When Peter and I started house-hunting three years ago, I likened the process to dating. Whenever we came back from another bad outing, I'd console us with the thought that we had to kiss a lot of frogs before we met our prince. The cute house in the bad neighborhood, the huge condo that hadn't been updated in 40 years and reeked of liver and onions, the nice condo with paper-thin walls, the hundred year old farmhouse with the original scary wiring - they were all frogs.
I was confident, one day, our prince would come. One gloomy Sunday, we looked at five houses and fell in love with two of them. The first was a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom Colonial that was a 10 minute walk from the train. It had all hardwood floors and backed onto a school. The neighborhood was quiet, the streets lined with graceful old trees. The kitchen was a bummer - a narrow galley kitchen with limited counter and storage space, but overall the house was solid, clean, respectable.
The second was the most adorable house in the whole world. It had a rounded door, like a hobbit house. It had a huge kitchen with an island that opened onto a windowed conseveratory/sun porch. It had a little coach house attached to the garage. The yard had paths that wound their way through flower beds. In a way, it was my dream house - little, cute, cozy. The neigborhood was okay, but not fantastic and it was a 15 to 20 minute drive away from the last train station on the line.
I explained the condundrum to the realtor like this. The first house was the clean-cut preppy boy that your mom and dad would love for you to bring home. He's polite, has good table-manners and plays well with others. He has a regular, good-paying job and he might be a little boring or normal at times, but he's an all-around good guy.
The second house was the artistic boyfriend that you love with all your heart, even though you know you're going to be supporting him for the rest of your life. He's beautiful and a little rough around the edges and your parents dread the thought of your going out with him but you don't care because you're in love.
So, who do you chose? The solid, dependable guy or the exciting, attractive, flaky artist? We went with the solid, dependable house because of the fantastic location and I've really loved living here. I've grown to love our house, small kitchen and and all.
Now, we're on the opposite side of the fence - we're selling the little house we've grown to love. It feels horrible. I came home while one prospective buyer was still here and it hurt to watch her judge our house. It's like watching your child go through a break-up or get stood up on Prom night. I feel so protective of our little house. Before each showing, I do the housekeeping equivalent of spitting into a handkerchief and rubbing dirt off the house's face - I run the mop over the floors, make sure everything is tucked away neatly, arrange all the knickknacks and soft furnishings.
It's hard to leave a place that's played such a big part in our lives. I hope the people who live her next grow to love the house as much as we do.