Wednesday, May 14, 2008


from Each Peach Pear Plum, by Janet and Allan Ahlberg, Puffin Books, 1978
Sam and I share a common passion these days...illustrations of cute little houses in his children's books. For Sam, his passion for houses is connected to one of his Very Favorite Things and currently his favorite word, "door," which he loves to have the excuse to say out loud. He has always loved opening and closing our front door, and any other door he finds, so it makes sense that he would enjoy pointing them out in his books.

from Kiss Good Night, by Amy Hest and illustrated by Anita Jeram, Candlewick Press, 2001
I also love the house images from these books because they so charmingly evoke that feeling of "home sweet home," a feeling I long for and work towards with every real estate listing I look at. As Sam and I turn the pages of these books, and he points and exclaims "door!", I reinforce his interest with "wow! another door!" and at the same time I dream yet again of living in a little house of our own, as cute and as perfect as the little houses in these books.

Of course the reality of the homes I see, and there have been a LOT of them, is that they are rarely cute. But that's ok, that can come later. For now, we're looking for just a few criteria:

1. 30 minutes drive or less to Denis' workplace (the shorter the better)
2. not in a rundown neighborhood
3. not needing any big improvement projects
4. fits all our stuff somehow
5. has a yard suitable for gardening and playing
6. has good light inside
7. in a good school district
8. we can afford it
9. has a garage, preferably attached

It's usually the light that is the most elusive. Why are so many houses dark? I don't get it at all. Good light is so powerful in a home, I think, and I don't want to compromise that. Often, too, the yards I see are not suitable, because they are too shady. One house that I was just about ready to say, "this is the one!" had excellent light and the perfect backyard: half shady and half sunny. But then there were some big problems, so it turned out that it wasn't the one.

This week I spent several hours thinking I had "the one" too. It had all our criteria, except that it had a bonus room/dining room instead of a third bedroom, and we decided that we could do better than that. It was cute, though.

Honestly, I am getting a bit burned out. I have looked at over 30 homes (I should count them, maybe it's even more than that), most of them with a squirming Sam on my hip. If he could talk, I'm sure he would say "Come on, Mommy (or Daddy, since he still calls me Daddy), let's get this one! It has everything I need: doors, a bath, and some outside space! Can we get it? Please?" And then he'd run around with his big smile on his face, so easily satisfied.

I, too, am almost ready to just pick one already. The weather is getting hot, and the worst thing about our current house is how stifling it becomes in hot weather. When I was pregnant two summers ago, I would take cool baths just to get through the heat of the day. Last summer, Sam was barely a crawler, and we spent afternoons playing and reading on a blanket in the shade of the olive tree in our front yard. This morning, we took a walk downtown and it was already very warm. We passed all the pretty houses, and I literally fantasized that someone would just walk out and tell me I could name my price and the house would be ours. Ha! I should stick to fantasizing plant lists!

I am willing myself not to be discouraged. To keep going, keep looking. These little house illustrations, and Sam's infinite enthusiasm for them, keep me positive. We will have our home sweet home, and maybe someone will even find it charming enough to draw a sweet picture of it someday.

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