Friday, March 18, 2016

Houses and the lack thereof

In case you missed the memo, in the fall I was kicked out of my rental house and obliged to take up residence in a condo, which I hate. I keep shopping for alternative abodes, but it seems I either have to choose between living at an apartment complex and all the trials that come with that, or paying 1800+ a month for the privilege of living in a house. Since the majority of my readers live in Ohio, where rents this high are still inconceivable, let me assure you that this is standard for the DC suburbs, but still about 500-900 dollars a month more than living in a 1-bedroom apartment. Financially, the choice between the two is an obvious one, but I really, really, really can't stand the inconvenience of a communal laundry machine. I go back and forth with myself about the equally undesirable options pretty much yes, I'm a little bit irritable about my housing prospects.

In case you missed the other memo, for approximately the last year of my life, I've been trying and failing to buy a house. I started out around this time last year sort of casually poking around the housing market, thinking "well, I've been half-heartedly shopping for houses for the past 6 years; I can wait another 6 until I find the perfect place." And over the next 12 months, graduated from patient disinterest to extreme desperation. Now, when my bids get rejected or a house fails inspection, it means hours of crying and days of depression.

It doesn't help that somehow I have landed myself in a social circle where everyone already owns a home. Among the people I talk to most often, 3 out of 4 are homeowners. My boyfriend, who lives with me but owns the house his parents occupy, is obsessively formulating a plan for remodeling said house. On an eerily similar note, the 4th of the four aforementioned friends lives in an apartment but is inexplicably interested in demolishing his parents' home and rebuilding it.

It's nearly impossible for me to escape the talk of home maintenance and remodeling. And while I can't begrudge any of these people their interest in their homes, I simply can't understand it. Why would you want to remodel a house you don't even live in? Why not take all the money you're throwing away on fixing up someone else's home, and instead invest it in making your own living situation a little less crappy? Why are you making your girlfriend pay all the rent for the two of you and your two dogs (who incidentally make your housing options a lot fewer and more expensive) while you fritter away your own money on vaulted ceilings for your parents who clearly couldn't care less whether or not they have vaulted ceilings, or they would have added them themselves? Hmmm... perhaps my boyfriend and I need to have a conversation about our fiscal priorities, but in the meantime, back to the subject of home-talk.

Being the only person who doesn't have a house (whilst being a person who arguably needs to live in a house more than anyone else!) means you get stuck listening to a lot of conversations that make you jealous. (You also, somehow, got a free subscription to Traditional Home, which is like a kick in the butt every time you receive an issue.)

And so I've realized, after several years of finally not being single, that Love and the Lack Thereof has been supplanted as the single most distressing issue in my life. It's now housing (so much so that I'm creating a new tag for the blog)! I think Public Display of Homeownership (PDH) is my new Public Display of Happiness in a Relationship. It doesn't matter if you're boasting about your newest addition or complaining about your plumbing—you have what I've been struggling to attain, and that ticks me off.

This might sound like complaining. It is complaining. But in the midst of my frustration, jealousy, despair, self-loathing, anger, and the rest of the negatives, there is one thing that makes me smile.

I didn't really need to write this blog post, because blatant PDH is not something I often have to face.

Most of my friends got both of the aforementioned memos. Most of them now preface any kind of discussion about housing with an apology. They understand it's a sensitive issue for me and don't want to remind me. Unlike before, when it seemed like the whole world was trying to rub my relationship non-status in my face, I feel like my failings in this matter (admittedly trifling compared to world hunger and true homelessness, etc.) are being treated with compassion. So while I will never go so far as to say I've been lucky, I can at least say that I have some pretty cool friends.