html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Reminiscing

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Justin reminds me that not everyone gets sentimental about houses. I know from my sister that not everyone gets sentimental about stuff. I guess she gets that from my Dad. When I called to tell my Dad that my car was stolen and I felt bad, he said "Kids and dogs. If it isn't a kid or a dog, don't call me about it." I presume he would grudgingly extend that to my cat. It was way foreseeable that I would get attached to my house, though. I wanted a house so bad.

If you count moving home for the summer and switching rooms, I moved about twenty-five times between 1990 and 1998. There were smaller and larger moves, although I nearly always repainted the place. I also did the moving-between-cities, cleaning-two-places, start-your-job-the-next-day move a couple times as well. By the time I got into second grad school, I wanted to do one last move and never move again. When my Dad called to tell me that he and Mom had been talking and if I wanted to buy a house they would give me the down, it was far better news than getting into grad school. When I put down the phone I walked straight out the door to go buy a book on home-buying, which I read as soon as I got home.

I still feel like buying that house was as hard as anything I've done, including grad school. I had no idea how. It was so complicated, and every task was new. How does one find the right realtor? I picked one, who eventually worked, but whom I had to constantly convince that a single girl like me didn't want a nice town-house in a safe suburb. Again and again I told her my street boundaries, and I am still sort of sorry she talked me out of the house with six abandoned houses on the block, directly across from two crackhouses. It was such a cute house, on a quarter acre, with a full guest house over the garage. For $89K. I would totally have gotten a big German Shepard, if that's what it took to live in that house. She said she wouldn't help me buy it, though. "Maybe if you had a husband... such a bad neighborhood... ." Every house on that block is fixed up now.

I grew to dread her phone calls. Every one of them meant a couple hours of research and work at a task I didn't understand. Phone call: get pre-qualified for a loan. What? How? What is a mortgage broker? Where does one get one? Now? I have a day to get this done? What? Phone call: Home inspection. Where does one find a trustworthy inspector in a new city and how much will that cost me? I understand it all better now, but at the time it was a month or so of mysterious unexpected tasks that I had no idea if I was doing right, in order to get something I wanted real bad.

We found my house. The previous owner was a trip. Neato woman my age, whose whole life revolved around becoming an ATF agent. She didn't have possessions; those would only hold her back. I met a boyfriend of hers later who told me that every six months or so, she would throw out everything she owned. She had one picnic table under the front window and a few books on shelves on one wall. That was it. Well, except for her three parrots, in two cages that filled the dining room. For the sake of the parrots she never once used the fireplace (CO2, dangerous to birds!) and installed an oversize air conditioner, which I gave away after three years of not turning it on. She let the birds fly free when she was home, and the carpet was gross. When I brought home kittens, I figured they must have loved the smell of the birds.

I moved in on the Fourth of July, with huge plans and no furniture. I did some of the plans, slowly. I learned why you don't believe first-time homeowners when they tell you about all the fantastic things they're going to do. I slowly got furniture, and about a year ago, I finally got a couple pieces of decent furniture. I like looking at those, so perhaps I'll try that again with more furniture.

It was a wonderful house for me. I'm the type to make associations, so all those wonderful dinners and parties seem to have sunk into the walls. Somehow, I never held the bad periods against the house. I would love to think I'm coming back to it, imagine bringing a husband and baby back to such a good house. I can't predict that, though, because it won't be entirely up to me. I should be comforted by thinking that the only reason I wouldn't come back to my pretty little house is that I have something better. I suppose that is true, but I'm doubtful. Better than my house is a pretty high bar.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did she become an ATF agent? What an odd thing to aspire to. -K.

5:51 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Dunno. Never heard more. From the little I talked to her, it was all she wanted. She was moving to follow an assignment that brought her closer to her dream.

6:05 PM  
Blogger Sweet Coalminer said...

Cheers, house. I will miss you.

2:42 PM  

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