I’m on day six of 1000 Words of Summer. The first three days, over a long weekend, were prolific. The last three, not so much. If I were trying to put a marketing spin on what I did write I’d say it was “confessional,” meaning it’s intensely personal and never seeing the light of day. Every day I hit the quota I wanted to open a new document and keep writing something else. The other days, I just wanted to go to bed and doomscroll.
The only show I’m watching now is Platonic. Elder Millennial lawyer-turned-SAHM Rose Byrne bristles against her small life in her small house, reconnects with her old friend for hijinks and navigates going back to work. I appreciate, at least, that they’re depicting that even lawyers can’t always live well in cities on one salary anymore. They eat at a table in the kitchen. This seems like a recommendation engine generated a show just for me … so of course nobody’s recapping it. I love recaps! It’s the whole reason I subscribe to Vulture; I kept hitting the three-article limit every time I caught up on a show. But here I am, watching a show that nobody’s recapping, so if I have to fast-forward to avoid secondhand embarrassment those moments are just lost to me forever. (And there is a lot of secondhand embarrassment in this show.) The soundtrack is good; I haven’t liked one as much since Celeste and Jesse Forever.
What else? Last month a guy ran his car into the retaining wall along the perimeter of our front yard. Four weeks later, his insurance company cut us a large check we had to pick up in Goodlettsville. This week, after asking a multitude of questions, I finally mailed off the deposit to get the removal started. I never thought we’d actually get around to removing the retaining wall, which I dislike for many reasons, but it turned out it costs two grand more to fix ten linear feet of mortared, stone-stacked wall than it does to remove 150 linear feet, so I lucked out. (The driver was unharmed, though his car was totaled. He was avoiding a pedestrian walking her dog and a car that drove off. The poor pedestrian was pretty distraught but she said she was moving two weeks later so at least she doesn't have to continually walk through that intersection. All's well that ends well?)
Homeownership is a continually-dawning horror1, moreso when you bought a sixty-year-old house that spent at least a decade as a rental.2 Stephen and I have worked elbow-to-elbow for three years. Literally. This is our desk situation, each of us with a monitor on the sides of this thing and all the shit we want to keep off camera in the middle, where a normal human being would sit. It would be nice to have room for a proper standing desk, or to not have to hope that the other would be finished with their daily standup update before it’s our turn to talk.
That said, we've already had a long daycare commute before. I have been spoiled by the last year of living close enough that I could walk to pickup. Also, we refinanced at the very lowest interest rate two summers ago. So I have been telling myself I’d at least hang on until kindergarten.
The real estate agent who leased us the last apartment and helped us buy this house — how have we known him for thirteen years — came by the house on Monday and we talked through what we’d need to do if we wanted to sell in a few years. He said we probably should, but don’t have to, remodel the janky laundry/bathroom, that it would pay for itself, but other than that … we don’t need to do anything. “It shows well,” he said, “and you’ve done all the right things.”
I really needed to hear that. I felt a complementary shade of the relief I felt at the two-day pediatrician visit three years ago, when the doctor saw how exhausted and overwhelmed I was and gave me a quick pep talk. It just hits different when it's from someone who thinks about these things all the time. The real estate agent pointed out that all the work we did making space in backyard — and we did the actual work, except for removing the foot-thick the parking pad, saving what I now know would have cost easily thousands of dollars — has given us a back yard larger than most of the neighborhood’s new builds have, plus we have sixty-year-old trees.
(Also he noticed that I went to the effort of choosing permeable pavers when we redid the sidewalk. I appreciate an eye for detail.)
The thought of a remodel that would leave us without a laundry room for two months is stressful, especially in the current tech economy, but I’ve dusted off my cost-benefit analysis skills and it’s cheaper than moving as soon as my child is schoolaged.
2: The last tenant's girlfriend was a nepo baby musician who is not a household name but whose biggest hit you’ve probably heard. She still has our address on her license, which I suspected when I started getting bills addressed to her from hospitals in Ohio while she was on tour earlier this year, but it was confirmed for me when someone showed up with her wallet at my house at 7 a.m. two months ago while I was readying my kid for school alone (Stephen was out of town doing fraternity stuff). I opened the door in a tank top and shorts and an earnest looking guy in a Patagonia vest looked at the license, squinted at me, and asked her government name like a question. He didn’t know who she was, just that she’d left her wallet at the bar the night before. I let him in on who she was and said to take it to the police station, as she hasn’t lived here in eight years.