Saturday, October 28, 2006

A place I could call home

I couldn't get to the party Alex was having for himself after his Laughter Yoga session in the Rose Garden, as much as I would have liked to. I had unpleasant things to do that day.

I woke up at 6:00 to clean my home. Not a fun task. The builders that own our apartment decided a few months ago that the place they promised me they would "never sell" was going to be put on the market. Someone was going to see it that morning and I didn't want him to think we were "dirty Americans". I know how clean these Israelis can be. Most of them keep spotless houses. Palestinians keep their houses spotless as well. I've only seen a few messy homes - lived in by American ex-pats mostly. I think I've only seen one messy Israeli home. What is it in our culture that half of us leave stuff lying all over the place and can't pick up a broom? Not that I want to leave this place at all - but I don't want to have that kind of "dirty" reputation. So I cleaned the cobwebs and shit off the corners of the baseboards and wiped handprints and cleaned the bathrooms until they sparkled. They still stunk though so I hid the stench through some patchouli incense. Thank God for incense.

We have been living in our apartment for five years and now we have to move. We have been looking for a place since August. And it has been difficult. Just the thought of packing boxes yet again... is so unsettling.

We're moving with one less kid this time, but moving is horrible. And the worst thing about it is that we have no place to move to - and we have to be out by December 1st.

There is a shortage of apartments for rent in our area - perhaps one or two a month come up. The one we saw without an agent was a total disaster. It wasn't in the old part of town, but the apartment was on the top floor (Hubby hates climbing stairs) and the doors all had holes in them. There was one closed room with steps in the middle of the room going up to the second floor.

"What kind of design is that?" shrieked Hubby to me as we walked through the dump.

The woman who drove all the way from Jerusalem to show us her place had to listen to Hubby's tirade.

"The place is a wreck!" he said to her in English.

"What's a wreck?" she asked.

I was hoping he'd be more gentler with her and not have to always be up front and honest as is his trade mark, but he didn't give a flying fajita.

He told her she'd be better off selling the place instead of renting it. Sure enough, I'd seen this place advertised over a month with no takers.

We've seen apartments for sale as well, thinking we had better get into the buying market before we get too old to get a mortgage here. They don't give mortgages to you past 75 years of age and I don't blame them. We can't qualify anymore for a 25 year mortgage or 30 year mortgage. It's down to 20 years now. Which means the downpayment has to be alot more than it would have been for a longer length of time. But never mind.

The agents have been as frustrated with us not liking anything as we have been with the apartments. Hubby doesn't want pre-fab and those are the cheapest ones - ones we can afford. I liked the one with the garden and brand new kitchen, in the old neighborhood. The kids don't want old neighborhoods because they'll be embarrassed to bring friends over. They want new. But new is $180,000 and that is too much for us. It's a bargain compared to Jerusalem where a run-down flat under 100 meters will cost nearly $300,000 and a lovely one double that. But we'd have to finance most of the cost - and the monthly payments would be high, too high for us - we like to enjoy having an occasional coffee out and a breakfast out and perhaps even a dinner out once every couple of months. We see too many people strapped for cash when the mortgage is too high.

There was a French real estate agent who took me and my two girls on a whirlwind tour of 4 apartments. He whizzed through the roundabouts making us all dizzy and talked loudly on the phone the entire time making us even dizzier. We liked a couple of the places, but again - the price wasn't right.

So if there is a good God in this world - we need a place that is affordable, lovely, and which my family will enjoy living in...

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