House Hunters Cybernational

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to write, and in the last few weeks (months?) a lot has happened.  At times, my life is a flash — I wake up in one city, look out the window, think, “pretty” and the next morning that view has changed.  It’s changed to another city, another view, another hotel room, another set of room blackening drapes that I’ve pulled tight to block any shred of encroaching light.

It seems if I stay in bed too long, I’ll miss what city is outside my window.

“I thought you had a job in Denver yesterday?” My mom will ask.

“Did I?”  I’ll answer, “That’s why the weird headache.”

But while life zips by like the blurred lines of  headlights in a night photo, every once in a while the remote controlled part of living stops auto pilot.

In this case, the auto pilot that disengaged was a small one:

Where we live.

It all started two months ago when we decided life on the eastern  shore of Delaware was just too far from Baltimore Washington International Airport.  For twenty years — yes twenty — I’ve made the trek too and from the eastern shore, across the Bay Bridge, and into either the airport or cities of Washington and Baltimore.  Either way, it’s a two or three hour slog, fighting tourist traffic in the summer and crappy weather in the winter.  Sometimes both.  The Bay Bridge connects the Delmarva Peninsula with civilization.  However, should a truck jack knife on the bridge, you’re screwed.  There is no other path to go around, unless you count the 6 hours via Wilmington.  On the best of days, expect traffic.  On the worst,  standstill.  On the really bad, just ignore that nagging feeling to drive off the bridge and into the murky water below.

Worse, even though the Mason Dixon line clearly says we live close to the South, we have crappy winter weather.  Ice, snow, cold, Nor ‘easters, whatever.  God hates us.  Juggling all that weather with flight schedules?  Challenging.  Expensive.  Stupid.

Two months ago all that suddenly changed.  Matthew looked at me and said, “it’s time.”

“Time for what, Boobie?”

“Time we move to warmer digs.”

When we have conversations like this it’s usually centered around a vacation.

“You want to go to Paradise on Earth this February?”


“It’s expensive.”

“I’ll book cheap.”

And before Matthew can change his mind, I’ve booked NON-CANCELLABLE  reservations.  Because the next day….

“Honey, I don’t think we should go to Paradise on Earth, it’s too expensive.”

“Oh, I’m soooooo sorry, Boobie,” I lie (I’m totally not sorry), “I already made the reservations  to Paradise on Earth, but too keep it cheap (like you wanted), I can’t cancel them.  So, we’re stuck going to Paradise on Earth and staying in an Uber suite.  The only way I could score the suite was to pay cash and give them your spare kidney, which I removed while you slept.”


That’s how I reacted with “It’s time.”

I’d given notice to our landlord the next morning, just in case Matthew changed his mind.  The landlord immediately put our condo up for sale.  Investors have been looking at it ever since — it’s a beautiful unit, will sell super quick, and we’ll be homeless.

Now ADHD house hunting has begun in earnest. How long could it possibly take?

Our requirements are basic.  Really.  We’ve decided we want a nice, poolside house with a palm tree in the front yard.  Pool and palm tree.  How hard is that?  Of course, it’d be nice if the house was “historic”, “near a village” and “close to airport”.  Result?  We’ve settled on the Tampa / St. Pete / Dunedin / Palm Harbor / Tarpon Springs/ FL area.  By “historic” I mean either charming with hardwood floors or mid-century modern.

And, we’ve found several houses we  love!   I knew our requirements were simple.  Our eight hours of house hunting over two whole days really paid off!   We even put an offer on the last house we saw:  “The Compound”, a beautiful 120 year old casa near Tarpon Springs with a pool, courtyard, offices attached, and fully restored.

After we put the offer in (for the full price), I figured we were done.

I popped the Champagne. Why does anyone say house hunting is hard?  One weekend.  Done.  Easy.

The couple who owned “The Compound” decided they were staying,  not selling, and rejected our full price offer.

This we found out after leaving the area to start a lighting round of work, confident in our future new home.

House hunting was suddenly not checked off the list.

But, I’m a multi-tasker.   So, we kept virtually looking, and on line, we saw another house — The Piazza.  Smaller, still 120 years old, still near Tarpon Springs, still a pool, the house was split in two with a courtyard between the bedrooms and the main house.  Freaking cool.

We made an offer for the full asking price.  We were outbid.

To be clear, we never actually SAW The Piazza,  just a video our Realtor, Wendy,  created. That’s ok, I don’t actually see half the crap I buy on line, it just arrives via Fedex onto my porch like magic.

Enter house number three, The Hacienda.  Another historic house, this one with a rounded living room, Spanish tile roof, a second floor view of the Bayou (Gulf), a pool, walking distance to Tarpon Springs, and two fire places — one in the bed room.  Wendy walked through, Wendy loved it.

We made an offer for almost the full asking price.  They accepted!

Check! Check! Boom!  List completed.  

Party hearty!  Champagne  popped.

The deal accepted, I settled into my current job in San Francisco.  All smiles.

The deal fell through.  I’m not exactly clear why.  Something to do with the sellers not bothering to get the signed acceptance back to Wendy.  In fact, they started changing the deal after accepting it.

We told them too — well, take a swim in the Bayou off a short pier.

Now I write this from the gate of SFO, heading to Tampa to do exactly six hours of house hunting before hopping a flight tomorrow to go home.

Wendy’s lined up eight houses for us to look at.    Hopefully, one of those eight will be the ONE.  If not…

I’m running on empty.  If these eight houses are a bust, I really should stay, and keep house hunting, instead of flying home for one day before heading to Des Moines.  But I have no clean underwear, am out of jeans, and only have new work clothes I purchased in San Francisco.  From Des Moines I’m supposed to head straight to San Antonio, though I could sneak home to change out clothes.  Or, I could buy a new wardrobe.

Why don’t I just clean my dirty clothes Romney style in the hotel sink, you ask?  (Little fact:  Mitt Romney refused to send his clothes out for hotel dry cleaning — to expensive — during the last Presidential election.  Instead, he washed them in the sink.)  Well, silly, those dirty clothes were shipped home before The Hacienda deal hit the dirt.

So unless I buy a whole new wardrobe I’m screwed.  See how that works?

This little rant is to be continued, because the ending hasn’t been written.  Will our intrepid house hunters find their dream home in the eight Wendy has lined up?  Will Martians swoop in after we leave and outbid our offer with a promise of interstellar travel to the sellers?  Will we end up buying a house on line after virtually house hunting from some city between photo executions, thus giving my mother and Wendy heart failure?

To be continued…from another airport gate, and another flight, to another city…. 

Crappy iPhone photo outside House 1, prematurely celebrating purchasing “The Compound”,
Arial of House 2, “The Piazza”.  It was a city block of paradise.  Paradise lost.

House 3 hits the dirt, “The Hacienda”.  My favorite, dreams of fire side Florida winter mornings are smashed.

We briefly considered this water side home, and actually were making an offer when the Fax jambed and we viewed it as an act of God and decided against it.  That, and flood insurance killed the deal.  It is 3′ above sea level.  Perhaps not a plus in Hurricane Alley?

We put an offer in on another house today, House 4, which I’ve dubbed “Frank Lloyd Wright”.  It is a sprawling rancher near the village of Palm Harbor, 30 minutes from the airport, and hosts a front entrance court yard.  Poolside, palm trees, and flagstone fire place round out our latest dream home.