Friday, March 25, 2005

Someplace else

1. I miss this. A lot. Shaking out the debris in my head.

2. I was astounded to find tubs of Play-doh available at the dollar store (for a dollar each!) last Christmas, but I was stunned to find no-name modelling dough available three tubs for a dollar. What I love about Play-doh is the smell, though I have yet to establish whether it's a Proustian thing (I don't remember much Play-doh in my childhood at all) or a chemical response. The no-name modelling dough smells awful. Really, really awful. It's also gummier and takes a really long time to harden. But it smells really awful. I've resisted making homemade Play-doh, mostly because I dread the disappointment of not capturing the smell (and because it uses a ton of salt). I wonder if I can get Play-doh scent in a can?

3. House-hunting is unpleasant. The actual viewing of homes is rather nice — it's the implications: having to battle out the priorities of living space to find a suitable compromise as well as facing the fear of never "falling in love." How can I be expected to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a space I'm not in love with? Where is the love in all the compromises? How much is a square foot really worth? The most difficult question of the day: is our real estate agent on the side of good or evil?

4. Helena has developed a strange little laugh. It sounds affected and phony, and verges on the maniacal. It reminds me of other people's children when they're playing you. The delightful usual laughs are still there, but this one is getting a lot of airtime and it confuses me.

5. I keep buying more notebooks. Yesterday, fine Italian notebooks, because the paper is creamy and screams for ink and lead to be rubbed across it, those pages want to know everything; today, dollar store notebooks (for a dollar!) wanting grocery lists, stray phone numbers, and reminders. This has to stop.

6. She keeps saying marvelous cute things I mean to jot down, and don't, because I know all kids say them and it would be tiresome to repeat them, and already I forget, and I wish I had a notebook full of Helena utterances, knowing that once I had them they would prove to be a unique and weird blending of two languages.

7. Helena delayed bedtime today by requesting hummous — too strange not to indulge, but also likely an indication of hunger, and it would never do for Helena to go to bed hungry.

8. We're off to visit my mother. We leave in a few short hours. Easter weekend will be a joy with my sister there, and before J-F leaves to come back home without us. But it'll be at least a week before he comes back for us. I'm afraid of how long this week may turn out be.

9. I'm very sad that I'll be missing Blue Metropolis. Very sad. I've been looking forward to it for a whole year.

10. I'm taking Don Quixote with me.

11. I'm going to miss this a lot. Where will I shake out the debris?


Anonymous said...

House hunting! Eek! It is hair-raising indeed. I have two pieces of advice, though:

1) Don't fret too much about falling in love with the place itself. This is probably not the only place you will ever own. Archetectural detail can, to some extent, be altered or concealed. Pick a few things you NEED -- light? space? a room of your own? These are more important than love, IMO.

2) DO love the neighborhood. That, to me, is more important because that is something you can't fix or improve yourself. That was the clincher for me in finding our place -- there were other comparable apartments. We could have afforded a much bigger place in a much crappier part of town. My joy in living here is my joy in this corner of the city.


-E said...

I love the smell of Play-Doh as well. I like squishing it through my fingers. Much more fulfilling than any generic brand.

Aussie Shiraz said...

My daughter developed a strange laugh at about 3 years of age...she still has it.

Anonymous said...

Homemade Playdoh smells like bad breath...

orfeo said...

It's only a few months since I went through the house-hunting thing, so my memories are vivid.

Things you need definitely need to be the starting point. It means you can walk out of a lot of places quickly before there's any danger of being attached to them.

The sign of hope is realising that each of the things you need IS available. Once you've done that, the odds of finding them all in the one place start to improve. For a start, you can start insisting to real estate agents that they don't waste your time with places that don't measure up. By the end of my search I had several agents who all knew there was NO point in showing me somewhere that couldn't fit my piano, for example.

The place that I DID fall instantly in love with, every time I looked at it carefully there was one big sticking point. I was in love, but I knew that one of the things I loved about the place would drive me crazy in the long term.

The place I ended up buying wasn't instant head over heels love. It was a comfortable kind of feeling. And each time I went back, I liked it better when I was there than when I was away from the place thinking about it in the abstract.

Now that I'm in it, the love is coming. And occasionally the groans of unpleasant discovery, but fundamentally I know I made a choice I can live with. Because the place feels fundamentally comfortable. I can shape the details later.

End ramble...

Janet said...

Oh no! I'm no longer a "odd fish". That makes me sad.:(

My boyfriend just bought his first home. It is by NO MEANS perfect, but he knows he doesn't have to stay there forever. Of course, this girl who is telling you not to stress has never gone through the process herself.:(

Kimberly said...

We bought our house as much for the neighborhood as for the house, and I do think that the neighborhood is at least as important as the place.

However, for me there had to be some "chemistry" with the place, too. The couple of features that I adore about the house - the big front porch, the huge double-hung windows with leaded panes - continue to provided pleasure when I'm struggling with old plumbing or a bad '70s kitchen remodel.

I hope you're having a good vacation, that there hasn't been too much debris piling up... and that you'll be back soon!

Karin said...

House hunting is something I don't look forward to doing. I do hope you find a good house. I'm not as big on love at first sight because it can blind me to flaws, but sometimes it works out well.