I do not believe in the jinx, but Shea does, so I couldn’t update the house-hunting story until escrow closed. And it just did so, woohoo! We have a house!
The house-hunting trip to Oregon in July was grueling.
It was the hottest week of the year, over 100 degrees each day. The sun goes down later up there, so the heat lasted strong into the 7 pm hour. And it was humid, that nasty humid where by all rights it should rain and provide blessed relief for twenty minutes. But it didn’t. Not once.
We usually stay in a two bedroom hotel suite with a kitchen and free breakfast buffet and dinner/slash happy hour. This time we stayed in a lovely, local hotel, in a regular hotel room, and a continental breakfast. All five of us.
The first day we looked at 8 homes, including our top five. My dreams of downsizing crashed into the reality of small square footage. I know my parents’ generation all grew up in 1200 square foot saltboxes, and bully for them, but I just can’t do it. I need to be able to close the bathroom door without straddling the toilet.
The really big and top of our price range homes were a conundrum. Not one of them was turn-key. And not one of them had one of two things that we required: a guest room and/or a shower on the main floor. So you can take your 3700 square foot French Country re-imagined floorplan and stuff it.
One house was so big that I panicked. It was normal on the main floor, but the basement was big enough to create a mother-in-law suite and a two bedroom rental unit. And the place was crammed with stuff. Leading me to wonder if it’s true that we grow into our homes, accumulating things we don’t need just because we can.
Which came first, the hoarder, or the giant house with all the empty space just begging to be filled?
Other homes were poorly located for a family with small kids: the corner of a busy highway, at the top of a driveway so steep I had to climb the steps like a ladder, tucked away on the side of the mountain with barely a neighbor in sight.
By the end of day 1, we were discouraged. None of the homes spoke to us or the kids, even the three with pools.
The next morning, we stopped by a new construction home that was not quite finished. It was lovely, on 1/3 of an acre. The builder toured us through the home, filling in the missing details, while the guy installing the floor showed Gabe and Kate how to use a nail gun. The backyard was huge, with a stream on one side and a view of the valley. This house moved into the #1 spot, which it held for ten full minutes.
Around the corner and up the street was a home I had been watching for months. Also new construction, at first it had been too expensive and then when the price finally fell into our range, it sold.
Two days before we flew up, it fell out of escrow.
Boom, baby. New construction and two story, but Oregon style—main floor and then daylight basement. Two bedrooms up and two down, which means the kids will be contained to their own floor, complete with a kitchenette and full bath. We all loved it.
The backyard is not landscaped, which I swore I would never do again. I am not looking forward to baby trees and coaxing grass to grow, now that I know Southern Oregon does a fair impression of the Inland Empire in the months of July and August. It’s going to be a long five years waiting for those trees to throw shade.
But we are close to a park, up on the hill where the breeze blows cooler in the summer, and ten minutes from school. It’s not small and short, it’s not old and moldy and it’s not haunted.
Plus, the perfect house is not out there. It doesn’t exist. But there are plenty of houses that are enough.
What makes a house a perfect home is the family who lives in it.
I hope this house is ready for us!