Finding a House: Where Will It End?

Randy and I used to send each other music. He used to send some depressing stuff, yo.

Joy Division, for instance. I have a Joy Division rule. If Randy is depressed, then Joy Division is banned. Randy and I have been together a long time. I know the signs. One sign when Randy is depressed, is he listens to Joy Division. So, we just don’t listen to them much anymore.

This song, however, has been running through my head. Day Of The Lords. Where will it end?

Someone named Trevor is buying our house.

Soon, the person who lives in the house won’t be Michelle or Randy or Joey.

Trevor will be living in this house.


We listed our house on Wednesday, had an offer Thursday, and accepted the offer on Friday.

We have to get through the inspection in just a few days. I mean, that could tank the deal. I don’t know what the inspection will turn up, but I have no more dollars for fixing anything. We’re tapped. My fingers and toes are cramped from crossing them so hard.

We still have no prospects for finding a house.

We saw a house this weekend we both loved. It needs a fuck ton of work. It stinks. It’s new. And it is two stories.

We planned to buy an older single story house that needed very little work. But this house, you guys.

With a lot of work, this house would be amazing. It’s a few blocks from the river with a great view of downtown Cincinnati.

The amount of work would be daunting.

Every single wall and ceiling would have to be painted. One of the bedrooms has no flooring at all. The whole place smells terrible. Like corn chips and rancid kimchee. The carpet is grotesque, so I guess the room with no flooring is actually better than the rest of the upstairs. The kitchen cabinets and counters are depressing. The laminate in the living room is bubbled up all over and is this cheery shade of daycare orange. All the doors have holes punched in them. Someone very angry lived in that house.

That one probably won’t work out because we’re not ready.

We’re still trying to process the fact that we’ve sold our home (we hope, I guess) to decide on a house that will take more to get it into shape than this one. And this one took a year. Also, there was very limited space for sitting outside. We love being outside. And the view would be amazing, but we’d be looking over our cars as the outside space butts up against the two parking spaces. I think that would just end up being frustrating.

I guess what I learned is the constraints we’ve put on ourselves as far as our next house might be too rigid.

We’ve even thought about not calling it our death house. Maybe, it will be our “next 10 years” house. We are only whispering that second thought because we are still suffering trauma from almost selling this house to ever think about doing it again.

We have also accepted that we may not find something suitable in a timely manner and we may have to go back to being renters for a while. Which also has it’s merits.

We’ve been busting our asses for a year on this house. It might be nice to take a breather. We also thought that it might be a good idea to rent a house in the area we are considering to see if we’ll really like it. Our plan is to go from the suburbs to urban. I think we’ll love it. But what if we don’t? What if we hate it? It would be better to just live there a year than to have to sell another house. For all that is holy, if I can’t bear to think about selling a house again in 10 years, I can’t fathom having to do it again in a year.

In my last post, I talked about the lilacs in my back yard and how I looked at it as a sign and then had the shittiest day ever. What sign? Signs don’t mean shit.

Well, Friday, just before we accepted the offer, my son, Zach and I had lunch. I got in his car and he handed me a little bouquet of lilacs, the stems were wrapped in a wet paper towel and covered with a plastic baggy. “Grandma told me to give these to you.”

So, I sat there for a minute, holding lilacs from my mother and feeling my certainty that signs are complete bullshit waver for a moment.

It’s Sunday afternoon as I write this. My work issue is still an issue and my anxiety is inching into the vomit and/or panic attack level. Send up a few good thoughts for me when you read this. I will need them. I think by tomorrow it will either be fixed or I will have a better grasp of what it will take. I can’t tell you how much I hate this and how hard it is to swallow right now.

But enough about work, I have hours to try no not obsess over it. So, back to the house stuff.

If all goes well, we will close on June 22.

That gives us over a month to figure out where we find a house.

I have no idea what will happen. I can’t even lean a certain way. I know this is the worst type of situation for my anxiety. I understand this. I am trying very hard to not fight it. I know this will pass and we will end up where we end up.

I just have to find ways to ease the anxiety as much as I can.

