When we moved to Houston, we knew that we wanted to live in the city (as opposed to the suburbs) and we knew that we were committed to staying well within our budget and we knew that we wouldn't be able to find anything nearly as nice as the house we had in Austin. And that really was okay, you know? We had lived in smaller, older houses before and we were okay with doing that again.
And then there was the house on Lacyberry.
Oh, my. You really can't even imagine how awesome this house was. Perfect location to both our offices. Brand new (meaning nothing would break for a long time). Dark, hard wood floors throughout. Completely open floor plan (something I love but impossible to find with older houses in our price range). Huge kitchen with tons of storage. Downstairs master bedroom. Amazing master bath with shower and tub and two sinks. Exactly the top of our budget but not over.
There were multiple offers but we made the high offer. And we still didn't get the house.
That was disappointing but that wasn't the big problem. The big problem was that the house on Lacyberry broke my "wanter."
The houses that had seemed just fine before now seemed second-rate. What had felt like contentment now felt like settling. Nothing measured up to what we could have had.
My grandmother has told me about living in oil company camp housing for the first couple of decades of her adult life. My father came home from the hospital to a one-room camp house where he slept in a dresser drawer (no, that's not just a cliche.) At least once, they lived in a tent. I asked her once about it and she said that she never minded because everyone else had exactly the same house, so there was no comparison to make her want something different.
I've done nothing but compare for two months now. Of course, I can't help but compare every house we looked at with the house on Lacyberry, although that got a lot better with time. But I compare the floor plan of this house with the floor plan of that one. This one's yard compared with that one's indoor space. This location versus that one. The amenities of this house up against the different amenities of that house. And, of course, we know that no one gets everything they want and we won't either.
As a marriage counselor, I strategically joke about that with couples all the time, trying to offer a friendly reminder that no one gets everything. That you can't have the husband that is sensitive and compassionate and then have him turn into John Wayne when you want him to. That you can't have the wife who is spontaneous and fun and also expect her to keep the house perfectly. Once we know that we can't have everything, we can relax and enjoy what we do have, especially when it is what we fell in love with in the first place.
Anyway, I digress. I'm not thinking about marriages so much these days. Instead, I'm obsessed with houses. And how you fix a broken "wanter." By the way, gratitude seems to be as good as duct tape and spit for that.