. He's not going to be doing his current job a year from now (we hope he'll be with the same company, maybe in another location). I don't suppose I'll be in my current job in ten years (have been thinking about switching in 3-5 years; later if I don't see anything else I want, sooner if something fantastic comes along). But I want to be in my house in ten years, unless we leave the DC area altogether. It makes sense to me to look for a job near where I live, rather than a house near where I work, if I'm attached to the housing locale more than the job locale. Until then, I think I can suffer with the commute. My employer is coming to grips psychologically with its telework policy, and in a few months or a year when an adequate comfort level has been reached, maybe I'll ask to telework every Monday, or something.

I still have a number of questions about the house. For example, I want to have some idea of the number of potentially expensive repairs needed, and a very general estimate of their cost (for example, for the water problem), before we make an offer. I need to run by our realtors whether this is normal, reasonable, or possible. We also spent last evening with some friends. He used to flip houses for a living. They live in an awesome historic home now. They actually volunteered to come look at the house with us. They've done lots of repairs and renovations themselves, so that would be huge. (Plus they're a lot of fun just in general.)

So I'm feeling better about that house. I've also been thinking - we'll be out of the way geographically from many of the friends we now spend time with. Right now, we're maybe the only household that's centrally located and willing to host gatherings all the time. So we see people a lot. If we move 25 miles away, people will still be willing to come see us, I hope, but probably not as often. The question is whether that's a bad thing, indifferent, or even a good thing. I don't know. We're willing to drive, too, so I guess we would see people if we wanted to.

There's one other thing I've been thinking about. A lot of things about this town clicked for me. The idyllic quality really attracted me, but the safety factor would really mean a lot to my husband. He worries about me much, much too much. It's actually a significant source of stress. If I lived somewhere off-the-charts safe (and this place is), I think that might bring us a lot of peace. So that's made a big impression on me.

But one thing I thought I would see fall into place with the place I'm supposed to work/live/be is an opportunity to go to daily Mass easily. This is the furthest I've worked from a Catholic church since starting law school - actually too far to walk there, attend Mass, and walk back during my lunch hour. I've always been close enough to do that. And there's one daily Mass close to my house that drives me to absolute madness and I finally stopped attending; and one that's a mile away (not a really short walk) and doesn't have a particularly convenient Mass schedule. (If I were a really early riser, I could make it work - which would be easy, since I have so much extra energy all the time. By the way, I got some of those supplements that Cathy suggested - one of the short-term and one of the long-term. Been taking them two days - will report on any changes.)

The town where the tan house is is tiny. It only has one church in it, which isn't Catholic. The nearest Catholic parish appears to be a good parish and is less than two miles away, which, for Sunday Mass purposes, is fine. But its daily Mass is at 6:30AM, which I think might kill me. And to get to the church, I'd actually have to drive in the opposite direction from the metro stop I'd have to use to get to work. So I'd lose 90 minutes of sleep for 30 minutes of daily Mass, I think. Not the calculus I was hoping for. Should I hold out for an arrangement in which everything falls into place? Maybe I'm missing something that would make it all work. I don't know.

I also noticed a foreclosure that was having an open house this afternoon. The house is very old and it's pretty close to where I live, so I stopped by. A great price. We would have so much space I wouldn't even know what to do with it. It does need a few repairs, since it's a foreclosure. But the neighborhood is very mixed. And the former owners remodeled everything - it looks like a builder's model. On the outside, it's clearly 1904. On the inside, you'd never know. So no love. I went home.

Still can't get my mind off the tan house...


  1. So I am guessing that there isn't a Mass opportunity near your work? The schedule doesn't suit where I live either, so you have my sympathy.

  2. I was momentarily confused by the reference to blogging about sex, but finding two posts in a row about houses. It works for me, though, because houses are the new sex. If the photograph is of your house, or a house you are going to buy, I am going to try to steal your life. I can imagine myself walking through that room several times a day, on my way to the kitchen, to look out the enormous windows to the beautiful view I know must be outside them, and to make big, lively dinner parties in it with lots of warmth and laughter.

    Okay, okay, I'm settling down. It took a year, and nearly 90 house visits for my husband and I to find the house of our dreams. It was in need of complete renovation, which we lived through in two halves, and had the character we wanted, but it's too small, in that quirky, old-fashioned way, 160 year old way. It looks cluttered now, so not as gorgeous as it could be. I think I may have to embark on a house search!

    Good luck with everything.