Friday, July 8, 2011

Housing Dilemmas

Right now I live in Forest Glen. See it there on the red line, way up top on the right side? I work near Farragut North, which, you will notice, is on the left side, right after the red line's U. My commute is approximately 1 hour. Fifty minutes on a good day. So even though I have possibly the sweetest roommates in the world, and the rent is amazing, and my neighborhood is quaint and sweet, and there's a church one block away with daily Mass (and my beloved Tridentine Mass on Sundays), I want to move. I'm talking seriously right now with three different girls about living together. One option is in Friendship Heights (left side of red line) and another is near Rosslyn (orange line, left side). Without going into all the details, it feels like every person I've talked to wants something different, and I want to make them all happy but I'm not sure that any of the options will make me happy.

The thing is, I don't just want a place to live. I want a home. Yesterday I went to visit a possible apartment. It was so... shiny. The front lobby has a 24/7 concierge who interrogated me the moment I arrived. As I waited for my friend to come down and get me, I inspected the books on the majestic shelves. The Old Man and the Sea, I thought. Good choice. I reached out to inspect it only to discover it was fake. The tall, plush sofas were still stiff and uncomfortable with newness. My friend took me upstairs to see the gorgeous rooftop deck with Olympic-size pool, and the fitness center that offers free yoga and pilates classes. The hallways were lined with tasteful pale gold stripes, giving the place a hotel feel. The apartment itself was compact but elegant - floor-to-ceiling windows, a brand-new kitchen and walk-in closets. "It's beautiful," I told my friend, and meant it.

Later that night I called my mom to tell her about the place I'd seen. As I described it, she oohed and ahed appropriately and asked when I'm going to move in. "I don't... want to live there," I said. It was hard to explain why. What's not to love about a model modern apartment with every possible convenience? I would actually ask, what is to love about such a place? I want a home, not a hotel room. The kind of place where the back door always sticks, or that one faucet leaks - and those little unique imperfections make it unique, and human, and yours. I don't want to live on a 15th floor. I want to live right down the street from a church, or across the street from my friends - a place with community, with history, with meaning. With tradition. I live so far away from my family that at the very least I want to create a family atmosphere with my friends wherever I live in DC, and a shiny show-room apartment just isn't doing it for me.

Unfortunately those seem to be the only options my future roommates are looking at, so I think I will have to take the housing search into my own hands. Watch out, DC. :)

p.s. This is my 200th post! What the heck! I can't believe I've actually been blogging that long. Should I do a giveaway or something to celebrate? Anyway, hooray!

Update: I just read this article and I feel like it actually changed my life. Yes. A helpful reminder not to stress to much about housing.

Further update: I just found this house on Craigslist and died a thousand deaths. Front porch and back, Victorian charm, 5 bedrooms... I want it so badly! Not to mention this line in the advertisement: "There are houses and there are homes -- this is a home." That ties in perfectly with the earlier part of this post. A home. Just what I've been looking for. Now let's see if I can talk my friends into living there...


  1. Give away more ties!

    You thought the Old Man and the Sea was a good choice? Have you read it??

  2. LOL no I haven't read it, but the other fake books were stuff like "Flower Arranging" so that one stood out from the pack.

    Maybe I'll give away the random stuff I find in my desk. Anyone want a copy of "Conservatism 101"?

  3. No takers? That's surprising!