Buying a new home is hard and other luxury problems

Our new home in Boulder

I’ve played the hermit crab this spring, retreating to my shell… mostly because I’ve been convalescing (read: sleeping 9+ hours a night) after a compression fracture of my L1 vertebra during some Xtreme sledding in early winter. (Sledding is now off the approved activities list btw.)

Throughout my recovery, I have been keeping busy, though—looking for a house.

With a dearth of homes for sale in Boulder, it’s slim pickin’s. The house we (finally) went into contract on is not like the architect-designed home with the solarium that we bid on in January. It’s nothing like the single-owner ’60s brick ranch that needed work but could have been a charming period piece with gorgeous maple floors—another one we lost out on to a cash offer. It’s a generic house in a small subdivision built in the 1980s. Nothing special. And very blue.

Politicians in this country give a lot of lip service about supporting small business. But it’s total crap. I pay 45% of my income in tax even though I make less than $75,000 each year. We shell out $1,200 a month for health insurance and still have huge per-person deductibles. And getting a home loan felt like a super-human feat. Our closing process took nearly two months, and almost didn’t happen basically because we both have our own business and don’t work for the man, which is silly because these days working for a big company is no guarantee of job security and a consistent paycheck anyhow.

In the end, we did close a loan on the house. Once the disbelief that it actually happened faded, excitement and relief took over. Buying a home is an emotionally trying process with ideas of self worth tied into it and annoying thoughts like, “But I should be able to buy a home! We are stable earners in our 40s with excellent credit.” Frustrating feelings that cause marital distress that I’m happy we are through with… at least until the next move (which I’ve vowed will be at least eight years from now, when the girls are through high school).

The long, trying mortgage approval process, like most difficult experiences, had a silver lining: gratitude.

I’m thankful that, after five years of renting, I will have a space of my own again. I’m itching to nest. Put up art and put down roots. Maybe get those chickens we have been talking about, even given names to, since the girls were toddlers. The house may be plain, but that means it’s a blank slate that can be made special.

And while it may not be the house I’ve fantasized about, it is the home of my dreams.

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