In looking for a place to move to, some houses were easy to cross off the list. Like the house whose owners had apparently liquidated a lighting store and taken home one of each kind of light to install in their house, as if the house was some sort of Noah’s Ark for lights. Or this property:
For a couple of houses, though, there was no clear cut response, forcing us to navigate through Laura’s Four Stages of Home Acceptance:
- Total Rejection: At this stage, Laura’s assessment of the house is simple: while the dwelling clearly would offer some basic protection from the elements, it is difficult to see any other advantages that the structure offers. I mean, did you see that lack of closet space?!
- Ambivalence: Laura is now prepared to acknowledge that some qualities of the house are pretty nice; but how will we as a family overcome the mere 600 square feet of storage space? Did you see the lack of closet space?!
- Growing Approval: Now Laura starts to warm to the house. You may hear her comment at this point on how she can transform a room into a “loungy library,” a sure sign that we are close to the last stage…
- Obsession: If Laura is in this stage and her name appears on your caller ID, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO NOT ANSWER!!! If you do, you will hear the most detailed plans for home renovation yet devised in the history of man, plans that Laura made instead of sleeping. Do not be concerned that by not answering the phone you will miss out on Laura’s plans for the house because in this phase Laura will also set up a Pinterest account to lay out the art and wall color for each room of a house still owned by people who have not yet accepted Laura’s offer.
Having successfully through the Four Stages of Home Acceptance, we bought a house in Highberry Woods, and then found that there’s nothing like settling on a place to move to to make you acutely aware of the most, um, noteworthy features of the neighborhood you currently live in. For instance, some of our current neighbors have successfully achieved the “returned to nature after a zombie apocalypse” look for their yards.
Or maybe they just wanted to recreate this scene from Gladiator:
Mission accomplished. And we will also miss this mystery license plate down the street:
2LUSHIS? Are they going for “Too Luscious” or “Two Lushes”? And which is worse – for a woman who fits none of the definitions of luscious to advertise herself as being too luscious to handle, or for drivers to announce to every cop on the road that the people who drive this car drink so heavily that they feel justified in paying a yearly fee to broadcast how heavily they drink?
And then there are the neighbors who gave us a taste of life in Brazil by building a Rio de Janeiro style shantytown right next door.
And, of course, there’s the time that the house next door on the right erupted into a blazing inferno. The best part of that event was that all of our neighbors, who clearly can’t agree on the definition of luscious or about how high grass can grow before a “lawn” becomes a “meadow”, definitely agreed that the house fire had been started on purpose.
Living next to a burned out husk of a house for several months had some advantages, though. Laura was able to salvage some plants before they were bulldozed, an effort memorialized in Google Maps’ street view of our house.
Now we are leaving all of that behind, and since the Fourth Stage of Home Acceptance also involves color coding each of the boxes to move to the new house, we will ensure that only our happiest possessions make it to the loungy library.