Monday, March 21, 2011

A Year Later...For Real

Back in October I wrote a post entitled "The Move--A Year Later" that pondered all that had happened in the year since we had started our move process. The fall weather reminded me of those first couple ventures out to open houses, and I reminisced about the whirlwind process that we started on the second we found a house we liked--which, of course, was not the one we ended up with.

Well, fast forward five months and now we are officially one year after the move itself. Actually, it'll truly be a year at the end of the week. However, I can't help but think back and marvel that one year ago this week, I was frantically trying to get packed up. I can't even fathom how crazy things were, or where I found the time or the energy to get it all done. Though I suppose I never did really get it all done. I was still packing when the movers arrived and a lot of stuff just ended up getting thrown on the truck or packed up by one of our awesome helpers, or at worst tossed into a box at the end of the day during the final clean-up. I can still hardly believe we made it through, particularly considering Craig was working most of both Friday (the day we closed) and Saturday (the day we moved). It was nuts. That week was so emotional, so stressful, so crazy, and worth it. I certainly have no desire to move again anytime soon, and I truly hope we never have to. However, if I knew that our next home would be as great as our current one and we'd be moving into a better situation overall (better job, closer to family, even more space (which I don't think would be an issue unless we decided to go for three kids--yikes)), at least I'd have the knowledge that although the weeks surrounding it are near-torture, the end result is so great. That might ultimately get me through the next one...though I really, really have no desire or need to do it again.

I don't think I realized how much I disliked our old house until I discovered how much I love our new house. For every good thing about the old one, there were a handful of issues that bothered me. And while that may sound picky, it was just always something--the ugly kitchen, the squeaky floors, the torn up baseboard trim, the cramped storage, the purple bathroom upstairs, the 70s bathroom downstairs, the dirty workbench in the basement (which never did get cleaned), the chipping paint on the garage floor, the cracked patio, the lumpy yard with patchy grass, the massive amount of fall raking, the ugly shed, the cracked mortar on the foundation (not structural), the evil holly bushes, the worrisome aluminum wiring, the mice infestation, the insulation the mice destroyed (not only did we need to replace it, but we needed to add more), a looming roof job--the list could go on. So while I was grateful to have a house to call our own, there was always something I would turn around to and be bothered by--either knowing that it was going to be an issue or cost us money. Some were cosmetic, but some weren't. And those were the real problems. Those just stressed us out so frequently that eventually most parts of the house had turned into some sort of "sore spot". And quite frankly, that's sad. We could have continued to live there, but at what mental cost? That is such a first-world problem, I know, but I don't think I realized the toll it was taking until we moved. But at that moment, POOF! Gone. Yes, the added mortgage payment isn't exactly comforting, but knowing that we're in a house that doesn't have any pressing problems and can be our house, comfortably, for a long time, is so wonderful. Inevitably we would have been spending money on the old house that we wouldn't have gotten back and probably wasn't worth it in a house like that, based on the market around us. We did see a similar one near us sell for nearly $20,000 more, but it had an insane kitchen and a built-in pool with a gorgeous fenced yard. But besides that, the comparable homes have sold for similar. Any additional money was probably less than we would have spent to upgrade ours to whatever those houses had to offer. While we didn't make money on our house (and lost a bit if you consider the upgrades we did do--windows, air, front door, garage door), looking back I'm comfortable with the decision...mostly because I truly love our new house.

I walk into our house happy to be there. I joyfully do household tasks like loading the dishwasher because I'm happy to have one. I don't mind doing dishes by hand because I have so many less to do every time. I like cooking more because I have more space, I'm not battling crowded cabinets, and again, I don't have to do as many dishes. My kitchen is pretty and makes me happy, unlike the old one which made me cringe nearly every time I walked in. While I may grumble about doing some of the outdoor work in the summer, there's such a great payback in the form of gorgeous flowers and lush grass, unlike our old house. We have more storage than we need, a fourth room for our office and eventual guest bedroom, a second living space downstairs that will get more use in the years to come, a BLUE bathroom, and so much more. Our living room is huge and gives Jacob plenty of room to run. It's carpeted, which is great because Jacob's constant sporting pursuits would have left our old hardwoods a mess by now...not to mention his body parts.

I've said it before, and I'll say it many things about this house turned out even better than I could have imagined. There were things I didn't know I wanted that our house has that have turned out to be perfect. I'm truly thankful every single day we live there. I like it that much. A year later, I'm excited, relieved, and happy. I look forward to many more years of memories here, and I hope to continue to make this house more our own in the years to come.

A year in, not much has changed. Decorations are up, closets and cabinets are full, but not much else has changed. We haven't really done anything to make it our own. Any wallpaper or flooring that was in place when we moved in, still is. We need to change out carpets in a couple rooms, and one of the big things on my to do list is to take down the wallpaper border in the empty bedroom, which will someday become Jacob's bedroom. I want to do it now, before I'm once again dealing with a border while pregnant. No thanks. I need to get our main carpet cleaned, and I want to get the fireplace checked and learn how to use it. I'd like to replace our storm door with a nicer, safer one down the road, and someday I'd love to look into replacing the paneling in our basement with drywall. I'd like to change out the dated blue sink in our bathroom since it's rusting out a bit. We might also need to paint Jacob's current room someday, if we find out future baby #2 is a boy (bye-bye, Knighthawks purple). We also need to spice up our room a bit, but isn't the master always the last to get the work? At least, that always seemed to be the case on Trading Spaces. But really, that's all cosmetic stuff...not a huge overhaul among them. Such a relief. And the best part? Nothing has to be done right now. We have years to do it, I hope.

I do have a list of organization projects I still need to undertake--things I wanted to do last summer and just never got around to. The garage needs an overhaul and we still have plenty of space in the basement for some of the stuff. There are little things here and there that need tweaking, but in looking back at last year's resolutions for moving into our new house, I think I've succeeding in finding better places for a lot of our stuff. And it's been fun to try.

A year later I am still in awe that we own this house and live here. It's a great place for Jacob to grow up, and will be a great place to bring a new baby home to some day. With the space we have, we'll have one less thing to worry about next time around. We made a great choice, I believe, and it's been one heck of a year. More than I can even describe, this is definitely our "home sweet home".

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