Posted by: Kate | April 8, 2008


I’ve been horizontally, not-just-a-cold ill for a little more than a week.

Now, I’m all in favor of a good, rollicking illness story. But this has gone on long enough that I’m just tired and a bit defeated. Waiting for a day when I just don’t feel crappy. Losing the battle against the guilt as I watch my husband pick up the slack in the household so that the children aren’t wandering aimlessly around the neighborhood in their underwear, begging for table scraps and pulling the wings off of flies, or whatever aimless wanderers do with their time. Tired of myself.

But since yesterday, my spirits have been a bit lighter. Because I let myself do something I very rarely do; an infrequent indulgence, usually avoided because of the inevitable shock of reality when I’m done. It just feels so good in the moment, and then, when it’s all over, there’s just this flat, bleak awareness of reality that descends upon my being with the weight of a thousand… heavy things.

Not this time, though. This time, the high has lasted a little longer. The buzz hasn’t been harshed by the vagaries of daily existence, at least not yet. I’m even considering doing it again soon.

What was it? My clandestine thrill, kept secret for so long and now bared for the world? Do you really want to know?

I was searching for my dream house, online.

Grazing through the realty websites and compiling a list of my favorites, after painstakingly comparing lot sizes and number of rooms, school districts and proximity to beaches. Considering zoning laws and potential for the creation of a B&B, once I’ve taught the kids how to make a bed properly.

This used to be a private thrill for me, until I looked up from the computer screen and remembered that I have no business shopping or planning. We were in a decent, structurally sound, modern house in a safe, quiet neighborhood. The kids are happy in school, I’ve got a solid job, my husband is plugging away at his doctorate. It couldn’t matter that this house is soulless, a carbon copy of a dozen other houses in the neighborhood and, at 37 years old, among the older homes in the immediate area. I couldn’t dwell on the bone-deep cold that emanates from a slab instead of a basement, the constant sense of claustrophobia in a house with wildly insufficient storage, the wary bafflement that develops when your electrical system is so unpredictable that you suspect the house was wired by vandals. This was our reality, and it was a good one, and I didn’t allow myself the extravagance of thinking ahead, to our next house, our dream house on the ocean where we would move after my husband was done with his voluntary servitude in academia.

But yesterday, I realized that, a year from now, I need to have written-down plans with realtors and movers. I need to start the checklists of inspectors and doctors and schools and the billions of other details that go with moving. Because, assuming that everything goes as planned – and somehow, over the past four years, it has – then we’ll be moving back to Massachusetts in the summer of 2009.

It should, with some luck and minimal unforeseen circumstances, be our last move for a very long time. And that dream house, with lots of bedrooms and words like “walk-in” and “hardwood,” the one within walking distance to the ocean, should actually be within reach.

Only a year. I can make it a year.

Isn’t retail therapy amazing?

Cross-posted at New England Mamas.



  1. I am a real estate junkie, too. We find the perfect house in the wrong location all of the time, or we find the perfect combination of both but realize that right this minute is not a very good time for us to move (pending adoption finalization uses our current address, and to change all of that paperwork would be such a royal pain in the ass). What part of MA will you look in? I’ll look, too!

  2. Sigh. When you find one, find a second one. For me. Beach. Hardwood. Airy. You know.

    And feel better!!!

  3. ooooo have fun shopping!!! 🙂 I can’t wait to be able to join you in that perfect house for us search…. Must sell house in Florida and have a good job here, but at least one of those may be in reach, soon. :crossfingers:

  4. Must be the season. Hopes of settling in November have me scouring the neighbourhood for something with 2 bathrooms! No gum trees and room for a dog.

    Amazing how it doesn’t matter how ill we feel, there’s still time to sit in front of a PC! Ah, the fine art of distraction. Hope you’re feeling better.

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