May 24, 2024
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May 24, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

We’re in the market for a new house. It doesn’t actually have to be new, just new to us. Our current house isn’t tiny, but our kids keep getting bigger, and our house does not.

Right now, we have something called a “starter house.” No one dies in a starter house (baruch Hashem). A starter house is a small home with just enough bedrooms for all of the major genders that a young couple buys when they need to get out of their one-bedroom apartment so they can stop putting guests on the living-room floor.

Sure, there are a lot of good things about our house. For example, it’s so old that when the power goes off, the heat does not. Also, there’s an outlet in the fireplace for some reason. Also, we get nice cross ventilation, even with the doors closed. And several members of Hatzolah already know where it is.

So we’re looking for a house, the plan being that we’re going to sell our old house to pay for the new house, although Hashem only knows where we’re going to live in between. We hope it all goes down on the same day.

And here’s something we learned so far: It turns out that a bigger house is going to cost more money than we can get for our little house. Maybe we should have thought of this back when we bought such a little house in the first place. We were just happy to get it because it was bigger than our apartment, which was two rooms, only one of which was a bedroom. The other room was our kitchen/living room/dining room/foyer/pantry/basement/family room/study/library/ playroom/home office/multi-purpose/guest room. That room also had the one window, so in the bedroom, it was always night, which was not very helpful in waking up for Shacharis, although it was great for getting the kids to sleep. And yes, we had two kids in there. By the time we moved out, the apartment was so densely packed that when we finished unpacking in our current house, we found that the stuff from our two-room apartment had filled up the entire house.

So we’ve been looking for houses. We made a list of what we want, we got an agent, and occasionally my wife asks her to show us a specific house. The truth is, everyone makes a list. But in general, most people’s lists are really based on what they do and don’t have now. Our agent looks at it and says, “Who puts ‘coat closet’ on a list?”

We do. We’re sick of people seeing our coats. And we’d like to have somewhere to put a vacuum cleaner on the ground floor, considering what’s where our kids do most of their spilling—that we know of.

But the things that you have, you don’t think to ask for. We’re going to end up moving into a house without bathrooms, or with no indoor kitchen, and when we ask, our agent will say, “Well, you didn’t mention it.”

(If you think there are no houses like that, you don’t know Passaic.)

And then, the next time we’re in the market for a new house, our agent will ask, “Who writes, ‘Must have indoor kitchen’?”

The things you don’t have are what you ask for. When we were moving out of our apartment, our list said things like, “Living room, dining room, kitchen, office, guest room, and playroom should not all be the same room,” and “Entrance in front,” and “Don’t have to cut through only bedroom to get to the bathroom,” and “No upstairs neighbor with twin infants that love paying with their twin Bumble Balls (which is a toy where you turn it on, and the people who live below you think the house is falling down).”

But we can say we’re looking. You can ask us, “Why do you want the next house to be perfect?” It doesn’t have to be, but it’s a house. We don’t want to move, spend a year unpacking our stuff, and then realize that it’s not really better than what we had. It’s not like buying a pair of pants, where you can return it.

“Yeah, all my stuff doesn’t fit in the pockets.”

“Oh. Well, what was wrong with your old pants?”

“Too many windows.”

By Mordechai Schmutter

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