Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Housing Crisis, Part 7

I am a horrible person and completely neglected to thank you all yesterday. All of your comments over the weekend -- and over the past month and over the almost 10 years I've been blogging -- were so thoughtful and helpful and kind. I will never get tired of hearing your perspectives and your ideas, opinions, thoughts and similar experiences. Especially on subjects that make me feel like a moron. Like this house ordeal. Or anything to do with boys.

The Friday after she and my dad got back from California, I had dinner with my mom and my cousin Emma. When we got home from dinner, Mom asked about when we were going to start looking at houses.

We can look at houses if you guys want to, I told her. But I really don't feel like I can afford a house right now.

Why do you think that? We can get you into a house for less than anything you can rent. Your dad and I, we can help. If you're looking at renting a house and not an apartment, why not just buy one? What do you pay in rent now? How much do you think you can afford?

I can't recall the exact conversation. I just remember feeling embarrassed. I recall telling her that the money would be too tight, that I didn't want a house owning one meant that I would have to spend all of my free time sitting around it because I couldn't afford to do anything else.

She asked question after question after question. I felt smaller and smaller and smaller. And worse and worse and worse. And if feeling like a huge loser at the hands of my mother wasn't enough, it was all in front of my cousin Emma, who has the biggest mouth in the whole family. I'm sure that everyone knows my business now. It was humiliating.

Because when I decided that I was going to rent, I was conceding. I was admitting that it was one more thing that I couldn't do. One more piece of the American fucking dream that I couldn't have that seemingly everyone else does. Put the house in with the husband and the babies. Not happening. Not now.

It took me a long time to get there, to be okay with that. With renting. With what was realistic.

And then my mom has to poke at it. And talk about it. And question it.

She started on me so soon after we got home after dinner that I didn't even have a chance to take my coat off. That much was helpful, actually. While normally I would stay for a while, have a cup of tea or watch a little bit of television, I left soon thereafter.

I cried most of the way home.

I cried when I wrote this.


k said...

I'm giving your parents a big WTF right now (nothing personal, I know they are loving people and are looking out for what they think are your best interests, but still WTF!)

I think part of the reason that people got into such big trouble during the housing collapse is that there was this mentality that everyone should own. There are good reasons to buy a house, and good reasons to continue renting.

Maybe when talking with you parents, focus less on the money aspect and more on the other aspects. It is is probably hard to tell them they hey, maybe I will move outside of the Detriot region at some point, but you can mention that you are not sure how long you'll stay at this job and you've realized that commute times have a big impact on your life, so you don't want to commit yourself to a location right yet in case you decide to change jobs.

As I see it, you deciding that you don't want to buy a house right now should be empowering. It seems like if you wanted too, you could make it happen, but you decided it isn't want you want/need right now. You are making the decision that is right for you, and not doing it just because American society or you parents say you should.

Anonymous said...

Don't let them bully you into buying a house or bully you in general. It's your life not theirs. Them helping in the house situation is just a way to control you. Empower yourself to go apartment shopping, sign a lease and tell them it's done you've made the decision and that's final.

Sabrina said...

The "American Dream" is completely relative and constantly changing! Home ownership can be a nightmare, and it could keep you locked to a location you don't necessarily want to be in. You have your whole life to pay a mortgage and deal with HOA drama.

I understand the parental situation, my parents are similarly overbearing at times (usually not) and I am such a YES person, that I have a hard time setting boundaries. I'm sure it's even harder with your parents nearby. But I encourage you to stand your ground. You could regret buying a house, but you'll probably never regret NOT buying one.

Accidentally Me said...

I'm gonna sort of stick up for your mom didn't tell her that you don't WANT to buy a house, you told her you didn't think you could. So, it's not an unnatural mother reaction to say "sure you can!" She may just be thinking that you really want to, but are scared or nervous or whatever. You have to just tell her specifically "I don't want to buy a house. I don't want to commit to it." Because it's not a financial decision for you, it's a life decision.

Heather said...

i haven't read all the comments associated with the housing entries, and i know there are three sides to every story - yours, your mom's/parents', and the truth - but it sounds like your parents are pushing you to where they feel you should be.

now, i'm a naturally strong-willed person, and i tend to oversimplify, so take what you need from my unsolicited advice here and apply as liberally as needed to your situation, but you have to tell them no.

figure out what you want - be it a lease, be it owning property, be it a short commute or one so long that you're better off buying an airstream trailer and living in that - and then decline assistance as needed to achieve what you want. "no, i'm not ready to buy a house; i'd rather rent another year." "no, thank you."

there is absolutely no timeline to the great american dream of a white picket fence, 2.5 babies, a dog, and a prince charming to mow that lawn for you. do not for one second feel inadequate because you do not have these things. do not let anyone make you feel inadequate because you do not have them and possibly do not even want them. it is ok to want them later. it's ok to want them and work towards them now in your own speed. if a house or condo (or, as i call them, House Light, because the condo assoc takes care of shit i can't be bothered with, like mowing lawns and snow removal) makes more sense for you, look into those options. if an adorable apt within walking distance of work makes more sense until you're sure of what you want in a house makes more sense, look into that.

i very much want a house. i very much want to live closer to where i grew up and to my friends (i am at present a minimum of an hour's drive from them). but i have about 18mo left in my Plan To A Custom's Broker's License and subplan of Employment In Boston. my loathing of the driving i do is second only to my intense loathing of moving and packing shit. i don't want to move closer to the job i am in now because i feel i'm too close to the next step to be anywhere long enough to make it worthwhile. (also, i don't know the tall hot guy at the gym's name yet so i can't move away, obviously) everyone is pressuring me to move, but it took several firm "no" and "not yet; i'm in the middle of A Plan. please stop bringing it up right now; you're making me feel guilty about building this better life for myself before i start doing more grown-uppy things like purchasing earth in which to claim this land in the name of Heather." it took a couple repeated mentions, but people eventually stopped because they know there's a pin in it for later.

always always always remember that "no" is a complete sentence and that you need to explain nothing to anyone but yourself.

(note: it is fucking killing me (KILLING ME) that my baby brother is married and in the process of owning land and i can't get past an occasional second date. but i also recognize that i get to do awesome things like drop everything to jaunt to london just because i want to. i have a different set of privileges with checking that "single" box on my taxes, even if the IRS is starting to suggest i get cats.)

do what makes sense for YOU, not what mom or dad want. i know you said you're warming to the ownership thing (make sure there's a guest room; i've never seen detroit), but make sure you really do want this and decide that you're confident enough in this decision that you won't wish you'd gone the other way in a year.

you got this.

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