snooping through touring open houses when they go on the real estate market. My freighbors (neighbors who are also friends) and I keep track of the local open houses so we can explore them, critique them, and fantasize about living in them.
As luck would have it, last weekend a large, 1.5 million dollar house went on the market down the street from us. (Some of you might think that sounds like a luxurious mansion on a multi-acre estate, but here in the Bay Area of California, it doesn’t actually buy you all that much.) Still, we had to see it.
So I grabbed some supplies, and my freighbors and I set out to check out the house and give it a test ride. After all, whoever buys this house will be invited to our block parties and our New Year’s Eve parties, so we had to make sure we knew the layout of the house in order to stumble in to use the bathroom or put a passed-out neighbor to bed or anything like that.
When we got there, we had to remove our shoes, and I was pretty pissed about that. I was wearing awesome boots and not awesome socks. (Believe me, I have some really awesome socks, and I would have planned better for the pictures.) Also, the boots really made my outfit. So you’re just going to have to put aside my non-bootness for rest of this article. (I think I was talking to myself there.)
First thing I noticed in the entry way was this sign:
I wasn’t even appalled by the bad capitalization and punctuation; it was the message that got to me. Apparently, if you can afford this house, you can afford your own curtains and rods—because you’re not getting these. Well, la de da.
Our neighborhood is an older one (by California standards). A lot of the homes are California Mission Style (AKA, Mission Revival Style, get your heads out of the gutter), and they’re known for their original fireplaces with images on some of the tiles. To have an original fireplace is somewhat of a badge of honor. Our own fireplace has the image of a cool ship on the tile, and we call it the “Pirate Ship ARRRRRRRR! Fireplace.” (You have to say the “ARRRRRRRR!” with it. It’s mandatory.)
This particular open house also boasted an original fireplace, but at first glance, I couldn’t quite figure out what the tile was supposed to be.
After studying it close-up, I decided that it’s “New World Meets Old World” with a spaceman and an Aztec dude. My freighbors and I all agreed, and we only made fun of it a little bit. Moving on…
In addition to needing to know where the bathrooms and bedrooms were for block parties, I also had to determine if this house was really worth the money. I mean, I couldn’t possibly recommend the house to anyone unless I really tried it on. Really got to know it.
So what are the main things you do in your house? Eat, bathe, use the facilities, sleep.
First thing’s first. I needed to eat. My freighbors and I went to the dining room and sat down. What? You thought I’d be trying out the kitchen? Let me just assure you now that there was plenty of room on the kitchen counters to spread out the take-out. I needed to test out the eating area.
So I sat at the dining room table to have my meal:
After my meal, I felt a little dirty and decided that I needed to take a bath. So I
stumbled wandered upstairs to find the bathroom.
Of course, along the way to the bathroom, we had to check out all of the closets and cabinets and the smallish spaces (you know, where you can stash the bodies). I even found the perfect hide-n-seek space in one of the master bedrooms. Bet you can’t find me.
On my way to the master bathroom, I discovered that the master bedroom has a balcony overlooking the backyard and most of the neighboring backyards. I decided that if I were a guy, I would totally pee off of that balcony every morning.
Me: “If I were a guy, I would totally pee off of this balcony every morning. I would pretend that I was peeing on all of your houses. And using my light saber to destroy the zombies hunting in the neighborhood.”
Freighbor: “Wouldn’t you be worried that we’d see your junk?”
Me: “Nah, I’m a guy, remember?”
I also noticed there were some weights on that balcony. Because everyone does strength training on the balcony, right? So I decided to go a few reps. With my purse on. And my jacket.
After my meal and my workout, I really needed to bathe. I found the master bath and hopped right in.
Having “cleansed” myself, I realized that I needed to check out the most important part of the bathroom: the toilet. After all, you spend a lot time on the toilet, and you really need to make sure it will suit your needs.
(My future neighbors can thank me for such thorough testing.)
After all of that snooping and testing, I was pretty beat. But I wasn’t going to take a nap in the bedroom. Not because I cared about fouling up someone else’s bed, but because it’s California—we can sleep outside practically year-round. As I was making my way to the backyard, I discovered the entrance to the basement.
I was too tired to determine the best use for the
torture chamber basement. So I stumbled across the patio and took a brief “nap” on the patio furniture.
Overall, I’d say this house passed my tests with flying colors. It’s big. It’s beautiful. It’s functional. The only problem is I can’t afford this house, but I’m sure someone can. I only hope that the rich new neighbors are also nice. And don’t mind my cheek-print on their bathroom floor. Or the surprise I left in their basement…