Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Open House

I want to buy a house. I have wanted to buy a house since I had my first son nearly three years ago. I never allowed myself to want this before I had children because in Vancouver, where I live, you need to have nearly a six figure income in your household to afford (comfortably) a simple townhouse located an hour outside of the city. Prices here are inflated and they don't reflect an average family's earning ability. This is why brokers stretch the loaning parameters to the absolute ceiling so that a regular (read: non-Rockefeller) clan like mine can even hope to get in on the market.

Over the last year, it looked like my little family was heading in that direction. (Read: stretching loaning parameters to the absolute ceiling to get in on the cheapest townhouse we could find an hour outside of the city. And we were nowhere near a six figure income, hence the stretching.) However, the plan is now not so firm, as the kids say on the street. For a variety of employment issues that I will save for another blog, moving on up to the east side is a luxury we will have to afford to the Jeffersons. They will have their deluxe apartment in the sky, while we remain in our Vancouver special. And so, my vision of buying a home for my family is akin to blowing up a balloon: I huff and puff and almost get the end tied into a little knot to hold all the air inside but my fingers slip, the air shoots out of that little sucker and all I can do is hopelessly watch it sputtering and wafting far, far away into the distance.

Not only are we no longer in the market, now we are in a position, yet again, where we are wondering how we will maintain financial survival. And it is excruciating to be here again. Because I want to live beyond mere survival. I want a house dammit.

Oh, I want one for the practical purposes - more space, a bedroom for each boy, and enough room in my kitchen to create a few culinary delights without dislocating a cankle bone due to that handy dandy trip 'n fall schtick which occurs twice annually thanks to the warped tiles of linoleum that poke up from the floor. (This just in: My kitchen floor, in places, is a hazardous 3D version of a checkers board. James Cameron could make a movie about my kitchen floor and show it at the Imax.)

I also want a house because, somehow, I think it will make me a better person and a happier one. After all, people who are successful and good with money buy their homes rather than rent all their lives, as we do. People who buy homes have steady incomes and financial security. They don't worry about contracts ending and if and when new ones will begin. They wear cravats and monocles and have leather-bound books. Plus, they are excellent dancers. And it is commonly known that they go on hot dates with one another once a week, at least. Finally, they are always laughing and smiling and high fiving one another because they have something to celebrate. They're mortgaged up to their assholes, while my derriere is stuck in Pottersville (the not so friendly neighborhood in "It's A Wonderful Life", or from my perspective "It Would Be A Wonderful Life If We Had Enough Scratch To Buy A House").

Ah money issues. That old chestnut, again... Locked within that nut seem to be the means to building the life I am desiring for my family. But I cannot for the life of me figure out a way to crack it open. And I cannot begin to describe the stress that this point of contention can put on a relationship.

So it's interesting that last night I had a dream that my husband and I were going to renew our wedding vows. We wanted to remind ourselves why we got married in the first place and to celebrate all the goodness that we have been striving to create together.

In my dream, we were with close friends and family and the ceremony was about to begin. But I didn't have a dress and I didn't want to wear the dress I wore when we originally got married. Though it is a beautiful gown, it hadn't been cleaned (baby Zach barfed on it between the ceremony and the reception in real life) and it just seemed too fussy or too much of something that wasn't in alignment with the, for lack of a better word, newness that we as a couple were embarking upon. It was old. And I needed something new. Something simple.

So, I ventured back to my house to look for a dress. We live in the top floor of a four-plex. Two bedrooms, living room, dining room, 1 1/2 bathrooms, galley kitchen. Balcony off the front and back. No surprises; pretty standard fare and it's been really good to us for the last five years. But the thing does not bode well for closet space. So imagine my delight upon opening my bedroom closet door in my dream to find a walk-in closet. And it was huge! I remember thinking it had enough space to put baby Maxwell's crib in there so he could have his very own room. That's how big it was. And beyond the new walk-in closet, I spotted a doorway that led to a whole other room that I didn't know existed.
I couldn't believe what I was seeing! Where was all this space coming from?

Now, the rooms had some clutter, to be sure. There were some old clothes hanging around in the walk-in from many years ago and the larger room was still decorated with heinous decor from the 1970's, when I was a young girl. The paint was peeling off the walls and the linoleum flooring was tinged yellow with age like the unsightly stains on the fingers of someone who rolls their own cigarettes. The decor was not pleasing to the eye but its dilapidated state symbolized something deeper going on within me: The state of my own beliefs of lack and struggle, tattered and no longer useful to me; ones that had been cultivated as seeds during my first decade of life when this room was first designed; beliefs that have been contaminating my inner dwelling for a very long while.

It is no mistake that marriage plays a part in this dream. Intimate relationships often bring about a person's fears to the forefront of their experiences and mine is no exception. My scaredy-cat cyclone has been rearing its funnel head lately, thrusting each one of my fears out individually by gusts of wind designed to destroy any bits of happiness in their wake. Furthermore, it is becoming increasingly clear to me that, on some level or another, I have always felt a sense of needing to just "pass this storm" in life, whatever the particular storm may be.

But my dream tells me that there is room in me for change. (A whole other room to be exact.) And I need to tend to it. I have more space where I am right now, even if it's not where I want to be. It's a real fixer upper. But it's there. It revealed itself to me in a dream where before there was only the longing for its existence. And the discovery of it has given me what I seek, a place to call home.

Despite the stress and tension in my real home right now, in my dream, my hubby and I were recommitting to success rather than to failure (which he always believes in doing anyway). And that act of renewing, the act of intending to create something better for ourselves, can only work to the extent that I am open enough to allow it.

So, this is where I begin. I will clean my inner dwelling, soaping its stained walls and ripping up the tile that threatens to trip me up as I journey forward and I will provide myself with the home I have been longing for.
It's scary because I hate not knowing how my home renovation project will turn out, or what lies ahead. But I proceed with the hope that where ever I go, I will always be within a beautiful sanctuary. My own.

I will invite peace and prosperity over to my place today. I'll have them over for coffee and pound cake and take them for a walk to the room just off my closet. It seems like a good place to begin.

My house is open.
May all good things find their way home...

Yours in the quest for bliss,

The Happiness Detective

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

I love you to bits!