So I’ve mentioned that we are house hunting, right? I’m too lazy to look back, so if I haven’t, consider this to be the mention. Since pretty much all my previous experience finding rentals has centered around calling and asking one question, ‘what is your pet policy?’ and having that be the deciding factor. Not price, not location, not the actual rental but just will you allow me to live here with my dog and cat, I have always looked forward to the day when I could look at any house! No one would tell me I couldn’t have my dog! In fact, I could have two dogs! And three cats! And paint a room purple! Because it would be my property and anyone who didn’t like my decisions could shove it!
But yeah, house hunting has not been enjoyable. Which leads me to a rant featuring my mother in law and a house we looked at. Now before I get into the rant, just let me say that I am very lucky in my in-laws. They are kind, generous people and I truly enjoy their company. However, that does not prevent my mother in law from making what was intended to be a helpful comment which was not at all helpful looking back.
To set the scene, three weeks ago we received a notification from the MLS search that our realtor has setup that a new house has come on the market. The listing looks really nice with things that I want (a snack bar in the kitchen, patio right off the kitchen), things that the hubs wants (finished basement), and things that we both want (2 bathrooms!) in our desired village. I get so excited that we hop in the car and drive by the house at 11PM on a Friday night. We text our realtor asking for a showing and she sets one up with her assistant for the next day.
The next day we drive to the house. The 35th house that we have seen this year. It is now daylight, so I notice what I overlooked the night before. That we are driving straight towards the landfill. I knew it was there but in my excitement the night before, I had overlooked that fact. We turn into the neighborhood, park, and enter the house. The house is on a higher elevation then the surrounding area and we are about half a mile west of the landfill. We walk in the house and my eye is drawn out the living room window. Where, the landfill is quite visible. I mean, it does look like a hill but a hill that I know is comprised of garbage. A hill that represents our throw-away culture. A hill that I really just don’t want to see every single day. I look at the yard and the yard is small. About five minutes of mowing with a push mower small. Too small to have a garden of significance size. Immediately, my gut says not this house. But! I have been too negative in this house hunt! I have made house hunting into a miserable experience. So I look at the positives.
The positives are many. The house is nice. Very nice. Hubs loves it. He wants to move into the finished basement. He is super impressed with the finishes. About half the yard in the back is a patio with plenty of room for a patio set, grill, and a fire pit. If you don’t want a veggie garden, this patio is really nice.
We leave and go to the barn. Hubs raves about the house to everyone there. I put on a nice show of enthusiasm too, which isn’t too hard if I don’t think about the landfill view or the yard size. I call my Mom and tell her about the house. I describe the location and bam! “Isn’t that right by the landfill?” she asks. Pretty much anyone familiar with the western suburbs is going to know our house is by the landfill. Hubs and I discuss the house that night. We discuss creative gardening. We discuss planting a bush to block the landfill view. We go on Google maps and attempt to map the backyard. We decide to setup a second showing with our realtor. We decide to ask our parents to come along.
After work on Monday, we all head to the house. I had talked to a couple people at work about the house. They all know it is right by the landfill. They all react negatively. I am considering spending the rest of my life (yes, I know houses can be sold but I really don’t want to buy a house just with the desire to sell it shortly after) embarrassed about the location where I live. I am less enthusiastic.
We meet my Mom and my in-laws at the house. As we are walking up to the front door, I make a remark that I’m really not sure about the view of the landfill. My MIL turns to me and says “Don’t be fussy, Rachel.” Don’t be fussy? DON’T BE FUSSY??? I make some inane remark about the landfill while all the blood rushes to my head in a fit of rage. I’m not saying something like all the light fixtures are all brass and I hate brass therefore I don’t want to buy this house. I’m remarking on a landfill view, something that will make me feel ashamed of the human race every time I see it, and would also probably cause problems selling the house in a slower market. Plus, if there’s anything I can be fussy about, it is buying something that I have to mortgage the next 30 years to pay for and something that will nearly wipe out our whole savings as a down payment.
We look at the house. We look at the landfill. We look at the backyard. People are working at the landfill now, so the backyard experience is punctuated by the sounds of trucks driving, backing up, and dumping their loads. And we take a pass to keep on looking.
Being confronted face on with the evidence of our wastefulness gets me really down. I snap at a coworker who throws a plastic bottle in the garbage. “That was recyclable!” He fishes it out to go put in the recycling bin and I feel super awkward. I can’t imagine living with the view of a landfill would make me very pleasant to be around and I don’t think I’m being fussy about that.