On Saturday night, I had a nightmare that was so bad, I actually woke up shaking with fear. Oh, I thought that elusive, unremembered dream about the vampire and the can of creamed corn was bad -- and it was bad enough to make me not want to go back to sleep -- but it turns out that the vampire nightmare was just the Babe Ruth league of night frights. The one I had Saturday was The Big Show, all the way, the World Series winner.
I dreamed that my husband and I bought a house in an exclusive area here in our city. The houses all date from the 30s, 40s and 50s and they're all enormous, with long sweeping lawns and gorgeous trees and landscaping. There's an entire neighborhood of these houses and each one is more interesting than the last.
We managed to buy our dream house, one that we fell in love with from the minute we clapped eyes on it. It wooed us, from its two fireplaces and cozy side porch with a swing, to its curving stairway and mullioned windows. I loved it. My husband and I were ecstatic to get it for a really good price because it hadn't been updated since the early nineties -- there was a lot of hunter green carpet, lots of country oak and kitchen counters done in navy blue tiles, lots of "window treatments" featuring drapes and swags and sheers galore. You know the look: Not hideous, but still dated.
We moved in with the girls and the dogs and began to joyfully unpack. The furniture just seemed to find the right places to sit, although we didn't have nearly enough to fill up such a big house."I'd like to have a grandfather clock for that corner of the foyer," I remember thinking. "And two big, squashy leather chairs to put in front of the fireplace in the study." But even as I thought those things, there was an apprehensive knot in my stomach, which I simply dismissed as part of the normal stress of house moving, and went on putting up towels in the bathrooms
Neighbors started dropping by with little gifts to welcome us, but instead of bringing brownies or peanut butter cookies, they were bringing brie baked en croûte with wee little French crackers and gorgeous bouquets of flowers made out of fresh fruit. They were pulling up in our driveway in their Mercedes sedans and their Lexus SUVs and it gave me a funny feeling when I saw those cars next to our ten year old van.
"These people in this neighborhood all seem to have a lot more money than we do," I whispered nervously to my husband. "I wonder what they all do."
The nightmare progressed with a growing feeling of anxiety and doom hanging over me. It had nothing to do with the type of stuff that went on at that house in Amityville; no, it was more like being haunted by the knowledge that we were in way over our heads and it was too late to turn back.
In the manner of dreams, it turned out that my husband and I had completely forgotten that we had to pay property taxes. And when we got the mortgage amortization coupons, we realized that the monthly payment was about four hundred dollars a month more than we'd planned. There was going to be no buying of granfather clocks and big squashy chairs -- it was more going to be a matter of being able to buy food.
"What are we going to tell the girls?" I sobbed in the dream. "Everyone is going to think we're so unbelievably stupid. We're going to be in a lot of trouble. We've lost so much money that we're never going to get back. After going through such awful money troubles before, how could we have set ourselves up for this?"
I jerked awake at that point and lay there, breathing and shaking, thinking, "Oh, thank God. Thank God I am here in my own room. Thank God it was just a dream."
If it's true that our subconscious helps us work out our fears, it turns out that taking on debt must be one of my biggest ones. I'm also afraid of vampires, although I don't think I have any unresolved fears about corn, canned or otherwise. I did read a Marian Keyes book titled The Other Side of the Story last week, and it featured a character named Lily who unwisely moved into a too-expensive house, and I also listened to a few calls on Dave Ramsey's radio show from people who had gotten caught in the sub-prime lending crisis. Those factors may have had something to do with it.
But what a scary dream. It makes me feel tense and upset just writing about it. Nothing that a diet soda won't cure, I'm sure. But still. Still.
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