Suffice to say, I've fallen off the eating wagon. I'm sure I'll get back on, but for right this minute...my focus is elsewhere.
I probably should title this leaving stress city, baby since I'm on the downswing of what has been a few crazy weeks.
The house prices in our 'hood have soared. Good for us. If we want to do something with the property, right? We even dragged Melanie (my bff and the most awesome realtor) (who went more willingly than being dragged, lets be honest) looking at new home after new home after new home. And then we found "him"... the Seth. OMGoodness. Such a beauty. Everything I could ever ask for in a home. So, we started making a list.
The list contained everything we could ever want to put in a house to make it our own. This house can be built with an amazing sun room off the kitchen that would have perfectly fit my covetted trestle table, even if I bought the one on steroids that sat 12 comfortably. Seriously. The room was HUGE. We would have finished the basement. We would have taken the deluxe master bath; the covered porch; the upgraded cabinets. And then reality started sinking in. We were at a really high price-point. And we're 45. Not old, but not young in terms of the future, our kids college, traveling, retirement. Did we really want to turn the clock back and start all over with a new 30 year mortgage, or even 15 and bite the bullet on how high that payment might be? What would that change for us?
My husband is a simple man, with simple tastes and wants. Don't get me wrong. Frank loves his toys alright. Computer parts and road bikes, sound equipment, the works. But as far as houses go, simple, simple man. Frank grew up in 1200 square feet which housed his mom, dad, he and his brother. It served their needs. And it was in the mountains of Colorado. Nice.
I grew up in the 'burbs of Chicago. My house was twice the size of his and my dad redid the rooms all the time, being the painter/decorator he was by trade. I take comfort in living like I did as a child. I wasn't spoiled, but I enjoyed the nice space and environment my parents created for us.
Roll forward to about 14 years ago. We were living in our first home in Phoenix. I stumbled upon my dream home. And it was a beaut as well. Six bedrooms, 3,000 square feet, on a wash so no one backed our 1/4 acre which overlooked the Usery mountains. We bit the bullet and put our escrow down and sold our starter home in four days. On 9/11 none the less. We moved to an apartment for the interim...and then the job market seized. And frank lost his job. Six weeks before close. We were THAT close.
We looked for a job for months in Phoenix. Nothing in IT. It all went to the East coast and we didn't want to follow it necessarily. We opened up our search, and landed in Denver. Frank came here first, living with my brother while he got settled in to a job and found us a house. When he did, he called me, "honey, I found 1/2 the house for twice the price." Crushed. It was a spec-home, built by first time home buyers. How do I know? Not one option was selected. But they bought all the appliances through the builder. Every-single-one of them.
I came to see it over Memorial Day weekend 2002 and began to see its potential. It was bigger than our starter home, smaller than the dream home, but had good bones. I could do something with the things I didn't love. And for the last 13 years, that's what we've done. Painted, remodeled, decorated.
There are still things that don't work for me. I HATE my master bathroom. We have no guest room. The first floor has no "formal" space for sitting or a piano to go. It has no coat closet and not much of a laundry room space to house the coats. But there's still potential.
We have an unfinished basement, which could hold another two bedrooms. There's room for a full bathroom and small family room. A place for the kiddos to call their own. I can remodel the master bath taking it from a 3-piece to a 5-piece bath without too much trouble. I can move the laundry downstairs create a rather nice mudroom on the main floor. I'll never have a formal room, but I've learned to make do. The house is adequate for our needs. And really, if I step back and am honest, it's pretty cute, too, with the remodeling of the first floor that we've done.
So why move? Really, why? I didn't know why. I was torn. Get what I always thought I want? But is it REALLY what I want? And then there's Frank. Simple Frank. All the guy wants is to live better than his parents in retirement. They never learned to save for a rainy day. They never got to travel or do anything wonderful; and then his mom died. So sad. Is that what I want? Or do I want to make memories, and have experiences, and share those experiences with the love of my life? Duh. Does staying put grant me the opportunity at those things? The ability to make some of Frank's dreams come true? It does.
It came down to a coin toss. I kid you not. Both options have pros and cons (though the majority of the pros for the big house was just that -- it's big and beautiful)...I was so stressed not being able to decide. So, I did it. I flipped the coin. And it landed...on stay. Stay in the home I always thought I didn't love. Stay in the home that needs so much more work to be what I want it to be. But you know what? I felt relieved. No more question of what should we do. No stretching to get our house ready to sell in a short time. No finding interim housing when I have two grown teenagers and a dog. I couldn't believe that flipping a coin could solve so much stress.
So, with that decision made, we are beginning the work to make it "home". We're getting bids to finish the basement, and the master bathroom. We have a whole punch list.
This weekend we will finish the last 10% of the jobs I started two years ago on the main floor. Namely remodeling the powder room, tiling the future mud room and putting in all the trim. We are thankful for the good and talented friends we have that are willing to lend a hand to see those projects through. That'll be a good start.
But can you see the stress I put myself through. Goodness. All for something we don't HAVE to do. Growing up is tough. Knowing the difference between a need and a want isn't always fun, but it's humbling to have a choice between the two and know in the end you picked the one that will gain you the most in the end.
Stay tuned for house updates. There will be many of those to come.