“Buying a house is like choosing which dog in the pack you want to bite you. You can pick the big one that takes one big hunk of meat at wallet level or select the little one that grabs hold of anything that dangles and hangs on til a better tidbit comes along. Either way, you’re broke.”
“So you’re not in favor of the idea.”
“Well, we’re dangerously close to having extra money this month. I was afraid we might be forced to do something rash, like buy gas or have meat with dinner this week.”
I’m trying to persuade the Captain 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. And I probably should have saved that kitten idea for a surprise later on.
“Handyman’s Dream” it said in the guide book. When I called, the realtor sounded giddy. Then again, perhaps she was just really lonely, because she offered to put off dialysis just to meet me. She even gave me a charming aerial photo of the the house to show off when I got back home.
“I’d rather cover my seats with Viennese lace.” The Captain 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 in my Reeboks later in the evening. He’s held a grudge ever since the surgery, anyway.
“You mean in plumber’s bills?” he asked, wiping up water with the picture of my dream hovel.
“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.”
“I’ll help you.” I grinned invitingly.
“There’s no need to threaten me.”
“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.
For now I still have some convincing to do. I realize there are more obstacles on the way to buying a house than there are splinters on the stairway to Paradise. But I think I’ll win.
I showed Precious where to find the Captain's shoes.