Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Brave Little Wimp

I had quadruple bypass surgery 3 years ago, come next March. My friends all made a big deal over it at the time, but I pretty much just walked through it without giving it much thought. I could've easily croaked on the table that day.

Last year I had bilateral endarterectomies. They sliced open both sides of my neck and then opened up and scraped the congealed cholesterol out of my carotid arteries. I didn't give too much thought to that, either, even though there was a high risk of stroke during both surgeries (they were done separately, two months apart).

I faced all that like it was a day in the park. So how come I turn into a puddle of wet goo at the prospect of buying a home?

I'm a hundred years old and I've never owned my own home. Well, that's not completely true. I did inherit one, once. But I immediately sold it for about $6,000.00 It was left to me by my grandmother. I was 20 years old at the time and going into the Navy. I really had no need of a house.

My mom wanted to leave me her home, but that all changed when she developed Alztheimer's and I had to (literally) bankrupt her in order to get her full-time care in a facility geared up to handle that for the last five years of her life. Frankly, I was relieved to not have to suffer the burden of home ownership.

There's so much to "do" when you own a home (like, everything). I got spoiled living in my ex's New York City coop for 15 years. The super(intendent) did everything. Old joke, "How many upper-east-siders does it take to change a lightbulb?" Answer: "Two. One to make drinks and one to call the super!" So true.

I've always been a tolerated guest in somebody else's home. From childhood. The first "home" I remember was actually my grandmother's house where I was constantly reminded that she was "taking care of me" because my mother couldn't or wouldn't. By the time I got around to living with my mother I felt like a tolerated guest in her house, too.

And so it went.

Oh I've paid rent, one way or another, throughout my life. But I've never had a mortgage in my name. I've never had a sense of "belonging" or "home", either.

I was born feeling like a gypsy. I think maybe that I'm just afraid of that much commitment. "Two keys and a big loan" is what I think of when I think about buying a house. And buying a townhome or a condo is, as far as I'm concerned, just looking for trouble. What if the neighbors go disco dancing every night at 3:00 a.m.? What if they have a bowling alley in their living room upstairs? What if the plumbing goes "kafloohey" in the middle of the day, when I'm at work in New York?

What if? what if? what if??

I'm terrified of defaulting on a mortgage but don't give a rat's patootie if they rip me apart in the OR.

Let's face it, I'm just a great big, butch, macho Wimp.

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