18 March 2007

HouseHunt '07: The Place Where Evil Dwells

4 BR, 3BA $349,950. You don't have to have a ton of dough to own
a palace like this in Tacoma. However, you do have to have wicked
paint-stripping skills. And be bullet- and hobo-proof.


So we went to Tacoma looking for a house yesterday. We were going in search of a few turn-of-the-century gems we had found online. What we discovered was the reason why the Salish named it "the place where evil dwells".

Not that Tacoma is all bad, mind you. My sensibilities may have been softened by living in Seattle all this time. Seattle is A) clean, B) rich, D) stunningly beautiful almost everywhere and C) populated largely by honkies whose sense of entitlement borders on megalomania. (I'm painting with a broad, racist, self-hating brush actually. I'm just about the only honkie in my neighborhood and I like it that way. When I see another honkie, I'm like a budgie with a mirror. My eyes dilate, my crown feathers stand on end and I start hissing. Why? Two words: instinct.)

Anyway, as it turns out the places I looked at were not really hellholes. They were actually grand old houses that could do with some cosmetic love - stripping the paint off the woodwork, getting bloodstains off the floorboards and whatnot. But at least the walls hadn't been rearranged and they hadn't been turned into toilet farms. The downside was the neighborhoods surrounding the houses we looked at. (And the fact that they were about a 40 mile commute. -Ed.) A couple of times, our agent was reluctant to get out of the car. No, honestly it was pretty grim. In some cases it appeared as though each and every house in the neighborhood came with its own miniature landfill and hobo colony.

So Tacoma is out of the picture. Even as much potential as some of these places had, I still can't see myself commuting 40 miles a day one-way, and then spending all my spare time stripping paint, hanging sheetrock, and training moles to cultivate my yard. Christ, I only live in a 1,200 square foot apartment now and I'm such a lazy bastard that I insist on having a housekeeper. I prolly oughtta only look at houses that come with a Teflon yard that I can hose off from time to time. Or pay somebody to hose it off for me. I am such a bourgeoisie dick. Lenin would be ashamed.

So I've brought my soft palms, expensive haircut, and wingtip shoes made from the flesh of the proletariat back to Seattle where prices are high but the median income is even higher. Hopefully I'll be able to find something here that pleases me. Of course the first thing to catch my eye was a really cool "green" housing development near Green Lake, which is an enviable neighborhood to be in. They're called Ashworth Cottages, and to be honest, if I were to design and build a house for myself it'd be exactly like one of them: recycled brick, beams and glazed terra cotta taken from a disassembled warehouse structure formerly on the site; small footprint, no toxic paints or finishes, a rainwater reclamation system, Craftsman repro design...and on and on. But the kick in the 'nards was the oxymoronic, almost hyperbolic price point declamation in their verbage: "STARTING IN THE LOW $700s!" I almost want to call them and point out that nothing that has a 700 in it and is not an 80-acre pot farm in Hawaii is low.

More later. Cheers,


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