Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Gigi and The Amazing Twitching Cat
We have been house hunting.
It has been a while since we have done this ~ the last time was about six years ago. After months of scouring what was available in Des Moines, inspecting dust bunnies and snooping in closets, we threw in the towel and opted to build a new house.
Six years later the scenario is similar, except that the houses we looked at have palm trees in the yards, have "lanais" instead of "decks," and the exteriors are prominently stucco. The only house that truly interested us sold before we had an opportunity to put an offer in.
After days of searching, we were brow beaten by baby M, who screamed each time we put her in her car seat, and my father who joined us yesterday (whose overall contribution to the search was in the form of disapproving noises from the backseat).
The first house we looked at had a cat. "Don't let the cat out," warned a hand-written note on a table next to the front door. We can understand this sentiment as historically our animals, if given a chance, would happily flee our care.
We were approached, then regarded with what appeared to be disdain, by a giant cat.
Baby M loves cats and she spends hours a day pouring through her animal board books and meowing to herself. The presence of the cat filled M with an unrestrained glee that only a sixteen month old can exude. The squeal that escaped M's mouth greatly startled the cat and our intrusion into its home was off to a bad start.
The general confusion of the cat was combined with its natural curiosity so it stayed fairly close and observed us warily as we went from room to room. "Who are these losers," it seemed to be thinking. "Why are they in my home? And what is wrong with the small one that keeps tensing up, shaking and making such horrible sounds?"
Under normal circumstances, it appeared as it would have been a friendly animal; however, M's screams were causing its left eye to twitch and subsequent fits of hissing.
I wanted to scribble my own message on the note left to us by the homeowner. "There are worse things that can happen to your cat than having it let out. It could come into contact with a deranged sixteen month old and require kitty therapy for the next six months."
As we entered the next house, we were surprised to encounter the current owner of the house and her yippy dog.
"Gigi-poo," stop barking! Yip yip, yip yip yip.
The owner pleaded with the small Bichon Frise. "No, no, Gigi-poo!"
Yip yip yip, yip yip.
We were unable to concentrate or comment on the house to each other and, needless to say, we were "Gigi-poo'd" out by the time we left. I don't even think I could tell you what the house looked like. It is all a big blur of "Gigi-poo's," oversize furniture and oriental decorating, circa 1991.
After visiting several more bombs, one of which sported a technicolor, wallpaper mural of the ocean in the dining room (the leftovers of which were used to decoupage the front of the refrigerator), building our own home to our specifications appeared to be a very attractive option.
Chris dragged me into the office of a new home builder. One hour later we left, stunned and deeply in debt, with the plans for a house in one hand and the appointment card to pick out colors, flooring and kitchen cabinets in the other.
We are building in our current neighborhood in which we are living on a month-by-month lease. After moving here, we were overwhelmed with the friendliness of our neighbors and were hesitant to leave such a good thing.
We didn't meet the majority of our street mates in Iowa until we were about to move. We thought that perhaps it was us ~ that we put off an aloof affect that discouraged interaction. But our neighbors in Florida were knocking on our door the first day we moved in.
The entire process of building a home takes five months and it is close enough that we will be able to track the process on a daily basis. We are excited about the possibility but are also overwhelmed ~ Chris by our peon furniture that will hardly fill the 2,700 square feet home and me by the overwhelming window treatment implications for a house that large.
We are confident we made the right decision and are looking forward to be the future as owners of a five bedroom (FIVE!!) brick house with a lanai in the back yard and a palm tree of our very own in the front yard.