Rob and I have been looking for a house for about 4 months, now. Aside from the donut holes and chocolate chip cookies served at the open houses, it’s second only to emptying the diaper genie as far as terrible things that have happened to me in my life.
I like to think searching for a home online is a little like internet dating. And by that I mean, disappointing. The photographs are from 2001 when the home was still in its prime, hadn’t lost it’s treeline, the paint hadn’t curled after years of neglected maintenance, and all the electrical wiring could still support the needs of the home. After clicking through the many qualifications of the home, you relent, and with a prayer in your heart and your mom on speed dial, you call the realtor to schedule a meeting in person.
In great anticipation of having the loveliest of master bedrooms (with a walk-in closet), you arrive only to find the walk-in closet is, in fact, the master bedroom, the room still bears the tramp-stamp of a floral wallpaper border and the closet is actually a small alcove in the wall that has recently been patched and drywalled, most likely covering some nonessentials like the breaker panel or the body of the previous-owners mother-in-law. Not pictured: a completely exposed, singular toilet in the far corner of the room. Having been in this situation before, you weave a well-constructed fabrication involving a sick friend and while you frantically “text” to find out if bacterial meningitis is contagious, you see the familiar headlights of the getaway-Uber waiting outside and head for the hills. Not even looking back to answer when the realtor calls after you, “you left your coat!” “Keep it!” you shout as you dive head first into the vehicle and begin to unravel the devastating tale to your driver who doesn’t care.
SO YOU BUILT YOUR HOUSE ON A CEMETERY: BEGINNER’S GUIDE
While many of the homes we’ve looked at have utilized some tricky photography, there is one, whom I shall never forget. I say whom, because this house was alive. Not so much with the sounds of music, but more accurately, with the sounds of the wailing souls of the deceased with which the house was built atop.
From the photographs, this home had it all. It was spacious, it was clean, the aesthetics were pleasing to the eye, and the curb appeal was *insert inappropriate ‘mmm.’* This was it. And if it wasn’t, I was taking a hiatus from Redfin dating. At least long enough to binge watch all seven episodes of West Wing and then I’d agree to revisit the idea of putting myself back out there.
Rob and I arrived earlier than the realtor, so we went about inspecting the property. The house, built in 1914, had a fresh coat of paint. Worth noting that the effort was there, but as we know, when it comes to something erected 102 years ago, cosmetics are inadequate. Determined to stay positive, we walked into the backyard to find a sprawling overgrowth of things both natural and things barb-wired, along with a grim collection of fountains and small statues (read: the souls of those captured while trespassing, sentenced to an eternity inside a creepy collection of naked cherubs). Weird, but not unmanageable. Stay positive! Noticing a small gate, we walked toward the back of the property. If you’ve ever read The Secret Garden, imagine it like that, but less enchanted and more possessed. You know, like you’re being watched…by Satan. A MASSIVE wilderness of trees and tall grass, a dilapidated gazebo (likely used to wed the living to the dead) and an abandoned, hazardous lean-to, filled with the antiquated likes of weaponry used to extract information from the Nazis (I’m guessing). It was incredible. Lots of potential.
Climbing the hill at the edge of the property we came to a fence that you could see over if you climbed a small tree-stump
ornamented with rusted nails and broken dreams. Just over the fence, a metal swing set with two swings. Gently swaying in the breeze that wasn’t blowing. Because even the poltergeist children deserve some down-time.
As Rob and I were discussing how incredible it would be for our kids to have this kind of space to play in and dabble in the dark secrets of the underworld, the realtor arrived and after gingerly navigating the roots and branches like that first scene in Snow White, we met her at the front door.
TO BE CONTINUED…