Wednesday, June 30, 2010

25. House Schizophrenia

I love my New House. Not in the I-am-happy-I-live-here kind of way, but more in the Before-I-lived-here-I-stalked-the-New-House kind of way. I am not particularly proud of my behavior: I stalked a house.

The Husband and I had been looking at new houses for about a year when I stumbled upon this particular New House. I don't know if it was a cocktail of infatuation and desperation or just plain ol' being tired of looking, but we KNEW this was the one. We put in a (lowball) bid-- yeah, just like dating, we played games. The bid was unceremoniously rejected-- just like dating! Other suitors were involved (five! what a slutty New House!). The games continued. The stalking began.

Our Old House (which still was not "technically" sold yet-- minor trivial detail-- and did I mention that we needed that money to move on?) was only a mile away from the new object of my affection. Did Old House realize that I was cheating on It? I like to think that It did not, but I know in my heart It did. It gave a weary sigh. This had been coming for some time.

The floorplan had ceased to work for a growing family. The main area where the children liked to play was on a different level from the kitchen, so I could not see the kids while I prepared their sandwiches. The two-car garage, such an important feature when we purchased Old House, now sat there mocking me, as if to say, "I knew you would not turn Me into a gym! you lied! you just store old junk in here, not even a car for goshsakes!" (Old House would never swear). Old House was proud of Its newly-renovated granite-countered kitchen worthy of a magazine cover (well, if that magazine were called "Teeny Tiny Glam Kitchens"), but now comprehended that it was merely a ploy to get it sold.

Old House glared at me and shook Its head in disgust.

I started getting up about 5:30 AM, before the sun was even creeping into the sky. I would silently put on my running clothes, give The Husband a cursory kiss on the cheek and off I would go. These runs cleared my head. I was reflecting on Old House and all the wonderful times we had had, but a break-up was imminent. It was a great relationship while it lasted, but now I was ready to move on. And no matter what Old House said, my new relationship was NOT a rebound! I kept thinking about New House and how I could get It and all my Big Plans once It was mine. I can now see in retrospect how this could be considered, umm, slightly deranged.

The run took me past New House. How convenient. This is the spot where I would need to take a short break from running, maybe even walk for a minute. How about a stretch? Yep, those calves feel a little tight. New House winked at me and said, "You're not fooling no one," (New House did not have the best grammar). At first, this would happen maybe two or three days a week. Soon, I was up to five days, then every day. I told myself, I can quit at any time. But no, I could not quit: I was addicted.

I became brazen. New House was empty (part of Its appeal) and so I started to drift into the yard, a little too close. If I was New House, I would have called the police about me. But New House continued to welcome me.

I pretended not to notice New House's flaws. The Scary Mold.

"Oh, come on, it's not like mold is dangerous or anything!" said New House.

"Ummm, yeah, it kind of is", I muttered under my breath.

Or how about the bizarre pump that was hand-rigged in the yard to half-heartedly attempt to stop water from accumulating in the basement? Or the asbestos linoleum? Huh? What about that?

Nothing could shake me from my reverie. I was falling in lust with New House and I accepted all the flaws and quirky personality traits that came with It.

The Husband had morphed from a mere spectator and was now a willing participant in the Stalk-a-rama that had become my life. He would run to New House too, but in the evening. He told me later that he would drive past New House on his way to work (do I need to bother adding that his work was in the opposite direction?).

What did I do on those mornings when I stalked New House? I stood in the yard gawking at New House, inspecting the scalene bricks of the back patio and deciding what kind of fence to install to keep random nosy joggers out, and all the while I was getting eaten alive by dinosaur mosquitoes. I could take it. It didn't matter. I would be with New House even if it was on New House's terms and not mine.

Of course, this could not continue. That's when it happened.

I remember it vividly. It was 6 AM on a Sunday morning and I was about three houses away from New House, my palms starting to sweat. Like a crazed junkie who has lost all perspective, I was about to get my fix. The anticipation! The elation! Did New House like me as much as I liked New House? Would New House look the same? How do I look?

A strange man walked out of New House (!) and towards me on the sidewalk. Oh, the betrayal! Who ARE you, Strange Man? And what the hell are you doing at New House? (New House had forced me to swear.)

"Can I help you?" said Ralph, the owner, as he walked toward me.

I gasped for air. My head was spinning. Had he seen me all those other mornings? And even if he had, what does that prove anyway? That I have a brick fetish? that I am somehow genetically immune to mosquitoes?

I chose to take the high road. I started rambling,

"Ralph, it's great to see you-- remember me? I'm MOV and I'm buying your house and The Husband and I are so excited and we just can't wait and I thought I would just walk past and did I mention we are excited and we have started packing and what was your favorite thing about the house and I know you grew up in the house and by the way we have two sons and THEY are going to grow up in the house and we are not going to bulldoze it and we totally love it exactly the way it is and I know it must be hard for you and I'm so sorry about your mom dying and how are the neighbors and do you hear any noise from the bike path and gosh I know it's early isn't it, well I guess I'll let you go now, bye!"

To which, bless his heart, Ralph kindly responded, "We are really glad to be selling to you."

I guess Ralph might be a little crazy too.

("Medley Of Visions")

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