ETHOS

ETHOS

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

No Class

Between being a dad and an English teacher, I have been working with my wife on finding a new home, and I have made up my mind not to slander any persons, places, or school systems in this post.

We have rebelled against what I call "cookie-cutter" development homes, built on .360 acres or less. When I look at the symmetry of the roof lines in these developments, something dark moves within. I imagine myself as Jack Torrance running amok, laying my axe into the neighbor's SUV, their white vinyl picket fence, their perfectly sculpted topiary bushes. I think I would do fine in isolation. I think I'd have to be committed if, while looking out my kitchen window, sipping coffee, I see my neighbor some twenty feet away hosing the mud from his four-wheeler and singing along to Kid Rock's latest, glossy bit of plagiarism. If left to my own devices, I might take to glowering at my neighbor's military flags and committing small acts of civil disobedience to give members of the respective homeowner's associations something to talk about at their meetings. The thought that I might end up in such an environment has me grinding my teeth and reciting "Earthquake" by Charles Bukowski.

Considering these facts, most of the homes in Medina and Wadsworth (at least those in our price range), are Stepford Wife approved. My wife, on the other hand, feels pretty much the same way as I do about the "cookie-cutters." That said, we've been looking since April of 2008, have walked through numerous open houses, had discussions ranging from argument to lecture to rant to bargain (collective and interest based), and have learned a lot about each other's wants, but have only been able to talk seriously about two homes. We've looked at over 60. One of the two is in Wadsworth, and the only thing saving it from being too cookie-cutter is its unique interior layout and the fact that it butts up against a park. So, we would have land, but just not our land, which might be okay. However, I have suspected that this might make our dwelling the stomping ground for the obligatory passel of Stepford-brats populating the area. That and the price of this house is a little above what we've been looking at. Houses are more expensive in Wadsworth, but the taxes are much lower than in Medina.

The other house is in Marshallville. It is a large home, sits on just over two acres, and is adjacent to an old cemetery. Some people might consider this last feature undesirable, but yours truly thinks it's much cooler than an association recreation center or a community pool. My wife likes the house as well as the little ravine at the back of the property. My only hesitations come from learning 1) There are construction loans that have not been paid by the owners (I don't really know what this means or if it is a problem for potential buyers) 2) There is a sophisticated wood burning setup tied into the heating system, which means a) piles of wood and lots of smoke b) potential high heating bills without said wood and smoke 3) My drive into work will only be shortened by a minute, from 35 to 34. 4) I know nothing about Smithville schools (Green, Wayne country), other than the fact that they are rated "Effective" (as opposed to Wadsworth and Medina's "Excellent with Distinction"), or about Marshallville in general. I never know how much stock to put in those state ratings anyway.

We have both spent quote a lot of time and energy looking for our dream home, and it has been fun yet frustrating. I almost think there could be a class on homebuying. Probably, there is. I also think there should be classes on just about everything. Choosing a religion, dealing with parents (your own as well as those of your students), talking to the opposite sex, how not to be a doormat, and probably most important, how not to end up like Jack Torrance.

6 comments:

Jennifer Sullivan said...

I would take the "How not to be a doormat" class.

Man, good luck. I didn't know you were looking for a new home. I guess that I assumed that since you seem to do a lot of home improvement activities that you loved your house.

I know nothing about important things like buying houses, tax deductions, interest rates...It all freaks me out. I am going to have to start looking for a house though, probably in the summer. I don't even know where to begin. I wish I could just buy my apartment.

John said...

I do really like our house for a lot of reasons, unfortunately size isn't one of them. Nor land. Finding a house right now that doesn't have liens or some other financial baggage is really hard. Where are you looking to move?

Jennifer Sullivan said...

I'm not sure I want to move in the school district where I teach though I love a lot of houses in B-town.

Wadsworth is appealing, though. I also really love West Akron.

When I think about future children and schools for those children, I think about a place like Kent, but their taxes are too high. Kent City Schools offers so many opportunities.

I am also interested in parts of Ellet (near where my apartment is).

And then there is that part of me that thinks a house means I can't ever leave Ohio.

So basically, I'm clueless. I'd actually like to move to the countryside of Italy, Ireland, or France. Perhaps in retirement.

I can't believe that you have looked at over 60 houses. That sounds exhausting. Good luck. Are you considering anywhere else other than Medina and Wadsworth?

John said...

Living in district is keeping me away from really pursuing the market in Medina. My kids all work, probably 80-90% of them and I'm sure I'd see them everywhere. Not that I don't love my students...

I dig your idea about moving overseas. Isn't Cambridge really cheap? I like thinking of people saying "Wyatt" with an English accent.

I don't know. I'm hoping that if we continue looking we'll find the right place and know it. At least it's supposed to work that way.

Mr. President said...

Wow, choosing a religion would be a great class to have, though I doubt the "talking to the opposite sex" class. It would have a dramatic effect on teenage pregnancy, and it already costs America 7 billion a year! Something about teaching guys how to effectively smooth talk to women sounds like schools would be asking for trouble. Lol

I should be coming around the MCCC a few times this December, to help with those doing the F1 competition. If you happen to have time, I’ll have to stop on by. :) I hope thanksgiving and your school year is going wonderful.

John said...

I'll hope to see you when the snow flies, Josh!