Charlie and I are on the hunt for a new house, because while the continental breakfast here is awesome, we've both decided that we don't want to live in a hotel forever.
(Especially if the pool doesn't open until 5:00 PM.)
Meanwhile, in California, our house which hasn't even been on the market for a whole week, has received two offers, including one for the full asking price.
This should be good news. Right?
For the past two days, I've been in the office all day preparing for a meeting that I'm scheduled to lead, tomorrow. While I'm at work, Charlie and the children have been driving around the area and looking at all of those homes that we had tagged as "favorites" via online MLS listings.
The criteria for our house is relatively simple - or so we thought. All we want is a nice house, in a nice community, close to my office that doesn't cost a million dollars.
Late this afternoon, I went with Charlie and we drove around all of the neighborhoods we'd been researching and for one reason or another, houses dropped like hot potatoes off our favorites list. As it turns out, those homes which looked SO PROMISING on line, lacked any appeal when we actually saw them.
As of tonight, we have no favorites left.
The final "favorite" home on our list tonight was located on a very narrow road. There were cars parked up and down both sides and there were at least two cars and one janitorial supply truck parked on a front lawn. When I saw what might have been our next door neighbor standing in his driveway working on his El Dorado in his underwear, sans shirt, holding a wrench in one hand, a beer in the other, and a cigarette dangling from his lips, I actually started to cry.
Charlie banged a u-turn and pulled in to a pizzeria. We ordered a large carafe of wine for us and a pizza for the kids. While the children sat chomping down their dinner, we sipped our wine and contemplated our options. As it stands we can:
1) Buy a house directly next door to a car dealership, or comparable, and take on a mortgage approximately twice what we currently owe;
2) Move far away and I face a monstrous commute every day;
3) Pull the plug on the east coast dream, repay my company whatever will get us even, and move back to California and in to our adorable and comfortably affordable little house;
4) Charlie pursues his career at Starbucks while I tap in to the not yet discovered market of selling hand knit scarves on southern California beaches.
We really want to stay here. We love the lush green trees and the idea of being close to my family. We're particularly enjoying the weather (humidity and all) and at least FIVE of the people we've met have been very nice. Of course, there was the one totally deranged lady yesterday that screamed profanities at my husband (and children) and attempted to swerve her car in to his when Charlie didn't see the sign that indicated he could turn right on red ... but I suppose there are nuts everywhere.
The fact is: we're not willing to accept any offers on our house in California, until we can find something suitable in Virginia. And we don't mind a fixer upper. We just don't want to spend half a million on a house that needs a whole new kitchen, bathroom, roof and floors.
While I am all for branching out and trying new things, I'm also very much an advocate of not compromising your ideals. Our ideal is to have an affordable and pleasant home in an equally pleasant neighborhood, close to the office, so I don't spend an exorbitant amount of time five days a week, away from my family.
We're scheduled to meet with our Realtor on Friday. Tonight, I sent her a note recapping our impressions of those homes and neighborhoods that we'd driven past. I told her that we are both feeling very discouraged and we're looking forward to meeting with her and having her turn our frowns upside down. Surely she is going to show us some hidden gem.
Surely one must exist?
At this point, I'm beginning to think that it would be highly beneficial that in addition to her numerous realty credentials, she also possess a PhD in Magic.