i am so sick to my stomach right now.
I’m putting in an offer on a house today. MY FIRST HOUSE. Yes, to buy it. Yes, by myself. No, I do not have pictures (just yet).
I have never quite understood why brides cry, why they’re so nervous. What is there to be nervous about–you’re about to commit to spending the rest of your life with your best friend! Why would that possibly be an occasion for tears?
However, after the last 24 hours, I have a new respect and appreciation for your nerves. I am about to commit my paycheck for the next (ostensibly) 30 years to a space, approximately a quarter acre in size. You are committing your hearts, bodies, and minds for (ostensibly) the next lifetime to another person. So yeah, your tears are totally understandable now.
This was something I thought I was prepared for. Something I dream about every day–what gets me through the moments of two 17 pound cats tearing through 400 square feet, running in circles. It’s what I cling to every time I have to put coins in the laundry room. When my garden failed this summer (not enough sun, too much heat, no water) I told myself that in the fall I would have a fantastic garden to make up for it. I would plant so many carrots, beets, squash, kale, lettuce, garlic, onions and cilantro that failure would be a distant memory. Watching design shows was torturous–“one day i will have chevron wallpaper” whispered my achy little heart. I have been longing for this for months. I have been dreaming of this for years.
Suddenly, I’m rethinking my decision to move out of my adorable, perfectly-designed and too-small rental apartment. Suddenly, the feeling of homeownership isn’t one I’m looking forward to anymore. Mowing the lawn!? For some reason, lying in bed last night, THAT is what my crazy head focused on. “Oh my gosh, now I’m going to have to mow a lawn!”. Sprinkler systems? The thought almost sent me over the edge into hysteria. How in the world am I going to water a lawn? Oh right. With a sprinkler. I know it’s crazy–it doesn’t sound remotely scary by the light of day.
Even now, my heart is racing. I’ve just sent over the offer, and I’m scared something is going to go wrong. I feel like crying, my stomach is tight, and if I even begin to consider paint colors I get a hollow feeling in my gut. I keep asking myself, “Do I even want this? Am I sure this is the right house for me? Am I settling?”
No, I am not. Sure, this house is not the dream house I pictured in my head, with a wrap-around porch, gleaming hardwood floors, and cozy window-seat reading nooks. No, those cost about triple what I can afford. But this house DOES offer so much else of the right things, so much potential to create and grow and change. I DO want this. I just want it so badly I’m afraid the bottom is going to fall out from beneath me. I’m scared that someone is going to start laughing and tell me the joke’s on me–that in fact I don’t have enough money to afford this and I should just quit trying to be an adult, to just go about my business, back to my safe life where I don’t have to worry about exploding water heaters or city taxes.
But take heart, readers. This is normal. Or so says everyone else who’s done this. I laid in bed last night tossing and turning, my head spinning and my brain running a million miles an hour. I finally got up and watched Frasier for a hour or so. Which is something I’ve never done as an adult–I’ve never admitted defeat and watched the telly for anesthesia. So I knew something was seriously, deep-down gettin’ to me.
I want that big backyard. I want to build my own firepit, maybe a outdoor brick oven. I want to add crown molding and chair rails and IKEA-hack built-ins in the living room. But this is too big of a heartbreak to risk talking about.
It’s like when you have such a big crush on someone. You want to hold it close to you, this fragile delicate thing. It must be protected and barely looked at–it is a feeling so deep you cannot smile. I spoke so freely of a church turned house, because that was something I honestly did not think I would pursue. It was a lovely dream, a physical collection of beautiful moments. But this is real. There are lenders involved, I have a realtor (an HPU alum! Recommended by my college mentor!). There are credit inquiries, employment verifications. I will pay a man to crawl around the attic and inspect the wiring. Maybe I’ll get color swatches from Lowe’s or Home Depot (only if it passes the inspection). I am not going to get giddy about this thing until the keys are in my hand. And then, just try and stop me.