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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

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Sleep Is
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Chicago Review Press

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At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

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A house! A house for us!

I haven’t told you about our new house! And it’s all God’s fault.

I have, in the past couple of weeks, found myself newly fearful of the Lord’s wrath. My God, it seems, is a vengeful God, replacing the God who compelled my parents to purchase the Barbie Dream Boat or the God who made sure my ex-boyfriend didn’t get a date to the prom. This God will take away our pretty house if he hears me bragging about it too much. He will send armies of termites into our pretty house’s support beams, and not even joists of steel will keep our (pretty) shelter from tumbling down upon the earth, and the ancient but lovely windows will shatter upon the ground, and mine enemies will rejoice, yea verily.

That said, I couldn’t wait until we had closed on the place to share our news, so I decided that God does not bother himself with blogs.

But enough about my petty God. We have a house! Here's how it went: we saw the listing, fell instantly and completely in love, decided it was too pretty for us to deserve, visited and were depressed because it was so pretty and it would undoubtedly go to someone nicer and better-looking, worried that the neighborhood is too sketchy, fell into an even deeper depression, were put in touch with a couple of residents of said neighborhood (thanks to my blog readers! My nice blog readers!), were reassured that the area is not at all sketchy, worried about the school, found out that the school is great, found out there were nine other bidders, freaked out, made the best offer we could, and here we are. A house! Us! We have a house! It’s a four-bedroom (FOUR!) and it has two sunrooms (TWO!) and an enclosed porch (AN!) and my god, but we love it.

We were fairly certain that someone (God) would take our house away from us because it’s so nice and so pretty pretty, but so far even the inspector couldn’t scare us away. We were certain he would take one look and say, “But these walls—they’re made of taffy! And the windows are just cling-wrap stapled into some lincoln logs!” and then we would cry and move into our nearby friend’s garage. It’s a two-car garage. Maybe we would like it.

Which is not to say that there aren’t issues with the house. It’s been relatively well maintained, but it’s over 90 years old. Also it’s probably teeming with ghosts. I was hoping the inspector would also check for ghosts, but he didn’t respond to my hints. I asked him, “Does it feel, you know, crowded in here?” and he said yes, why don’t you step outside.

Beyond the families of ghosts, there’s a tiny bit of water damage, a smidgen of termite damage, the chimney needs some work, there’s some creative wiring, and also the backyard is a swamp. On the other hand, we paid about $40K less than we thought we would.

Home ownership, I have learned, means you have to know stuff. Two weeks ago, if you had used words like “soffit” and “fascia” and “downspouts” and “garage,” I would have said, “I’ve heard of this ‘garage’, but about those other things, whuuuuh?” And now I’m tossing these terms around like I know what I’m talking about, because soon I’m pretty sure I will know! By gum, I’m learning!

In closing, let me say that if you have to call a contractor whose last name is Schwalbenberg, it’s probably a good idea if immediately beforehand you and your spouse don’t periodically cry out SCHWALBENBERRRG at each other or ask each other “If I asked you to hold my Schwalbenberg, would you still love me?” Because then? You’ll call Schwalbenberg, and while you’re leaving a message you’ll snort helplessly with laughter as you try to say his name and then you’ll have to hang up and call back and leave a message with a slightly different voice.


Reader Comments (114)

Yay! Woo-hoo! (much throwing of confetti adn streamers) You have a HOUSE! Congratulations... :-)
March 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBeth
March 8, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterstacy
But does one pronounce the "w" in SCHWALBENBERG! as a "w" or as a "v"? Because a "v" makes it EVEN FUNNIER!

And hooray for the house! And the sunrooms! And the enclosed porch! Which I am picturing like the one in the house on Six Feet Under!
March 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterNothing But Bonfires
I'm happy for you. So very happy.

Slightly jealous, too. Because, I'm assuming you no longer have pressed wood cupboards, and , well, I kinda liked knowing I wasn't the only one in the world still living with those.

March 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterY
After a childhood of moving from one new house to another as my father worked his way to his dream job, I love old houses. Think of all the children who were conceived, born, and reared in that house, all their laughter and games and fun. Think of all the holidays, all the Thanksgivings with the house full of love and family traditions, all the Christmas trees, all of the birthdays. I am convinced that old houses soak up all that happy energy and radiate it to the current occupants.

