We’re half-heartedly looking for a house to buy, especially since I have given up, temporarily, on my search for a good sofa. It will be easiest, I’ve decided, if we just wait until we move next and then off-load the old and on-load the new. The only problem is that I am too embarrassed to invite anyone over lest they actually have to sit on our horrible furniture. The recliner squeaks and does not recline; the only comfortable position on the futon is lying sideways propped up on pillows. That leaves a nice wooden rocking chair, which is not horrible but only seats one person. So, any of my dear friends and relatives, I still want to see you, just be forewarned about the seating options. Also, scorpions won’t kill you so don’t worry about that. The exterminator is coming.

Looking for a house is not the exciting dream come true I imagined, for many reasons. One, we have such an awesome landlord that I am loathe to part with such a treasure. Two, my feelings about sprawling, gritty, more-of-the-same Phoenix range from mildly hopeful to downright glum; buying a house means the cement is hardening around us. Third, housing prices are oddly high for an unlikely city plunked in the middle of the desert. We cannot afford houses in the quaint neighborhoods where our young, up-and-coming acquaintances bought their first homes at bargain prices three or four years ago. So the question shifts from “what do we want?” to “what would be okay?” It’s tempting to figure out the maximum we could afford to expand our options, but neither of us wants to get caught in a situation where we feel trapped in particular jobs because we have to make the mortgage payment. It’s good if you can like where you live and like your life at the same time. Finally, we cannot decide where to look or what to look for. This valley is fifty miles wide, for goodness sakes. North or South? East or West? New house? Old house? Condo? On the edge of town for solitude or in the middle where the action is? Where are you, little house?

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