Tag Archives: the American dream

Trying to Find Happiness in Any of This

There are real reasons to celebrate these days. For starters, Biden won the election. While it wasn’t a landslide as many hoped, at least he received enough votes to push evil out. I’m not exactly optimistic about the future of our country with so many people willing to vote for a racist man who doesn’t believe in science, but for now, there is reason to be happy.

I’m trying. To feel a little good right now. Because as my own world spirals further out of control and comfort, I can rest a big easier knowing there will be adults in the White House for the next four years to navigate us through the dark days ahead of this pandemic and whatever other surprises 2021-2025 has in store.

But I miss my family, and normalcy, and fear the choices I made in the past week (getting a voluntary 3D ultrasound, having contractors over to my house, going to view tile in a local showroom) will kill me, my husband, and/or his parents. And yet, I feel like the only way to stay remotely sane is to try to live life somewhat. But to live life somewhat is a huge risk right now. And I don’t like taking such risks. Yet my mind is past the point of embracing logic. I’m worn out, mentally, physically, psychically. I am not doing anything that stupid (of course I’m wearing a mask in all social interactions) but I feel like there is really no difference between doing what I am doing and going out and seeing other humans or sending my son to daycare, which we are not doing. What if after being so “careful” my few deviances from being smart about avoiding any and all germs lead to me on a vent having a c-section where the doctors try to save my baby and accept I am a lost cause?

This isn’t just crazy pessimistic talk, it is all real possibility. I should be locked in a bunker right now and instead here I am making dumb decisions. Trying to move things forward with a house that cost too much that will cost even more to prepare for move in. I’m regretting becoming a home owner already. I feel sick to my stomach over what I’ve done with this decision. I’m only getting through it by telling myself I’m going to give it 3 years and if home ownership doesn’t work out I will sell, probably for a significant loss, but that loss will be worth it to return to life as a renter. Or maybe in 3 years time I’ll love being a home owner. I doubt it, but maybe. I did it because why? Because deep down I’ll never feel good enough unless I own a home. I don’t particularly like the home I purchased (or the 100 square foot bedroom my husband and I will be sharing while my FIL lives in the 450 sq ft master suite) but I dug my hole there so I’m going to lie in it and be claustrophobic and deal with it for 3 years. What’s 3 years anyway? I just wish I wasn’t going to lose about $160k when I sell. That’s going to be a rough pill to swallow. But that’s the price of dumb decisions.

With home ownership everything is incredibly complicated. Sure, you can pay people to do things, but it’s hard to know who to trust. One contractor may be really good at one thing and have great reviews but you find out the thing you hired them for is outside of their expertise—despite their confident talk about how they would do the project. For instance, HVAC guys giving you advice on moving an attic entrance. Or electricians explaining you need to update your circuits when maybe you don’t really have to — or maybe you do, because you bought a 1960s house that still has mostly original electric and ductwork because you’re dumb. Because your realtor was tired of you and just wanted you to buy a house already. Or she didn’t know any better. Or this is what happens in the Bay Area when you want a decent-sized lot and square footage. Or maybe you overpaid by a lot because your realtor convinced you to put in an early offer. Because they’re all in cahoots. Because in real estate you can trust no one but yourself and when you don’t know anything you are going to get screwed.

Right now I’m looking at about 100k of work up front. Not everything is a must have, but everything is going to be a pain in the ass to do once we move in (though permits are taking so long right now I doubt we will actually get everything done before we move in — did I mention between rent and mortgage we are paying 10k a month right now?!!?!) My husband is up to his ears in work at the moment, with his biggest conference of the year coming up soon, and I’m just trying to survive working full time, transitioning to a new role (and clinging on to employment) at 29 weeks pregnant while trying to figure out how the hell to project manage a house.

I feel sick. Defeated. I want to feel hopeful and happy and all the good things one should feel when becoming a home owner (supposedly.) But I can’t stop the nausea. The dizziness. The constant sense of dread. Maybe if my husband had the energy to do this with me, i would be ok. But he’s exhausted too. And behind on his work. I’m tempted to recommend that at the end of this year he quit his job. I’m not sure how we can do this with only his 77 year old father helping out watching our toddler during the day, a few days a week. I don’t see how this is doable. And because of COVID we can’t hire outside help. So I’m going to see how it goes through the birth of my child, but I’m seriously thinking of asking him to become a SAHD. That definitely won’t help financially, but maybe I’ll have my husband back. If I can keep my job next year, I’ll make enough so that he doesn’t have to work. The keyword is “if” and then, what next? My job is only high paying next year due to my stock. After that I am back to 175k a year plus bonus if I get my bonus plus a little stock but not much. I’ll be at 200-250k at best which isn’t bad but isn’t enough to afford the house probably. And that’s IF i keep the job. Like, forever. With my 1.5 hour each way commute once we start commuting again.

I am trying to take it one day at a time. In 2-3 years I can sell. I’ll consider this an adventure in home ownership. A very expensive adventure. Maybe we will get lucky and break even. I was stupid and bought one of the more expensive homes in the neighborhood— the value is in the larger lot—but the home itself is meh. I mean, if the plumbing and HVAC and electric are updated it might be worth more, but not necessarily enough to pay for said plumbing and HVAC and electric upgrades.

Alas, I feel myself slipping towards a dark place. I am not interested in ending my life (yet) as it isn’t that bad—it’s all salvageable and I do want to have my second kid and I like being a mom and I know worst case we sell this house and I convince my husband to move to any other state in this country where I can buy a nice house with cash and early retire and try to find a low-stress job to pay the bills and feel productive without all of this crazy $7k mortgage stress for the next 30 years. Don’t get me wrong, there are times I think maybe if I get covid and fail to be able to breathe it will be meant to be—I’m so worn out, so tired of all of this chasing and trying to make this all work that I kind of don’t care anymore. I don’t want to suffer, I’m certainly terrified of pain and the fear of what it would be like to die, should I be aware of it, but I kind of am past the point of it feeling like it matters much. I mean, after I have my kid. I want my kid to survive and I will do whatever it takes for that to happen. But at this point, at 29+ weeks, they would cut my baby out of me and baby could survive. Again, I’m not going to kill myself, but I’m sure thinking about how little I like living these days. It seems the more money I save, the worse it gets. Maybe that will shift at some point. But I should be happy now and I’m not. I just feel like I got myself caught up in something horrible with no good way out.

It is lonely and scary and I don’t know if I’ll ever feel good about any of this. But it is what it is. And I realize I am so much better off than most people in the world. I should be grateful. I bought a fucking 1.5M+ house. Who does that? I mean, in the Bay Area it’s not that crazy but it’s still kind of crazy. A 1.5M+ house with an old electric panel that may catch fire any minute and asbestos in the ducts and no AC in a quite warm part of California and a whole bunch of other mess that we have to fix (probably.)  I should have kept renting. That would have been smart. But instead, here I am—proud(?) homeowner. Defeated by myself. Trying to just go numb, because that is better than feeling anything right now.