My Own Personal Pleasantville

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the movie “Pleasantville”, I highly recommend it. A boy from the 1990’s is obsessed with a sitcom from the 1950’s called Pleasantville. It’s your typical show of that era, showing a world that never actually existed, in black and white, where the mother wears pearls and high heels to do housework, the father gives sage advice and is highly respected, and the children are well mannered and, well… pleasant. But when 1990’s boy suddenly finds himself in Pleasantville, he starts to realize that perfection isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

I seem to be living in Pleasantville since I recently bought my house. It’s in an isolated little valley where all the neighbors know each other, and everything feels safe and clean and drama-free. Everyone has a dog. I’m even on a first name basis with the mailman and the local convenience store clerk. It’s this oasis of calm, with each of us in our very own cute little houses.

At a time when the wider world seems ever more chaotic and scary, I love going home to my little valley. It’s like taking off shoes that are two sizes too small. Finally, a chance to wiggle my toes.

I love living in this fantasy land, and I’m going to do my best to maintain it for as long as I can. Are cracks forming in the façade? Well, yes. A few people in the neighborhood drink probably more than is warranted in certain situations. But so far, they’re happy when they drink, and I like them, and it’s really none of my business. One neighbor is passively aggressively critical of my benign neglect of my yard. Oh well. And I can’t get a decent cell phone signal to save my life.

But you know, in the overall scheme of things, those are problems I can live with. I love my little neighborhood. Just don’t expect me to wear high heels while I do housework. In fact, wouldn’t even count on me doing housework on a schedule that makes sense to anyone other than myself.


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Best Kept Secrets

I don’t know how I got so lucky, but I seem to have stumbled upon two of the Seattle area’s best kept secrets. The first is the neighborhood where I just bought my house. It’s a hidden little hamlet that most people do not even realize exists. Therein lies its charm. We don’t get a lot of visitors. The hubbub is kept to a bare minimum. It’s the kind of place where everybody knows everybody, and you feel like you can keep your doors unlocked. (But I resist that urge, in case you’re wondering.)

When I get within a quarter mile of home, it’s like I’ve entered an oasis after having spent weeks in a desert, and I’m about to plunge into a crystal blue spring. It feels good to scrub off the dust of the trail, figuratively speaking. Bliss.

The second is a public park within walking distance of my house. I never see many people there, and once you’re about a block off the highway, even though we’re not that far from the bustle of Seattle, it’s as if you’ve plunged into a forest primeval. Nature just runs right up to you and cradles you in its arms.

It is a place where you can soak your feet in a cool mountain stream on a hot summer’s day, or lie in a field, gazing up, up, up at old growth forest. I can’t begin to tell you how thrilled I am to have a getaway like this, practically in my own back yard. It takes my breath away. I can’t wait to see how it changes with the seasons!

And if you think for one second that I’m going to tell you where these gems are, you are out of your mind. Finding serenity and peace in this area is as rare as hen’s teeth. If you have a place like this, guard it with your life.


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The Importance of Love Letters


When trying to buy a house, I cannot overstress the importance of standing out from the crowd. Even though there were multiple bidders on the house I’m about to buy, and my bid wasn’t the highest, I was the only one who wrote them a “love letter”, and that strongly influenced their decision.

So, without further ado, what follows is a conglomeration of several of the love letters I sent out during this home buying process. Feel free to adapt it to your needs if you are house hunting yourself. Just make sure you substitute personal details about you and the house in question, so they won’t feel like it’s a form letter. Good luck!


To the owners of



In addition to making an offer on your lovely house, I wanted to tell you a little bit about myself.

I am a 52 year old woman who is searching for a place to call home. 3 years ago, I thought I had all that. I lived in Florida with Chuck, the love of my life, and we had wonderful plans for the future. And then I got a call from the sheriff’s department saying that they had found his body, still clutching his asthma inhaler, in his truck in the pharmacy parking lot two blocks from home. My whole world came crashing down around me in that instant.

For a few months I walked through life, completely numb, trying to live the life I had before, but it wasn’t working. For one thing, I had to pass that pharmacy parking lot every day on the way to work. So when a friend told me about a bridgetending job in Seattle, I thought, “What have I got to lose that I haven’t already lost?” So I applied. To my shock, I got the job. I had never been to Washington in my whole life. I didn’t know anyone here. But I was in need of a do-over. So I packed up all my stuff, said good-bye to friends and family, and drove across country.

Since then, I’ve been renting a house just North of Seattle, but I fear that with annual rent increases, I will soon be living well beyond my means. So it’s time to become a homeowner.

When I saw your place, it looked like home to me. I want an oasis. I want somewhere I can call “Tranquility Base.” Your home definitely has that kind of Feng Shui about it, as I’m sure you know. I love the garden, and can already imagine my heirloom tomatoes and squash and carrots there. I also want to plant things that will attract bees and butterflies and hummingbirds. I can see myself practically living in the back yard. And the sound of the koi pond as I approached gave me this incredible feeling of calm before I even opened the door. You’ve really done an amazing job making that house a home.

I also wanted to say that I love your style. I wouldn’t even want or need to change a single wall color! And anyone who owns a digeridoo has got to be cool. I almost wish you weren’t leaving because you guys would make great friends. I can feel it from your spirituality.

Anyway, you may get higher offers. In fact, I’m kind of sure you will. But please know that if you accept mine, I will make this house a home again, and will give it all the respect and love that it deserves. I hope it will be the last address I ever have.

That, and you’ll be helping me begin to live again.

Thank you in advance for your kind consideration.



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