Twice in the past week, I have sucked up some gumption and talked to people in awkward situations on purpose and both times it has been magically okay. These big girl shoes are feelin' fine right now. Tonight's bit of bravery wasn't anything special, so I'll just forgo that one in order to talk about the one that was really cheeky. (The next time someone asks me how I'm doing, I just might use that term. I like it a lot.)
This past Saturday, my #1 4-year old squeeze and I were erranding about town, and on the homeward bound part, I made an impromptu drive through a neighboring neighborhood (hardy har har--word play of sorts) to scope out the garage sales (don'tcha love 'em when they're all bunched together and it's not necessarily so conspicuous when you do a drive-by and then keep on keeping on if there's only 1 card table of clothes and a couple of gaudily framed pictures?). This neighborhood happens to be one that we walk in a lot with the girls because of convenience as it's literally across the street from our own 'hood. Well, there's a house in this neighborhood...
We've been alternately in & out by only the thinnest of measures of the housing market in this county for about 4 years now. If you ask me, I've been scoping out the possibilities for our next house about 6 months after we moved into this one, which was 7 years ago now. I've written about it before, but this little ranch was never supposed to be more than a temporary stop, 3 years or so...maybe 4 depending on my grad school & job prospects. Do the math. We've landed and landed hard, it appears. However, a major part of our housing woes boils down simply to two things. 1.) It is a little anxiety-inducing to contemplate the possibility of a fresh mortgage on our current, reduced income. I'm merely stating that as a fact, not at all whining about what we make. It is what it is and it's not like we didn't know what it would be when we made the choices that we did. 2.) THERE AREN'T ANY HOUSES IN THIS DANG COUNTY THAT ARE ABLE TO MEET A FEW BASIC CRITERIA...LIKE NOT BEING JUNK IN OUR PRICE RANGE! I am whining about that one, just a touch (for your perspective). But like I mentioned, there's a house in the neighborhood just across the street...
But that house isn't for sale. It never has been for sale in the 7 years that we have lived in our house. That has not (unfortunately?) prevented me from house stalking it a little. Did you know that you can look up property value/information on any piece of property that you want to? You can (such a handy thing, the internet). It reveals a wealth of information, like purchase dates, tax information, major improvements, lot size, names of owners, and more! Taking the house stalking to the world wide web level, I have discovered some good information: the couple that owns the house has owned it for quite a while (read: they're elderly!), it's assessed value is in our 2 income price range should it be put on the market for that (read: cha-ching!), and it has 5 bedrooms (read: be still my beating heart!). When I house stalk, I don't just walk slowly by the place, surreptitiously checking it out behind my sunglasses, which I absolutely do. No, no. I go nutsy cause this house has a lot of good things happening--location, bedrooms, lot size, and definitely location.
Back to the neighborhood garage sale thing and me cruising innocuously through with kid in tow. THE COUPLE AT THIS HOUSE WAS HAVING A GARAGE SALE, TOO! What would any normal person do? Why, she (emphasis on normal, here) would slowly idle by once (and as her car is one of them there quiet cars that doesn't make a car sound when it's idling, it's really, REALLY stealthy snooping), scope out the rest of the neighborhood while she argues internally about whether or not she has the sheer guts to go cold call these lovely people about their house (admittedly, not really part of the garage sale) while also trying to answer enough of her lovely's questions so as not to arouse suspicions (children are unnervingly perceptive when you really just want to THINK!).
And I/she did it--turned around and coasted to a stop in front of their driveway. Child came with (for the sympathy factor?) and I/she approached this darling couple with something to the effect of "Hi! This is a weird thing to say to you right now, but I really adore your house. Really. Here is my contact information; please call me if you ever decide to sell it!" Twenty minutes and ONE COMPLETE HOUSE TOUR (!!!) later, I/she left with the little one and a huge, free, stuffed teddy bear.
Then I had to talk to the boy and tell him what I had done. Luckily, he's a sporty chap who finds my antics generally amusing. Bless him.