I had a really good Mother’s Day. I felt loved and special. Amy even got me a card (although it was not very sentimental), which was a big gesture because she very famously dislikes cards. My youngest also wrote that he appreciates “that we can talk like friends” and my middle child wrote that they didn’t know if they ever would’ve had the courage to come out without me. My husband also made me feel loved and special. It was just a good day.
But today was back to reality, which is going to kick my ass for the foreseeable future. I picked up a part-time job grading English/language arts essays written by 3rd through 5th graders on standardized tests. I actually greatly enjoy the work and I rock at it, which is good for my self-esteem.
But the problem is that I’m used to taking a nap during the hours I work and now I have to try to function without the naps. That’s actually a lot harder than I thought it would be and I somehow have to still be able to do my freelance work afterwards. I’m so tired already and I wonder if and when it’s going to catch up with me.
This is also an extremely busy week in terms of things I have to do for my youngest as he wraps up his senior year, as well as having two doctors’ appointments myself. I’m stretching myself sooo thin right now. I have all kinds of ideas for pieces I want to write for Medium but no energy left for them.
On a different note, suddenly I’ve become really obsessed with wanting to buy a house here and it feels really urgent because the housing market is exploding. I’m really scared of getting priced out of being able to afford to live here at all once J’s gone.
I made such a comment to Amy yesterday and she took me to task for using the phrase “when Dad’s gone.” She said that I was “being a doomer, like those people in D&D who need to roll a ten and say there’s no way they’ll roll a ten.”
On the one hand, I get where she’s coming from; I shouldn’t give up hope yet. But on the other hand, how can I NOT think about what happens to me after he’s gone, when I don’t know if I can even afford to stay in this same city?
If I were able to buy the exact same house I’m currently renting, the payments would stay about the same as what we pay for rent. And I do feel like time is of the essence: we have lived here for 5 years and our landlord hasn’t once raised our rent. By now, we are paying almost $500 less per month than the median rent for a single-family home in our area.
Not only could our landlord raise our rent at literally any time, this also means that without J, I’d either have to go down to a 1-bedroom apartment or move out of the area altogether. Since my middle daughter is nowhere near ready to move out yet, the 1-bedroom apartment is really not a viable option.
I know: my husband is still here. My landlord (so far) has not made any noise about raising the rent and we’re good tenants. It’s also possible that “starter homes” (like the one we’re living in) are overvalued due to a massive influx of new residents from California. Maybe the prices for this type of home will come back down because they’re not in line with average wages.
But then again: California has a lot of places that aren’t in line with average wages, either. And those average-wage people are indeed just priced completely out of homeownership. I predict that with all the Californians who are moving here, prices are going to remain high. I don’t really predict that they’re going to go back down.
The fact remains, though, that even though our debt-to-income ratio is good and we would only buy a house that costs about 2/3 of what we could qualify for, we still don’t have the down payment plus closing costs yet. (Especially considering that most houses are selling for more than the asking price.) I admit that it does really make me wish that my mother-in-law was as generous to us as her parents were with her—and she could certainly afford to help us with a down payment—but that’s just not who she is.
It all just makes me feel really unsettled. If rents and housing prices continue to go up at this rate, I might have no choice but to leave this area whenever J does die. And for all that I hate about Texas, there’s also a lot I like about it, and it is home. I don’t want to have to leave.