like a bad string of johns

Two blocks away from where I sit, a house is emptying of its current tenants. A house with shag carpets swaying in two small bedrooms and a bathroom just as small as the one we left, but without benefit of a second one in the house. The house was that of a girlhood friend and her single Mama. My father, oldest child, and I visited it yesterday. In this case the owner was a calm, friendly person who seemed on good terms with his tenants. A kitchen larger than the one I left (that’s good!) but wait, with too small of a dining area for our table (that’s bad!) A fenced yard (that’s good!). A cyclone fence (that’s bad!). I hope to never live in a place with a cyclone fence. “At least it’s a fence,” says my mom. She’s right. P.S. cyclone fences around here usually surround yards peppered with dog turd landmines half the size of my child.

A few hours later and my mom and I cruise a house on Stewart Avenue. A lovely, lovely house that ultimately is too large and yes, in Aberdeen, which my husband is dead-set against and I’m OK with his preference. Why did I look, then? Good question. One minute I’m desperate enough to consider anything including places you need eighteen locks and a shotgun to live in; the next I’m sensibly holding out for my requirements, of which I have a half-dozen that are a bit rare to find overnight.

My point is for every house you look at your mind instantly moves in, you think, what would it be like to live next to that condemned, falling apart shack next door? or, hey look, there’s a picnic table in the backyard!, you juggle the type of heat and the power bill estimation and the neighborhood and the distance from school and the jagged tears in the kitchen linoleum and the size of the yard. After days and days of this – the first installment a few weeks ago, now another installment thrust upon us – I start to feel I’m somehow being screwed over by these places. Exhausted. My friends email and tell me not to settle. I am already “settling” in some way. I look forward to and hope for, quite sincerely, a home.

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