Tapping this out on my phone, from a bathtub in a house we are renting, I’m kind of excited. We’ve owned and rented various homes over the years, as well as lived in base housing during Eric’s career in the Navy. We’ve been house hunting for about 6 months for a long term place of our own for the first time in our marriage.
The cart is way ahead of the horse. I’m writing this post before any contracts are signed, before anything is even remotely official. We looked at a house – what I am hoping is THE house. It’s not fancy, it’s not brand new, and definitely needs some work and sweat. I can see past the surface of this one to envision our family within its walls. I’m speaking it into the universe! Manifesting! All the powers of woo woo!
When I walked in with our realtor, I realized before we even went inside, that it ticks many of our checkboxes. We are working within a budget that in other areas would buy a lot more, but this market is SoCal and it is its own animal. The floor plan is great, it’s a two story, in the neighborhood we want, (location, location, location as they say) and is within the school boundaries the kids currently attend. After transferring every 2-3 years, one thing we really wanted was for them to complete high school without any more moves, if possible. I realize this is all first world problems and decisions. The fact that we can buy a home is a privilege. Even more so that we can be selective.
We tour the home, spotting areas that need work, windows that will need replacing, verifying the HVAC and hot water heater age…all the things you examine as you look at property. I snapped a few pictures to send to Eric as he couldn’t make this particular viewing. “This may have some possibilities…” I texted into the phone ahead of the slog of photos being sent his way.
I always try to temper my reactions to properties as we’ve been viewing them. I kind of know pretty quickly whether I like a space or not. You get a feeling driving around neighborhoods. Most of the time I am able to look beyond surface things like paint and decor to see floor plan and possibilities. Eric is definitely better at vision. Some have been beyond ridiculous. There was a flipped house that had a very beautiful, but highly impractical, kitchen. In “adding square footage”, access to the garage was walled off. With washer and dryer hookups in the garage, this meant that to do laundry, one would have to go out their back yard, around the house, into another side door of the garage simply to wash clothes. It was an overpriced property that as soon as we made the connection of how impractical the layout was, we quickly made our way on to the next.
One house we viewed had a small pool (not something I really wanted, but the location was) but smelled like 4 large wet dogs and decay were embedded into the walls. Likely a home built 50+ years ago and not properly maintained, or cleaned.
Additions to another home done improperly resulting in tripping hazards in the form of 2-4 inch differences in each doorway from room to room were a fun find. (Insert eye roll here). There was the neon orange house. Think Pepto bismol pink, but then make that violent color orange. Through the entire house. The “fixer upper” that was trashed inside and broken windows that we didn’t even get out of the car for…the house with not one, but two giant (seriously, huge) spiders greeting us over the front door, ughhh…so many listings.
As we made our way outside and to the back yard, the side path led around back to a lovely space with room for the things the kids and I have been dreaming about – a trampoline, a tetherball, maybe even a hot tub! I snapped a few more photos on my phone looking at the space, realizing it’s probably the largest backyard I’ve seen yet in the 6 months we’ve been looking. Fully fenced, I realized there are no neighbors directly behind this property, smiling as I reminisce about the “fun” neighbors in south Texas that loved having outdoor parties until 3am, music blaring. There wouldn’t be any of that here. There are side neighbors, but the houses are not packed right on top of one another as we’ve seen in other places. “Definitely a strong possibility…” I thought again to myself.
Who am I kidding?
I’ve mentally already packed my bags. I’m cataloguing belongings into Donate/Keep/Sell. I’m seeing the kids laughing while jumping on a trampoline. I’m smiling and trash talking them while viciously beating them at tetherball. Grinning, I turned to the far side of the yard and sweep my eyes around the plants along the fence line. The only thing this yard needs is some TLC, and of course the lemon tree Hannah and I have been dreaming of since we lived here a few years ago. Oh! Maybe an avocado tree, and tangerines! I move to walk back around front and my eye spots yellow…
How had I missed it? There it was, back along the fence. Not quite in the corner, there it was – a medium height, but highly productive, lemon tree. All hope of maintaining any sort of poker face was lost.
“I think this house is one Eric needs to see,” I quietly tell our realtor.
There’s this thing I do when I’m attempting to avoid disappointment. I don’t want to hope too hard, for fear of whatever it is I’m hoping for doesn’t come to pass. This preemptive strategy never works. I’m trying to avoid feeling bad. In reality we’re either disappointed or not, but no amount of trying to tamp down excitement or rein in enthusiasm results in less disappointment. ‘Expect the worst, hope for the best, then be pleasantly surprised when it does work out’ seems on the surface to be the way to go, but I’m calling BS on that. Why not be optimistic? Why not?
I’m really excited. Might I be disappointed if it’s not the right house? Of course. In the end, who cares? I’m just gonna revel in the excitement of possibility for a bit. We will be going to see it again after some maintenance has been done, and it’s been professionally deep cleaned. We will likely put in an offer. My fingers are crossed. My toes are crossed. We will see.
In the meantime, I choose hope…
…and the excitement at the possibility of a lemon tree of our own.