So it’s happened again. For the second time in as many years, I fell madly in love.
No, no, not with a tall, handsome, mysterious, well read stranger with perfect credit. No, I fell in love with a piece of real estate and I fell hard.
This has only happened to me 3 times in my adult life. Once for the house I currently live in.
And all three times it was the same.
I’m talking love at first sight.
I’m talking as soon as I walked through the door, I “just knew.”
I’m talking take this money now and we’ll figure it out later.
Except, 2 times it didn’t work out.
And both times I was heartbroken.
I am heartbroken now if you count the most recent breakdown of negotiations (officially, “The Breakdown”). We had the most perfect first encounter. On a beautiful, sunny, bright, crisp winter day, I found myself at a private preview showing orchestrated seemingly by magic by a dear friend (and would be neighbor!).
I know it’s a bad character trait to have, but I’m an admittedly picky person. Anyone who really knows me knows this. I’m picky about the food I eat and that I feed my family. I’m picky about the clothes I wear. I’m picky about the men I date, but mostly, I’m picky about the place I call home.
In my quest for the right home, I feel like I’ve looked at 500 houses in the last few years. I’m guessing in reality the number is closer to 50, but, it feels like 500, sometimes it feels like 5000.
And I’m rarely satisfied, and I know this isn’t ideal. I go into house hunting with the same degree of critique as I go into first dates. I pick apart every possible flaw. Only three times were my tedious (I’m sure for the real estate agents) inspections passed.
I spend 90% of my time at home in my kitchen. So, if I don’t get a feeling when I walk into a kitchen, if there isn’t enough light, if the island isn’t big enough for rolling out dough, or the pantry can’t fit my vast assortment of cooking devices, it’s out.
I come from a big family. And we live big. We l̵i̵k̵e̵ — love to party. When I imagine our next home, I imagine a place where we can host big birthday parties and large family dinners. My dining room table must seat at least 12 for regular family dinners. Yes. 12.
I wrote the seller of the last heartbreaker a heartfelt letter about my kid riding around on the cul-de-sac and playing with his friends next door, hoping that I could sway him in my favor, but it didn’t work. I’m still suffering from cognitive dissonance between the feeling that that was my house and the reality that another person’s offer was accepted.
The Breakdown is worse than a breakup because all of my dreams and expectations for what it might be like to live in that seemingly perfect house were themselves perfect because they weren’t realized.
I know, really I do, that the reality of living in any house could never meet those expectations, a closet would have been too small along the line, something would break, the absence of a formal pantry would have frustrated me, and of course the kids would have trudged in with their belongings because it would be their home too (love them, I swear), but is it so wrong to imagine this one might have come close?
I’m back to grumpily proverbially swiping left on houses on zillow — houses that aren’t zoned to the right school, don’t have enough space, don’t have the possibility to finish the basement for the impending teenagers, that are on busy streets, that just don’t meet my expectations.
I know all the people telling me that the right house will come along and at the right time mean well, but I’m still in the angry and bitter phase of The Breakdown, so please indulge me while I complain about listed houses with too much carpet and not enough white space.
Sometimes finding the right home for us feels like trying to pick a needle out of a haystack.
But, at the end of the day, I know that I’ve always been lucky.
So wish us luck.
ETA: We got the house! Actually only a few short weeks after this post, the original offer that the seller accepted fell through. Our dining room can seat 12. My kid rides his bike in the cul de sac with the neighbors. We have been immensely happy! Thanks for your well wishes.