About two weeks ago, Wesley, my mother-in-law, and I were driving around looking for a house to buy. We do this sometimes, in the absence of real things to do. We found one house that was "for sale by owner" and looked really nice. By really nice, I mean obviously out of our price range. My ever-helpful mother-in-law called about the house anyway and to make a long story short, a few days later we went to look at the inside of the house.
One of the things that I really liked about the house is that is has four bedrooms. I'm fully aware that families with a dozen or more kids live in tiny huts in other parts of the world. And I don't want to seem ungrateful, but there are days when our current two bedroom house seems a little small. Like living in the backseat of a VW bug kind of small. Of course, there were other things I liked about the house - the jetted tub in the master bath, the nice kitchen countertops, and that there weren't bloodstains anywhere on the walls or carpet - it's everything a girl could ask for!
I was careful not to be too excited about the house for a number of reasons. Primarily though, I wanted Bryan to decide the house was right for our family on his own. If there is one thing I have learned in 3 years of marriage, it is that decision making goes much more smoothly if Bryan thinks a good idea was all his own. So I didn't really say much. And it worked - he decided we should buy it!
So we put in an offer and the sellers accepted. And like everything else in our lives, it has turned into a lesson. Remember, the house was "for sale by owner" and we agreed with the seller that we both could save if we did it without realtors. Here's what we learned so far: buying a house by yourself (meaning without a realtor) is much like representing yourself if you are on trial for murder or removing your own appendix just to save a few bucks - the further you get into the process, the more you realize it probably wasn't your best idea ever. To complicate things, the woman we are buying from seems to have a case of early-onset dementia. She likes to say, "I never said that!" Also, unlike Bryan and I, Bryan and this woman were apparently NOT matched up on 29 dimensions of personality. They've already had a few "scuffles."
At this point, we are just hoping and praying that the rest of the sale will finish smoothly and without anyone needing stitches. This, after all, is the first house we've found in our price range that isn't across the street from a helicopter landing pad, next door to a convicted crack-whore, or with an ancient Indian burial ground in the backyard.
I know that buying a new house isn't a magic potion to a better life. But I also know that if we move, I won't have to start each day with my current early morning ritual: watching my neighbor, Delmar or whatever the crap his name is, smoke a cigarette on his front porch in his whitie-tighties. And that, my friend, is worth more than all the McDonald's french fries in the world.