We were in the car last week when my poor, long-suffering wife asked me, “So, are you excited to go house-hunting this weekend?”
It is a personality deficiency on my part that I cannot be dishonest in these situations. Can’t just say, “Yeah, it’s been a few months since the last time, should be fun,” and be done with it.
In fact, house-hunting is not fun. If it’s not the exact opposite, it’s gotta be close. If owning a home wasn’t cheaper on a per-month basis than renting the condo we’re in now, I would have no interest at all. Where we live, I don’t have to mow a lawn or worry about hiring someone. I don’t have to shovel a driveway if it snows, or even spread de-icer on the sidewalk. The company that owns the development always does an excellent job of that because they don’t want to be sued. And I’m more than happy to go on not suing them, because dammit, that’s fine work.
To my poor, long-suffering wife, I said, “Not really,” and then went on to explain that—having tried to buy a house for no less than eight months last year and come up empty time and again, after against our better judgment getting emotionally involved in purchasing properties and the potential for making a home, something genuinely ours, over a period of years and decades constituting the bulk of our lives together, only to have it whisked away by some higher offer from a contractor who wants to flip the property or some hitherto-undisclosed chemical leak rendering the entire neighborhood carcinogenic—I’d yet to find a part that came even close to something a sane person might enjoy.
Unsurprisingly, it was the end of the conversation.
And that’s what it’s like to be married to me.
We did go house-hunting this past weekend, however. The closest thing to a livable space we found was a two-story with water in the basement—gutters, we thought, but didn’t know—being rented to college students who just happened to be passed out on couches in the living room when we walked in. We must have stomped around for 20 solid minutes, up and down creaky stairs, checking out the mysterious holes in the walls, the unsourced breeze blowing through the kitchen, indeed the water in the basement and the bathrooms that, well, were being used by 19-year-old boys exclusively, but they never stirred until we were on our way out the door. Even then, nothing close to consciousness. Move right in!
The others? Well, it was the usual assortment of upstairs ceilings so low I couldn’t stand up, stolen copper pipes, black mold, bad locations and busted windows. Why not find something nicer? Because I have no money and between my poor, long-suffering wife and I, we have tens of thousands of dollars in student debt the payment plan for which even as I type this they’re trying to further fuck me on. Thanks for asking.
Worst part is I’m lucky and I know it. I have a place to live at all—many don’t—that’s comfortable, where the heat works and there’s a Whole Foods nearby and they spread the de-icer. Although we just made it through our first pay period in four months without having both checking accounts overdrawn by the time the next deposit was made, we’re surviving, my poor, long-suffering wife and I. Perhaps this makes me lucky most of all since it means I don’t have to rush in terms of finding an actual house to purchase, because if events to date are any indication, it’s not going to be a quick process.