Whirling Betty is dizzy with decision. This one is pricey and life-altering. Most likely, it's fear that holds her back from jumping.
The child and she live in a small but pleasant enough house on a renowned public rose garden which is connected to very large sports fields, a recreation center, a library and miles of bike trails. It's not a bad place to raise a child, for sure. It's safe, and although there are no kids in the immediate vicinity, most of the child's schoolmates live within a 5 mile radius of the house.
But it's a suburb. Betty has a problem with that. Walking and biking are "in her blood"- that's how she was raised. She never even owned a car until moving to this city. The area Betty lives in is devoid of sidewalks, much to her horror. Although the area is well within the city's outerbelt and only about 9 miles from downtown, it behaves like a true suburb, where the car rules.
Until 5 years and 3 months ago, Betty and son used to live in the urban neighborhood bordering the north end of downtown, in a beautiful Victorian house and garden. People said Betty was crazy, since she was a single mother trying to raise a child in an urban area where street people rummaged through the trash dumpsters. In reality, that neighborhood was as safe as the one Betty fled to after listening to people's judgments. And it was far more interesting, even exciting and stimulating. And, significantly, Betty's car was at rest much of the time.
With home buyers rapidly recognizing how appealing and environmentally friendly that downtown neighborhood is, house and condo prices have skyrocketed. Betty is pretty much priced out of her beloved 'hood, except for one last Victorian house, in an ideal location a block from Betty's favorite city park and near all the other desirable destinations for groceries, restaurant meals, etc.
This particular house is underpriced because it lacks the amenities usually found in that desirable locale. There's only one bathroom and the laundry is still located in the dungeon. The house, with 1820 square feet, is no mansion.
Betty's realtor, a longtime friend, talked his carpenter into agreeing to put in new hardwood floors, a half bath, and a second floor laundry into the house Betty wants, if Betty buys it, for a staggeringly reasonable price. Still, Betty counted beans and decided the price of the house was $20,000 more than she could possibly afford. She told her realtor, and the realtor said that the seller would not bring down the price.
That was the end of that, until yesterday when the realtor phoned Betty to say he had finally talked the seller into lowering the price by $20,000, as long as Betty seals the deal right away.
Instead of rejoicing, Betty panics. When the realtor called, she was hoping he was going to say that someone else had bought the house so that she'd stop thinking about it. The move, even if it is the most positive one imaginable, is still a stressful upheaval of an already challenged life.
Alas, Betty remains indecisive, worrying about possibly feeling overextended financially in the new house. And she keeps glancing at the spectacular Anderson windows in the current house overlooking the rose garden. (The new house features old, barely budging windows which spew lead paint dust every time one dares to touch them.) And for the organizationally challenged like Betty, the ample storage space of her current house has suddenly taken on paramount importance. (Anyone who has ever seen a Victorian house knows that they don't feature much storage. Those Victorian people just didn't hoard the way we do now. Walmart didn't exist back then, for one thing.)
Then again, no house is perfect. The downtown neighborhood is the draw, more than the house itself. Betty frequently talks about moving back there, yet now that the opportunity, imperfect though it is, has presented itself, Betty balks. Is this just the expected fear associated with taking on such a huge financial commitment, maybe an early-onset buyer's remorse? Or has Betty just been full of hot air all along, talking up the urban lifestyle while having no real intention of ever walking the walk?