This morning we burst out of bed ready to face our day with the realtor, Susan. I gobbled three eggs for my breakfast, but they sat poorly, menacing my stomach and distracting me. Since it was my job to orient Egor to the realtor’s office, I became lost and confused within minutes. We still made it there on time. I noted the traffic and shuddered for our futures.
Susan was mid fifty-ish and tastefully dressed. I did not regret the trouble I took to pick out the perfect outfit! We began in the more affordable neighborhoods ($650K+) and then she whisked us off to the $1 million dollar homes. I asked myself, what is she thinking? The company sent her to us, and we told her what we could afford. Was her purpose to terrify us out of a move to California?
The houses in Torrance, uninspiring, pasteboard-looking creations, were clumped so closely together it reminded me of the barrios in Las Cruces. Expensive homes in Palos Verdes offered an exquisite view of the ocean, and darling courtyards. The homes themselves, however, had a palpable 1964 vibe, but not in a good way. Shabby, and not old enough to be quaint. Location, indeed.
Rentals in the neighborhoods we favored were $500 more than we could afford unless we wanted to share a bedroom with Liev. I despised the cramped townhouses with tiny thumbprints for backyards. I might need to re-evaluate raising Liev somewhere he could not run free or have a backyard.
We broke for lunch at a wonderful restaurant named Marmalade’s. My diet has gone to hell. I had chicken a la orange and it was superb. Rice! Yum! E noshed on scrumptious fettuccine with real wild mushrooms. We looked at more homes during the afternoon. Prices were $650K-$800K range. Again, I questioned our realtor’s sanity. Torrance now seemed delightful.
On our peregrinations, we encountered some of the ugliest interiors. Perhaps when location is so valuable, folks feel they can do any damn thing they please. More than twice we faced big bold wallpaper patterns with flashy matching upholstery. Smug owners wanted us to experience their homes. If one spends so much on a house, they must feel entitled. Bear with me; I cherish weird, embrace kitsch, and analyze the odd. Pretentiousness leaves me cold. I don’t want the snooty wallpaper to keep me up at night with its specious observations.
One rental home was painted dazzling lemon yellow. The yellow prevailed inside the house on every wall. The only non-yellow items were a lilac door and the clashing cherry floors. Someone needed a color wheel. Another peculiar thing. Many homes were about 1300 feet or less and had very dark flooring which cramped the rooms further. Anyway, the landlord of the Lemon House greeted us at the door with an imperiousness that was jarring. Impatient and domineering, she harassed us with rental particulars: no smoking, no shoes in the house, due date for the rent, and so on. She was so near hysteria, I wondered if she was on drugs. Perhaps she was experiencing the worst PMS ever after drinking 40 cups of coffee? I watched her eyes; she did not seem stoned or high. She seemed mad–old fashioned, bring-on-the-men-with-the-white-coats mad. Gripped by the sort or irritability and rushing speech I bipolar person might experience, I sympathized, but I did not want her for a landlord.
In the evening, we dragged ourselves back to the hotel to unwind for the big meeting tomorrow. I counted the minutes until the free snack bar opened so I could load up on South Beach fare. I longed for a glass of wine, but at $12.50 a glass, I drank tap water and vending machine ice. Since a restraint meant more driving ordered room service. My poor brain could not handle giving Egor the wrong directions one more time today.