House Wars

This has probably been one of the most stressful weeks of my life. I think even squeezing a watermelon through my lemon was easier -- at least we got a big fat prize at the end of that ordeal. After a week of waffling on two amazing homes that are totally within our budget to purchase AND renovate, we're passing. We think. Jesus, my internal compass is so screwed up I don't even know what my name is anymore. I feel like my arm has been amputated, and if someone asked me to wear a big black helmet and man the Death Star, I probably would. Let's review the properties, shall we?

#1 has an incredible view of Austin, all the way from downtown almost to San Marcos. It has vaulted ceilings, clerestory windows and a closet big enough to live in. It's well located within town, but it's also built at the corner of one of the worst highways in Austin. Plans to redo the highway include building a monster overpass right beneath this house that will make this quiet little neighborhood sound like it's situated near an airport runway. Honestly, the Austin transportation authority is so screwy that it may never happen. But if it does... well, it would suck. A lot. Plus the office space and yard are not very functional for us.

#2 is a sprawling 70s rancher on close to an acre that backs to a gorgeous creek. It has all the space we'll ever need, and tons of privacy. It's also quite a hike from town, and part of the drive has to be made on one of the most highly trafficked and most hated roads in south Austin. Oh yeah, and that road runs right through the neighborhood. It sucks and it pretty much ruins the peace of this very pretty rural community. And did I mention that the commute blows? 30 minutes to downtown with no traffic, probably an hour to tech jobs up north. Ugh.

So that's what we've been grappling with. Even typing this was hard, because I know some of you will tell me to buy one of them. And I'm also sure some of you are barfing at the thought of living in such humble abodes. But wouldn't it have been fun to help me redo them?

Shit I'm all confused and feeling dark side again. Just call me Darth.

Non Committal

Yesterday I may have come across as a little... wound up. Well I still am, but I'm also trying to relax so we can make a clear headed decision. This weekend it seemed we may have two houses to choose from, and then we had one. And then we flip flopped back to the other one. And now we have neither? Who knows... maybe tomorrow we'll be back to considering both. The problem is that Austin is suffering from growing pains. Excellent schools are probably being closed due to budgetary constraints. New schools may be built elsewhere.

Traffic has been rerouted to flow through neighborhoods we like, and a giant highway flyover may be constructed right behind one of the houses we fell in love with. Or maybe it won't. Should we gamble?

Thanks for listening, dudes. And for chiming in with your comments. Can I just tell you that I'm emotionally drained?

Right now this is all I dream of. Curling up in a fluffy white cloud and reading a classic novel -- perhaps some Anna Karenina -- would definitely put things into perspective for me.

At least none of the houses we're considering are near a train.

[Head Over Heels]

I'm Going for a Ride on the Crazy Train

How was your weekend? Ok, let me be honest: I'm not going to hear a single word you say in response to my question, because I am going insane. I did not have a sleepy, relaxing weekend. I did not take trapeze lessons. I did not even do the laundry. We did look at houses every single second of the day. While at first I felt confident that we may have a winner, with every second that separates me from the promising property my doubts double. Did I mention that I'm going insane? Why can't we just afford a house like this?

Honestly, as much as I like stuff n things I'm not an incredibly materialistic person. I don't actually require a house of this scope and grandeur (require being the operative word, here). We like our current house and love our neighbors, but we need a place that can grow with our family (jeebus, I am old). Here's a checklist of our priorities.

Needs: Good schools, another bedroom, within our budget, not crazy far from town.

Wants: Awesome architecture, lots more space, closer to town than we are now (hahahahaha!), financial comfort.

People who live in desirable urban areas, you know what I'm talking about when I say that the chances of all these things coming together in one affordable package is about as likely as a winged unicorn taking me for a ride over a rainbow and serenading me with a Foreigner song. In other words, it's an awesome dream, but it ain't gonna happen.

Let me summarize, thusly. Dream:


$400,000 for a dilapidated disaster, wherein the roof has leaked all over the joint, the floor is rotting, the sunken bathtup is a death trap, the floorplan is a tragedy, the structure is built too close to the property line, and we are selling all our possessions to move into a house where will be forced to eat ramen for the next decade.

Great schools and fantastic location near town, though! Don't cry -- this isn't the house we're considering.

The state of close-in Austin real estate is abysmal. Remember this unforgettable house, one of the first we looked at back in 200freaking9, aka forever ago? (PS: that dent is still in our bumper). Those were the days.

Possibly maybe more news tomorrow. Right now I'm curious as to how you dudes prioritize your housing needs. What's most important to you? Please distract me from this hideously depressing downward spiral.