Monday, July 1, 2013

Let Him Fly

We hit the house-hunting trail a couple of weeks ago with a decent savings and moderate expectations. 

I had been hunting online since Michael and Sophie were born, so I felt familiar with the market and prepared for limited options.We envisioned a decent fixer-upper in a good neighborhood that would be more suitable for our family.  

You can imagine our surprise when a house like I hadn't seen in the last three years of obsessively trolling listings presented itself right out of the gate.  The best schools in the district, four bedrooms, exquisitely redone from top to bottom exactly as I would do it myself with the exception of the basement that was unfinished as Mike would prefer, all in a neighborhood with trees and sidewalks, easy access to highways and another branch of the kids' child care center barely minutes away.

I could go on.  And on.

We fell in love and could see a long, happy future there.

We and three other buyers made offers.  As you surely have guessed, the one that was accepted was not ours.

Mike and I have of course gone around and around about how we could have approached the situation differently, but we believe we made an appropriate offer based on comps and what we could afford in cash if the home didn't appraise for what we offered (a likely scenario).  We know what the accepted offer was, and we were close.  It was just out of reach.

I've been trying to see some purpose for this, for a house beyond our dreams to present itself and disappear just as we set out on this long-awaited journey.  We knew the market going into this, that multiple offers over asking price is the name of the game right now, that most buyers experience a couple of heartbreaks before finding the house.  But this just feels unbelievably cruel of fate.

For a few days my obsession went into overdrive.  I needed that fix, that dream, that hope...and it wasn't there.  An hour later it wasn't there.  Three days later it wasn't there.  We've looked at a couple of "rebound" houses, but the one that got away raised our expectations.  It's made all the crappy-ass fixer-uppers look over-priced and like too much work.  This was not our attitude until that house broke our hearts.  Our first love was way hotter than any of these losers.

What good could this possibly be?  My most optimistic guess is that this experience will save us from settling, but I have serious and relatively informed doubts about what we're going to find from this point on. If all the something-better-will-come-along's and everything-happens-for-a-reason's are true, then the unimaginable is on its way.  Because seriously, I can't imagine better.

The quotation above was on a plaque in my grandma's kitchen when I was growing up. I remember reading it aloud to her and my mom as soon as I was capable of doing so.  The analogy came to me today while looking over the discouraging listings.  I'm trying to embrace the idea.  

Another thought that came to me today is how I got over my last romantic heartbreak.  Do you know who it was?  Mike.  He dumped my ass twelve years ago, one year into our relationship.  For a month or so after that, when the emotion got all built up and ugly, I'd drive around and chain smoke and cry while listening to this (song starts about 40 seconds in).

I was going to make a little joke here about minivans and kids and smoking not being an option anymore, but I seriously just remembered something (journaling is magical).  The night when I was able to listen to this song and not cry, the night I felt free of the grief, I got home from my little drive to find that Mike had called.  Once I let go of the first year of us, he wanted to start over.  True story.  "...the beauty of just letting go."

Okay, I'm going to do my best to believe in the unimaginable without looking too hard for it.  Maybe once I do, some phosphorescent, tap dancing, multilingual butterfly with custom cabinetry and first-floor laundry will land on my damn shoulder.

I suppose my mom was right.   I still need to work through this a bit. Wish me luck.

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