Friday, May 04, 2007

Houses and Stuff

I thought our house-purchasing process when acquiring the residence presently known as Chesterley was rather stressful. We came into town for three days, and thankfully we had a realtor who spent the majority of her time with us. Moose was just under 10 months old, so of course he needed 'round-the-clock care, feedings, etc. We put an offer on one place, and of course we were worried it was going to stretch our budget. We low-balled the offer and hoped they'd take it. And then we LEFT TOWN with nothing definite on where we would live, and no plans to return to this town before actually moving here. Stressful! Fortunately it all worked out, they took our low offer, and Chesterley has been a wonderful place to live.

However, selling this house is also pretty stressful in itself. I think we're finding the prospect of leaving this place more difficult as the weeks go by. During the time we've lived here, our family has been through a lot. Between me and wife we've lost two grandparents and a parent, Moose was diagnosed with autism disorder, and we had the typical growing pains of a growing family, money concerns, low academic and career self-esteem, and other difficulties. We've had some high points as well: good progress through a Ph.D. for me, progress through speech and physical difficulties for Moose, increase in the diversity of types of voices taught to sing by Wife, numerous fun parties and other gatherings, great discussions with a gaggle of good friends, and now landing this job and preparing to move on is indeed another high point that we've experienced while living here. It's hard to leave a place where you've grown so much personally and watched your child transform from "plasma" into a real, live, very active, boy.

The house itself has changed quite a bit these last five years, and the changes are all part of the mark we're leaving on this place. New roof, great gardens (thanks to us, I must say!), new interior and exterior paint jobs, some new kitchen cabinets and such, new dishwasher, different curtains, etc. Wife and I enjoy 'keeping house' together, and I think we've come to be pretty good at it. And we always make sure we can afford it first, which is key. Being house-poor is useless. Big tax refunds are awfully helpful.

When we moved here, we didn't think we'd stay here forever. We figured we'd be here four years, and now we've been here five. There are things we've put up with here that we're hoping to not have to deal with in our new place. We have no separate dining room, and yet we enjoy having friends and family over for sit-down dinners. There are a couple of "warts" in the yard in the way it slopes toward in the house in back. Some other choices in the construction materials (cheap-ass vinyl siding, for example) would not have been our choice were we to actually build a house.

Our new location is a much larger city, and fortunately it's not very far from SCT so we've visited the past several weekends to go house hunting. Lots of options up there. Lots of crap, too. Some expensive, and some not-so. Every time we come home to SCT, it hits us both how much we love this house. It's "home." This is the longest we've ever lived in one place together...heck, it's the longest either of us have ever lived anywhere except for the places we grew up. The thought of moving and starting over with our gardens, painting, etc. gets rather exhausting. And then the emotional side kicks in for me. Will the new owners of this place continue to take care of the yard, or will it all weed over? Will they repaint the "roasted red pepper" accent wall I painted in the kitchen as a surprise for Wife? Do they realize that the best son in the entire world learned how to walk, talk, eat and do most things he knows how to do under this roof? I need to get over these emotions toward this building, I realize. And I will. After all, the "home" is just going to move to a different house. Home is in the people, not the walls.

Tomorrow (OK, technically later today) is hopefully our last day for house-hunting, as our time is getting more limited. The hunting process is getting tiresome now...nothing seems to compare to our current house just yet. A couple of great places have had major, unchangeable things that will not work, like it's in the wrong school district or located on a busy road. The scary thing is, we're supposed to be out of our current house on June 26...ACK! Really hope the hunt goes well tomorrow.

It's tough to leave a place where you've done a lot of living...good and bad times mixed together. At least the family itself will stay together, and together we'll find a new container in which to house Chesterley. It's just sort of scary that in a very short time, life is going to change so much. No complaints though...just a little healthy fear here & there.


EA said...

Crossing my fingers the house hunting is going well today!

mom said...

You are such an amazing writier.
I know the house search will end successfully soon.
xo mom

Melanie said...

I hear ya! I feel my 'age' in this move. Things I never had much concern about feel huge and this is the longest I have stayed somewhere since I was a kid.