Monday, August 25, 2008

on houses and love, washers and dryers

i have always said that i will know that i've grown up when i own a washer and dryer.

now that i have finished college and grad school (after more years than i would care to count!), i have a career! also known as an income! the next step--naturally--is to buy a washer/dryer. more accurately, for the past few weeks i've been looking for a house in which to put a washer and dryer.

the housing market crash has supposedly cultivated a strong buyer's market, but i'm not so sure. perhaps it is because my budget is so limited, but i have to say that i have seen some very sad, sad houses all over town.

until this weekend. my real estate agent showed me a beautiful 1940s bungalow. it was well cared for and refurbished where it needed to be without losing the character of the place. it was small, but i was really impressed with the inside of the house. when i went to the backyard, however, i was positively choked up. i never thought myself to be a backyard lover, but this backyard could have turned the coldest of hearts with its impeccable landscaping and well-tended flowers.

it was love at first sight.

that was saturday afternoon. i didn't realize that, following love, there would be stress! loan-pre-approval-writing-an-offer-competing-with-other-potential-buyers-realizing-how-expensive-buying-a-house-really-is STRESS. over the past couple of days i have met (and signed) a mountain of forms (God help me if i've accidentally signed away my first born child!). i got my pre-approval this afternoon, and my offer will be "official" soon thereafter.

unfortunately, this is the first step in what is apparently a long process. who knows if mine will be the best offer? then it will be back to the sad houses. sadder yet because there is still no place for the washer and dryer.



Wednesday, August 20, 2008

not the destination

i hit my favorite bakersfield coffeeshop this afternoon. i caught up with one of the baristas i know. it turns out that we graduated from the same high school in the same year, but we never knew each other until i started coming here several years ago. now we see each other two or three times a year and we always chat pleasantly, give each other updates about what has happened over the past four to six months.

it's funny to catch up with someone that way. it's like skipping to the end of the story. she doesn't ever have to deal with the gritty little details of my life's story. she just knows the end end of the story. for example, she asks how my second year as a professor went. i think of how i had to submit my case for a promotion in the fall, applying for postdocs, our department's dramatic search for a new faculty member, the nasty written and verbal exchanges by my colleagues, receiving all of my postdoc rejections, my great experiences with students, how i'm working to conceptualize (and research!) my book.

so i say, "it was a lot harder than my first year." i give her a couple of funny anecdotes and tell her what i'm currently working on, what i'm looking forward to over the next few months.

sometimes i wish that i could likewise cut to the end of the latest episode of my life's story. will i get a postdoc this year? how much of my book will i really write over the next nine months?

but, in real life, i never even skip ahead when i read stories or novels (though sometimes i look to see how many pages are left in a chapter). ultimately, i believe that the end of the story does not matter so much as the journey.