Thursday, October 22, 2009

Touring the $400,000 House

Not long after we moved into our house, construction started on new housing developments just to the north and east of our subdivision. I believe the houses to the east may be part of our subdivision but the ones to the north are an entirely new one. I hated seeing the houses to the north being built. I loved looking out the office window and seeing the field and a lone house off in the distance. It made me feel like I lived in the country instead of smack dab in the middle of a cookie-cutter suburban neighborhood. Now, that lone house is surrounded by several others and a developer has submitted plans to cram 170 new houses into the field.

One day when I was out walking the dogs, I noticed the largest of the houses, which was serving as the sales office, now had a "for sale" sign and flyers in the little box. So, I took a peek at the flyer. When I got home, I pointed the house out to James as it can be seen from our office window. I told him they were asking $400,000 for it. We did not pay nearly that much for ours and it is only 3 blocks away.

I wondered what was so special about it that justified the price tag. We weren't doing anything so we decided to go check it out. I thought we would just walk up there but James didn't want them to know we lived right down the street and wanted to look like prospective buyers. So, we hopped in his car (after all people who drive BMWs are stereotypically in a better financial position than those who drive Lancers), and drove the 3 blocks up the hill.

We told the sales lady we were in the process of relocating back to Washington from Arizona. That's not a complete lie. There were, and still are, boxes that never got unpacked. My Mary Moo collection is just waiting for the shelves to be put up. It would appear I am going to have to do that myself. We also said that we were looking for a house. Okay, so that part wasn't true.

We were given the tour of what was actually a very nice house, but we ultimately decided it wasn't the house for us (I know, shocking!) as we didn't really need a 2,300 square foot house for just us and two relatively small dogs. She told us that they had another new development right down the street (those would be the new houses to the east of our 'hood) and that they were smaller. We decided to go take a look at them. What can I say, we were easily entertained. So, we looked at the first one and it wasn't bad but it didn't really suit our needs, given that we already had a house on the same street, which is actually a lot nicer. She said she had one more model so we agreed to see that too. We walked in, looked around and James told her "this floor plan is a complete waste of space." Shocked, she looked at me. I agreed with James. It really was a bad floor plan. The downstairs "living area" was more like a hallway than a room and the bulk of the usable floor space was upstairs.

We thanked her for her time and told her we were going to continue our search. We got back in the car and started to drive off. We got to the intersection and realized we had a bit of a dilemma. We were at the opposite end of the block from our house, but the sales lady was following us to get back to the north house sales office. She would pass right by our house to get to it, so we realized we could not go home without giving ourselves up. So James asked if I wanted to go get lunch. "Okay," I shrugged.

"Bilmo's?" Philly Bilmo's has awesome Philly cheesesteak sandwiches. I don't even really like Philly cheesesteaks and I crave them. I have only been there twice since James died. Once on his (first) birthday and once with my widowed friend back in February. Luckily for me, they moved right about the time we moved back. Otherwise, I would be able to walk to them from work and I would weigh about 300 pounds. They are THAT good. So, off to Bilmo's we went.

I laugh now when I picture us pretending to be new to the area and I especially laugh at the memory of James matter-of-factly telling the sales lady the floor plan of the east house was a complete waste of space. He was not one to beat around the bush-a trait I seem to have taken on since he died. He was right by the way. This was before the housing market went south and that house was one of the last houses to sell. It sat empty for several months longer than the rest before someone finally bought it.

It is these little things that I miss so much. The little silly day-to-day things that made up our life. I miss our life so much. More than anything, I want our life back. (Interestingly, Keith Anderson's "I Still Miss You" is playing right now). I want more fun memories like this, but that isn't an option. So I replay the memories I do have. Sometimes they make me laugh; other times they make me sad and long for what I lost. And sometimes, they do both. I hope I never lose the memories. Especially the silly ones; those were the times that were so "us."

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