When my mother was a relatively young single woman, she bought a seven bedroom house in San Francisco. Given that she could not pay for the whole house upfront and therefore had taken out a mortgage, and that the money she made from her job was not sufficient for the mortgage payments, there was only way that this could make financial sense – rent out the extra space to tenants. Thus my mother’s career as a small-time landlady began.
It’s a career, I should point out, that she thouroughly hates. There are some cool moments which come out of being a small-time, living-on-the-premise landlady … but the cool moments are far, far outnumbered by the really bad moments (for example, the time that a tenant almost set the house on fire). She’s in a financially better position now then when she bought the house, so she can afford to be a bit more lax – she has fewer tenants than she did before, and fewer tenants = less stress. Nonetheless, she looks forward to the day when she can quit landladying for good. One way to quit would be to sell the house … but she doesn’t want to leave. The other way to quit would be for her to pass all of the responsibilities onto somebody else … moi.
The thing is, I don’t really want to be a landlady either. I’ve seen what it’s done to my mother, and while it definitely has some perks (such as excellent job security), I would rather … do something I don’t hate.
Instead, I see the house as an opportunity to form the tight, loving family that I dream of.
My mother has already partially filled the house with loved ones. My father now lives there too, and while he technically is a tenant (they have a contract, he pays rent every month), it’s a far more loving relationship than what my mother has had with any other tenant. And then my mother had me (though I don’t live in the house right now, and my room is now empty – something that my mother would not have let happen when she first bought the house).
When I return to San Francisco, I would like to finish filling the house with loved ones. With my parents and myself, there are four remaining bedrooms to be filled with loved ones (and even more people can come if the bigger bedrooms are shared). Ideally, I would like one of those people to be my own child, and the rest to be my friends/partners/etc. I know my parents would also be interested in getting another relative to move in, which I would like very much too. I’ve never been interested in forming a nuclear family, but to be able to live with about six people who I love would make me extremely happy.