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27 August 2005
  A New Venue?
One of the things James and I talked about was what we were going to do with the money from the sale of Mom's house. Keeping the house would have been a big temptation were we in some sort of position to move, but we are entrenched here, and really, even if we fixed up the attic and redid the basement we would probably still be bursting at the seams. The lot is small and there would be no room to build out much without completely killing the back yard.

I think this was then we started to toss around the idea of buying a new house here. Otherwise we could have never afforded it; we just refinanced only four years ago and don't have much equity in this house, plus it needs cosmetic changes like new carpet, linoleum, and painting. I haven't really wanted to ever move again. We moved into our present house at the end of July on a day when the temperature was 99°F and the humidity was 98°F. We did not have movers; our friends helped us move. (They are saints, every single one of them. They did it all for lunch from KFC—I think; it's been awhile—and supper at Piccadilly and all the ice cream the guy in the van could provide.) The thought of that weekend and that heat still makes me shudder.

I knew Mom would be pleased. I've never said this aloud because I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but my Mom never really liked our house. Mostly what she hated was the carpet (see, I come by it honestly). She thought it was cramped and dark (well, the latter is our fault; before we had the vinyl sidings put up to add insulation to the side of the house, we had to keep it dark in the spring when she came visiting just to keep it cool enough). The sliding glass doors worried her and that back yard full of trees...

Anyway, so we've been looking at house developments again. Most of them make my blood pressure soar. Anything near us is hideously expensive: from $300,000 and up. There are places only a few miles away where they are selling homes for a half million dollars and up. Wow, who lives in these places, and by that question I mean "Where are these people working that they can afford to live in places like that?" I remember when we applied for the loan on this house they would have qualified us for a house up to $200,000; since we didn't have a down payment at all it would have meant a monthly burden of about $1400 at least. I know people who have done that, but I don't want to be like the guy on the commercial who's "in debt up to my eyeballs."

The alternative is going way, way out in the country. Back when we were first married James and I used to amuse ourselves by wandering around housing developments; we loved to climb among the unfinished rooms in the skeletons of the structures. But the only homes we saw that were reasonably affordable (at this time around $70,000 for "starter homes"), were way out in Dallas, GA. (James still jokes about the time we drove out to Dallas and it took so long, me being a Rhode Islander and knowing that in RI if you drive for an hour in any direction you're in another state, I asked "James, are we still in Georgia?" I mean, it felt like we were about to cross the Alabama state line any minute.)

My God, it takes me a minimum of 40 minutes to get to work now, just imagine living 30-45 more minutes away!