The summer of “07 our obsession with becoming homeowners hit critical mass. We had spent 2 years wasting time, building castles in the sky with homes that were out of our reach or always slipped through our fingers. We were beat-up, fed-up, and exhausted! After 3 back-to-back false alarms we decided that there was never going to be a perfect house or a perfect time and we just needed to suck it up and put in serious offers.
We went to a walk-a-thon in the community in which I taught. Through the misty haze I watched families circle the track at midnight, walking for a cure and I became moved. I saw myself there, five years from now with a toddler in a jogging stroller and an infant strapped to Brakes’ broad chest. Brakes loves this town; he sees big lots, a cozy community, and close proximity to water sports.
I had always resisted living there because I was a special education teacher for the local school district. Every time I stopped at Safeway on my way home from work I ran into someone from the community I knew. I think this quality could be a really great if I weren’t in special education. But special ed can get really emotional and be wrought with tension. When I go home, I need to be going to a place where I can decompress and sit on the patio with a glass of wine and bitch about what a rough day I had without worrying that my next-door neighbor is behind the fence taking notes on what I say so that she can share them at the next Lions Club meeting. Basically there is an old saying; you don’t “poo” where you eat, and if I lived where I worked, I know I would be asking for many awkward encounters and conflicts of interest.
That said, among the famous fog, and the yearning light in my sweet husband’s eyes, I had a change of heart. We immediately made an appointment with a realtor and put in an offer on a cramped 3 and a 2 with a so-so floor plan but on a gorgeous lot: water views in front, mountain views in back, a truly knock-your-socks-off locale. They were asking $695,000, we offered $650,000 as it had been on the market for a few months. The realtor was not hopeful and accused Brakes of “low-balling,” (which Brakes took as a compliment).
That night neither of us slept a wink. We both felt like we had signed our lives away. Brakes jostled me at about 4:30 am, needing to burn off some steam. My man is a deep sleeper, people. Normally, I could not pay him for action that early in the morning but he was super tense and we had houseguests so he couldn’t get up and work out. (Am I insulted that, in that instance, I was the equivalent to an elliptical machine? No, not really. I got mine. Anyways.)
When we received the owner’s counter offer later that afternoon we both blew a big sigh of relief; they countered at $693,500. Obviously there would be no meeting in the middle. We weren’t even disappointed. We both felt we had dodged another bullet. We agreed to not even glance at the housing market for at least 3 months. We needed to take a break, and quit letting this monster steal our time and monopolize our thoughts. The first weekend house hunting free was a little strange. We didn’t have a great deal to say to each other, but Brakes took me to Chucky Cheese to play ski-ball and drink watered-down beer (admittedly, he felt a little creepy going there without the cover of kids), and by Sunday morning we awoke refreshed and excited to go back to just being us without this giant elephant in our bed between our feet, next to the Monk and the Ru. Our bed is only a queen after all. Two adults, (though, I am very thin) two 50-pound dogs, and a giant elephant; it was a tight squeeze. And we did not even glance at the MLS for 3 months...
-----Update: I was recently chatting with a colleague who grew up on Berida. We determined that our house was sandwiched between her mother’s house and her uncle’s house so she has first-hand knowledge of the home. Apparently it was a genuine crack house the whole time she lived there, and when the crack heads finally OD’d it was bought by investors and flipped. The flippers did a shoddy job and it had a serious mold problem, which the investors handled by merely painting over. What you don’t know can’t hurt you, right? Unless it is crack-chemicals and black mold taking up residence in your pores and lungs as you sleep at night! Yikes! Looks like we OFFICIALLY dodged another bullet here... do you see a theme developing?