House Envy

I’m feeling house envy again. Saturday night Carl and I went to dinner with Sundry and her husband JB. We had some mighty fine sushi. Also, I got to see their house and their dog and their comically gigantic truck and their yard and their candles and their very nice coffee mugs. Their pretty wall treatments and their TiVo. Pictures on the walls. Sigh. It’s one of those houses where everything just fits right…like it’s not hyper decorated or anything, it’s very comfortable and easy to be in. It really looks like the people who live there, if that makes any sense. I want that. I hated coming home to my itsy little place and then having to write my rent check, by an odd coincidence, the very next day. Oh, Equity. You far-off Siren.

So I was already in a weird mood yesterday, sitting on my couch (oh, all right, it’s a futon. See what I mean?) and trying to get my knitting to a place where I could actually get some of it done on the plane to JournalCon this weekend. Phone rang. It was my dad.

I don’t talk much about my dad here, for several very good reasons, so I will just say that it’s a pretty rare occurrence for this man to call me. Every couple of months, maybe. I call him occasionally as well, but not very often. He isn’t much for phone conversation (he always ends by saying he has to get off the phone because he has a “cauliflower ear.” Huh?”). Anyway, he told me I should be ready to go to Italy at some point. Because he wants to retire there, and wants me to go check out some real estate for him. “Did you see that movie Under The Tuscan Sun?” he asked?

Well. Ignoring, for the moment, that I know nothing about real estate, nothing about how to buy a house in this country, let alone in another one where I have only the slightest grasp on the language. Never mind that he is from there and is a citizen and speaks Italian fluently…no, clearly it’s my job to go over there and “pick him up a little something. A villa or something.” What do you do when your father tells you this, I ask you?

I did what any normal person would do, one who has spent many valuable fantasy-life hours meticulously constructing this exact scenario. I did a little internet research and found that, yes, by hokey (I don’t think Italians ever say “by hokey.” I’ll have to cut that.), there are plenty of darling little villas for sale in the lovely Tuscany region. This is extremely bad, my friends. Very very bad for me. Saturday I was all dreaming of a little place here in Seattle to which I could actually invite people and thereby repay Sundry’s lovely hospitality…nothing fancy, just a couple of bedrooms and a kitchen into which more than one person fits. Maybe a little backyard or something with a pine tree and an herb garden. No spa bathrooms or granite countertops, nothing ornate or expensive. Ha. That was Saturday night. Today I am officially going crazy with deciding what kind of Tuscan villa to get…um, to get for my dad. I am looking forward to gaining a thorough education in stuff like marble bathtubs and lavender hedges and sun-drenched gazebos. I assume this is going to be a pretty extensive trip he’s going to want me to take. I mean, I should leave no stone unturned in my Quest for a Villa. Not even if it involves many many vineyard tours and meltingly handsome Italian men named Paolo. Should the Paolos happen to be shirtless and lightly spritzed with extra-virgin olive oil, well, so be it. I’m ready for it. They’re going to have to make a sequel to that movie, of course, when I inherit this carefully-chosen villa my ownself. I think it should be called Under The Tuscan Sun II: Italian Boogaloo.

I have no idea if any of this will ever happen, of course. Probably it won’t because who would ever send me to Italy to buy a house? That’s where the fantasy just breaks down, even though Dad said those exact words. “You’re going to have to pick me out a little villa or something.” I heard him say them, but they made no sense at all. Of course, the idea that I could have any house, ever, is so far-fetched at this point in my life, that the idea that I could be going to Tuscany to visit Dad at his villa that I helped pick out is only slightly more ridiculous. The more I think about any of this, though, the more wistful I feel about my non-homeowner status.

See, it’s one thing to be all punk rock and to never want to have a house because, you know, DAMN the man or whatever. It’s quite another thing to want a house but not be able to afford one (and feel as though you’ll never be able to afford one, which is totally awful) and to sort of eschew all the house-y things (out of spite, maybe?) but secretly long for them. Even though you know that if you had a house it would probably look a lot like your tiny apartment in terms of the socks on the floor and the disco balls you just put up over the window. It might not ever look like a grown-up house, like a house of a successful and satisfied person. It would probably always look like me. Kind of slapped together and silly, with a penchant for shiny things. Slightly down at heels but with at least a couple of good stories.

But, of course, me being me, I’d probably like it.

Comments are closed.