Obscene Sizes!

We bought our house in Texas in one weekend when real estate inventory was limited. Steve’s promotion had been finalized and he was already commuting from Scottsdale to Dallas and our house in Scottsdale was in escrow so we needed to buy a house and buy it fast. I know what you are thinking, you should have rented first until you knew what was what! Yeah, but there were size-able financial motivations that made buying the smart thing to do.

Two weeks before I flew to Dallas to house hunt with Steve and our realtor, she sent me everything that was available in the area that would make sense for us. Over email, I immediately nixed anything over 5000 sq. ft. I mean, c’mon, it’s just two people and two golden retrievers! People aren’t joking when they say everything in Texas is huge. Everything is. Especially houses. So once I nixed, our fifteen choices fell to about five, maybe six. The house we chose is a 4800 sq. ft. house with 4 bedrooms, a huge media room, an office and 6 bathrooms. Six bathrooms?? It just doesn’t make sense. I do not GET Dallas.

Even in a city you know well there will always be unknowns when you buy a house. You have no way of knowing how noisy the neighbors are or if you will hear sirens at night. You will not know if there is a dog nearby who howls and barks at various times during the week. If you are looking at houses on weekends you have no way of knowing how much traffic is on your street or nearby streets and whether you will hear it on weekdays.

I think of the people who bought my gorgeous Scottsdale house right on the edge of the desert who would have no idea of the tremendous problem with bees gathering water from the pool when it’s hot to cool down their hives. (And, it’s hot A LOT in Scottsdale!) You cannot find a hive to destroy when there are 10 acres of desert in your backyard and you cannot go into your pool when there are swarms of African bees there. We said “yes” about “critters” in the seller’s disclosure but it didn’t ask for specifics.

Now, when you don’t know a city at all, especially when you are in a rush to buy, there are things you simply don’t even think of. It never occurred to me when we were looking at this house that my only access to my garage was a gross, sloppy alley. (See one of my first ever posts “These Darn Alleys”) We bought a new build and many new builds have front access to the garages but our lot wasn’t big enough for the builder to do that and I didn’t even notice.

We also had no idea that we would be living in a constant construction zone since older houses sell, builders snap them up, demolish them and build new. (We live in one of the nicest neighborhoods in Dallas…constant construction is just what it is to live here and everyone except me is used to it and lives peacefully with it!!)  We didn’t know Dallas is gloomy a lot and we chose a house, which is NOT the lightest, brightest house. I wake up every morning and turn on every, single light in the house, which annoyed my friend Richard to no end when he was here. He kept turning them off and I kept turning them back on. I told him it was cheaper than therapy.

Finally, how could we have known about an utterly obnoxious and decrepit 45-year old ice cream truck that roams the neighborhood playing eerie, distorted melodies every afternoon and gives me the total creeps.

Anyway, we got a smokin’ hot deal on this house probably because it is not light and bright and the market was slow when we bought. We’ve put it up for sale and we’ll make money on it.  Today, we made an offer on a house way farther North that backs to a golf course and has amazing, peaceful views. I am so excited!!

I Have An Attic?

I was so busy preparing for our move from Scottsdale and my husband Steve was swamped in his new position with Prime Lending in Dallas that we had to buy a house and buy it quickly. I flew out to join him here and we did it in one day. The realtor had only a few houses lined up to show us after I nixed anything over 5000 square feet. Steve wanted a new build and it’s hard to find one smaller than that in the neighborhoods we liked. So, we have a brand new, gorgeous 4800 square foot house and it’s considered modest by Dallas’ standards. The media room is so big my mom said we should put in an ice skating rink. Then later when she heard through the grapevine I really wanted an elephant she said, “Perfect! They have room for it!”

The move was beyond stressful, nervous breakdown kind of stressful. The culture shock was beyond belief and I found myself completely disoriented. Steve was working long hours and traveling so I was mostly alone dealing with dogs sick as dogs, me sick as dogs, me with 18 mosquito bites and allergies so bad I was positive I had lung cancer. Then there were the projects I was overseeing; building a pool, installing landscaping, removing a rotted out 60 foot Red Oak tree from our front yard and grinding out the roots (I decided to save money and did that one myself), planning interior design and getting the technology in the house orchestrated which, as everyone knows, is rocket science these days.


There I am taking that pesky, rotten tree down.

Anyway, one day this guy was here; I can’t remember what he was doing but it had something to do with paint.
“Where is the leftover paint?” he asked me.
“There isn’t any,” I said. “They didn’t leave extra paint, extra tiles, nothing!”
“That would be very unusual,” he said.
“I know,” I said, “I’ve owned a lot of houses and there’s always extra paint and tile. But I’ve been all through the garage and there is nothing there!”
“It wouldn’t be in the garage”, he said, “It would be in the attic.”
“I don’t have an attic,” I said.
“Yes you do,” he said, “All newer homes have attics.”
“No they don’t!” I demanded. “I’ve had several newer homes over the years and none of them have ever had attics!”

You’d think after living in the house for over two weeks I would have noticed a pull cord hanging a quarter of the way down between the ceiling and the floor from a trap door in the upstairs hallway. But I didn’t.