Two sun rooms? Does one catch the morning sun, and the other the evening? How lovely!
March 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSusi
The bit about the ghosts and the inspector was hilarious. I laughed out loud.
March 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterChris
Photos are up on Flickr (click on my name on this comment to see them...)
March 8, 2006 | Unregistered Commenteralice
so which jersey town did you decide on? (which county at the very least!)congratulations!
March 8, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterann
I had a gym teacher who moved into a new house and he burned a bunch of cigars to appease the spirits. Sage might smell a little better. If you're a hippie. And I know you are.
March 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMrs. Kennedy
wonderful! congradulations! pictures! please!
March 8, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterhonestyrain
OMG you are hillarious!
March 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJenna
Just in case of spirits, you may want to have a priest come over and bless the premises. Although, they may be really cools spirits who can help you with the house work and 'creative' wiring. Tee-hee. Congrats, and all the best.
March 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterShannon
Congrats. I love having my own house. Just like Charlotte says in Pride and Prejudice (which I've now watched three times in a ROW) ... "Oh, Elizabeth. I can't tell you what a joy it is to finally be running my own home." (Or something to that effect.)

Your own home, indeed!
March 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAbby
LMFAO- funniest fucking post ever! damn i love you! congratulations on the house! that is so awesome- and think of the benefits.. if the walls are made of taffy, you'll never starve
March 8, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjennster
Congratulations on getting a house! Two sunrooms and an enclosed porch sound fabulous.
March 8, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterbad penguin
A house for the Finslippies! A Finslippy house! YAY! It's beautiful. Congratulations!
March 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSandee
Screw the impotent wrath of He Who Cannot Be Named, it's those wispy-haired, pedal-pusher-bedecked HGTV hostesses you really have to watch out for. Their perky mind rays will make you believe that even the most complex home remodeling projects can be completed with just some elbow grease and a twitch of your cute little button nose. DON'T LISTEN! Stick with the Schwalbenberg!
March 9, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterweaker vessel
That is terribly freaking awesome. It's the two sun rooms that really make me envious.
March 9, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterschmutzie
braine (above) and i are, as he says, just about to sign contracts on a 90 year old house. less creativity on the wiring, but we hear ya on the chimney work (repointing, perhaps? that's another good word!) and the smidge of termite damage. the owners CLAIM it was from years ago and fixed by the previous. anyway, this is me raising a tepid paper cup of tea (all that's handy) and cheering to you all. long live the new homeowners!
March 9, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterclaudia
I read this. But I knew about your house already. I knew about your house in 57 B.C. Give me a break!

Why do I get all the blame but never the credit?
March 9, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterGod
It's about TIME you commented, geez.
March 9, 2006 | Unregistered Commenteralice
schwalben=swallows (the birds)berg=mountain
March 9, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterH
Congratulations! Yay! Can't wait to hear more about it.
March 9, 2006 | Unregistered Commenteremlouisa
Congratulations! wow..that is so exciting, and i really understand your vengeful god thing, know him well.I am very jealous but also happy for you because old houses with ghosts are my absolute favorite. I want to own a house more than anything. Dh won't let me have an old one BECAUSE of the ghosts.Ok, not to scare you away, but I do know how to de-ghost a house from far away if you need me to. I am not a total freak, I promise. Just kinda one of your ordinary, everyday very kindly woo woo hippie, sageburning, deghosting, aura cleansing earthmamagoddesses you meet on the street everyday.Now I am worrying that this little bit of helpful sharing on my part added to my last comment where i say "i love me some alice" has relegated me to the fringe of creepy commenters.....i have been worrying about that last comment for days now. sighs*i will stop now....seriously tho, let me know about the ghosts.
March 9, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDeb
Oh my, you are so far from "creepy commenter" status. "I want to smell your hair" or "I like watching you through the bathroom window"--now THERE'S creepy.

As for the ghosts, if we have one can you imagine the blogging potential? How could I give that up?
March 9, 2006 | Unregistered Commenteralice

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