I got these shoes on Friday, the same afternoon we accepted the offer. I bought these because I got deck paint on my black Keds and my black Keds were work shoes.

Sometimes, when I am super anxious, I create milestones. I used to write them on a desk calendar, but when I was in my late twenties, a douche twizzle coworker paged through my desk calendar and grilled me on all my cryptic notes. It was horrifying. So, since then, I just keep them in my head.

My new milestone is these shoes.

By the time these shoes are broken in and scruffy, we will know where this ends. We will be where we are supposed to be. Even if it is temporary.

Everything is temporary, isn’t it?

I don’t know where we will end up, but where ever we land, I am definitely planting a lilac bush.

About the author


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • It’s not really a sign but it is good that you’re already planning to put down roots.
    And if you do go with the house with the view of Cincinnati you’ll be moving into a nice neighborhood.
    I’m basing that on having been in Cincinnati just a couple of months ago. While there I went to a housewarming for a couple of great people who’d just moved into their dream home: one with a view of Cincinnati.
    Totally not a sign but I’m adding that to my stash of good thoughts being sent your way.

  • You will find new digs do not fret.
    A little story for you

    Once upon a time we owned a wee house in a very big city.
    We loved our wee house but found it incredible difficult to keep it.
    One day we decided to sell our lovely wee house and move one hour out of said city.
    We sold at a very good time. It sold quickly for a good price.
    We had just 6 weeks to vacate.
    Once outside the city we found a gorgeous home… we loved but could not afford.
    We put in an offer anyway, wrote
    a gorgeous letter to the owner telling her we loved but could only afford such n such.
    To our surprise and delight she accepted our offer. Keep in mind she had refused 7 other offers before ours.

    The wee house was torn down to build a modern monstrosity, sadly.

    The new house is spacious … beautiful … a dream come true and not far from big city if we want to visit.

    The moral of the story
    This could happen to you… tho clearly in the city not out of it.
    Dream it.
    Then jump!


  • I vote for moving to an area you think you might like and trying it on for size for a year. Rent. Don’t rehab another house. Take a breather, look around, give yourself the time you need.

    It took us awhile to find Valhalla – the wait was worth it.

  • Oh, no. That’s seems like the path to ruin: “By the time these shoes are broken in…”

    I do that all of the time, and it’s nearly forced me into complete inaction. It can’t be helped, but still.

    It’s also made me make big decisions rather randomly. Which, as it turns out, is not a terrible way to make big decisions. I read a book about how, when people have too many factors to take into consideration in making decisions, making a decision seemingly at random will actually end up leading to better “go with your gut” decisions.

    I’m not saying that this has been successful for me. My life probably isn’t the model for anyone else.

    But it usually keeps my anxiety at bay, a little bit.

    Ignore me. It sounds like you are stepping out ahead which is fantastic!

  • I vote no on another fixer upper. You deserve a break from fixing and upping. Renting might be nice for the short-term…someone else fixes and ups and you get to unwind from work anxiety, take walks around your new neighborhood and rest. Just a thought from the blogosphere… good thoughts sent your way for a good week.

  • “ooooohhhhhhmmmmmmmmm”
    Michelle is surrounded by fluffy clouds and sparkly sun trails.
    She looks towards Cincinnati with her soft loving gaze.
    Michelle breathes in deeply the lilac scented air around the Mom-to-Joey-to-Michelle sign of the good things to come.
    She sighs a little and then pictures herself with Alfie and Gertie and Randy in a lovely living room, relaxed and content, talking about the good day.

  • What Lisa K said. Really.
    OK, I can tell you where you will end up: home.
    What I can’t tell you is when.
    I have a good feeling about you in your new house, though, and I would like to share that feeling with you.
    I have certain music I listen to when I’m depressed, also, and I haven’t been depressed in so long that I don’t remember what most of it is.
    Quadrophenia, I remember, but the rest of it? Who has time for that stuff when it’s springtime in California and the peach and pear trees are starting to grow fruit again.
    Don’t rent your way past your ability to actually buy a house. That’s the only semi-useful advice I have for you.
    Nice shoes, by the way.

