Posts Tagged ‘house-hunting’


Fortunately, we’re likeable

June 19, 2009

I just found out last night that our current landlord, the one who has been charging us full rent for living in a leaky duplex, told our future landlord that she has reservations about N’s character and that she can’t recommend us as tenants.  Her concerns about character arose from the fact that N (very reasonably, I think) complained about roof work starting up on Saturday and Sunday mornings with no advanced notice.

I am very angry at her.  We’ve been good tenants for three years, have been quiet, and have paid rent reliably (though she could be right when she says our payments were late four times this year.  I’ve been pretty flaky about a lot of things since August 2008 and I only have so much control over the Postal Service).  We scrounged up the money to pay rent three months in advance last summer when we knew we’d be distracted by hope and fear and traveling to an out-of-state hospital.  And, in spite of all the mopping up we’ve had to do with the leak in the kitchen in the midst of our year of tragedy, we’ve been pretty good-natured in general.

Future landlord is a good sort, though, and called us to get our side of the story.  Which, thankfully, he seems to have believed.  Also, he told N that he picked up on a much better feeling from us than from her.  He likes us, in spite of our current landlord’s best efforts.  Which means we still have a place to move in August.

Unfortunately, our side of the story also involves something like this, “Well, you see, our son died in August so we were not in fact at our best this year, although we still don’t think we were bad tenants or that we said or did anything unreasonable.  Yes, our current landlord knew this.”  I hate dragging Teddy into this mess; it feels cheap and somehow slimy.  I want to tell people about him, yes, but certainly not because of circumstances like this.  His loss is part of our side of things, and I tell myself we’re not using him, but we really are.

I wish I could move out now, that I could pack up my family and memories and run to safety.

And I still wonder if I missed it, the time and place where I could have cleared up misunderstandings between us and our current landlord, helped her to see our side of things, helped us to see hers (I know there’s more going on on her side than we know).  I feel like – somehow – I should have prevented all of this from turning so ugly.


Wish list

April 20, 2009

A couple days after Teddy died, my mother said to me, sadly and wistfully, “If wishes were horses…” and I answered, “I’d at least have a fine herd of horses.”  This was a bit of a play on a family joke – I started petitioning my parents for a horse (yes, I was one of those girls) when I was about 4 years old, and had my hopes raised and dashed over this a few times (some day I’ll tell you about the sad horse-less Christmas morning when I was eleven).

Yesterday evening, N asked me if I was okay.  The truth is that I wasn’t; it was another blue day, a day full of quiet desperation, of being unsettled, of missing Teddy so much that I could almost hear the ghost of the laughter he would have laughed at eight months old.  I still get this feeling, some days, that my baby is somewhere but that I can’t find him, and the combination of grief and frantic-ness is hard to deal with.

So I told N it was nothing new, but that it had been a hard day.  And I told him I was stressed out about house/apartment/duplex hunting, which is also true.  He is starting to realize that not having a stable home base is harder on me than it is on him, though he probably doesn’t yet realize the extent to which I long for our own place, a place I can paint and landscape and love and bully into being home.  It’s probably good that he doesn’t realize this as we’re no where near achieving it and I don’t want him to feel guilty or less-than because of me.  You know the story of the fisherman and his wife?  I never want to be that wife.

Still, I have all of these wishes.  Some are impossible and beyond achieving – I wish Teddy were here with me, for example.  Some, however, may turn into reality if not into horses, and as I work and save to pay my bills so that someday I can afford something resembling a down payment, I encourage myself by pulling up my list of wishes for a home.

I wish I had –

  • A watertight roof
  • A sunny kitchen with enough counter space to accommodate kneading bread
  • A family room with a fireplace
  • A garden with a space to plant Teddy’s tree
  • A fenced yard so that I can rescue a greyhound
  • Enough space so that N could have an office, I could have an office/studio nook, and any possible future child could have his/her own room
  • A garage
  • A deck or patio, partly in sun and partly in shade
  • Pleasant, non-industrial views
  • Space for a vegetable patch
  • Built-in book shelves
  • Wood or stone floors
  • A screened in porch or sun room for the cats’ basking pleasure
  • A cold room for storing vegetables and canned goods (in my dream house I know how to can things – don’t laugh, it could happen)
  • At least one secret cubby or passage or room
  • Lots of eco- and environmentally-friendly features
  • A really big water heater
  • A claw foot bathtub (I realize there’s a bit of irony in wishing for this and the water heater just after wishing for environmentally-friendly features, but I don’t take long baths every day or even every week, so I’m giving myself a pass)
  • Close proximity to a park or forest
  • Birch trees near the front door
  • Enough quiet to hear the frogs singing in the evenings

Do you have possible wishes that run alongside your impossible wishes?  Do they offer you any comfort or distraction?