With all the potential I saw, I scarcely noticed the oil cans and tires strewn around the bushes, the dilapidated pink shed in the back, and the peeling paint.
Inside, the wallpaper was falling off; we counted nine broken windows. In the living room, we removed an area rug to discover a plywood-covered hole where a radiator had been. And when I started the washer full of filthy work clothes, I found it did not get hot water.
Upstairs, all the doorknobs were gone and the master bedroom carpet had a curious, iron-shaped burn. We quit looking behind mirrors and cabinets in questionable places because, sure enough, they hid holes, rot, or bubbled paint.
Still, I remained calm. It wasn't until we returned home from a night out, flipped on the lights, and saw roaches crawling on the walls and on the box spring still propped up in the living room that I dissolved into tears. I called the exterminator the next morning.