Monday, February 19, 2007

House Dreams

Yesterday, Don and I decided to forget all the stuff we had to do, and take a drive instead. So instead of laundry and cleaning (our usual Sunday routine) we drove all around the Virginia countryside, which is lovely even in winter. We drove up into the mountains where it was snowing, past farms, orchards, vineyards. With work so hectic for both of us right now, it felt imperative to take some real quality time together. In the car we can talk uninterrupted by the TV (or a movie or the Internet or laundry); plan for the future, daydream together.

We are really thinking about moving out of town when we make the quantum leap from renting to buying, so we were casually looking at anything for sale, too. Moving to Virginia has put a real hold on our home-buying plans, because the real estate around here is so much more expensive than where we were in Texas. There, you can get a decent house in a decent neighborhood for $100,000-ish. For twice that, you can get a really nice house in an even better neighborhood. It's a cheap place to live. Don and I could afford something like that; we have enough saved to make a sizeable downpayment. Here... yeah, right! We just can't afford a $400,000 house. Or a $300,000. or a $250,000. You get the picture. Everybody wants to live here, and it makes land expensive. But homes are a little less expensive out of town. It would mean a long commute (although Don says that he wouldn't mind that.) And it would mean the kind of isolation that living away from a city might bring.

I'm a cities-and-suburbs kind of girl. Never lived in the country. Never lived more than a mile from a restaurant, gas station, coffee shop. I like living a life that is in contact with other people, even the most casual kind of contact. On the other hand, I have (very cliched) daydreams about living "out there". Being able to do things like have a clothes-line, chickens*, and more than one dog. I would love to be able to play my piano without checking to see if our neighbor is home, first. But, I wonder what the people are like, who live away from town. I don't know if it's a stereotype or not, but it seems like they would be more conservative, old-fashioned, and religious? Or is that outdated? Maybe the countryside is full of crunchy-granola hippie liberals now. In which case, yay!

Could I live 30 miles from the nearest Starbucks? Is there a house out there somewhere for under 200,000 dollars, that still has a decent roof and foundation? We're pretty much 'over' renting. We would have bought a house in Texas if it weren't for the fact that we knew we'd be leaving within a few years.

*I've always wanted to have a chicken. But I know that once she's too old to lay eggs, we would have to retire her on pension, not turn her into dinner. Don says I would never be a real farmer. I have no idea how keeping chickens and having big dogs would work other than really good fencing.

1 comment:

Bella said...

If you raise the chicken and the dogs together, believe it or not, the dogs won't touch her...except for the occasional test run. :) My great-grandma died at the ripe ol' age of 98 and just shook her head when the great grandkids (us) looked at her in horror as she told us to go pick out a chicken for dinner. Not too mention seeing her snap the neck.

House buying: ya...Jordan and I are way over renting and need a house. But damn...even the cheap homes in halfway decent neighborhoods scare me. This whole buying thing is freaking me out. It's so permanent, so "on your own",