Nov 14, 2014

The New House

It's around midnight.
Doug is snoring next to me, and as usual, I'm still awake.
Outside, the cacophony of a pack of coyotes possibly murdering a neighbor dog somewhere in my cul-de-sac, makes me realize I need to write some stuff down about my new home.

My new home is very different from my old home.

Although our new home is only a 7 minute drive away and a 2.8 mile walk away from our last home, (I just google-mapped it.) it feels like a whole different world. For starters, we are in a different city now. And within that city, we are living in an area with a veeeeery different feel and esthetic. There are no sidewalks in my new neighborhood, only horse trails.

There are horses in my new neighborhood.

There are low-density housing laws so we're not living blocks away from apartments any more. (And our friends in those apartments.) There are lots of big yards with neighbors who don't need to hang out at the community pool for recreation. (95% of our neighbors have backyard pools.)

In my particular little subdivision, most of the homes were built in the late 80's. (Ours in 88.) Some of our neighbors are original owners and many are empty-nesters and grandparents. That means this neighborhood, coyotes not withstanding, is veeeeeeery quiet. Eerily so.  Once my kids are asleep, there is no more noise on this block. (There are some teenagers, but evidently they don't hang with boys driving cars with super loud mufflers like I did in High School.)

For the longest time, pulling into the neighborhood, and then into our driveway, just felt weird. We are three houses down from my sister Laura. It always felt normal like we were going to her house. Until we had to make the mental adjustment to it being our house. Not normal. Weird. We kept having to remind ourselves: "Hey, we're home. This is OUR home. We're not going home from here!"

And for quite awhile I just had this overwhelming sense of sadness. I feel like it's not super normal to mourn when moving out of a rental. But maybe I should have had a good cry and gotten it over with. Because for the longest time, I had (and still occasionally have) these pangs of sadness over what we left behind. (Which, now that I think of it, has been the case after each and every move.)

We really, really miss our old neighbors. There were a lot of kids in the old 'hood. And lots of great families. We were able to make great friends just by hanging out at the community pool. Of course, we're still friends with those friends, and they're only 7 minutes away. But I won't see them nearly as much. Now meetings will have to be scheduled and planned for and driven to. And they'll be fewer and farther between.

Now don't get me wrong, we'll be just fine. There are a million positives to this move, obviously. I just wanted our first impressions recorded somewhere. And I want to always remember that the last three years in "Ann's House" were good years. That we loved our home and loved our neighbors and that they will be sorely missed.

And now it is 1 a.m.  The coyotes have moved on, and I need to go to sleep.


Nov 12, 2014

Our House, In the Middle of Our Street

(Published out of order--this was the first "new house" post I wrote but never finished and published.)

We're officially homeowners! (For the third time...hopefully the last).

We moved out of our three year rental against our will and into another rental for four weeks. Just after signing the lease on the second rental (hereafter known as "Half-way House") we discovered our dream home had fallen out of escrow.  We didn't think we could afford it, but the mortgage lady worked some dark magic and we somehow got it.  Now, when I say it is my dream house, I'm being disengenuous. It is not even remotely my dream home in and of itself, except for one key element: it has a big yard.

As Doug and I have looked and looked and looked at homes over the last three years, almost all of them have come up short in one area--the size of the backyard. Our first rental had a tiny yard.  Literally, just a back patio. Barely big enough for the tiny 6 foot trampoline we found at and a patio table.

So for years I've been day-dreaming.
Wishing for a yard with enough room for a BIG trampoline.
Longing for a yard deep enough to set up a volleyball net, throw a baseball or kick a soccer ball...

But as we looked we discovered that even if the property info listed a larger sized yard, it was taken up with a huge slope, a ginormous pool, a long drive-way, or some other unusable space.

Newer homes being built around here seem to be getting larger, while the lot they sit on gets smaller.
Sure, 4,500 square feet and five bedrooms would be fabulous, but NOT 5.5 baths with 5.5 toilets to clean. And not sitting on a lot barely big enough to hold the house!

My sister and brother-in-law kept telling us to look for the yard, not the house.  They pointed out that in their neighborhood, all the homes sit on .5 acre(ish) lots. We pointed out we couldn't afford their neighborhood.

But then the home three doors down and across the cul-de-sac fell out of escrow.
A home built in 1988 sitting on a half an acre flat lot.

It also has some other huge bonuses: A downstairs office that we've converted into to a guest room and a downstairs full bath.  This is perfect for visitors and especially perfect for my Mother-in-law who has bad knees. This was #2 on our wish list: Downstairs guest room and full bath!

Upstairs there are four bedrooms. We decided to keep Max and Sam together in one, Gabe and Gray together in another, and use the third for a play/bonus room. Linc will stay in our walk-in closet a little longer and then we'll figure out where to stick him when he moves to a toddler bed.

#3 on my wish list: Place to corral every single toy and game we own. Check!

Since moving in, we've deep cleaned, (previous owners had several pets and we have several pet allergies between all of us.) painted, done a lot of work on the backyard including removing three very large dead trees, and started remodeling the downstairs bathroom and upstairs boys bathroom due too leaky grout and mold issues.

My current project is acquiring rugs to cover some of the hard floors to dampen the noise produced by five boys in a big echo chamber. Sometime down the road we'll work on living room furniture and stuff for the walls.

One of the huge bonuses of this house lives three doors down the street: My SISTER and her family. We love hanging out with Laura and Jeff and especially love late night snack time after the kids are in bed and spontaneous hot tub parties at their house.  Laura has four daughters whom we love a LOT! Their oldest daughter Ashlin has been our #1 babysitter since we moved here. Since she is now out of state for college, the job falls to Makaila. Even Dania, who is Max's age, loves to help with Linky and takes him on walks. Their youngest, Kirra, is Sam's age and she loves to come over to play. It's been a lot of fun having them so close and seeing the cousins hanging out together.

I want to post some house before and after pictures, but there are no good "afters" yet.
Those will be forthcoming...

For now, I think I'll send the boys into the backyard and go take a nap!