Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Don't fence me in

There's something about that weird pregnancy stupidness that makes women think we can do things we can't or shouldn't - like last night when I thought I could physically move a very large labrador retriever and ended up hurting myself, or the first time I was pregnant and believed I would go back to work and take the baby with me a few days a week, because everyone knows that babies just sleep all the time and never need to do things like eat or have their diapers changed at inopportune times - or forces us to make decisions we wouldn't otherwise make - like choosing wall to wall carpet in a color we'd soon regret after the pregnancy hormones settled down. Sarah knows what I'm talking about. I bet you have your own story.

Right now - well not right this moment but for the past few weekends, oh you get my meaning - Mr. C and I have been house hunting. Again. I don't love the house we live in and it's not pregnancy brain that's making me feel that way. This itch has needed to be scratched for some time. There are things I hate about our home, like the lack of an actual dining room and the location, and things I love about it, like Chicky's bedroom and, um... Yeah, that's about it. It's time to move.

We want to purchase a new house in the same town. We want a neighborhood where people do more than just wave to each other, begrudgingly, and a place where when Halloween rolls around the neighbors don't turn their lights off and pretend to be out.

Yeah, lady across the street. I'm talkin' to you. I know you're home, for chrissake. Stop being a cheapskate and buy some damn candy.

We want a feeling of community and more kids for Chicky to play with. In a nutshell everything we didn't know we would want when we bought this place. We weren't even married when we moved here and kids were at least a couple of years away. I KNOW. A whole two or three years! That's SO far away. Did you know that two or three years can go by really fast? Neither did we.

Our focus lately has been in new developments in areas around town that used to be horse farms or beautiful open land. They have names like This-Used-To-Be-A-Bucolic-Pasture-But-It-Was-Just-Going-To-Waste Estates and There-Used-To-Be-An-Apple-Orchard-Here-But-Then-We-Got-Greedy Manor. Beautiful grand houses are being built on teeny parcels of land. Or at least in my mind they're teeny parcels of land. But that's the way of this area. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Right?

Eh, not so much.

The first home that I ever purchased, with my ex-husband, was on two acres and abutted conservation land. I had more space than I knew what to do with and I thought that was the way everyone lived... until I moved from the sticks and got a fierce reality check. This is Massachusetts, Baby. If you want to live within 50 miles of Boston the land does not come cheap. As a matter of fact if you could promise your first born or a vital organ you might not have to mortgage your life away. But don't count on it.

Is it pregnancy brain that's making me consider buying one of these homes? Mr. C is enamored with these homes but he grew up in a town where the yards were the size of postage stamps. I've reasoned with myself that the backyards aren't that small. We'll be closer to parks so we'll be using those more, why would we need a huge backyard? It just means more maintenance. And the houses are large. It will be nice to have a family room we can actually use and a kitchen that will accommodate more than one person in there at a time. And we're in New England, for chrissake, we get nice weather like 30 days out of the year.

I'd feel better knowing we made the biggest financial decision of our lives with my head as screwed on as straight as it could be. Under the best of circumstances my brain is slightly skewed, so pregnant brain... Whew. It's scary. And don't even get me started on the cost. That's another post for next time. But let's just say it involves a lot of money and a huge chip on my shoulder the size of a small mountain. And an eye that won't stop twitching from the stress. And an ulcer in the making.

I can't have it all. I won't be able to have my 10 acre alpaca farm/dog kennel in a town within reasonable driving distance to civilization and that perfect trick-or-treating neighborhood. But I've never been very good at giving up on something that I want.

And right now I would like a Twinkie. I don't have any Twinkies and Chicky is in bed so I can't go out and get any and you have no idea how much that's pissing me off.


slouching mom said...

Oh, I think I do. Because I'm having a similar sort of craving, but the boys are in bed, and the husband's not home. And I'm not even pregnant!

House-hunting is tough. But it doesn't sound as if you have an alternative to the new development. That might make it easier to swallow.

flutter said...

would you beat the crap out of me if I told you that this post made me laugh? Like the last paragraph had me howling kind of laughter?

Ladybug's Picnic said...

Oh boy, do I feel your pain. We've looked at 8 houses already with 2 more to go this weekend. Fingers and everything else desperately crossed for one of the two this weekend. It's unbelievable how much homes cost here in Massachusetts if you want a decent sized house, excellent public schools and proximity to the city.

Serendipity, baby! said...

