home is where your debt is

My American dream didn’t turn out quite the way society planned. I’m 28. Unmarried. No children. I live with my boyfriend, or as I like to say, domestic partner. Our partnership was made “official” by a notary at Bank of America, who after stamping and signing the form we gave her, handed it back with an arched eyebrow and these four cool words:

Good luck with that.

Now we’re getting a house. We’re getting it together, but the mortgage is only in my name. And don’t get me started on how much that confuses people. The mortgage guy, the inspection guy, the closing attorney. They all need a man to talk to, a man’s name to write down on their paperwork.

Then there’s the confusing notion that we’re buying a three bedroom home for our non-growing family. Despite the fact that he’s never met me, our roofer decided we needed to put up a fence in the backyard to protect the children we don’t have or want from wobbling helplessly into the retention pond. (Good point. I hadn’t thought of that.)

But none of that skepticism or confusion or presumption has made us any less excited about our first home.

new home

She’s a blue two-story charmer in a suburbia section of Charleston. From curb to chimney, she holds so many corners of our revamped American dream.

Like having a mailbox of our very own. And a doorstep to receive packages when we’re not there. A kitchen table to sit down at for dinner—even if we never do. A backyard with a patio . . . and mosquitoes the size of your thumbnail. Enough space for our sweet pups to run around. And stairs they’ll undoubtedly use for racing. Room to store Christmas decorations. A place to put up a tree. An office where I’ll have a hammock chair. An informal living area. An even less formal den. Enough closet space that I can actually stock up on wrapping paper when it goes on sale. And enough space between us and the neighbors to allow for a good old-fashioned yelling match every once and awhile.

No, my dream is not quite cookie-cut from the same seersucker cloth as most southern belles, but it’s a dream just the same.

And I know there will be breakdowns. Mortgage payments scare the mess out of me. And I only have to make 360 of them before I really own anything. The HVAC will go out one day. The water heater too. (God bless us if those two things happen anytime near each other.) We’ll outgrow our extra 600 square feet before we even get moved in. And we’ll panic when something breaks and there’s no online portal to put in our maintenance request.

But from now until the closing date, it’s still my dream home, as perfect as I could have ever imagined it.

So we’ll take all the “good luck” we can get, even if it’s coming from judgmental notaries. And we’ll embark—with an embarrassing amount of optimism—on life’s next big adventure.

The only one that comes with hazard insurance and a termite bond.


34 thoughts on “home is where your debt is

  1. Ahhh yes – Though my boyfriend and I have not filed the necessary paperwork, I live with him as well. I believe the census bureaus calls us POSSLQs or Persons of Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters.

    How romantic….

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Enjoy the heck out of your house. Walk around and point to things and say “I can paint that if I want.” Think about peeing in the corners, just in case. Maybe that’s dogs. Maybe that’s just me remembering signing my name on all that mortgage paperwork. Ten years, one GIANT waterfall of broken pipes, and a minor electrical fire later, I still wouldn’t trade back to living on someone else’s property. Even if there’s nobody to call when stuff breaks.


  3. I like World Market for wrapping paper. You can surely fill a closet!
    Best of luck to you in your new home. May all the love and happiness you’re dreaming about today be the tales you tell someday.


  4. I agree, home ownership is quite satisfying. Just knowing that there’s no one to tell you that you can’t paint the walls black is worth the trouble…even if you keep them white.


  5. YAY! Have fun. The assumptions and sexism that go along with a woman’s name coming first drive me batshit crazy. I tend to get nasty with the people who should know better than to ask for my husband when I’m the one they need to be speaking with. Better still are those who refer to me by his last name when they ought to know from looking at their records that my last name is Powell and my preferred form of address is my first name. I’ve been known to answer requests for “Mrs. Merriman” with, “I’m so sorry, She died at a nursing home in 1998. Was there something I could do for you instead?”


  6. I love the part about asking for men to talk to, I walk into Home Depot and peopple rush up to me like I’m a lost dog. I know what I’m doing, don’t be so shocked! Great post, and best of luck with your new adventure!


    1. I’m afraid I’m still a bit lost in Home Depot, but I hope I get better at that now that I’ll have more projects on my hands. Thank you for reading and for sharing your thoughts! :)


  7. Good for you! It is scary at first, but it’s a wonderful thing to be able to call your home your own. We love our house; all three of our children were raised here, and we have so many memories. Have fun enjoying it – I know you will. Good luck!


  8. Buying a home ~ a blessing and a curse. The hubs and I bought a fixer-upper and I am up to my eyeballs in projects. But their our projects (well really the banks but screw them…I signed 436 sheets of paper saying it’s mine). I think you and the POSSLQs (love that!) should sit on the porch, sip some sweet tea (God I miss REAL sweet tea) and laugh at all the southern belles chasing after their 3.2 kids while secretly wishing they were you :) Enjoy and congrats. Great post btw.


  9. Congratulations! Enjoy the house and while you’re at it, you can sit in the back yard (that does not need a fence to protect children) and make a toast to the roofer who was projecting all his personal nightmares onto your dream house ;-)


  10. Wonderfully written. I understand the whole American Dream being different than what society thinks. It always amuses me when hotel receptionists look up at me and Paul and ask if we would like two beds instead of one or the look on people’s face when I start the sentence with “My husband…” Your home looks adorable and I love Charleston. Best of luck with all of that!


  11. Good for you. Your house looks lovely, and at a certain point in life paying rent becomes a bummer. I think you are brave.


  12. Happy Housewarming! I have a similar story of my very romantic domestic partnership at the DMV circa 2004. Did you also get the charming brochure that explained the benefits of your domestic partnership on the left and then listed the 5 ways you could dissolve said partnership on the right?


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