Monday, July 2, 2007

No Move is Good Move: A Primer on What My Problem Is, Part II

If you're new to the No Move is Good Move saga, you'll find part one here, part two here, and part three here.

With just a few days between closing on our house in Ned and not having any place to live at all, I found what seemed like the last house in town with a yard and a short-term lease option. We moved into a pea green shack, the last one that hadn’t been razed or remodeled right in the center of Boulder County’s most expensive zip code.

We liked pretending that we were, like the bumper sticker says, keeping Boulder weird. We liked pretending that we were the bad element on the street that was keeping property values down. We liked pretending that we were representin’, that we were keepin’ it real and sticking it to the man, forgetting that it’s all relative. To some people, we are the man. But it was an easy act, considering that the historical mansions and monolithic homes occupying every square foot of third-acre lots hovered over us in every direction. Across one street sat a ten thousand square foot building that had been converted from an old schoolhouse into a single-family home. It was stunning, yes, but it had no driveway, much less a garage, which meant that after driving your Bentley home, you were parking your rich ass on the street, dahling. On the other corner, a palace that looked like a resort hotel—a dark one, as the family who owned it was rarely there. Not only does money not buy love, it looks like it doesn't buy good sense, either.

We laughed when we realized that were not used to getting fully dressed before going outside to flip the burgers on the grill, but according to our new neighbors, Rick and Kitty, neither were the last people who lived there. “We didn’t care they were naked, and neither did they,” said Rick in the thick Long Island accent that refused to resign even after fifteen years away from the coast. A few months later, Rick was bitten by a raccoon during his evening dog walk, thus ending the lesson that Boulder was already plenty weird without us.

The truth is, that million-dollar Boulder cracker box that we rented was where we reconnected with the old friends who dreaded the winding canyon drive to Ned. It was where we walked to dinner dates on the Pearl Street Mall, and found a preschool for our little girl—a place where she felt loved and appreciated and safe, and where her teachers called her Soaf without us telling them that's what we called her. It’s where we made new friends walking down the street; I guess even multimillionaires take their kids out for some fresh air now and then—on the days when they’re not having it imported on the backs of chinchillas, that is.

And when I wasn't marveling over the neighbor who went to jail for installing the wrong kind of garage door (at least she had a garage), I was looking feverishly for a permanent home for us in Boulder. The sticker shock was unbearable, and eventually, so was our REALTOR. A whole spring season of house hunting later, she was pulling all the stops, using all her powers, to sell us…something, anything to rid herself of clients so demanding that they wanted a house that was actually standing for their three-quarters of a million dollars.

“Well, it’s nice and all,” we practically said on our last outing with her, “but this house is on fire.” And she just about said, “Oh, ALL the houses in this neighborhood are on fire. I live here, and two of my bedrooms are on fire right now. You have to give up something if you want to live in this neighborhood.”

And she was right. We did have to give up something: Her.

Stay tuned for the conclusion, part three of No Move is Good Move: A Primer on What My Problem Is, coming next week. Probably.


Amy said...

I have no words of house wisdom about this one. Buying a house was the worse thing I've ever done. Because I've slowly come to realize: if you want to leave it? You can't just pick up and...GO. You have to freakin' SELL it first. And then you have to have new digs waiting for you. And you have to time it all so you don't get thrown in debtor's prison.

Apartment living is much easier. Less equity, but less equity = less worries. Also? If your toilet breaks? They send semi-cute maintenance dudes to fix it for you.

However, I did laugh right out loud at the part about the raccoon and the part about the house being on fire. Partly because I know someone who once got bit by a squirrel and that whole incident was pretty funny and then partly because that realtor you had was soooo lying right to your faces: people don't buy houses on fire-they buy houses that shelter crack addicts. Duh!

Jody Reale said...

Apartment living would be easier, unless, of course, you had decided to adopt not one, but two of the animal kingdom's biggest nutjobs: Our dogs. We love them, and darned if that equity thing isn't working out OK for us. Go figure.