Having JUST gone through the same debate and moved this past august I have only one piece of advice/assvice: It can be really hard to sell your house unexpectedly (even after you make it PERFECT and completely de-personalized but still charming) and then you will have an awful awful summer waiting for your house to sell and knowing you can't close on the new deal until the current house is sold, and the date is rapidly approaching. But I have to say I Love, Love, Love the new house, in the end, even if the yard is a small mud pit and the neighbours are currently cement holes in the ground. Besides, we have a conservation area down the street to run the dogs in and that makes it all better. Somewhat.

Ali said...

i would totally bring you a twinkie if i could! :)

motherbumper said...

We don't have a house because we can't find anything that we will even look at most of the time (in our price range). I have a hard time giving up what I want and for that I now fear that I will live in this cramped cubbyhole of an apartment until the end of time.

Oh, and that Twinkie would be pissing me off to no end.

Redneck Mommy said...

I'm feeling your twinkie pain...I'm jonesing for pizza and living out in the freaking sticks...well, let's just say they don't deliver this far out and I can't drive in to get any cuz the kids are in bed too...argh!

I'm all about yard size. We're on 20 acres abutting a nature conservatory so it's lovely. However, I traded a big house for the big yard.

You know, cuz it's more important to have a big yard for three months of the year than a house that is comfortable for the other nine months you are stuck inside it. With squabbling kids, driving you batshit crazy and no where to hide from them.

Ya. Good thinking, eh? And the hubs will not agree to a move...

Have fun house hunting.

mothergoosemouse said...

I'm waiting for the kids to go to bed so that I can stick my face in a bowl of chocolate mousse.

I found our house in CO on a two-day house-hunting trip when CJ was barely three months old. Talk about pressure.

Like you, I loathed the development names and the postage stamp sized yards. But I knew what I was looking for, which made it easy to recognize when I found it. Our yard is small, but it's usable space (not always true - acreage can be deceiving), and we're directly adjacent to a grassy common area. It's a good compromise.

Another point of contention for me was the size of the children's bedrooms. Most master bedrooms I saw were palatial, and the kids' rooms were the size of jail cells. Seems a little backward to me.

Lisa said...

If I lived close to you, you could totally call me up and I'd run to a store and buy you Twinkies. Not just cause I adore you that much but also because can completely relate to the Twinkie craving during pregnany.

As for the house issues... Same stuff around my area. Small yards, big new homes. Have heard this is done on purpose, not just to maximize profits (squeeze more houses onto tiny space) but because alot of people (especially baby boomers) don't want a yard. Its too much maintenance.

As for 'hoods. COME LIVE IN MY HOOD! We have a defunct bunko club but once a week, a bunch of us get together and go out. Tis fun. Seth has 6 kids he plays with regularly in the 'hood. And clusters of kids play outside all of the time. Halloween is a blast with some neighbors supplying drinks and snacks for parents accompanying trick or treaters. There's even a fall party and an Easter Egg Hunt.

Hope you guys find a wonderful neighborhood where you guys do the same stuff. An awesome neighborhood is a precious thing (and wonderful support system.)

jen said...

i'm just sitting here eating a bag of chips. what? i didn't say anything.

margalit said...

I'm all about land, baby. I live in a tiny house on a huge (for our town) lot of land. I'd MUCH rather have land than a big house with a huge stairway in the front hall and a kitchen the size of a football field. But that's me.

A friend of mine moved from a condo to one of those executive colonials in a neighborhood right near Garden in the Woods. Brand new huge house, with a decent sized lot on the bottom of a cul-de-sac. They lasted two years before they moved to rural Vermont on a dirt road about a mile from their nearest neighbor.

Like you, they idealized the neighborhood thing, but the reality of it sucked big time, with neighborhood kids roaming the street and VERY different people than them trying to influence their family values.

I'm all for nice neighbors, but I believe you do better closer to the city than you do in those brand new 'burbs. Something about them is 'off' as far as I can tell. Some people love them, but it's really not me. I'd look for a more established neighborhood in a town that has sidewalks and places where kids can ride their bikes to stores. Your kids are only going to be small for a few years and by 5th grade they're going to want to get out and socialize on their own. In the burbs, that's really hard.

carrie said...

A good neighborhood is like gold.

And, probably twinkies are too at this point!

Jodi said...

girl, i hope by now you have had your twinkie. that's a whole lot quicker then solving the house problem.... and yummier too!

Avalon said...

Gimme your address( at the moment), I'll send you a Twinkie in the mail.

