Buying a house is a bit like the fourth grade. It complicates my comparably carefree days, there’s way too much busy work, and I have to do math.

Buying a house is a bit like the fourth grade. It complicates my comparably carefree days, there’s way too much busy work, and I have to do math.

I take that back, it’s exactly like the fourth grade, except now I don’t have Godzilla movies or marshmallow cream and peanut butter on graham crackers to look forward to when I get home.

Buying a house stinks.

Well, buying the house isn’t the bad part of buying a house. Finding one in the right price range, that fits our criteria, passes inspection, and, most importantly, my wife thinks is cute – that’s what stinks.

I blame the move on our children. At almost 5 and almost 3, they share a bedroom and this is beginning to cause problems, such as: 1) the Boy and the Girl routinely want each other dead, 2) sending them to their room for fighting only makes things worse, and 3) sleepovers when they’re teenagers, well...

So we’re looking for something big enough the children will have their own rooms but inconspicuous enough the authorities won’t notice we’ve separated them by a crocodile pit.

The last time we were in the market for a house we looked at one with a dead bat in the bathtub. Sure, “dead bat” wasn’t listed with the other amenities, but it was an unexpected bonus. For some reason my wife didn’t like the house.

That time we adopted a haphazard approach to house hunting that involved randomly pulling into people’s driveways. But this time my wife has a system that includes things like a real estate agent and looking at houses that are actually for sale (although we met some really nice people the last time).

This also means we visit at least seven houses a day, including weekends, holidays and days my wife made up.

It was on one of these visits, to a nice, friendly-seeming home, that our daughter’s behavior changed.

“Daddy,” she said in the kind of sweet, timid voice my wife and I never hear over all her normal screaming. “Pick me up.”

“Why, honey?” I asked.

“Up,” she whispered.

I scooped her into my arms, the expression on her face something like I’d picture she’d have if someone told her Dora The Explorer had been canceled. In that case, however, the expression on my face would be completely different.

“What’s the matter?” I asked, almost worried.

“It’s scary,” she said, almost too softly to hear.

“What’s scary?”

She looked into my eyes, her expression somber.

“The ghosts.”

I’ve seen enough horror movies that start the same way and trust me, they don’t end with unicorns, lollypops and dancing teddy bears unless they’re partying on top of your grave.

We didn’t stay in the house long, which is fine because we’re scratching that one off the list.

You can order Jason’s books on the paranormal, “Darkness Walks: The Shadow People Among Us,” and “Haunted Missouri: A Ghostly Guide to Missouri’s Most Spirited Spots,” at amazon.com.