buy this house
…for it is my birthday that’s coming next month, and I know you want to do something nice for me.
This house is not for sale, but it will be soon. The day the sign goes up, two things will happen.
- My parents (who happen to be perfectly wild about their own beautiful home) will go to the open house and desire it intensely.
- Bill and I (also also perfectly wild about our own home, which if not already beautiful is steadily increasing in charm) will go to the open house and, yes, desire it intensely.
And when I refer to intensity, I mean the kind that disregards hundreds of hours of restorative efforts logged between one’s own lot lines, disregards the fact that garden is FINALLY perking up and becoming productive, disregards the investment of 47 new trees dragged home in a VERY compact car, planted and nursed towards the someday production of more than a handful of fruit.
Oh, house. You know I’d throw it all out the window for you. May I catalogue your virtues?
1. You are small and square and smack in the middle of some serious acreage. For, you know, the greater Bay Area.
2. You have outbuildings and your own overgrown raspberry patch.
Not that you know me, but I’m very fond of a good raspberry patch.
3. You are unremodeled. I know this does not make you everyone’s cup of tea, but it makes you mine. Someone had your beautiful vintage appliances pulled out and taken away, but luckily for you, I come with a set of my own.
3. You throw old growth wood into relief with non-structural brick.
I don’t need to tell you how hard that is to come by in California. Not the old growth part, sadly enough, but the brick part. What brick houses we have left, they’ve pretty much had it with our seismic climate.
5. You are old enough to claim trajectory. In your youth, you were exactly as someone intended.
And yet evidence exists that, over time, you had you own plans.
6. You have sea-green tile on your dining room window sill. This leads me to suspect that your bathroom would slay me.
7. Someone must have loved you, to keep you the way you are for years and years. That, in terms of things invisible and with great intrinsic value, is the ultimate currency.
I want to live somewhere loved. It’s the difference you feel when you eat a salad full of tomatoes you’ve grown yourself.
8. You are the final frontier in a sea of up-and-coming property. Someone hung on to you for years and years, while everything two-bedroom in the surrounding ten miles was bulldozed and replaced with an enormous, 6-car accommodating, lot-line-to-lot-line mansion. You are the last one there is, and I ache to keep you that way.
10. In the end, you are an acre of property within 35 minutes of downtown San Francisco. Because of this, you will sell for, oh, $800,000 or so, and that’s in this economy. Someone will buy you for your land and knock you down and build something that they think is better. I hope that it is consolation, a bit, that you’ll break my heart when you go.
P.S. My little yellow house, you cupcake, don’t resent me for my infidelity. I will always love you.
P.P.S. I happen to know that, sometime today, Lily has a dream-house-in-disrepair to compare to mine. I bet it’s smaller, squarer, more stark, and as absolutely excellent as anything else she speaks for.