We returned to New Jersey today to see some houses in Maplewood and South Orange. It was not a successful day. We saw three houses, and we didn’t like any of them.
One had a weird sunken living room with two or three stairs to all other rooms of the house—a true toddler death trap. And there was a new addition off the kitchen with depressing-looking linoleum that just seemed bleak and soulless. We didn’t even look upstairs.
Another was enormous—like something out of Gone with the Wind—with all the ornate details that go along with a “period” home. Our Ikea furniture would look just…silly there. And the realtor said the heating bill is probably around $15,000/year. It's rare when even I will admit that a house is too much house for us.
The third was sterile, too newly done, and though it was pretty in the technical sense, it left me cold. The realtor said it was on the market because of a divorce, so perhaps that was part of the unhappy feeling of the place. The dislike was purely on the adults’ part, though: Lucia was in her glory outside, running around in the grass in front of the house, looking over her shoulder and scream-laughing when Andrew chased her. This child needs a yard desperately. She was so, so, so happy, running around in the grass.
The realtor took us to another house, too, but we didn’t even get out of the car. The house was set on top of a hill, with about fifty stairs leading up to it. I tried to imagine doing that multiple times a day with a double stroller—ha! There was a back entrance onto a back driveway without stairs, but if we’re spending all this money for a home, I want to have a home whose front door I can actually use. The realtor came to our car window, and we just shook our heads. (Well, I shook mine emphatically and made some sounds akin to "Ha!" while Andrew used his diplomatic voice to politely suggest we move on to the next one. We each have our interpersonal styles in this hunt. Andrew's boils down to chitchat-then-opinion. Mine can be summarized as, Next!)
We went back to the house we loved from yesterday, just to have another look around. We still love it. But it needs a lot of work. A lot. A lot a lot.
The girls did great again, though Greta once again screamed much of the way home. Lucia was a mellow, fun house-hunting companion, declaring “It’s a beautiful house!” at random times in the car. Collecting sticks at each house today was her primary objective.
It was an informative, interesting weekend. We’re off to a good start…