Wednesday, January 26, 2011

In my dreams...

I don't know about other people, but I, for one, am quite addicted to looking at real estate sites and browsing what's on the market.  I don't intend to move, but I like looking at houses and dreaming.  Sometimes those dreams turn into something useful, like when Honey and I decided to move closer to The Big City and I knew exactly what I could find and for how much and what we could sell our first home for: the whole process, from contacting an agent to moving the last box into the new (current) home took fewer than six weeks.  Most of the time, however, I just look and dream and get lost in my own little world for a bit.

My latest dreams have been big, like we-could-only-afford-this-if-we-won-a-huge-lottery big.  Of course in this economy many of the truly crazy-expensive homes have stayed on the market for about five days past forever.  I tell myself that it's because one of these homes knows that it secretly wants to be mine and so it is waiting for that perfect moment where the impossible happens and I suddenly have the $900k or $2.5m or $3.8m and the house and I can spend the rest of our lives together, as we were meant to do.  Honey and I, conveniently, have very similar tastes when it comes to houses, and so I keep hearing the words "Well, win me the lottery and then we'll get that house of yours."  So that is one plan -- I haven't decided if it's Plan A or Plan B.  The other plan is that I will finish this gosh-darn novel (right after the goshier-darnier dissertation), a publishing company will grab it, Oprah will see it and love it, and Hollywood will offer me a movie-rights contract so that they can turn the story into a film starring Zooey Deschanel.  I haven't decided which plan has a greater likelihood of coming true. :-)

Instead of just dreaming and letting all dreams be for naught, I decided that today I would set out to learn what all three of these homes that I love have in common in the hopes that recognized patterns somehow prove useful.  With that intention in mind, I looked and was surprised by what I found.

1. All of the homes have a view.

2. The view can be enjoyed throughout the house, in each house, because all have massive amounts of windows.

This means that even in this dreary climate, there is plenty of natural light inside.

3. All of the homes have beautiful fireplaces.  Each fireplace is an architectural masterpiece, something beautiful and unique and comforting.

4. All have large, gourmet kitchens and beautiful bathrooms.

5. All have unique architecture (although what we like tends to fall into one of two categories: "Northwest" or "early 1970s."  In fact, two of the three homes were built in the same year: 1974).

6. All are on property (ranging from 1.5-54 acres, which is quite the spread, but the point is that they have space).  The property is landscaped and includes a pool. And each of my three "dream homes" has plenty of space to entertain (and by "entertain" I mean "feed large groups of people").

Now I could be grumpy or sad thinking "There's no way I'll ever afford this. Why am I torturing myself?"  Instead, I decided to continue the exercise and apply it to my life by asking the question What does my house have that is similar to my dream homes?

  • The house has a beautiful view, which we can see through our many large windows or on our small-ish deck.  

  • We have a magnificent stone fireplace.

  • The property is spacious, more than a half-acre, and most of it is fenced, which makes Lotus happy.

  • I am slowly but surely landscaping sections of the yard. (Side note, just so people don't worry: our pets are completely indoors, but when Hero was alive I'd let her sit outside near the deck when Honey and I were outside. She loved it. And I love this picture because it was taken during her last summer.)

  • We have a hot tub. (True, it's been broken since the gigantic freeze two years ago, but it will be fixed eventually, and that's kind of like having a pool.)

  • We have something like granite on the counters in the kitchen and bathrooms, and so even though they are teeny-tiny they at least look pretty.
  •  The house was built in the early '70s, and while it is a split-level, the exterior has a nice facade that makes it different or unique when compared with all the other split-levels within a few-mile radius.

    I love my house.  And it does have most of the things that I adore and look for elsewhere, so this list is a reminder of all of the things that are good right here, right now.  Sure, there are plenty of things that I wish were different -- I'd love a bigger kitchen, or a shower that was more than 2'x2' -- and yes, we've put in hours and hours, weeks upon weeks of work in the nearly four years of owning this home, changing the things that were atrocious when we bought the house and making it more beautiful and livable.  It's a nice home, not pretentious, not perfect, but good for us at this point in our lives. And it is with that reminder swirling around in my head that I can say to Honey, "Don't worry, I love our home, and I am happy to live here for years and years" least until we get closer to retirement. By then, maybe the dreams will come true.  :-)

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