As for me, with a kid that's all grown up, I would much rather have the land than the house. I would much rather have a deserted island and no neighbors. I'll buy myself Halloween candy, TYVM.

Don Mills Diva said...

House hunting sucks in the city - everything is soooo expensive. Sounds like the development might be your best bet - is there a convenience store close where you can get Twinkies?

Oh, The Joys said...

In the matter re: Twinkie v. House...

Eat twinkie.
Keep looking.


Fratzels said...

Someone get the girl a twinkie, quick!!!

House hunting is never fun and we did it in Mass. We found a great house, but sold it a couple of years later when we had a child and decided to move to NH to slow our lives down. I feel your pain!!!

Dorene said...

I totally understand. We are growing out of our house and started looking at new ones. We are trying to hold out for a plot of land that is at least as big as our current one. Not easy.

Blog Antagonist said...

I hate where we live too, for many of the same reasons. Unfortunately for me, I want to relocate to another planet. Or, at least, I might as well. I hope you find the home of your dreams. And call your hubby to have him bring home some twinkies.

Magpie said...

Oof - looking for houses is HARD. Because you know what you want, and you know what you don't. And it's always a little compromise.

Good luck.

Binky said...

It's a buyers market. You don't have to settle for anything yet. Keep your eyes open and enjoy the hunt! Oh, yeah...and don't think about the fact that you will have to sell your existing house in this buyer's market. It will drive you crazy.

Julie Pippert said...

Don't ask me. I got pregnant and next thing you know I think moveing from MA to Texas is a good idea!

At least the first time all I did was buy a car (Forester).


But, our house---described as small by a maid who probably cleans 400 sq. ft. McMansions---is twice as big as our MA house, but we did have a HUGE lot in MA that abutted woods and we could walk (if we so chose and had a day) all the way to Manchester or Gloucester.

However we still have a HUGE lot and our neighborhood abuts a conservation area and is waterfront plus we have parties all the time and there has been a pack of kids racing through my house all afternoon from front yard to backyard (because it is sunny and 75).

So maybe not so nuts.

Oh YOU!, right this is about you.

Umm I'm not keen on the small lots but I guess they'll do. Our first house was bigger and had a smaller lot. It didn't do for the dog (Lab) so we moved. Again.

The kids sure like the big lot and it's nice to be able to send them out back to the back acre for fun and exploration (and hopefully no snakes).

HTH b/c I'm cutting my chatty self off now.

Julie Pippert said...

1st typo: MOVING

2nd typo: 4000 sq. ft. McMansions. Not 400 sq. ft. What is this, Manhattan?

Forgive all other typos.

As I mentioned, kids racing through house.

Lawyer Mama said...

Ack. I hate McMansions. I can't stand living so close to everyone. But that's just me. Sometimes I can see the appeal of those brand spanking new kitchens. I have a really f'ing old house and something is always breaking. It's a giant money pit. The pluses? It's incredibly charming, we have 4 acres, we have a pool.

So I have your solution. Move down here and we'll do the alpaca farm together. For what you sold your house for in your area, you could buy an entire county down here.

Did I ever tell you about T's idea for a goat farm? He found some bizarre species of goat he wants that faints when scared. I bet if we threw a few of those in on the deal he'd go for it.

And I could bring you twinkies whenever you wanted.

BOSSY said...

Proceed with caution. Bossy doesn't see evidence that those McMansion neighborhoods offer fuzzy happy social opportunities.

Fratzels said...

Thanks for admiring my kitchen. We desinged and built our house a little over a year ago - we are very happy with it. My husband is a builder, which is the only reason we have that nice of a computer.

Mac and Cheese said...

We bought our current home while I was pregnant, and although it is a fine home with an decent yard, it isn't my dream. I can live here happily enough, but I wish we hadn't felt so pressured to buy something at the time, for I know I would have chosen something smaller with more charm if given more time to look.

Miguelina. said...

Stop! You want to move near me - I'll FRY Twinkies for you if you want.

We just went through this - so email me ANYTIME.

Ruth Dynamite said...

Maybe there's a neighborhood with smaller homes on bigger lots in established neighborhoods? You could always remodel, oui?

50 Cent's house is for sale in my town. Why don't you move here? The dogs would totally love it.

Daisy said...

Oh, the Twinkies! When I was expecting my first, we lived ina tiny resort town that pretty much closed up for the winter. I kept hostess cupcakes in the freezer in case I got a craving because I knew -- just knew! -- that nothing would be open if my hormones started crying for chocolate.