Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Oh! The Humanity!

I have a decision to make.

Do I want to poke myself in the eye with a hot poker?

Do I want to crawl, naked, over tons of shattered glass?

Do I want to watch continuous episodes of the Fox “comedy”, The War at Home?

Or do I want to listen to Ashlee Simpson music all day and all nightlong?

All of those things are painful to do, but none of them are as painful as looking for a new house.

For the past 3 months, my wife and I have been looking for a new house. Our current one, which we purchased about 6-7 years ago, is getting too small for our needs. Also, there is no way in hell I am going to survive in a house with 3 females and one bathroom (though my father-in-law did survive living with 6 females and no males in a house with 1.5 baths…I still think he deserves either Sainthood or a Congressional Medal of Honor for that – but that’s another entry for the ol’ blog)

What an ordeal this has been. An ordeal that has been excruciatingly painful. It has even been more painful that listening to a speech by George "I didn't think the levees would break" Bush.

It didn't take long before house hunting became a nervous strain as we endured disappointment after disappointment upon walking into houses and immediately suffering that sinking feeling. Or looking at the house a first time, liking it, coming back and noticing all the things we somehow missed the first time.

On our journey we were also unfortunately introduced to all variety of crackpots and oddities that allegedly constitute our fellow man. Amongst an inflammation of tedious and ill-informed commentary, these malformed anthropoids love to tell horror stories, in detail, associated with home ownership. Yes, that will help sell a house.

Being shown shabby real estate by embarrassed agents was one thing, but it was the homes that were being sold ‘By Owner” that provided an insight into the terrifying depths of humanity that menacingly lurk amongst a society. On one such sale, we were shown around by the owner (who was also a realtor) – a half man, half ape-like creature that evolution had apparently passed by.

One house we looked at was, for the most part, nice. Perfect size rooms and kitchen, nice basement with a wet-bar, good-sized yard. The problem? Time apparently freezes in this house. The d├ęcor would have been 70’s retro…except it was all the original stuff and the owners had not updated ANYTHING. Plastic mats on the floor, avocado-green wallpaper with little yellow flowers in the kitchen AND the front room.

Another house we looked at had a nice floor plan, but the people who lived there smoked…like chain-smoking chimneys. I moved a picture on the ecru-toned wall and saw a perfect white wall behind it. The carpets were installed last spring and already had the heavy smell of smoke in them, so much so that the seller’s realtor thought we would have to replace them to get rid of the odor. Also, keeping in mind this was an open house; we couldn’t see the garage because their dog was in there (actually, it wasn’t a dog, it was a moose).

Now, if you were having an open house, wouldn’t you try and do something with the dog so people walking through could see, I don’t know, the ENTIRE house? Or am I being too logical?

There was another house, right across the street from the smoke house, that looked nice on the outside, but the inside looked like it had been diced and sliced into pieces by a blind surgeon. They tried to make 1 bedroom into 3 bedrooms, so each one was about the size of a shoe and, quite frankly, smelled like one as well.

Another house sounded great in the newspaper. But then we drove out to see it. Upon turning onto the road it was on, my wife and I both looked at each other and said, at the same time and without hesitation, ‘this is a redneck neighborhood.’ It looked as though we either traveled instantaneously to Appalachia, or wandered onto the set of the 1989 Patrick Swayze movie, Next of Kin. There were the archetypal cars in the front without tires and, what I could have sworn was, a still. Though I could have made that second thing up in my head.

I could write about some of the other houses we have seen, but that would result in a blog entry the size of Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Needless to say, as time passed, our spectacular failures in finding something to our liking were becoming increasingly frustrating. Are our demands that unreasonable, why is this so hard?
We did flirt with the idea of building, but, deciding that we didn’t want to torture ourselves more than we already have, so we shelved that idea.

After all of these frustrating experiences, my wife and I have shifted our reality into cruise control and have, for the time being anyway, decided to stop looking for a couple of months in the hope that the universe will work itself out of this little funk and a nice, perfect house will present itself to us.

And while we wait for that to happen, I will write the great American novel, will sell a screenplay for a mindless Hollywood movie (I think the world is in the mood for a Revenge of the Nerds remake – wait a minute, that’s already being done), and discover a new solar system.

I believe that true happiness is about focusing on what you have rather than desiring what you don't. Sure, this is a cool fundamental principle to live by. Just remember, that every now and then you must surrender to your dreams while allowing disappointment to stir the imagination.

That, and you have to be a glutton for punishment.

Thought of the day

“Man is a genius when he is dreaming.”
- Akira Kurosawa