As some of you may know and others may not—if you’re a part of the latter group, please don’t take that lack of knowledge to mean that you and I are not friends, although there’s a good chance that we haven’t talked in many months and my iPhone has therefore automatically deleted your phone number and caused me to instantly forget everything about you—my wife and I closed on a house last week. This is a big step in my adult development, and as such it was met with a flurry of emotions that have swirled around inside me. Elation. Despair. Satisfaction. Anxiety. Apprehension. For most people buying a house is nothing but a good thing. For me, it was an amazing thing wrapped around something else, something that caused me to occasionally become so uptight and fidgety that I’d walk into the bathroom at work and stare at myself in the mirror, wondering what was causing my body to shake
Now that it is all more or less over, I’m able to look back at the entire process with some distance and realize that, all in all, buying a house really isn’t the hardest thing in the world. But, in the moment, it was very hard for me. That is because I lacked things like knowledge and perspective. That is also because, whenever anything would go even a little bit wrong, my mind would run amuck. My thoughts would spiral out of control. I would question everything. More specifically, I would ask myself the particular questions listed below.
Questions I Asked Myself While Buying A House
1) Do you really need to read stuff before you sign it?-Since putting our offer in on the house, I have signed roughly 37 billion documents, either digitally or by physically writing my name on a piece of paper like it’s 1897 or something. All told, I have also read 0 words that were written on any of them. It got so bad that at our closing, the wife refused to leave for work even after she was finished signing her share of the closing documents because she could tell, given the fact that I was actively drooling all over the ill-fitting Target brand polo I had decided to wear in order to commemorate such a momentous live event, that I had basically become a zombie who would write his name wherever he was told to write his name, and therefore agree to anything he was asked to agree to, without even considering the terms. Spoiler alert: I'm pretty sure I didn't sign anything bad. You can either give my wife credit for this, or subscribe to my theory of inherently trusting that no one is ever trying to take advantage of you ever.
2) What is radon?-Before my home inspection, the only thing I knew about Radon was that Toby described it as “silent but deadly” in The Office, prompting Michael Scott to make farting noises with his mouth. Now I know that radon is some sort of gas that may or may not murder people if they don’t check for its presence before buying a house. On one hand, I don’t want to get murdered by gas in my own home. On the other, Toby is like an evil snail. Ipso facto, I refuse to google “radon” and learn more about the risks. I’ll just fart a lot in my new house, and hope that my own version of “natural gas” is silent and deadly enough to kill me far before the radon ever could.
3) Do I have to learn how to do stuff now?-A few months ago I had a clogged sink in my bathroom that the landlord said I could take care of with some Drano. My first questions were: what is drano, and where can I get it? My next set of questions, asked only after the landlord had dropped a free bottle of Drano off on my doorstep, was how does it work? On the bottle it said all I had to do was pour it down the clogged drain which seemed simple enough, until I was standing in front of the sink with the bottle in hand wondering whether or not the sink was “open.” “What do you mean is it open?” My wife said when I asked her the question. “Water goes down it doesn’t it?” “Yeah…” I said. “I’m pretty sure this is different.”
“Why is it different?” She asked, using the tone of voice she breaks out when she knows I am being stupid but is desperately hoping in the deepest part of her heart that her current pitch inflection will help me figure out that I am a moron before she has to say those words to me verbatim. Basically, what I am trying to say is that she talks this way about 95% of the time. “They’re both liquids aren’t they?” I thought about that fact for a second, decided that her simplistic rationale was beneath a man of my intellect, and decided to consult YouTube instead. I then followed instructions by opening the bottle of Drano and turning it upside down over the sink, watching as its contents effortlessly raced down the drain. “I’m a moron,” I yelled out from the bathroom. “I know,” my wife responded. “I just didn’t want to be the one who said it.”
4) What the haters gotta say now?-I legally own a house. You all obviously know that. I hope that Sister Kathleen, my 5th grade teacher, knows it too. Because guess what lady: Turns out, you were wrong about me and my future prospects all along! 11-year-olds who get publicly reprimanded for picking their nose while playing a Roman guard during their school’s rendition of the Stations of the Cross can grow up to sorta be something someday! One thing you were not wrong about, however, was my pettiness, as I would absolutely to rub your face in my the glory of my relative mediocrity right about now. The only problem is that you may or may not be dead. I honestly have no idea. Given our history, I think it’s understandable that I haven’t stayed in touch.
5) Am I ready for this?-The more I think about the question, the more abundantly clear the answer becomes to me. And that answer is no. I am not ready to buy a house. Given the fact that I wore a pair of chinos that sport a not unnoticeable hole in or around the butt stitching to work for three-consecutive days this week, I am probably not even close to ready for this. I don’t know how to spackle drywall (or if drywall is, in fact, spackled). I can’t pour Drano down a sink. I can hammer a nail, in theory, although I have never done it. Or owned a hammer. Or a nail. I cried briefly last week when I had to ask my wife for the password to our brokerage account and she didn’t respond instantaneously. Before that interaction I had no idea what a brokerage account was.
Long story even more laboriously told, if I had spent my life waiting to be ready for things before doing them, I’d now be a 274 lbs. fetus that had been living inside of my mother for a near record 32 years. I wasn’t ready to be born. I wasn’t ready to go to school. I damn sure wasn’t ready to use a big-boy potty (and yes, these events are listed chronologically). Driving, college, getting a job, marriage, turning down lunch at the Gramophone yesterday because I went out to lunch the day before and it is more important to me, I guess, to not die than to cram as many delicious things into my mouth in a 1-week period as possible, I wasn’t ready for any of it...and it all happened anyways. Just like this house is happening for me now. Ready or not, I am now a homeowner. I will probably get used to that in a few years, just days before my impending foreclosure.
6) What happens when I have a kid?-Well, we know I won’t be ready to be a father. What I will be ready for, on the other hand, is to feel my child while it wiggles against my chest, snuggled tightly in its baby bjorn as I stand on the sidewalk facing my little slice of the Americana and raising my hands, symbolizing to my own kin what is possible if you have a spouse who both cares far more about her professional development than you do your own and doesn’t leave you when she comes home from work only to find you curled up in a ball in the darkest corner of your living room, trembling uncontrollably because you have no idea where to get a copy of your pay stubs (hint: they're on the internet). Yes, my little unborn son or daughter, that is everything a person can hope. That my child, is the dream.