When I was a mere slip of a girl, I had some ideas about the man with whom I was going to spend my life. Nothing too specific, more of a vision of how things were going to pan out. He was going to be a writer--we both were--and we would spend our days at our word processors (it's been a while since I was a mere slip of a girl) churning out brilliance, and our evenings on the deck of our lakefront house sipping wine with each other and our witty friends. This mystery man would be tall and bookish, with round wire-rimmed glasses and wavy fair hair. That was my idea of paradise.
When paradise actually walked in the door, all that remained of the vision was the tall part and the glasses (which were not quite round, now that I think of it). Paradise turned out to be a tall, balding bald engineer with no literary pretensions whatsoever, and more interest in educating himself than in sounding clever to others. He's happy to drink wine with me on the patio, but you're more likely to find us drinking coffee on the front porch and waving to the neighbors.
And that's more than fine with me. The lesson: it's great to have an idea of what you want, as long as it doesn't keep you from recognizing true love when you actually see it.
I started thinking about all of this because my dream date and I are looking for a house. And there are some similarities between looking for love and looking for a home. You can go in with your list of criteria clenched in your sweaty little fist, look at a house that meets every one of them, but it leaves you cold. And then on a whim, you can duck into an open house for a place that's all wrong on paper, and fall in love.
When you fall in love with a person, things aren't going to work out unless the other person feels the same way. When you're in love with a person and fall in love with a house, things aren't going to work out unless the other person feels the same way. My husband and I have bought two houses together so far. The first time, it was love at first sight for both of us. This last time around we were vacillating between two houses we liked. I preferred one, he preferred the other. We talked. We reasoned and considered. We reached agreement. We fist-bumped, because we are dorks. Less than ten hours after we saw the house, our offer was accepted. We fist-bumped again. Easy-peasy, mac-and-cheesy. I know that's a dorky thing to say, but, um, hello? See above.
So, because we're so good at this, we're doing it again. Challenges this time include a more expensive housing market and some very spotty school systems. Not to mention the fact that this time we are giving our children a voice in the process, which they have mistakenly interpreted as having been given a vote. But thirteen year old boys and ten year old girls are notoriously tractable, so I can't imagine that will be a problem.
And yes, I've got my list of things that are important to me in a house. I want a nice kitchen, and a screened porch, and dedicated space for the kids to hang out with the friends I hope they'll make. But I know as long as I have those kids, and one bald engineer with glasses, we'll be okay wherever we land.
Can I get a fist-bump?