For your reading pleasure, please link to the appropriate soundtrack to this blog:
The perfect house is out there. Somewhere. Laughing at me. I have seen several that come very close. But, in each case there has been something about it that spelled ‘DOOM’ in big letters. It’s almost as if the universe doesn’t want me to find a home.
[Confutatis Maladictis – when the guilty are confounded]
There was the one house I told you about in October that was so close to a park you could almost spit and hit a baseball diamond. I had no problem walking away from that train wreck and, from what I have heard, it is going to auction. I pity the fool who buys it.
Cue B.A. Baracus:
Then there was the gorgeous Victorian on Greenfield that called to me with its massive bedrooms and walk-in closets. Hardwood floors. Lovingly painted decor. Creaky original windows with actual rope-pulleys to open and shut them. I ached to buy this drafty barn of a building with its ancient furnace and cavernous rooms. I yearned longingly right up until I looked up the sex offender registry and found a pedophile living one block north. NEXT!
[flammis acribus addictis – and doomed to flames of woe]
I was tempted by a nearly pristine ranch located, most appropriately, on Eden Street. Paradise found! With its redone kitchen and the odd passageway between the garage and the house that had been turned into a dining area with crown molding, it was quirky enough to appeal to me. The price was right and the house wasn’t a wreck; but I knew, even before I entered it, I could never buy the place. I had sat out front before the realtor arrived. As I waited, semi trucks barreled past on Byron Center Road heading to nearby 44th Street. It spelled woe to any child who dared to get off a bus there. I tried to convince myself my son would be ‘safe enough’. (This is a child who runs into the street for fun and profit.) Because it was a corner lot, a fence could not be put up. Nothing stood between my child and certain death except wishful thinking. Even as I debated the possibilities, I admired the scampering squirrels who were enjoying the unexpected hiatus from blizzards. Tiny wrens popped from bushes denuded of leaves down to the ground to hunt for seeds. “I could live here. This could work.” I tried telling myself. (Cue the irony.) A hawk from a nearby tree swooped down and snatched up one of the tiny birds, killing it in seconds. (I hope. I really, really hope.) The hawk took its meal and parked itself in the small tree about five feet from my car. I swear the bird stared at me. It was as if nature itself had decided I needed a slap-to-the-face reminder of how quickly life can blink out. I was firmly pushed from Eden. (I’m sure I could come up with a Paradise Lost reference here, if only I had read the book.)
[voca me cum benedictus – call me among the blessed]
This week I found another misfit house to love. It is big enough to hold a rambunctious child and a woman with an inordinate love of books and cooking. The basement isn’t entirely creepy and the roof doesn’t even look as if it is going to cave in. In other words, it is perfect. Except for the pesky rumor of gang activity. No one can come to a consensus on the safety of the given area. Some people say this area is going downhill, there are gangs and crime. The receptionist who mans (?womans?) the desk of the local United Methodist Church tells me, “I’ve lived here forty years and never had a problem.” I asked her whether she was looking for a roommate. She laughed. Apparently she thought I was joking. When I asked the police liaison about the area and whether I should move there… Her answer? “No!” Even so, I am still considering it.
[Ingemisco, tamquam reus: culpa rubet vultus meus–
I moan as one who is guilty: owning my shame with a red face]
Every day on the news we are reminded that safety is an illusion that can be torn away at any moment. And yet, I cannot find the courage to move to a neighborhood that might possibly require safety bars on both sides of the windows. What is a poor house hunter to do? For now, I am prompted to sing, not just a lament for lost and dying souls, but a song that truly speaks to the season and the un-reason of my current desire to run and hide:
“Let It Go! Let It Go!”
“You’ll Never See Me Cry”