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Excuse Me While I (Try and Fail to) Resist Insanity

4 years ago

1323 words

Photo: One of the last pictures I took at the old apartment. The boys decided to help me pack a box of their clothes. Maybe we made a mistake when we moved here? Maybe most of our recent decisions haven’t been good ones?

Shall I tell you about the home inspection? Are you ready to start wagging your finger in my general direction? Or maybe shaking your head with the pitying “tsk tsk tsk” that I sorely need?

The Husband went to the house on Monday and the inspector went through it with a fine tooth comb. With company: My realtor, the selling agent, and a member of the selling family (who lives next door–we’ll get to that in a second). The bottom line? “This is a solid house. Well built, beautiful. A great investment.”

Yeah, ok, so what’s the bad news?

Aside from the septic, it needs a new plumbing system. Most of the pipes, in and out going are corroding and need to be replaced.

But that’s cool, because when they do the septic, they’ll be replacing most of that anyway as part of the proceedure.

Great, so what else do you got?

The electrical system needs to be replaced. The house has the old “knob and tube” electrical system, and we won’t be able to get home insurance if the house keeps that. So an electrician needs to come in and replace all of that.

How much does that cost?

“Well, somewhere in the ballpark of $10k.”

Oh, is that all? Great.

Finally, the heating system is completely shot. Not working at all. And the hot water boiler is missing. We don’t know where that is. So you pretty much have to convert to gas.

Oh wow…that’s, well, wow…

It will cost somewhere in the ballpark of another $10k to get that done. Also, 10 weeks to get it done. But we can’t get it done until after closing (potentially the end of September, if we even go through with this at all). Oh, and of course, they won’t dig in the winter.

“But it’s such a great house! So solid! Such potential! So many cool features!”

and

The woman who grew up in that house lives in the house next door. She’s older…probably my grandmother’s age (and you know how I feel about respecting the elderly). She says to my husband, “You can choose to gut it or do whatever you want to it after I die.”

That’s not creepy.

Augh.

I don’t know what we’ve going to do now. The realtor is going to try to take some money off of the offer so as to help with the costs that we would have to incur. There are a lot of good reasons why we should go ahead and buy this house, doing the work on it and growing some equity. But I’m worried that we’d sink all of our money into the important structural work and have no money left over for some of the other important things that need to be done. Like the kitchen, which is currently unworkable. We need a full range (there is a mini one in there), a dish washer, a new fridge, and at least a kitchen island or something to facilitate more storage and counter space…

I don’t know, man. I don’t know. We’ve slept on this for two nights, brain dead as we are, and we still don’t know what to do. We’re doing all of the follow-up phone calls and information gathering…but I’m really starting to wonder if this  just isn’t possible for us.

Which means that we should just settle into this place. This place that we’re lucky to have and is perfectly fine…though I hate having to shepherd two babies up the stairs whenever I want to change a diaper…

But besides that, it’s so damned isolating.

I tried to take the boys out yesterday for a walk. I try to get them outside every day to get them some sun and to use up some of that energy (so that they can take a nap and I can write). Well, there isn’t a lot of room for walking around this little neighborhood of ours–it isn’t that large and there are no sidewalks. To get to the park, you have to go down a very steep hill that features 2 very sharp turns and no sidewalk. So even though it isn’t terribly far away, I still feel like I have to drive. Great. So yesterday I decided to take a left turn instead of a right turn, in hopes that I would find some sidewalk for the boys to walk down and explore a bit.

Nothing.  Not a single sidewalk. Just more sharp turns, a narrow bridge over the commuter rail tracks and mini-vans zooming by me going at least 35 in a 20mph zone.

Defeated, I came back here, took the boys to our little (communal) “back yard” with the season’s remaining bubble solution, 2 balls, and 5 sticks of sidewalk chalk and the last shred of my patience. The boys fought over the chalk, refused to kick the ball, spilled bubble solution all over me, and ate my patience in about 10 minutes.

I really should have anticipated the isolation that I would feel after moving here. Even though there weren’t a whole lot of moms to hang out with at our old complex, there were lots of places to roam and I loved talking with the maintenance staff who were always popping in and out of buildings doing this or that. We also had the coffee shop for good gossip. There were just adults (and other kids) to find and commune with, even if it wasn’t always meaningful or intellectual. I know that we’ve only been here since Saturday, but I’ve met two other women since we’ve moved here: One was on her way to work but gave a pretty friendly hello. The other, a mother of an 8-week-old, was more interested in her power-walk than talking to me.

I have to survive these 3 weeks without the car. I hope I can do it without really losing it.

