martes, marzo 25, 2008

Post-conference Doldrums, household hopes

L* and I are back from the big NACCS conference in Austin, Texas.

We arrived at noon, got all cleaned up, and went out to look at open houses in the realty world.

This one house had come on the market for $300,00 and we just couldn't believe it was real. We had to go see it. And the buyers were out in droves for houses in our price range. For example, the 300k house was not having an open house on Sunday. But as we were peeking through the gate, this nice lesbian mamilia pulled over and told us how to get in through the back yard. And while we were there, another lesbian couple came by and chatted it up with us. It was gorgeous on the outside (though a lot of work!) but the inside had been "flipped" in one of those not so great ways. (wood laminate and marble or faux marble tiles) and the money had clearly run out before the project was done. There were already two offers in on it by the end of the day.

We called Our Realtor Friend (ORF) and asked if she could take us to see the inside of that one and a couple of others this week.

It was easter sunday (funny how that slipped away in it all) and as we went over to the natural grocery store to pick out the greens and yummies for our dinner, we decided instead on an Easter supper: mustard-crusted tofu batons, asparagus, whole wheat crackers with fig tapenade. It was yum and delightful.

and then the awful sickiness grabbed hold of me and gave me the beat down. Maybe it was all the virtual whuppings from all the all those facebook zombies, and slayers, and vampires finally catching up with me. Let's just say that there was terrible turmoil in the digestive badlands, both north and south.

(my hair held up surprisingly well through all of that. Note to self: Must blow-dry with laminates more often)

that was sunday night. monday and tuesday disappeared (for me) in a feverish haze of sleep.

Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday meant a load of work for L*, because her grades were due Tuesday, and what with all the traveling, conferencing, and writing two new presentations, she was tired and still had a lot of work to do.

The retching girlfriend installed in the master bedroom didn't make for the best of working conditions. But she stocked me up with seven-up, organic bananas and organic applesauce.

L* went out to work in internet cafes which would feel less like a sick room. She worked like a trooper too: grades for all classes in by Tuesday afternoon. She starts teaching three new classes next week, so the work isn't really done for now.

She did find time to do the house tour with ORF and that just had her mind click-click-clicking too. Thinking about the the 500k house on the same street as the 300k one, except the work was all done really nicely, with mature fruit trees and a fabulous deck, and space for all the raised beds of L's dreams. for prob'ly, what? $1000 to $2000 more per month (than what we're paying now). It's so overwhelming and crazy.

It's easy to fall in love with houses we can't afford.

Turns out one of the other houses we were looking at--the ugliest house on a great block--was actually an indoor pot farm complete with a pit bull. (that explains the odd sheds in the backyard).

L* is working tremendously hard on the house hunt. After finishing grading today, she went out for a healthy dinner and then cruised by nine more properties.

I'm finally feeling a little better. Drinking big mugs of sport tea (black, green, and some máte plus electrolytes) and I actually ate a banana and had some applesauce. My body wants all the drugs that keep me at peace with my environment (antihistamines, decongestants) but I'm too afraid to try them.

I watched a show this afternoon called Greenovate, where this co-housing duplex (gay couple with daughter downstairs, single woman with daughter upstairs) did all the kinds of things we think about. Full house water filter (so you're not bathing in cancerous chlorine). Reverse osmosis water filter in kitchen so you can drink great water all the time, without trucking it in from france in plastic bottles. Recycled glass tiles. Just in terms of healthy living, it was so great. On the other hand, it was a lot of work, the downstairs guys went way over budget, and were only able to do their bathroom, rather than both the bathroom and the kitchen. I think they'd budgeted $40k and 40 days (no, too symmetrical, I must be wrong on one of the numbers) for both units. The upstairs lady ripped out her wall-to-wall carpet and gave it to someone who would re-use it. The show was one of those "isn't this great!" shows, meaning they played down the expenses and what goes wrong. Some of those home-improvement shows are the "what did we get ourselves into" variety, and sometimes it feels like you get a more realistic sense of what's involved.

I think L* should start a new show for HGTV, for the new economy. It's a cross between Doug Wilson's "Moving Up" where he shows the old owners what the new owners have done to their house. and "If Walls Could Talk" (most boring show ever--yes, there are alternatives worse than the test pattern!) in which people renovating old houses find interesting things from the past. ("Interesting" is, of course, in the eye of the beholder). So L*'s show would be called something like "What's the story." it's for the new economy, because everybody is buying these houses that are foreclosures, reposessions, short sales. L* does the Ph.D. research behind each house we look at, so she can see the sketch of the storyline: what was the original plan? What went wrong?

2 comentarios:

bint alshamsa dijo...

I don't know if you did it on purpose but, I think you may have accidentally used L*'s real name here. I'm sorry if I'm wrong.

Ktrion dijo...

Good catch, BA! Thanks. I've gone back and changed the name to L*

It's not like we're really anonynmous, but I like to pretend we are.