This house….boy, where do I begin? This house….well, before I start with this house, let’s go way back to 1997. In 1997 we were living in a new house on an acre out in the country. I loved that house. I mean LOVED it! It was new. It had 3 bedrooms and 2 full bathrooms. It had a GINORMOUS kitchen. I had a big garden. We had horses behind us that Katie loved to sit out back and watch every day.
So why in the world did we move, you ask? Well, it turns out that that beautiful new house had a very hefty house payment. We were making it, but not comfortably and little did we know, but big financial changes were just on the horizon for us. We didn’t know that, but we did know that we weren’t comfortable with scraping by. The other negative was that the house sat on a road that is a very heavily traveled road that links our small town to the nearby bigger town. There was a lot of traffic and nobody was obeying the speed limit. The girls were 5 & 3 and I was scared to death that at some point they would get out of my sight for a minute and out to that busy road.
We listed our house and were completely unprepared for it to sell in only a month’s time. Worse than that was that the people needed to be in right away. We had nowhere to go!! I was looking to move into our cute little town. I had grown up there and I missed it. I wanted to be close to the school, park & library. The problem with a small town is that there isn’t always a lot of real estate to choose from. And the other problem with this particular small town is that the houses are O-L-D. So odds are pretty likely that if you are buying a house here, you’re going to have lots of fixing up to do.
It just so happened that my parents had just purchased a big farm house out in the country and their realtor had bought a house in town to flip. I remembered them telling us about it and about all of the work it needed. So when our house sold and I saw that there was absolutely nothing for sale here, I thought of my mom’s realtor. A few phone calls later and a walk-through and we’d made an offer that was accepted!
Prior to this house, all of the houses that Brian & I had lived in (with the exception of our very first rental house) were modern and nice. So, when you go from that to an old, crooked, drafty house it can be quite an ordeal. Not to mention that our girls were actually frightened of their new home. Yes, for real. Frightened.
Everything in the house needed attention. There’s no other way to put it. The roof…oh my the roof! Old, single-pane windows and several of them were broken. The old original wide-plank wood floors with huge gaps. And everything was crooked. The floors, the stairs, the walls. No wonder the kids were scared!
The previous owners had done some of the work themselves. Siding, furnace, air conditioning….but there was (and still is) A LOT left to do. But, the beauty of it was this: we had bought this house cheap and we could afford to fix it up. Maybe not all at once, but we could do it.
However, life had other plans and not long after we’d been here…maybe a year? The economy tanked and Brian was laid off from his job. Talk about scary times. What a blessing in disguise this ugly old house was. Because of it, we were able to scrape through that time. And the remodeling has been sloooow going ever since because #1) we used a lot of our remodel money to live on during those lean times and #2) we are now so busy that it has just taken a back seat. And finally #3) we are NOT do-it-yourselfers, a fact we quickly learned once we moved in and started projects.
But we have managed to do some things over the years…windows, floors, roof, a new deck, paint (most of the rooms). The kitchen cabinets are still ugly. The ceilings are still hideous and my bedroom still hasn’t been touched, but it’s home. The girls are 13 and 10 now and we are crazy busy with life now.
I’m ashamed to say that I have sometimes been embarrassed to have people over. You know, it’s all so hip and cool to have an old house in the middle of remodeling because there’s proof all around that it will one day be updated and nice. But when you’re just living in an old house & the renovating is nonexistent? Not cool. Not cool at all, my friend.
We are no longer kidding ourselves. The remodeling is not happening anytime soon. We can’t afford it now. We don’t have time for it now. We don’t even have time to paint for Pete’s sake! And even when we do have time, we don’t want to. We just want to sit. And play board games or go to the movies. Or some other fun thing because seriously, life is flying by us every day. Perhaps the day will come when I live to remodel. But that day is not today.
And so, I’ve learned to stop being embarrassed by my unfinished home. And quite frankly, the people who visit us here could care less about what our house looks like. And maybe there is a lesson somewhere here for my girls that says something like, your true friends will love you for you. Not for your house. Not for you possessions. A house is a home when love lives there, crooked floors and all. ❤