Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013: Year of the House

It's been a bit crazy here as of late and as a result there hasn't been much time to dedicate to the blog.  Life gets busy, the day to day takes over and something has to suffer.  One of my resolutions for 2013 (amongst the usual suspects; lose some weight, get more organized, blah, blah) is to try and devote more time to chronicling our lives through this blog.

One of the major things taking over our lives is our house.  If I had to put it bluntly I'd say its pretty much the bain of my existence at this point.  I think about it everyday, usually multiple times a day.  Its one of the first things I think of when I wake up and usually one of the last things I think of before I fall asleep.  Why?  Because I can't wait to get rid of it.

Let me explain....

Back in early 2002 after only being married for a few years, Tom and I embarked on the adventure of home ownership.  All of our friends were buying and we were some of the last who were still renters.  We wanted to start a family and buying a house before a baby seemed like a logical step.  The market at the time was insane.  We'd go look at a handful of houses, go to dinner to talk about it, decide we liked one enough to put an offer on it only to call our realtor and find out that in the few short hours that we'd seen the property it already had multiple offers that were above asking.  It was beyond frustrating.  I can't even count how many properties we liked that were snatched up almost immediately after they came on the market.

Our lease was quickly coming up for renewal and I did not want to get stuck paying a high month to month lease or worse having to sign for another year.  The race was on.

We finally landed on what I lovingly referred to as "the piss house".  This place was in dire straights.  It needed work.  It was dingy.  The yard was 5 foot tall weeds.  It had no less than 5 different kinds of carpet.  It smelled like animal urine (hence the lovely nickname).   Even at that we still decided to go for it because it had "potential".  We ended up beating out one other offer that was already on the table.  We thought we'd won the lottery. Little did we know at the time what kind of lottery we'd won.

The first two weeks in the house consisted of painting every single wall and piece of molding.  Scouring every corner with bleach.  Ripping up carpet and padding that would make us gag.  It was nothing short of an adventure.  Our living room which has 18 foot tall ceilings had floor to ceiling mirrors mounted on one wall.  An entire 18 foot tall wall covered in mirrors.  I used to joke with Tom that all we needed was a pole and a strobe light.  

After pouring all the extra money we had into the house it was livable.   Not perfect but livable.  We found out one short month later that I was pregnant.

Chance was born the next year and for a while we just went about the day to day of adjusting to the life of being new parents and a family of three.  We'd do projects here and there that initially didn't get done because they weren't a necessity.  We'd redo the kitchen, then a bathroom.  Dig up the backyard and reseed.  Redo another bathroom and put down new flooring in the dining room.  We'd tackle projects as we had the money, trying to make the house into what we wanted.

A few years went by and the itch to have another baby started.  The only problem was the house was only two bedrooms.  After much thought we figured babies don't take up much room so we weren't going to let the lack of square footage put our family on hold.  Parker was born in early 2007.

Shortly after he arrived we were quickly reminded that babies DO take up a lot of room and almost overnight we'd outgrown the house.  We needed to move.

We met with a realtor and things were set in motion.  We were given a to do list (mostly declutter, imagine that) and had our sights set on a new build.  The day we were set to go sign the paperwork and give the builder an escrow check I freaked out.  Started second guessing.  What if we didn't sell the house in time to get into the new build?  What if I miscalculated and the budget I set up isn't going to work with two kids and a new mortgage?  What if this turns out to be a bad decision?  Is this really the right time?  Maybe in another year we'd be better off?  They say go with your gut.  I pulled the plug.

Little did I know the following year in 2008 the market would crash.  The economy would start to tank and we'd be on the forefront of a recession.  Any value we had in our tiny house was gone almost immediately.  Any dream of moving was off the table indefinitely.  I was crushed.  We were here to stay.  Any thought of moving was pushed out of my mind.  

Fast forward to now.  The boys are 5 and 9.  They share a tiny bedroom and we are crammed in here like sardines.  I'm constantly editing everything we own because we just cant afford the space for things that aren't absolutely necessary.  No one has a place that is their own.  Every room is multi-purpose.  If one thing is out of order the entire house looks trashed.  In short the house is a constant battle and it sucks.

Over the past two years we've been working hard towards setting ourselves up to finally get out of the house.  We've paid of some debts.  Put away a nice sum in savings.  Amped up getting this little house in order.  I can't even tell you how hard we've worked to get to where we are.  We are hoping its enough.  I am terrified that it wont be. Nothing has been easy with this house.  From the get go it's felt forced.  It's never really felt like home.  I'm hoping that of all the things we've dealt with up to this point in regard to the house it's this part that goes easy.  Cross your fingers.     

No matter what happens, 2013 is year of the house.  If all goes well we will list (and sell!) in the spring and move on.  Even though its a few months off I am already nervous to met with a realtor to see where we stand.  We have a few major projects left to be done and I will be chronicling what are hopefully some of our last adventures in this house and then the process we will go through to move on.    

Crazy how something so small can seem so big and take over your every waking thought.....

1 tiny house
939 square feet
2 bedrooms
1.5 baths
4 people
1 crazy dog
A dream long in the making

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