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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fixer Upper

“Buying a house is like choosing which dog in the pack you want to bite you. You can choose between a big one that takes one big hunk of meat at wallet level or a little one that grabs hold of anything that dangles and hangs on. Either way, you’re broke.”

“So you’re not in favor of the idea.” I sighed. Low interest should apply to the mortgage, not the man.

“Well, we’re dangerously close to having extra money this month. I was afraid we might do something rash, like buying a bond or putting it in savings.”

I’m trying to persuade Bill to buy a house. A cozy little home of our own where we can raise kittens and cucumbers and drill holes in the wall any time we like. Actually it’s not buying a house that he’s against. It’s the description of the particular house I’ve discovered on my latest foray. “Handyman’s Dream” it said in the guide book. When I called, the realtor sounded giddy.

“I’d rather cover my seats with Viennese lace.” Bill didn’t really say that, but his actual comment, although rich in imagery, had the same odds.

“Think of the money we’ll save,” I said, ducking down and to the left as I turned on the faucet. An icy blast of water shot out of the sprayer attachment and nailed Precious, the cat, with pinpoint accuracy. I saw Precious make a mental note to poop on my pillowcase later in the evening. He’s held a grudge ever since the surgery, anyway.

“You mean in plumber’s bills?” he asked, phoning the landlord.

“In rent.” We could be making payments on a house we owned so we could retire.” I reached under the sink and turned on the hot water. A gush of steam erupted from the faucet like Old Faithful. Bill pushed the landlord’s speed dial button on his cell phone.

“We’ll need to save money so we can pay for our own repairs.”

“We’ll do everything ourselves.”

“You mean like when you hung that doily over the hole in the living room wall?”

“That was short term. You’re a great repairman.”

“I fix computers. There’s a big difference between replacing a sound card and snaking a toilet. Computer maintenance doesn’t require the use of a wrench big enough to wrap your upper plate around your tonsils.”

“No, but you have to deal with people who think a user’s manual is a book that teaches you how to take drugs. With this project, you’d be totally in charge. It would be exhilarating.”

“It would be exhausting.”

“You can go to the hardware store any time you like.” If there’s one thing men crave more than quiet at fourth down and goal to go, it’s sifting through tenpenny nails without a reason. That, and strolling through automotive departments to sniff the tires, but you have to draw the line somewhere.

"Good. I'll go look for riding lawn mower."

"Okay, dear," I twinkled, making a mental note to add a pantry and half bath to the new house.

When it comes to real estate, it's important to remember a few important terms. Negotiation is the most important one of all.

Now if I can just work something out with Precious to save my linens.


Nancy said...

Wonderfully observant and evocative as usual, Amy!

the Bag Lady said...

Great post, Amy!