Are We There Yet?

May 19th, 2022

 I’m frustrated, trying to find the Zoom link to a town meeting about the library revote. The Zoom has already started and I’m a wee bit frantic because being late for things is not my MO. 

Why don’t I have the library meeting link? I have known about this for a week! I have personally emailed it to at least twenty people!

Phoebe is sitting on my lap at my desk, kicking her feet and squirming around so that she’s effectively blocking my view AND preventing me from typing a coherent text. I send my friend Jaime a few spastic half-words, blind with one hand, before managing to get the request out: “Do you have the library meeting link?”

While waiting for her to basically be my brain for me, Phoebe rifles through everything on my desk. Pulling my giant calculator out she asks, “Can I call 9-1-1 on this?”

“On a calculator? No.”

“Why not?” She persists. “Will they get mad?”


The thing about being a parent is that you might have the answers, but you can’t anticipate the questions, so you can never prep. You know that recurring nightmare where you show up naked for a test you didn’t study for? It’s like that, but in real life, every day, and you’re not (usually) the one who is naked.

Phoebe goes back into the other room to watch the iPad — something I have sanctioned after dinner on a weeknight only so I can get through this meeting with some degree of presence. But within minutes, both she and her sister are back in my office with me, camped out as close as they can possibly be. Just off camera, the cat and dog.

Screen Shot 2022-05-19 at 4.51.03 PM

Sometimes, when my entire family piles into a small space or onto one piece of furniture with me as if it were a liferaft in a dangerous sea, I honestly question whether the floorboards can hold so much weight in one place. This house is old and it’s also, ahem, large. There is no need for everyone to be in exactly one place, but here we are.

Truthfully, we could do with a much smaller house, if we’re all just going to cluster together all the time anyway. We’ve been trying to buy a house for a few years now, but it’s not happening in this crazy market where every house gets snapped up by a buyer swooping in with all cash from out of nowhere. Every house we fall in love with is allegedly being sold by people who “just want to sell to a nice local family.” But in the end, they always sell to randoms who can pay all cash.

Of course, I am a flatlander too. I was born in Massachusetts; my husband in Pennsylvania; my kids, somehow, in Utah. While I grew up just the next county over in the hilltowns of Western Mass, technically, we are new to Vermont, having only been here for five years. So perhaps we’re the asshole outsiders trying to hone in on the miniscule inventory of available property here in the Brattleboro area.

Just on time, my friend Kathleen sends me a new article in the Atlantic with the most on-point opening paragraph of all time: 

If you’ve tried to buy a home in the past two years, you have my most profound sympathies. Your experience has probably gone something like this: You found your dream home online; sent photos around to your family; visited the premises (or decided to buy, sight unseen); got your financial statements in order; smartly offered 10 percent over asking; and learned, several hours later, that no fewer than 831 other people had bid for the same house, which sold to a couple who paid 50 percent over asking, all cash, and cinched the deal with a contract amendment promising to name their firstborn child after the seller.

Yes on all of this. Except in our case, we’ve offered way over asking price on the last few homes. We’ve qualified above and beyond on a mortgage. We’ve waived all inspections. We’ve even offered to adopt elderly chickens.


The article does go on to say that this crazed housing market has “peaked” and will be restoring to some degree of normalcy soon — at least everywhere else in the country, although Vermont is a “specialty market” according to some of my nationwide real estate expert friends. One day, I will look back on this time from my perfect home and think, “I was only 50; what was I so worried about?”


Share Button

Leave a Reply