The Second-Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
She answered the door even as our realtor was fiddling with the electronic Supra-key, squealing in delight and then explaining that she was happy to see us, and was opening the door to let us in and then leaving. “Take as long as y’all want, sugah,” she told me in her thick voice. “Just lock up before y’all leave.” We had seen pictures of the house – so cute and charming from the outside – but we waited until she had left, taking her hair, nails, and lips (all of which had been tinted the same color as the dark cherry wood floors) with her – before we looked further than the entry.
On the net, the house was charming – gas lampposts in a woodsy front yard, cute brick house, lovely pool. We’d seen the frou-frou decor, but nothing prepared us for the reality. Everything was mauve and crushed velvet, gilt and lace and cherry wood and crystals. Chair-rail – to – ceiling mirrors filled the entry wall and the opposing wall in the dining room. Faux mauve marbelized wallpaper covered the walls, and there was more swag than anyone ever needed. Scarlet O’Hara could have clothed the cast of Gandhi with the amount of fabric that was draped on every window.
The kitchen was nice, blue/gray/mauve tile and counters, the rooms were nice – master and study down, game room over the garage (with wet bar and pool table), four more bedrooms upstairs, each with it’s own wrought-iron bed right out of a bad western-movie brothel, each with it’s own special niche and altar to Our Lady of Perpetual FrouFrou. The Realtor whispered, “All the window coverings stay,” and I stared at her, and asked, my voice trembling, “Dear God, do they have to?”
Truly, if it was stripped down, and repainted, and the chandeliers had all the crystals removed, it would be an utterly charming house. THe back yard is sweet, and shady, except where the pool is, and there are just enough trees, but….it’s never been wired for cable, ever, and all the hallways were extremely narrow. Extremely. Sarah Winchester would have felt uncomfortable in those hallways.
We lingered a while, partly because we liked the layout, and partly because we were so dazzled by the glitter and swag, and then moved on to see more houses. Here are the highlights:
- Giltin Drive, Arlington – the house had potential, but their realtor was clearly incompetent, or they’d have been told to clean the carpets. So much stuff was in the chairs and the house smelled strongly of dog urine, that even though we liked the layout, we were turned off by the house.
- Wisteria Drive, Grand Prairie – It looked so cute from outside. Inside, the downstairs was nice, but the yard and pool were sadly neglected and the upstairs, well, it had six bedrooms, but the two that were split apart as a master suite – 200 square feet each – had no bathroom, and the medium-sized bedroom at the far end of the house had the master bath. Also, there were holes in the walls.
- Cantrell Street, Grand Prairie – One of my favorites, it’s two blocks away from the community park in its subdivision (Westchester), even though the formal dining room’s been made into a study. The master bedroom is on the first floor. A bridge, that looks over the front entry on one side, and the family room on the other, connects the other bedrooms, two on one end the other two, plus a bathroom on the other. Fuzzy doesn’t like this one, because they had roof work after a hail storm, but its one of my favorites.
- Starbridge, Grand Prairie – It’s in the same subdivision as Cantrell, but near the library, not the park. Also, I like the name. It has an actual study, which is nice. The formal living and dining room are really one large space. The master bedroom, upstairs, is HUGE, and lovely. The covered back porch is much like the back patio we have here in San Jose, except that there are ceiling fans. I came close to making an offer on this one, then stopped and looked at Fuzzy, and said, “We want to sleep on this,” which I think was wise. We don’t want to move again for a while.
After this house, we took a lunch break, going to a place called Mac’s where I found the note that people wearing firearms would be refused service to be amusing. The grilled ahi tuna with wasabi mayo was fabulous. After we ate, we saw some more houses:
- Lands End, Arlington – The first of the properties near Lake Arlington, this was vacant. We liked it, but then we saw the seller’s disclosure and structural report. Scary.
- Little Pond, Arlington – Another lake property – well priced, but there were people there with family and friends, and an inspector, and since they were clearly about to make an offer, we peeked in and left. Also, it smelled funny.
- Lake Tahoe, Arlington- we didn’t get to see it, but Mary Lou went and took pictures and did a sketch for us, because it was accidentally dropped from our list. We really WANT to see it, and part of the reason we’ve decided to wait to make a decision, is so we can.
- Chestnut, Arlington – It figures that the only house I really really didn’t like Chris does. This is a funky single story, remodled to the old patio is a solarium. The back yard is a bowl, and the pool is at the bottom. But the bathrooms haven’t been updated, and it seems dark and depressing.
And so, we’ve been narrowing things down to a list, going from 23 to 6. Hopefully, we’ll make a decision soon. In the interim, we’re renting corporate housing for a month. Just to give ourselves more time.