So The Husband and I had actually bid on several houses and been rejected before the stars aligned and we ended up buying our current house two years ago. Don’t get me wrong, we adore this house. We love the location, the big yard, the neighborhood, the schools … but sometimes we still drive by our “other” houses.
The boys probably think we’re a bit wacko when we drive slowly past a lovely Colonial in an adjacent neighborhood and wistfully say, “We almost lived there.” The truth of the matter is, our bids were flat out rejected, without even so much as a counter-offer. We did not almost live there.
One of the houses in particular that we liked was ultimately purchased by a builder and leveled. The resulting McMansion is worth about two million dollars, not our target price point. When we pull up in front of that “other” house, Tall and Short are baffled by Mom and Pop’s bad house-picking abilities.
“Oh, wow, Mommy!” squeals Short from the backseat, “That house is so much better than ours! We shoulda bought it!”
“Yeah, Mom,” concurs Tall as he eyes the owner’s son’s hockey equipment in the driveway, “then I could’ve been a hockey player!”
The Husband and I don’t quite know how to explain that if we lived at this address, we would actually be living in the former tiny cottage and all sharing one bathroom. The most we could’ve afforded to improve the previous rendition of that house would’ve been by buying a new mailbox and perhaps a welcome mat.
“Does the car come with it?” asks Short, noticing the red Porsche parked in front, “Because I might like that car, too!”
Next, we drive past the opposite end of the spectrum to a two-story stone house we bid on, a house that now sits empty with its windows broken and boarded up.
“Why didn’t we buy this one?” asks Tall, “Is this the one that had raccoons living in the attic?”
“That’s right,” I confirm, “but I hear they make great pets.”
“That’s not what my teacher said,” corrects Short, “She said that raccoons are mean and can bite you!” I look at Short’s face in the rearview mirror. He has his hands up like a fierce raccoon and he is baring his teeth and growling.
“She said ‘raccoon,’ not lion,” mocks his older brother.
The stone house is The Husband’s favorite. It was built in the 1920’s, and if it hadn’t been left to deteriorate for the past 50 years, would be pretty fabulous. It’s on a dead-end street, so there’s no traffic, only young families teaching their kids to ride bikes.
I momentarily picture myself living there, and then I realize I would have a completely different set of friends. I would go to a different dry cleaner. The kids would go to a different school. We would go to a different bookstore. My life would be the same, but the details would be different.
“That’s my favorite,” says The Husband redundantly, “Why didn’t we buy that one?”
“Like all the other ones, they turned us down. Remember?”
“And it had foundation problems,”
“I know,” he sighs.
“And old knob and tube wiring,”
“Not a big deal,”
“The roof was caving in,”
“It was perfect!” The Husband cheers, “We should’ve bought that one. We could be living there right now.”
“Would I have to share my room with a raccoon?” queries Short sincerely.
“Yes,” I reply, “or a lion.”