Twelve years ago we bought this house.
And I swore I would never buy another house again.
I can understand that sentiment.
Now we are buying another house.
Well, your income and lifestyle must have advanced over the years so now you are upgrading.
We are downgrading.
Our house, our current house, is roughly 4,000 square feet, roughly the size of the Astrodome.
Stop repeating me.
My wife and I can hide from each other. If I need to talk with her I have to embark on a search for her. If she wants to find me, I can keep switching rooms until she finally gives up.
Why is your house so large?
My mother-in-law had to move in with us. She was old and couldn't manage by herself so we had to find a house large enough for her to have her own living/dining room, bedroom, bath, and kitchenette.
That was nice.
Not really, but I won't get into that. Anyway, she croaked.
That is not nice.
I mean she passed on.
I'm sorry to hear that.
For its size, we got it pretty cheap. That means we had to put a lot of effort into making it the riviera of the neighborhood.
It was hard at first. A month after we got the house I got in my car to drive to work and noticed that one of the front porch columns had fallen into the yard. That was kind of demoralizing. Then the oven had to be replaced which required converting to gas because there was no electric oven that would fit into the space. Oh yeah, the under-foundation drain lines had to be replaced. But we forged ahead and it took about three years of hard work and a lot of money to bring the place up to our exacting standards.
That is wonderful. A loving couple working hand-in-hand building their dream.
We yelled at each other a lot. Marilyn kept insisting that we needed a new roof immediately. I kept replying that we could use rain buckets until we get a hurricane so insurance could pay for it. And new carpets throughout. She wouldn't accept my idea of rearranging the furniture to cover the bald spots insisting that we didn't have enough furniture for that. Also there was something about the fact that the carpets were 35 years old. That was after the garage door kind of crashed halfway down all crookedy so we couldn't get a car in or out. Then Marilyn had an unreasonable prejudice against Formica and Linoleum. Then something about water dripping from the A/C vents. Ended up replacing the whole air conditioning system. Then...
Marilyn has a three page list of improvements we made. It was tiring and depressing, but we are still married. I don't know how long we are going to stay married though.
We are moving from our giant house -- did I mention Astrodome...into an itsy bitsy 2,000 square foot house -- think well, itsy bitsy. We are used to yelling at each other across the Carlsbad Cavern to be heard by the other one. Now we won't be able to whisper in private. No privacy at all.
"Did you fart? I heard that!"
"It was the dog."
And the dogs. They get exhausted walking around trying to find either of us. And our yard, they can run from horizon to horizon to get their exercise. Marilyn and I may wander around and not see each other for...
Okay, okay. You don't need to pile it on.
You don't believe me?
That looks like a really nice house. Why are you moving?
Yeah it is nice. But...
Do you know how much it costs to maintain the monster house? Landscaping expense. Pool cleaning expense. The unimaginable heating and cooling costs. Vacuum cleaner bags. Weekly changing out of a couple of the 14,000 light bulbs.
I have my heart set on retiring before I am ninety -- but cannot do so unless we find a place to retire on my miserably miniscule retirement income.
It sounds like a smart plan.
I hate it. We have to sign papers, and papers, and papers. Then there is something called negotiation. Thank goodness we have our Agent Extraordinaire Marie to do that for us -- but I think she hates us.
I'm sure that...
Marilyn and I each have a computer, which you can do when you have a decent sized house. So when Marie emails us a Plan of Action, Marilyn will fire back an alternate plan of action -- and at the same time I will reply, 'I don't know what you are talking about'. I mean, there are disclosure statements, loan applications, certifications, some kind of not-in-a flood plain document.... It's all very confusing. So Marie has double the work just to calm our nerves.
Not once has she said, "Look you idiot, I have already told you this three times!"
She sounds like a gem.
She is -- although I know secretly that she is sticking pins in Jerry and Marilyn dolls.
So you are well on your way to getting a new house?
Explain to me how you get a cathedral crammed packed with furniture into a little country church? That is what we are scratching our head over. Estate sale? Call up the kids and say, "You are getting this sofa whether you want it or not?" Not only that. Which furniture goes and which doesn't go?
I think Marilyn is thinking about selling stuff on Craiglist. But when? You see, there is something called 'staging'. You are supposed to have furniture and stuff in the house to make it look 'presentable' for people to see. Did I mention that we have to sell this house too? Let's see, we have already gone through Plans A through G, now we have to worry about more plans.
Step by step.
Then Marilyn wants to repaint and change the stuff in the new house before we move in. Then we need a moving company. And then...
Slow down. Step by step.
I have my own plan, but I am having a difficult time getting Marilyn to buy into it.
It is about time for me to go hiking somewhere. Let Marilyn expertly take care of everything, and when I come back we are moved in and set up.
I don't think...
Or perhaps a medically induced coma. Or accept a job assignment overseas.
Working together hand in hand toward a worthwhile goal.