This is a reprint of a column I wrote for my local paper. My house hunting adventure has only just begun. This past Monday I suffered my first heartbreak when a house that I was sure was The One was scooped out from under me by someone who was able to pay cash for the property. Ouch. Worse than my own disappointment was having to break the bad news to my nine-year-old daughter who had fallen for the place just as hard as I had. I am sure that my “true love” is waiting out there for me somewhere. I just hope our paths cross sooner than later. The anticipation is killing me.
I’m looking for my perfect match and hoping to be swept off my feet. My heart is all a-flutter and my head is filled with romantic visions. I imagine myself giddy as a girl – spinning around and dizzy with delight. My workday is occasionally interrupted by daydreams in which I appear as a modern Snow White – whistling a happy tune while I do the housework assisted by charming (and unnaturally friendly) mice, birds, and other assorted forest creatures.
The object of my affection is no Prince Charming. (I’ve already found him, thank you.) The match I’m hoping to make is not with a who at all, but with a what. I am looking for the perfect house.
Though the homeowner/home relationship might not typically be considered a romance, I am finding the search to be at least as fraught with ups and downs. Just like traditional courtship, the journey is full of hopes and fears, self-doubt and jealousy, second guesses and surprises. In short, it is an emotional minefield.
The intensity of my feelings should not come as a surprise. Few choices in our lives are more momentous or have such far-reaching and long-lasting effect as the purchase of a home. I’d hazard that many people know more about their homes than they do about their significant others.
I’d also be willing to bet that the depth of our domestic connections here in Ipswich might be more pronounced than in other places. Our little town does, after all, have the highest concentration of first-period homes in the country. Each of our venerable historic houses has a past as rich as any lover’s, full of other suitors, caretakers, and secrets. Even the homes that are more contemporary, built in the 1800s instead of the 1600s, have unique stories and personalities that make them feel more like local characters than local architecture.
The house I grew up in was built around the turn of the century. Set in the woods atop a hill, it is the seat of all my childhood dreams. This was the house of homemade popsicles, first sleepovers, firefly nights, faerie houses, and favorite climbing trees. This is the house where I learned to ride a bike, kept a pony for the summer, and had my first (and only) tree house. This was the house in which I consumed and was consumed by hundreds of books whose stories became part of my personal mythology. Despite my grown up perspective, the property retains an aura of magic and mystery. As my first love, it will always hold a special place in my heart; but now, I’m looking for a new romance.
I do not know when or where I will find our next home sweet home. It is often said that in matters of the heart it’s best to let go of expectations and let fate do her thing, but I’m not sure the same rules apply in the world of real estate (especially in a market as desirable as ours). Part of me is waiting for fireworks and violins, but my pragmatic side has taken a decidedly more proactive approach. No need to be a wallflower or a damsel in distress. This is Sadie Hawkins territory.
The search may be short or long. The courtship may be simple or complicated. But though the path may twist and turn, two things are certain – true love will prevail and Cupid will find his mark here in Ipswich. Somewhere out there amidst our side streets, my perfect house waits for me. I look forward to our first meeting. Until that magic moment, please don’t be alarmed if you see a woman cruising slowly through your neighborhood in a late model SUV. She’s just a hopeless romantic looking for love in Ipswich.
Image Credit: The Hamster Factor