Ponds Update: The Pond Isn’t Even The Biggest Problem

I haven’t done a tortured metaphor update on the Jewish community/improved living situation search saga in a while. If I had been more diligently blogging this series, I would have written the following blog updates:

  • Can You Step In The Same River (Pond) Twice?
  • How Important Are Schools Really? (Get it? Fish, Schools? I thought it was cute…)
  • Jerusalem Is Not My Favorite City, aka “A Brief History of My Fucked Up Flawed Marriage” (Ok, I couldn’t work a fish/pond reference into that one)

I even started drafting some of these, but ultimately lost interest in finishing and publishing. I’m probably not going to bother with any of these drafts now. Honestly, nothing substantive happened; you didn’t miss much.

The Substantive Update

Anyway, after months of repetitive marital arguments that I didn’t have time/energy to turn into entertaining blog posts, something of importance actually happened – we finally found, and even more importantly, agreed on, a pond (Jewish community).

Hallelujah! Photo by Egor Kamelev: https://www.pexels.com/photo/brown-bare-trees-near-lake-at-daytime-1086863/

Now, if we were literal fish, we’d be done. Fish can just swim in a pond. But metaphorical fish can’t just live in a community pond. We need a coral polyp colony. Lily pad. Pineapple under the sea. Whatever the metaphorical equivalent of a house is in this tortured analogy.

“Who lives in a pineapple under the sea…” Now I have this song stuck in my head. Photo by todd kent on Unsplash

The Pond Isn’t The Only Problem

Here is the comprehensive list of all the houses for sale in “The Only Pond We Agree On” (in approximate order of least to most expensive):

  1. The overpriced condos with high HOA fees selling for $100,000 more than they were 3 years ago.
  2. The overpriced “luxury” (they’re nice, but they aren’t that luxurious) townhomes with high HOA fees.
  3. The house that Husband and I actually both liked, but for different reasons and we don’t agree on how we would need to remodel the house to fit our needs. (And we would need to remodel.)
  4. The spacious fixer-upper, that while it has the kind of layout that’s exactly what we’re looking for, requires a massive amount of work, including, but not limited to, removing asbestos from the basement. Oh, and it’s expensive.
  5. The newly remodeled house that’s an obvious, overpriced, and admittedly gorgeous flip (three months ago, it was less than half the asking price).
  6. The newly remodeled house that’s not only an obvious, overpriced, and admittedly gorgeous flip, but also located ~2 miles from the synagogue, which, since driving on Shabbat is not an option (for one half of this marriage; I continue to seriously question if this is worth it…), is too far away.

You know the housing market is terrible when Husband, a hypochondriac who reacts as if his finger will fall off from infection when he gets a papercut, suggests we buy The Asbestos House.

Even More Insulting…

~3 weeks ago, I was so certain we would make zero progress on the pond/pineapple under the sea hunt that I booked a vacation for our anniversary. This was an arguably bad idea to begin with because:

  1. Vacations are expensive and we needed to save money to buy an overpriced house
  2. A major motivation for this trip was because I wanted to be able to tell people that we were going on a fabulous trip for our anniversary, which makes us look enviable and not like a couple of boring losers who have been married too long with nothing to show for it – which is a stupid reason to do anything
  3. Husband didn’t even want to go on the trip in the first place; I bullied him into it – How’s that for romance?

Then we had yet another apartment emergency of sorts that made me realize we needed to speed up the pineapple under the sea search

I’m going to keep calling it that – referencing SpongeBob makes the housing search sound amusing and not excruciatingly painful like it has been. Image by Angie Johnston from Pixabay

So, I cancelled the vacation. And in the process, lost a bunch of nonrefundable money. But it seemed the mature, responsible thing to do to focus on finding a pineapple under the sea.

And then there was nothing to buy except the exactly 6 terrible options listed above.

Even MORE Insulting…

Now, instead of spending New Year’s in a fabulous destination (or traveling home from a fabulous destination), long story short, we’re now spending New Year’s in my in-laws’ basement.

Husband didn’t even understand why I was disappointed by these plans. “We haven’t seen my family in a while,” said Husband. “And besides, you hate New Year’s.

He isn’t wrong. I do hate New Year’s. I don’t hate my in-laws. But it is hard to go from enviably fabulous travel plans to literally the exact opposite of enviably fabulous travel plans.

[This has nothing to do with the ponds/pineapple saga update. I just needed to vent.]

On top of that, my Shabbat guests, whom I mostly liked (except for the one who made offhand comments about the size of our shitty apartment) up until the very end of the meal, found out how long we’ve been married, which I was trying to keep secret. Unlike the last time I hosted Shabbat guests, these guests weren’t even that rude (even the guest who hated my cooking tried to be discreet about it, although I definitely noticed); I was too stupid to remember to remove the benchers (prayer booklets with the Grace After Meals) from our wedding emblazoned with our wedding date when I passed them out after the meal. And Husband was too stupid to realize that he should feel embarrassed about it, so he talked about the duration of our relationship. And then I had no choice but to smile and pretend we had a functional marriage while our guests did basic arithmetic. Pity. I actually mostly liked these people. I will never host them again.

[This also has nothing to do with the ponds/pineapple saga update. I just needed to vent.]

Plot Twist!

Completely unrelated to all of this, a recruiter reached out to me about a job. The job is in a completely different pond, not at all commutable from where we live now or the pond where we’re looking. The title is lower, the salary is about what I make now. I also just started a new job, so ordinarily, I would not consider this job opportunity.

