Monday, February 7, 2011

self inflicted house hunting headache

 I assume that somewhere in the Big Book of How to Do Things in a Way That Makes Sense you don't just pack up and move your family to an island without making some simple plans.  We had 11 days covered.  We were going to stay at a resort and have fun and look for a place to rent long term.  I didn't realize it was an either/or thing. Craigslist seemed to be a lot more full of houses when we were browsing a few weeks before we got here so we stopped looking and assumed there would be plenty when we got here (there were plenty of crappy ones, it turns out).  And besides, without somewhat of a feel for the island, we didn't know where to look.

So, here I was, sitting by the pool so I could watch my kids swim, as I looked on line and called and called and called to line up places to look through.  The people who were actually on vacation must have thought I was nuts.  I would have agreed. 
This kids enjoying the pool.  The amazing pool.
 We looked at a so many houses.  So many that I didn't even think to take pictures because I didn't even want to remember.  But now that we are settled a little, I feel better and I am glad that my dad took some photos.

So, this house looks cute, right?  But then you go inside and, well, I just couldn't imagine letting Maximus learn to crawl on those floors.  And the bathroom door was messed up and the lady couldn't get it open and Karl had to use some tool to get it open.  That sounds just perfect for Eva and Samuel, right?  

There were so many gross houses.  Especially the ones that weren't expecting visitors. Gross as in dead cockroaches being eaten by ants (sorry, I know that is so gross).  Gross as in hippie tenants that took the "if it's yellow let it mellow" to the extreme.  Gross as in, "Well, if you scrub it and it's still black, that just means it's stained."  Gross as in a giant colorful spider that ended up on Karl's cheek and the kids wouldn't go near any corner because there were so many of those things.
 Then there were interesting ones like this, uh... Karl called it a geodesic dome.  It would be cool just because we were living in a dome but it wasn't ready for us to live in it.
There were places that were awesome.  With appliances so nice that I would never spend that much on something we actually owned.  With a cute German lady that lived next door that said she would baby sit my kids... "I baby sit your kids, make money."
 Places that had views to die for.  
And everyone says that these are good and that I will like them soon enough.  But for now, they make me want to die.  
And how about those homes that make me want to be really really really rich.  This pool, this view?  But in the end, a pool right outside the back door with kids that only shut the door 10% of the time and a little baby all didn't really seem to make much sense.
The house was GORGEOUS.  Seriously.  I couldn't shut up about it.  Just ask Karl.  It wasn't a McMansion.  It had the most perfect floor plan, highest quality every thing, no wasted space, a huge pantry, all on one floor... my dream home.  I found my dream home.
But they wanted a year commitment and more money than we should spend.  
In the end, time kind of decided where we were going to end up.  A guy would rent us his spec-home/McMansion/everything that Karl was against at one point/too-expensive-house on a month to month basis.  It was ready for us to move in, it was new-ish, it was clean, and it would mean that we wouldn't have to extend our stay at the resort and we were sick of looking for houses.
We also got our first mini van.  Our criteria?  It needed to last six months.  I think we made a good choice with our 1998 Toyota Sienna.  

And even though Samuel broke the door handle off 11 minutes after we bought it, I still think it will last us 6 months.  If you count the back, there are still 4 more door handles that we can use.  And if Samuel gets those, we were lucky enough to grow up in a time where Dukes of Hazard could teach us a thing or two about getting into cars.  Who needs door handles?

House?  Check (for now).
Car?  Check.
All the stuff that we need to live?  Still working on that one.

Tonight, for my bedtime reading, I will look through Craigslist on my phone and see what else I can find to furnish our home.

I totally feel like a poor college student again.  Except this time I have kids and so I am more afraid of gross stuff.

I am not sharing for sympathy, though if you want to share some, I'll accept.  I am sharing because this is part of the adventure.  And in every adventure there has to be tough parts, right?  Oh, and I learned something, too.  Awesome, I know.  I learned that with every house being so so so different, there is not perfect house.  Spider house, hippie house, stinky house, dome house, dream house, house with a reservoir to fish in, million dollar views house, mean landlord house... they all had some great things going for them.  And I am not just trying to make them feel better.  Houses don't have feelings.  I kept hoping for the house in the right neighborhood, in the right setting, in the right school boundaries... but I think I need to just accept that it might not exist.  I seriously didn't even put this much thought and effort in to the house that we actually bought six years ago.  See?  I'm learning.


Abbigail said...

agreed. There is no perfect house. Every house has something great about it and some things not so great. I think the only way to get a "perfect" house is to build it and design it from scratch on land that costs a fortune because it is so desirable. In order to make it the house that you really want it would end up costing more than any budget can handle.
The house that you got looks great and is in a lovely spot. I am so happy for you finding it.
Our house, there are some things that I do not like and most things I like. It is a little smaller than I thought I wanted, but I am trying to convince myself that it is living in a smaller home is more responsible and better to have no wasted space.
long comment! sorry.

Adri said...

I hate house hunting. I have only had to do it twice and both times I swore I wasn't going to do it again. I always fall in love with the homes that are way out of my price range. I love the home you picked... I think it looks amazing. What a great adventure for your whole family.

Pete said...

Great story! I have never house hunted before. It sounds terrible.

Malea said...

Sympathy, yep...sure. It's on it's way. As soon as my little fingers can list me on an available flight. I'll sympathize yer little heart out:DDD

I'm hoping to get there the 2nd week in April. I'm bringing a small army of awesome fellow zumba ladies including my super duper zumba instructor friend to sympathize with you. We can stay in a hotel, since there will be about 7 of us. But we can't WAIT to play. I'm so hoping that the non rev flight gods will agree with me and put me on your island.


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