Tidying Up

My second favorite household chore is ironing. My first being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint. 
– Erma Bombeck

Today’s Writing Group prompt: Next to godliness, or just keeping yourself off of Hoarders?  Where do you fall on the cleanliness/organization spectrum?

Well.  I’m not that married to clean, so much as I am neat.  I actually actively dislike the idea of cleaning, especially dusting, though I love the end result.  But clutter makes me crazy, which means David often makes me crazy.  Look, I just took these pictures of our respective desks, no staging involved:

My desk

My desk

David's desk

David’s desk

And so it goes.  If I took pictures of our dressers, the level of clutter would be comparable.  Basically, this is a thing I’ve just come to accept.  I more or less ask him to limit the clutter to these two areas (and his half of the closet) and keep the rest of the house clear, and that works for us.  When it starts to bother me, I remind myself that company doesn’t spend time in our bedroom and we can always close the door to the office if need be, and when it’s just us, who cares?  Relax, lady.

Buyer’s Remorse

I should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.
– from The Poetics of Space, by Gaston Bachelard

I wasn’t really into today’s Writing Group prompt (which is too bad, because I had the perfect opening quote).  I’m kind of having a hard time at the moment and wasn’t going to write at all, but since I committed to a post a day, I’m just going to write anything.

I feel anxious about a lot of things and it’s making me very uncomfortable.  It’s not fair to talk about it all here, but I will talk about one thing.  I’m afraid we made a mistake buying our house.  I think we rushed into it, largely at my insistence, and I think it is not really working out the way I hoped.  There are so many things that I loved when we looked at it, but now that we’ve lived in it for 7 months, it’s clear that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.  The people who lived here before made huge changes to the floor plan, and since we never saw the house fully furnished, I can’t visualize how they used the space, which makes it harder for me to see how to best use the space.  There’s SO MUCH SPACE (which is not a humblebrag complaint about how my house is too big; they created a great room/dining room/entry way/built-ins/etc. space that just makes NO sense and seems to leave a ton of wasted space).

The house doesn’t get a ton of natural light, which I didn’t realize – and I’m not sure how I could have known that before we bought it – and it makes me really sad.  In fact, it makes me wonder if the lack of natural light is contributing to how down I feel.  We have lots of windows, but our lot is wooded and we have long eaves, and so we just get indirect light, except in the great room, but you can’t grow plants in there because the direct sunlight falls in the middle of the room.  This really bothers me.

There are, technically, four bedrooms, two upstairs and two downstairs.  The more I think about it, the more I think we should have looked for something with at least three bedrooms on the same floor.  I worry about once we have kids.  You can’t move a little guy downstairs while the baby stays in the room we’ve dubbed the nursery, next to the master.  It’s not safe.  And the plan to move both kids downstairs in the future seems like it’s not really a good idea; the office, which would be the second bedroom downstairs, isn’t really set up to be a bedroom, what with the French doors that lead out under the deck and a fireplace.  And of course, this all so very cart-before-the-horse (which is another post altogether), but that doesn’t seem to matter when my mind starts racing.

I hate the paint color that we paid to have put up in the family room; we made a mistake when we picked the swatch.  We thought it would be super, super pale purple, but it’s actually lavender.  With the ugly sage/teal green carpet that’s down there – and which we’re not in a position to replace for the time being – it looks ridiculous.  I also sometimes think we picked the wrong gray for our bedroom.  David’s against repainting.

We still don’t have furniture or rugs for the great room, so we haven’t been able to have the open house I’ve dreamed about having ever since I imagined having a house.  We had a giant sofa all picked out – we used to go visit it at Z Gallerie – but then David decided he was having second thoughts and wanted to try it out again, but the last time we went, they’d taken it out of the showroom and it won’t ever be back, so now we can’t buy it because it’s too much money to spend on something we’re (he’s) not sure about.  Nothing else we’ve looked at has come close to being as perfect as that couch.

Our commute is at least an hour each way, sometimes longer.  That means I haven’t been able to find time to work out during the week in basically six months, and we rarely eat dinner before eight, which I really, really hate.  I often think we should have found something closer in, even if it meant settling for something smaller.  I worry, especially, about what will happen when we have kids.  When will we have time to see them if we’re spending all our time commuting and it’s basically bedtime by the time we get home?

Everything feels completely unfinished.  I mean, even after seven months, we still don’t have a workable (in my opinion) solution to where the mail goes when we bring it in.  The guest room still has shit everywhere, you can’t turn the stove down low enough, the bushes in front were planted too close together, it’s fucking impossible to keep the hardwood floors clean, and I’m an asshole who can’t do anything except keep a running tally of all the shit that sucks about her house.

I can’t talk to David about this.  He doesn’t worry the way I do, and he doesn’t see any of these things as problems (and I recognize that some of the things I listed are not actual problems, yes).  I also can’t bring myself to tell him outright that I think I regret buying this house.  And there’s nothing I can do except try to accept that it’s basically always going to be a work in progress (and therefore never perfect, which is problematic for me) and try to make the best of it.

Moving On

It always amazes me to think that every house on every street is full of so many stories; so many triumphs and tragedies, and all we see are yards and driveways.
– Glen Close

Well, gosh.  I did not mean to post Ten and then disappear for six weeks.  My apologies.

April 29, the last day I posted, just happened to be National Open House Day, according to our realtor, so we went to check out 5 or 6 houses.  One we just loved, and so we got right into the process of going back to be sure, making an offer, considering counter-offers, securing financing, home inspections, appraisals, etc. That’s where my time has gone since that day.  Well, that, and curating a Pinterest board For Our Real House!

You guys, they’re really going to let us buy a house!  Wanna see it?

Isn’t it perfect?  That’s a tulip magnolia tree in the front yard; they are my favorite tree, hands down.  I always thought, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a house with one of those in the yard?”  And now I will!

It has some upgrades – an 800-square-foot addition, a big deck, fancy master bath – but it also needs some work, most particularly paint and some guest bath updates.  But this is going to be our house for the next 20 or 25 years, so I suppose there’s no rush.  It has exposed brick in the kitchen and a fully finished basement (with a pool table – we’re buying it from the sellers for a steal because they’d rather not have to move it).  The back yard is fully fenced and the local school district is literally one of the very best in the nation.  We don’t have nearly enough furniture to fill this house, but they’re also selling us their solid wood, North Carolina-built 10-piece dining room set for another steal, so that helps a lot.  It’s a block to the community pool and the brand new playground is around the corner.

One thing it’s not, though, is close to work.  We’re trading a 15-20-minute commute for a 45-60-minute one, which is also going to cost us more because we’ll have to pay to park at the Metro every day, but in the end, that was the only drawback of the location, so we decided everything else made the longer commute worth it.

We close June 28th, but the sellers are renting back for a to-be-determined amount of time, we hope ultimately until September 1.  That’s perfect, because our lease on our apartment runs through the end of September, and rent is paid prospectively while mortgages are paid retrospectively.  So, if they move out on September 1, they will have paid the mortgage for August and we’ll pay our rent for September.  On October 1, we’ll pay the mortgage for September but won’t have to pay any more rent.  Here’s hoping we don’t have to double up.

The rent-back is great, time-wise, for us, but it tempers my excitement a bit.  Closing isn’t going to be us signing our lives over to our lender and getting the keys and doing a walk-through.  It’s going to be us signing our lives over to our lender and becoming temporary landlords.  But all I want to do is BUY ALL THE THINGS (see Pinterest board) and pick all the paint colors and where everything’s going to go and plan our housewarming party and family Christmas, etc.  All in good time, I know.

So, yay!  You’re all invited to our new house any time after September !