Suddenly it's Spring, and the air is filled with fragrant allergens. Gorgeous blooming trees everywhere, and it's hot enough to wear tanks, shorts, sandals. Just like that.
And just like that, we almost had an offer accepted on a bank-owned property. But, offer withdrawn. It was our third one—it could've been the charm, but it was not to be. I think this was another case of house hunter fatigue. Happens when you're desperate to buy a house, to get out of where you currently rent. Which isn't horrible, except for the folks rolling shopping carts full of stuff they've taken out of your recycle bins to the recycling center in the grocery store parking lot a block away. I haven't heard any gun shots in the night lately. And we love our neighbors—they're almost a reason to stay. The woman two houses down wrote the song, It's my party and I'll cry if I want to. Really.
Said house has 3 bedrooms, 2 semi-updated baths, 1380 square feet of living space, a kitchen sporting a Golden Harvest formica countertop circa 1971, new beige carpet, and a swimming pool currently full of algae.
Fresh from a line of disappointments, this house seemed like it would do. We didn't love it, it seemed small, it lacked charm (unless you consider '70s rancher fake brick "charm") but it could be dolled up. Its potential for cosmetic renovation was obvious and straightforward. It had a pool (which Hubs always wanted), and it was reasonably priced (though not an awesome deal compared to other homes we loved and lost out or disagreed on). The Hubster was on a mission, we'd been intensely pursuing homes for about six weeks, he wanted to make an offer the bank would accept, he just wanted the whole process to be over. The larger house next door went on the market at 85K more, the day we decided to make an offer, and there was a possibility that would heighten activity for this house.
Long story short, this house was probably priced high for the market, and our offer was reasonable in relation to the asking price, but high in terms of the comps for the area. Looking back six months is worthless in this market. Data for this year is in, but difficult to interpret. Which homes were distressed and which were regular sales? Are the low sales prices due to appraisals of homes, is Pinole just a low-priced area, or is it in freefall? The bank accepted our offer much too quickly, but the lag time between verbal acceptance and actually getting the signed contract back from the bank caused Mike to decide that the lack of boat parking, the possibility my sister might live with us (insufficient living space), and not being smitten by the property to begin with was enough to withdraw the high bid.
Should we have gone through the process and waited for the appraisal? What if it appraised for what we offered? We'll never know, because all the discussion and upheaval killed whatever inspiration we'd mustered for the project. I feel one either has to be inspired by the home or it's gotta be one hell of a deal to overcome the obstacles of being first time homeowners (if you don't have kids/school districts and all that to worry about).
The stress of house hunting has called forth various and sundry relationship issues. Differing core values that were never in conflict suddenly emerged, creating strife, doubt, and unforeseen emotional upheaval. I haven't felt this upset since before I was diagnosed, and I fear the consequences of ongoing stress. The lifestyle changes that accompany catastrophic illness are very abstract to someone who's never experienced major illness. The idea of being restricted by considerations like avoiding anything with stairs seems ridiculous. Having lost ground on my priorities (neighborhood with amenities, proximity to emergency contacts/family/friends), I can't give in on this point. His priorities are pool or view, boat parking, abundant space—inside and out. I want a real closet for my clothes and a one story house (which I've heard referred to as "extravagant"), in a decent neighborhood. Can't we just get along?
So, it's back to square one. I'm by no means in the clear, healthwise. I don't even recall my oncologist saying, "You appear to be in remission." All he said was, we're taking you off treatment and we'll see where that lead in eight weeks. If I get sick again, all I can think of is how the past three months have been spent on househunting—agonizing, arguing, constantly going over the process. Three months of life wasted on being miserable. I made it to my tenth anniversary and got healthy so I could be embroiled in an activity that's tearing us apart.
"Home" is a frame of mind and the feeling you create where you are. It's not tied to ownership. But maybe I think that because I'm not materialistic. I've spent my life looking for that elusive feeling called Home. I found it being with my husband. Anywhere we live would be tolerable to me because he's there. But he is object-oriented, and ownership is an affirmation of achievement and proof of what he works for. It's not enough to have the feeling, it's necessary to have control over the space. My idea of control is being able to leave when I want/need to. Commitment of the magnitude called for by a large mortgage is a burden not worth the liberation offered by owning the space. Ah, core values.
I'm sad, tired, confused, unsure of things. I also don't feel good. I need a cocktail, or something.
Happy times at the rental in Alameda. (Very corny, but happy)