Saturday, August 8, 2009

OMG, Y'all

Oh my God, y'all. I tried, but the picture above just does not capture the truly nauseating acidity of the green in the living/dining room of the first house I saw yesterday. I may have offered an expletive when I first saw it, but my realtor just said, "Yeah." It was sad. I had such high hopes for that house because of the price and the location and the really nice (albeit small) yard, but in the end, I couldn't get past the tiny and outdated kitchen, the ridiculously small bedrooms, the hideous and nearly ubiquitous wall-to-wall carpeting, the painted hardwood floor in the one room where the wall-to-wall had been removed, the mudroom addition that had been added onto the back so that part of one of the exterior brick walls became an interior brick wall, the humongous and numerous houseflies, and the wet floors and mold in the basement. I know, I know: it's like the glass is always half empty with me. How did I ever get to be so picky?

Still, though, what's with that green? Was the previous owner a narcoleptic who wanted to be sure he'd never fall asleep at his own dinner parties? Or was he someone who needed to be motivated to get out of the house? Maybe he just got a really good deal on a big batch of oops paint. After all, it's hard to imagine any paint store would mix that color on purpose.

Not that the house didn't have its charms. For example, above the cabinets in the kitchen was additional storage, fronted by these dark plastic faux smoked glass sliding doors.

I'm pretty sure the grease would have come off with six or seven soakings in detergent. Anyway, that house was a little bit disappointing. My realtor took one sniff in the (very spacious) basement and ran. You can hardly blame him: the electricity was off, so there were no lights down there. It was very Silence of the Lambs, but I think he was running from the mold. I had a headache before I even made it to the outside of the house. Alas.

Fortunately, we had another house on our list. It was in a very good neighborhood, it was huge, it was priced to sell, and my realtor was pretty sure that the "structural repairs" the listing said were needed could be completed before the house collapsed, provided I could come up with the money. It was very, very seventies in that house, but I can handle retro. I especially loved the faux brick vinyl wainscoting running around the entryway.

No, seriously. I loved the faux brick vinyl wainscoting. Some people think that I have bad taste, but I always say that I have excellent taste: I simply choose not to flaunt it.

I thought the bathrooms in that house (there were three of them!) could use some updating.

But I was still considering it after the realtor said that the structural repairs might only cost a few thousand dollars, and then I'd have a very spacious home in a very good neighborhood. I didn't really love the house, though: it was a little too Ozzie and Harriet for me, and it was on a cul-de-sac that I was afraid I'd only be able to find 85% of the time when coming home from work. So despite its likely excellent investment potential, I wasn't all that sad when the realtor told me this morning that the estate that owned the house was probably accepting an offer on it this afternoon. Besides, there's a good chance I can convince the new owners to let me have the faux brick vinyl wainscoting for a very reasonable price.

There's always some detail to love about a house. For example, the second place I saw this morning had, in its front garden beds, a spare radiator and a decapitated ceramic fawn.

And still, I didn't put an offer on it. And I know what you're thinking, because I thought the same thing: Dude. How could you pass on that house? It had a spare radiator and a decapitated ceramic fawn! Every person who's ever looked to buy a house has said to his realtor, "My dreams? Well, if I could wave a magic wand and get the exact house I wanted, it'd have a spare radiator and a decapitated ceramic fawn in the front yard, but what are the odds? I guess I'll just have to accept reality and settle for a dry basement and an eat-in kitchen." Yes, readers, I allowed a front flower bed with a spare radiator and a decapitated ceramic fawn slip through my grasp simply because the house needed a new roof, the kitchen was tiny, the layout was awful, the deck seemed like it might collapse at any moment, and the furnace hadn't been changed since the Eisenhower administration.

The house also had a whole lotta tragic wall-to-wall carpeting in an array of hideous colors. The stuff you see here, on the stairs leading down to the frighteningly dark basement, was the least offensive of the lot. Maybe dark green just doesn't show stains.

The last place I saw today also had a wet basement (though it didn't seem moldy: we couldn't figure out why it was wet since the house seemed to have adequate drainage) and shockingly small bedrooms, but then there was the kitchen flooring.

And -- the universe is a wonderful place for coincidence -- it was the exact same flooring that my parents had in their Maryland home back in the eighties or so. It followed the linoleum tiles that they had originally, but preceded two other floors of a similar Solarian-type material.

Oh my God, y'all. I have now seen six (six!) houses, and I still don't own one. My realtor does not seem to be fazed by my apparent excessive pickiness, and he would not even go so far as to say that six houses is, like, five too many, but as I explained to him, I have never in my life tried on more than two suits in order to buy one. And, you know, I hate suits. I like houses, so it should be much easier to find an acceptable one.

I guess I'll keep trying, though. Or maybe I'll talk to my boss and see whether the management of my office building would object to my parking a large RV on the bottom level of the garage. I wonder whether I can get cable there.

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