  • Congrats on the contract! Fingers crossed that all goes well.

    I just wanted to note that every single time we have sold a house, we moved into a rental – on purpose. Yes, it sucks to move to only have to move again. BUT, that took the pressure off in finding (or building) the house we wanted.

  • Thanks you guys. Sorry that I’m not responding individually this time, but my work problem continues to be a problem. It is critical, visible and I’m not sure yet if I can fix it. My anxiety is bad. Keep in mind, that is an understatement of monumental proportions. Send me a good thought, although I am pretty sure my anxiety isn’t letting any in right now. Try anyway, okay? xo

  • Pass on the house. The view is not worth the work. Besides, I know people who bought a “fixer-upper”, divvied up who was responsible for fixing what parts and it never goes as planned. You need something that will let you relax a little.

    I love the idea of renting in the area for a while. Sign a 1-2 year lease. It’s perfect! Within that time, a new home that you like, that doesn’t need a mountain of work is bound to come up!

    I installed an app on my phone called “Private Notepad”. It’s where I write all the random things that should never come out of my mouth publicly or might raise eyebrows if written on paper. It locks with a password, so is inaccessible to others.

  • Your happy thought for the coming time:
    If you have a son who give you a bouquet of lilacs with a message from his grandmother, you have raised a wonderful, sweet and compassionate human being. That, my lady, is an achiefment far far beyond fixing any house or any kind of work related issue. It says that you can do anything you set your mind to, even if it gives you the anxiety fuck ups! Think lilac and conquer the world of houseshit in all its ugly and difficult forms.

  • Look for places that list as “Rent with option to buy”. (Or you could ask if that option is available if you find a place you like). That way your rent payments could go to the cost of the house if you decide to stay. Of course, that means you have to love the rental in the first place, but if you rent, that money is gone anyway, so it’s kind of a win/win.

  • Michelle,

    You have so much going on in your life that you’re making my head spin!

    The house will come or the rental. You will know which one is right. I would pass on the fixer-upper. You need that type of stress like a hole in the head! I have done it, but I also wasn’t working at the time. It is not for the faint of heart.
    I love living downtown and have in three different Canadian cities over the past 15 years. I love the convenience and being able to walk to (or away from) work or to fun. If you’re not used to it though the noise can be overwhelming at times. When I visit people that live in the country, or even suburbia, the lack of noise is very strange. And then I cannot sleep.

    When (not if) the house sale goes through you will have one less thing on your plate.

    The shoes rock!

  • I love that you sold your house in two days. that is awesome. I bless you with an inspector who checked the house I was selling. SOMANYTHINGS went un-noticed, we spent a total $15 in repairs. I did not point out the snake access in the foundation.
    We thought we wanted a one-floor semi-urban. We ended up in a three-floor including finished attic, 13 feet wide, very urban (3 blocks from downtown), and I love it. May you be so lucky, wherever you end up!
    I also wish you sudden fortuitous work luck.

  • If the work thing is visible they’ll know you fixed it and think you’re great and give you a bonus.
    You can spend it on lilacs for your new garden.
    Luck and love xx

  • I love Darlene’s story, and I have to concur with what feels like a democratic consensus: RENT (or at least, let that be your plan) until you’re happy with living IN the city v. in suburbia. Also, if the rent-to-own option IS an option, then it can absolutely be a great “compromise”!
    You got this. I love that lilacs are your non-sign, and that you’re doing your best to tell the Universe what you want and taking the baby steps it replies with.
    One of the three houses that are well out of my reach but that I walked through anyway had clematis (sp?) growing out back, facing the pool. I got a very peaceful, easy feeling to see that.

  • Peace and love. Peace and love. We moved to Florida 6 years ago. I came down on my own and rented a house; my husband saw it for the first time 4 months later after I moved down with our furniture a month before. I held my breath as he got out of the car (if he didn’t like it I was screwed) and ….he smiled. We are renting still, it has it’s advantages. We are now ready to buy and if our landlord is not amiable to sell we will look elsewhere. Everything in it’s own time my dear. Breathe….


RSIH in your inbox