Except that I looked up Job Opportunity Pond on Zillow. And Job Opportunity Pond has nice-looking affordable houses near a Jewish community.

This is a bad idea. I don’t even dislike my current job yet. But….



  1. Can I be honest? I don’t understand why the duration of a marriage has any direct bearing on its current state of functionality (I mean in the minds of your guests). And I don’t really understand the Shabbat guests thing. Who are these people? Sorry that’s probably a cultural thing that I’m missing. And on a different tack… I didn’t realise until probably 5 or 6 years ago how house hunting actually has virtually nothing to do with the house you like the best. In Australia the vast majority of houses are sold at auction. So wealthier people tend to win out because you have to act so fast and you have to have confidence in your funding. So you can bid at 10s of auctions and not get any houses. And you’ve spent months bidding and not winning and so you’ve become depressed and then suddenly you do win! And you end up with a house that is merely a shadow of your ideal and you’ve probably spent more than you wanted to and you probably need to spend more on fixing the bits that aren’t right. Lucky me. I didn’t play in part in the purchasing of the house we are in. It’s a bit small but it faces north and has a nice outlook. And we’ve done so much work on it to make it more comfortable/liveable that it’s got harder and harder to leave. So, 14 years after I moved in, here we are. And I tell myself that smaller is less to clean and less energy to keep warm/cool. And mostly, it’s pretty okay.

    Liked by 1 person

    • #1: You can totally be honest!

      #2: I’m going to go out of order and explain Shabbat guests first because that’s the easier question. Yes, culturally, on the Sabbath, one often hosts guests for the Shabbat meals to make them more social, enjoyable and festive. [Truthfully, I don’t love hosting under the best of circumstances (there are people who truly love it though!), but I’m a huge extrovert and I find Shabbat tediously boring without the opportunity to socialize, so I do make an attempt to host friends, acquaintances, and sometimes people I don’t know well at all from time to time.]

      #3: You’re right. There is no inherent correlation between length of marriage and quality of marriage. The problem is that I’m not where I’d hoped to be after this many years, so being married this long just isn’t something I’m proud of. When people do realize how long it’s been, you start noticing their facial expressions change as they consider why the hell we’ve lived in the same crappy place forever and why we don’t have children. It’s not that our marriage is so irredeemably awful, but I really think we both look like defective idiots in front of our peers so I don’t care to bring attention to this.

      #4: Interesting point re: the housing market in Australia and your own experience. There will inevitably be a gap between expectations/desires for a home and what we can realistically get.


  2. On the upside, the housing market is about to crash. Interest rates are up; however, you want to buy a house to live in, not pure investment, therefore, interest rates should not be as critical. You should be able to get some great deals on houses in two or three months. The used car market is tanking, also. If you need a better car to get to a different job in the far flung pond, deals should be available. Dealers will try to reduce inventory before year end. Around April there will be sales, in hopes of people spending tax refunds on cars, and or houses. Your migration plans should definitely improve over the next several months.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh the house drama, it makes me sick to my stomach to house shop, so I hope you find a house soon. We are considering putting the rental on the market. I don’t know people find it necessary to be rude. Well, I would have said to guest that made the remark marvel that we have been married so long in a small space.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I can relate to the Shabbat visitors. We joined our temple back in the spring, and so we’re still very much newbies. We’ve been to one couple’s home already for dinner — roughly the same age (60’s) , but we’re chagrin to return the favor because our home is not nearly ready for outsiders yet. Family yes (well, some of them), but certainly not outsiders. We desperately need new carpeting, and the guest bathroom will remain embarrassing until it can be updated (though I suppose it could slide with at least a new paint job). All to say, I think you’re brave for inviting them. F ’em if they are being silently opinionated in counting those years.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ugh decisions decisions! It was so hard when my fiancé was looking for a home to buy. We saw an apartment (with a private elevator!) facing south where you could see the sea on the horizon but the HOA was over $800 a MONTH!!!!! There was no way to justify that. We looked at a hundred places. The one we chose was the one we saw on a day we were having an argument and I wasn’t crazy about it and didn’t speak up. It has no sun and I’m not happy about that at all. But we painted the walls pretty colors and recarpeted. We got furniture we love. We’ve done the best we can.. It’s not a “forever” place but it’s located perfectly at least. It is what it is. Our beloved goldfish (don’t laugh) got sick and passed away about a month after he moved it. It cast a pall over everything. We had painted an accent wall a seafoam green to put her tank against. I wish I had advice but he and I learn everything the hard way. Would you follow through on the fixer-upper or be lazy like us? I’d stay away from the asbestos house though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We saw one of those places with $800/month HOA too. And it didn’t even have a private elevator! It was gorgeous though. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope that between the paint and the furniture, you’re able to turn your place into a home. I am sorry about your goldfish though. Are you planning to keep the seafoam green wall?

      The problem with getting a fixer-upper in my case isn’t just the additional work, time, and expense (although that too, and I definitely think the amount of all of the above will inevitably be far more than we estimate…) but also, the sheer volume of decisions. House #3 on the list in my post, the work wasn’t even super extensive by most standards, and calling it a fixer-upper is actually a misnomer; the house was in very good condition, just not quite what we needed. And yet, deciding the best way to fix it and how, and how we were going to use the space, and agreeing on all those decisions…it just became clear that was never going to happen.

      Liked by 1 person

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