March 6, 2012


Top: A recent accidental portrait of myself at what I call "LOLlege Bridge" - I thought I was turning my camera off.

Bottom: Truer graffiti has never been graffiti-ed.

I own a house in Oklahoma City. I have for almost three years. I bought it because, at the time, I thought I was laying down roots in OKC. I was happy at my job, enthusiastically single, and creating what I considered my perfect and true life to be by accomplishing everything that I could for myself, by myself. Which included buying a house.

It's an adorable 1927 bungalow with hardwood floors, a fireplace, and a huge front porch. I loved furnishing it, painting it (a limited palette consisting entirely of greys, of course), being alone in it, and being able to easily walk Jeremy and Kathleen's from it. It fit.

A few months later, I got an offer to help open a new office for Third Degree. To move to North Carolina - to a place I had never even been before. To try something new. To change my life completely.

And I accepted. How could I not? That's the kind of opportunity that a lot of people never even get the chance to turn down. And then the house became an anchor. A giant adult responsibility anchor, holding me back from what I now imagined my perfect and true life to be: me, alone on the East Coast, driving to the beach every weekend, getting all my food from the farmer's market, walking everywhere around town, becoming even more independent. Definitely a renter. And yet - I was an owner.

Fortunately, I was able to find a short-term solution - renting the house out to a colleague and his wife for a year. It was ideal - they treated the place well, and I was able to run off to North Carolina without really dealing with it. Then he was recruited to move to North Carolina as well, and I was back at square one. I knew I didn't want to be a landlord - I just don't have the constitution for it. But single girls in advertising just can't handle paying mortgages and utilities on empty houses on top of their east-coast rent. So I put in on the market, hoping for a quick sale. And didn't get one.

Fortunately, that was right when Micah kickstarted his own awesome life adventure, moved out to North Carolina, and into my duplex. He got an amazing job a week before the house went on the market - and by paying half of our rent, made it just possible to swing my mortgage and my rent. Not as independent, but I couldn't have imagined anything more perfect, more true.

And that's how it's been for the last six months. I try not to think about the house, and how it's not getting any offers, and how I could put all that empty mortgage money to much better use. But I can't lie - it's kept me up a few nights. The negativity that I began to attach to the house started to affect my responsibility for it - I've let some of the utilities be cut off, because I simply never thought to forward the bills to my new address, so I was never reminded to pay them.

Yesterday morning, I got some feedback from someone who had toured the house - they commented that it would have been nice if there had been power. At first I lamented my irresponsibility, and the additional money I would have to spend to get the electricity back on. But then I had a little sit-down with myself. I had reached that point - you know - when you know you've allowed yourself to be a baby about something for long enough. When it's finally time to put on your big-girl panties and just deal with it. Be the adult that you thought you were when you got yourself into this whole thing.

And that's what I did. I called all of the utility services for the house for status updates on the accounts. I signed up for paperless billing. I paid any overdue accounts. I marked on my calendar when the next round of all of them were due. I decided to give the house a year on the market, and if it didn't sell, I would hire a management company to landlord it out. At least that way my mortgage payments wouldn't be "empty," and I could put it back on the market at a better time. It felt terribly adult, not in a fantasy-beach-farmer's-market-dreamings way, but in an everyday, man-up, fiscal-boringness way. But at least I had a plan.

And then a few hours later, I got an offer on the house.


I don't want to jinx it, so I won't say much else. But, we've agreed on a price. If everything goes through, it should all be over by the end of the month. No more empty mortgage payments. No more sleep loss. No more anchor.

And if it doesn't go through, at least now I have a little bit more faith in the universe than I did last month. I still have my plan. Something will happen. And it will be just as perfect and true.