Lately, our lives can be summarized in three words: emotional roller coaster. Mike and I have been riding up and down and spinning round and round but I see an end in sight and it’s pretty sweet.
What’s not so sweet is saying goodbye to our first home. Always one to get overly attached to inanimate objects, this has been especially difficult for me.
Don’t get me wrong, we wanted this and couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome. From a business perspective, we bought and sold at the right times and are walking away from this transaction saying we made 5% at a time when 1 out of 5 homeowners are foreclosing. That feels good. We are also moving onto a better home, in a nicer neighborhood, closer to family and friends.
But again, saying goodbye to a space we loved is never easy.
Now, let’s be honest, calling it a diamond in the rough is putting it lightly. It was straight UGLY when we bought it a 2.5 years ago. But, it had a great location, killer views, beautiful natural light, and an updated kitchen. In short, the bones were there and we’ve learned from my parents and their ventures in real estate that you can always “pretty” a house up. In short, their lesson to buy the ugliest house on the nicest block did not fall on deaf ears.
So, in June of 2009, after six months of house hunting, we moved into our very humble abode and immediately, started making plans for improvements. First priority…the nasty, insect infested tree in the front yard. Not ones to cut down trees unnecessarily, we weighed our options and agreed reluctantly, it had to go.
Then came the fireplace – I mean what’s up with the shiny gold screen and the fake brick? Fortunately, my dad surprised us for our first Christmas and replaced that eyesore with a beautiful ledgestone fireplace and custom built mantle. It changed the room completely.
Last summer, we tore out the Boogie Nights hot tub and the rotting wood deck that accompanied it and replaced them with forever grass, fresh landscaping, and river rock. A labor of love, the yard went from a space we avoided to a little retreat that we used daily.
We never touched the kitchen because it was already updated when we moved in – talk about a $30,000 savings right there. But, we spent every free weekend we had replacing all of the interior doors and baseboards, updating the bathroom countertops, and painting the house – inside and out. With each project we really felt like we were turning a house into a home and what began as a blank slate evolved into a space we cherished and grew proud to call our own.
We thought we were just making aesthetic improvements but we were actually building memories at the same time. We poured our love into our guest rooms, turning one into an office for Mike and the other into a nest for Savannah. No detail was overlooked.
I learned how to appreciate the flavor of a single malt scotch on the patio. We started Easter traditions around our dining room table and shared picnics on our teeny, tiny patch of grass in the backyard. The halls our of our home witnessed a lot of arguments but even more laughter. After all, we worked through our newleywed growing pains in this space.
Most memorably, we brought our babies home to this house. We battled our first nights with a six week old Lola – do we let her sleep on the bed or take the much more responsible, crate training route? (we let her in the bed and she hasn’t gotten out since). And more recently, we shared Savannah’s homecoming and our first six months as a family.
And now, as we prepare to walk the empty halls this weekend saying our final goodbyes to a house we loved, I’m sure we’ll reminisce about all of the good times we spent at 602 —.
There are no doubt certain moments that stick out most in my mind: The early nights with Savannah, sitting in bed as she nursed and thinking, “Oh my God. Is it actually possible to love another human this much?” Laughing as Lola ran in circles at full speed around the living room. Waking Mike up early on a Sunday morning waving a positive pregnancy test in his face and the feeling of shock that coursed through my veins when my water broke in the middle of our bedroom. The long walks with Lola around the neighborhood and to the dog park. And, the slow dances with my husband on Friday nights.
I am so grateful to this little house for letting us in, keeping us warm, and giving us the space to grow. I pray the next family that inherits it will love it as much as we do and make even more improvements as time goes by – hardwood floors would be nice!
Thank you, little house, for being good to us. For taking care of us. Someday, we’ll drive Savannah by and tell her stories of our time under your strong roof. Until then, continue to stand tall and shine bright.
Our first house – we loved here.