So apparently we are at the price point of cops and sex offenders. We've been out looking for houses twice now and could not help but notice all the cops in the neighborhoods. The first house we looked at we drove up and said, "Oh the neighbor is a cop." Then we went inside and found his gigantic gun safe, "a hunter?". Nope, we opened the closet and found his dress blues...another cop! And for the most part that pattern has continued. We drive into a neighbor and count the number of cops there, one, two, three, four. The most interesting part, they often are neighbors. It makes me wonder if they are partners at work. Can you imagine? We decided it just must be the price point. Residents and cops make about the same starting salary so any house we can afford, they can afford and truth be told I find a sort of security in that.
House hunting is a strange, exciting, stressful time. Strange because you are walking through people's homes. You try to avoid looking at their stuff and just focus on the home but it is hard to avoid the personal items. Pictures of the kids, oddly placed TVs, floral arrangements, dirty clothes hiding in the closet (or not), the fact that dad has been sleeping in the guest room for a while since all his clothes are there...you feel like a voyeur. It is exciting because every house you walk up to could be the one. You pause on the doorstep as the agent punches in the code to get the key. You look up the street, you look down, could this be my new neighborhood? Can I live next to these people for four years? Will I love the house? Before the agent opens the door you just don't know what kind of excitement or disappointment awaits you. Stressful because of the time constraints, the money spent, the ramifications of the decision on your social life, your work commute, and most importantly your children's school and friends. Our first trip out was a total bust. While there were a few houses we kind of liked, most were pushing the very edges of what we wanted to spend. Our second trip we found three that were doable, one that seemed perfect. Was it the perfect house, not quite, but it was at a great school, had a fabulous backyard that backed up to a huge grass area and then a pond, had four rooms, the office we wanted, and a loft where the kids' toys would all fit. It was close to work, and within two miles of Meijer and Target, my two favorite stores to shop at. The price was great and after chatting about it on the way home we submitted an offer, but we weren't the only ones. Another couple had as well and so began the realtor's dance where he tried to weasel the most money out of us he possibly could. We were still in negotiations when I turned to Dr. J and said, "Wait we haven't looked at the crime." And so I looked up the crime in the neighborhood. And that is when I discovered cops weren't the only group of people in our price point. The neighborhood had five, five sex offenders all classified as child molesters closer to our house than the school, including one who had previously received a thirty year sentence. There are sex offenders everywhere and while I wouldn't have liked it, one would have been tolerable, but five, five so close to the house...it was a crushing blow to say the least. And so with even tighter time constraints than before, with less hope, more disappointment, but a better map of where the sex offenders live we will be returning next week to look one more time. Crossing my fingers this time we find a winner.