Dream home that includes big shop, small house, right price eludes couple

In search of perfect house

Posted: Sunday, October 26, 2003

Have you noticed how much reality TV is on the tube these days? With so many channels, there's something for everyone. There's bachelors, bachelorettes, survival, decorating.

My husband, Mark, and I fell for the last one.

Once we hooked up to cable, we became mesmerized by Home and Garden Television or HGTV. It offers everything one can think of when it comes to home decor painting, choosing the right furniture, decorating, organizing clutter, getting more out of smaller spaces and making larger spaces more homey.

We were sucked in like a trailer in a tornado.

At first we didn't mind. There is so much to learn about decorating, especially since style changes every 10 minutes. Today the '70s are back. Yesterday it was the '80s. Who knows what it will be tomorrow.

In any case, Mark and I watched each night, eager to see what new-fangled device we might need to buy or what stylish tip we could incorporate into our home.

Everything was wonderful. We did a few home projects, and things were coming together nicely. The house looked great.

Then came last January.

It was so long ago, I don't even remember what started it. But for either business reasons, dog reasons, location reasons, decorating reasons or boredom, Mark and I decided we needed to find another home: the perfect home.

There's nothing wrong with the one we have, it's just too big for two people. And in all honesty, it doesn't matter how much room you have, if you have a house full of dogs, they will always congregate around your feet anyway, so space wasn't an issue.

So with a mission in mind, we set out to find our dream home.

We sat down to list what we needed, and in a short amount of time we had the ideal house on paper. All we needed was:

A. A 50,000-square-foot shop for Mark's welding business, which he runs in his spare time;

B. Twenty acres of flat, cleared land so we could do unlimited dog agility in our spare time oh, and it had to be fenced;

C. Rooms big enough to maneuver furniture into seven different patterns so I wouldn't get restless or bored;

D.No less than two bathrooms, one with double sinks, a Jacuzzi tub, a multiple-fauceted shower and a bidet;

E. A ranch style so when the dogs never mind us get old, they don't have to climb stairs;

F. A house in perfect condition with upgraded, state-of-the-art modern appliances;

G. A location far from any major traffic or roads;

H. A location within 20 minutes of the fire department for Mark to reach work in any kind of weather when he's called in; and

I. A price tag of around $100,000.

We felt we had pretty much addressed every issue effectively.

Then we opened the paper to commence our search.

I think it's fair to say we've readjusted our list numerous, nay dozens, no probably hundreds of times. In fact, we pretty much narrowed it down to just H and I.

Again we turned to HGTV to help us with tips and knowledge, and the good folks at HGTV, in turn, had the ideal reality show for us.

It's called "House Hunters."

The show gave us hope that someday we would find our perfect house.

You see, the couple, or person, starts their search with a real estate agent and, although you're never quite sure exactly how many homes they look at, they always find the perfect home somewhere around the third house they enter.

The houses get progressively better looking, too, and obviously more expensive, but the agent figures out exactly what the clients are looking for and THEY ALWAYS FIND THE PERFECT HOUSE!

Do I sound disgruntled? Naaaaaaa.

Mark and I began to question the authenticity of the show. Are these people real? Are they actors? Do these houses actually exist? Do these agents have super powers?

It was like watching Goldilocks and the Three Bears over and over and over.

"This house is toooooo small!"

"This house is toooooo big!"

"This house is just right!"


Does this really happen?

Mark and I can't stand to watch anymore, it's too painful. We turn off the TV in disgust and talk about how the clients obviously don't have a realistic list like we do.

Come to think of it, there probably aren't a whole lot of people who have a list like we do.

Still, it's been a long, agonizing road to travel from January to here. We've looked at a few more than three houses, but none of them meet our ever-changing criteria.

I suppose it doesn't help that I want to buy every house we look at.

"Look Mark, it's perfect! It has the open-floor plan and a big garage. We could live here, don't you think?

"Well, sure, but we'd have to finish the walls first, then it needs a toilet, and ... ."

We've decided I am the optimist in this relationship; Mark is the realist.

There are days, I swear, when we're ready to just move into a large shack. Other days we refuse to settle for anything less than the whole enchilada.

I'm sure that somewhere, there in the middle, is the perfect house just waiting for us to stumble upon it just like they do on TV.

"Well, Mark. What do you think? Isn't this great? It has the open-floor plan, two bathrooms, garage, land, shop, and I love the sunken living room!"

"Uh, honey, it's not a sunken living room. The foundation is shot."

And that, my friends, is reality.

Wish us luck.

When she's not looking at houses, Dori Lynn Anderson is the assistant editor of the Peninsula Clarion.

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