I thought I’d distract myself by focusing on the playgroup that I run at one of the colleges here in Massachusetts. Most of last year’s veteran families are leaving, making way for a whole new crop of families. While I’m looking forward to meeting everyone, I’m facing a lot of problems this school year. There was a fire in the space that we usually use on campus, and that fire destroyed all of our toys and supplies. I have to use my tiny $300 budget to replace toys and supplies, provide animal crackers and water, and schedule a field trip or musician to come play with us. I’m grateful for the challenge: Managing the budget, scheduling parent/caregiver roles and schedules, and organizing a community has been a great leadership exercise and supplement. That being said, I have a lot to do: A website to set up, a schedule to create, two more families to recruit, and toys/supplies to order. I was hoping all of these needs would be a distraction that would inspire me and get me moving. But typing all of that just made me more tired and befuddled.

I’m not overwhelmed, but I’m certainly uninspired. I can’t seem to wrap my mind around anything that requires important thought. Indeed, I’m bored…and a little lonely. I know that I haven’t been here terribly long, but there is nothing about this new place that inspires me to put out the best I can be. It may very well be “freshman” complex: I’m in a new place, I’m starting on the very bottom…

I hope I can have some more inspiring quiet thoughts on Friday. I’ll try to write from my little balcony, maybe. Coffee, muffins, and the rising sun should bring me some inspiration, right?

15 Replies to “Excuse Me While I (Try and Fail to) Resist Insanity”

  1. Aww. I’m sorry. That has to be so disappointing. And, that old lady next door!? Definitely creepy. She will probably just think of you guys as renters until she dies and be constantly bossy and nosy. Doesn’t sound like fun. And, I would say repairs ALWAYS cost more than you expect. I know you will make whatever decision that is best for your family. IF you want an opinion (if not, feel free to ignore), we bought a house once with grand dreams of doing all of these things to it. And, when the reality of that first mortgage payment came along with all the maintenance that just comes naturally with ANY house, we realized all that “fun” stuff would never happen. And, as a result, all those dreams were no longer a reality, and it was no longer my dream house. Just food for thought….

    1. I’m feelin’ all of that, Meredith. The more and more that I think about it, the more that I think we need to throw this fish back. It is so hard to think that we might be starting over again, but I think that the investment we’re talking about is now beyond what is possible for us. This is becoming exceedingly frustrating.

      So of course, I say that to my husband, and he says “you’re on an emotional roller coaster. You loved it, then you hated it, then you loved it, now you hate it…make up your mind.” I”m like, that’s cool, thanks for your support.

      1. hahah! Sounds like an exact conversation my husband and I would have. I’m sorry. I’m sure you’ll ultimately look back and be thankful for whatever choice you make. It will be the right one. I HATE making big decisions like that. I’m usually all over the place too!

  2. Your instincts are correct… and cutie hat girl up there brings up good points. After we closed on our first house, I never felt so poor. So when the plumbing went and the basement flooded, I became awesome at revolving credit on 0% interest cards. It was a nightmare. When the home is right, it will feel RIGHT. I’m sorry you’re lonely… but happy you’re writing.

    1. Thanks so much. And I know that you are Meredith are right. I really need to step away from this house, throw it back into the waters, and keep on fishing. It’s hard to be this close, only to let go…

  3. I could regale you with our housing disaters.. all i can say is with St. Theresa when she fell off her donkey into a freezing cold stream , with her heavy habit on in the middle of no-where between two convents

    ”IF THIS IS HOW YOU TREAT YOUR FRIENDS, NO WONDER YOU HAVE SO FEW’

      1. Thanks? I’m not going to lie, I’m confused by the caps. I’m afraid that I did something offensive and I don’t know why/how?

        But maybe that’s just my isolated crazy typing?

          1. Ahhh, now I understand. 🙂 I read it and I was like “whaaaa?”

            That is a great story! I don’t know a lot about the saints beyond the apostles. We’re quite Lutheran… I did, however, have the very great pleasure of visiting St. Joseph’s Oratory and Notre-Dame Basilica when we visited Montreal a few years ago. Beautiful…simply beautiful. I certainly learned a lot about Canadian Catholicism during my visit, and a lot about the saints important to the country.

          2. boy. words really do mean one thing to one person and something else to another.

            Guess that is why my grade 7 English teacher said that a writer could not simply write about a dog because some one would picture a Great Dan and another a lap dog.

  4. I know the correct, social response to your mountain of insanity should be, “Oh wow, what an ordeal! How can I help you!?” However, it seems that my brain chooses to fixate on us having the same desk chair. That’s so cool…

    1. LOL
      WELCOME BACK!! Where have you been!?!? I missed you! Went by your blog a few days ago and saw that it hadn’t been updated for a while and I was like “whaaaaa?”

      1. I took a computer break-it felt like all the demons in the world were screaming at me every time I logged on. The net is so full of derp. I’ve also hit this writer’s rut. Don’t wanna write, reading is a chore. Kinda sucks!

        However, I am glad to be reading all of your blogs again. You guys are all such talented and wonderful people.

        Your house sounds like a cool place with wicked character, but ooh boy what a project! Complete with whacko neighbor? Oh my! K.C. you are the epitome of go big, or go home with this one lol

        Maybe you should walk on over and bribe Norm at This Old House with your stellar baking skills. I mean, seriously, who doesn’t work for cookies?

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