House Hunting

“Did you know that Kurt Vonnegut lived a few blocks from here?”

I melted. What more could I want in a house?

The realtor walked slowly. She held her phone tightly. We examined this house in Iowa from 1,000 miles away in Pennsylvania. An old craftsman. Beautifully maintained. A stone’s throw from an elementary school. Horace Mann Elementary school, to be specific.

And did you know that I attended an elementary school that was named Horace Mann? In St. Paul? The idea that my children would go to a school named the same as mine really held me. There was something kismet happening.

This old craftsman was also a stone’s throw from The University of Iowa. My new employer. I could walk to work!

“Katie loves this house,”I told the realtor over our FaceTime call.

“I do,” she agreed.

She did. So did I. Still, we couldn’t look pass the obvious flaws. No garage. Only three bedrooms and 1 bathroom. 1,300 square feet. We’re bursting at the seems here in Pennsylvania, and we have 1,500 square feet. Solomon is loud. His voice accounts for at least 500 square feet of house.

So we didn’t put an offer on this beautiful craftsman. We’re still looking.


I’ve owned two houses in my life.

A tiny, beautiful house in Northeast Minneapolis. That house was built in 1917. It had slanted wood floors. Sometimes the ceiling rained. But it was a great home. A cozy little office. A huge kitchen. I could walk to restaurants and coffee shops. Heck, I even walked to Target Field once! I loved that house.

And now I own this rambling ranch in Pennsylvania Furnace. At least for another month or so. It’s just a few miles outside of State College. Built in the 60’s. A huge backyard. Green space and a view of the mountains. We’ve raised our boys here. Played football in the backyard. Solomon learned to ride his bike in the quiet street. Greenlee Lane. We are surrounded by fields and forests. The stars on a clear night are breathtaking. I love this house.

And now we’re looking for our third house. From 1,000 miles away. Our deadline is June 15th. That’s when we are out of this place. Do I feel anxious? Heck yes, I do. But I’ve felt anxious ever since I realized I might be leaving Penn State for another job. That was January. So I’m on about five months of anxiety fueled living. I feel it in my body. I need a break. A long break. I can rest after we find a home, I suppose. Can’t rest until I know where I’ll be living. More importantly to me, where my wife and children will be living.

Our realtor in Iowa City has been great. And I have a real sense for the neighborhoods and schools. But you only learn so much over FaceTime. And this market is moving lightning fast.

My head is spinning!


House hunting is hard.

House hunting from 1,000 miles away is hard.

House hunting in this real estate market it hard.

But I’m a faithful person. The right thing will happen. I’ll just keep on keeping on. Taking deep breaths. Trying to dispel some anxiety.

Lord help me, I’ll be through the moon if I can live a few block from where Kurt Vonnegut lived. That’s all.

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