What's the best way to deal with a long day of travel with an over-excited 4-year-old and the jet lag of jumping a couple time zones? House-hunting the next day, of course.
We didn't head out until the afternoon and still managed to squeeze in 12 houses. Well, 11--if you don't count the one that none of us took more than two steps into before the smell of cigarette smoke was too overpowering to continue. It had been a promising house otherwise, but it was obvious that the owners smoke heavily indoors and that it would take more than a carpet shampooer and fresh coat of paint to get rid of that.
Out of the houses we saw, one remains a real possibility--one that Trillian had seen last time too and reported to me that she could actually imagine our family living in it. It's main defect is that the kitchen is rather small, especially in terms of counter space. And the layout is such that it would be hard to supplement with work space close enough. Of course there are a number of other little things to look into too--possible flood problems given its location on a hill, where exactly the one small bank of solar panels hooks into the system, a backyard in need of work. But it remains the best use of space for our family's needs.
(Odd, random anecdote: When we went to look at the house we ended up buying in the States, I scraped my knee on the wall, squeezing back to look at the date on the water heater. At the time, I silently told myself that was a bad sign--and yet we ended up with the house. Today, as I went up the fold-down ladder to the attic storage space, I scraped my knee (the other one, I think) on the "hand-rail" along the top half of the ladder. Hmmm.)
Our plan at this point is to look at a few houses that are just a bit above our price range--not because we're planning on upping our limit, but because the market is slow enough that we might be able to get a low bid accepted. It's also a chance for us to see if there is a noticeable difference between the current price point we're considering and the next one up.
As tends to happen when looking at a number of houses, we're getting a better sense of what precisely we want and the sorts of things we're willing to compromise on. We seem to be drawn to single-level homes. Not that I would immediately rule out anything with stairs, but we have yet to see a layout with multiple-levels that also delivers everything we want as well as the single-level we like. We've also noticed that stairs eat up a lot of square footage, and so many homes that claimed to be bigger than our favorite didn't feel like it.
House-hunting has also confirmed something for us: even with the frustrations we've faced, we still view our family as waiting for a second child. Little things came our of our mouths today. "This might work if we had two boys and they shared a room, but we can't be sure of that." "The huge difference in size between the second and third bedroom would be a point of contention between the children." "Scooter might be able to handle these stairs, but there's no convenient way to gate them for a baby."
My head is swirling with the implications of all of these thoughts and looming decisions. It's after midnight, by my body's clock if not the one here, and so I know better than to think I can figure any of it out right now. Hopefully by pouring some of it out here, I'll avoid exceedingly bizarre dreams in which the different houses splice themselves together or sprout new rooms until I no longer know where I am.