Friday, October 5, 2012

This Old House

We moved to Wisconsin almost exactly a year ago. We didn't move into our house, though, until December. We were living in a hotel for 2 long months while we looked for the right house for us... one that was 1) in our price range, 2) not too small for 2 adults + 5 kids (which, in reality, is more like 5 adults + 2 kids because my 3 older kids are about adult-sized by now), 3) not in a bad part of town, and 4) didn't need so much work that it was uninhabitable.

That was quite a tall order.

We were lucky enough to find a house about 10 miles out of town. It's still in the school district so my kids are able to ride the school bus. It's on 15+ acres of land and a barn and chicken coop, it is about 30 years old, it's got room for all of us even though it's only 3 bedrooms - because it's got a full basement and we've nearly finished construction on 2 more bedrooms down there. And, most importantly, because it was a foreclosure it was well within our price budget.

The house had just gotten new flooring throughout the main floor and a fresh coat of construction-worker paint (aka slap one thin coat on and call it a day). We got new appliances in the kitchen (they needed replacing anyway) and I am thrilled.

However, the more I go to other people's homes the more my stomach drops a little. Our house needs updating. BADLY. There's no way to hide it. Right now it's not in the budget - we're tackling the biggest jobs first, like getting enough bedrooms for all our kids to have some breathing room. We also need to repair the barn roof. We have a crack in our driveway that's causing a leak into the basement (the one good thing about the summer drought up here is that we didn't have too much of a problem in the last 6 months).  We've got school tuition (our kids go to private school but ride the public school bus - a perk of living in Wisconsin). We've got birthday parties and band instruments and soccer uniforms to buy. It's a bit overwhelming.

But anyway, speaking of birthday parties, Sally has hers this weekend. Tomorrow, actually. I convinced her that Chuck E. Cheese was dumb and that a backyard party was WAY better. Plus Chuck E. Cheese is about an hour's drive away. So tomorrow afternoon we'll have about a dozen 5-year-olds and their parents in our house. And I know they'll be looking at our 70's style bathroom and wondering, "Whoa am I in a time warp?" They'll see my outdated kitchen cabinets and say, "Oh yeah, we had those cabinets in our house when I was a little kid!" They'll see the light fixtures and think, "Wow, I didn't know those fixtures were still made!" (they aren't.)

I'm not trying to keep up with the Joneses or pretend to be someone I'm not. I just ... feel a little ... embarrassed. And my house is definitely CLEAN and TIDY. But modern? no. Even just... current? no.

I know it will happen in time. I think it's actually humbling and good for me to have to wait for these things. It reminds me that I can't have everything right away and I shouldn't - I should have to work for it, have patience for it, and I will appreciate it all the more when it does happen. But in the mean time, I hope my guests embrace the groovy funk.

Texan Mama


Gigi said...

I'm so glad you got a house that you love - even if it's outdated.

I understand your feelings - but truly people are more understanding than you think. AND people also realize just how expensive it is to update a house - especially when you have children, whose needs obviously come first.

Take your time with the updates - get what you truly want. Just remember, a house is never "done." Because there will always be something else that you'll want to do.

And happy birthday to Sally! Give her an extra hug from me.

GunDiva said...

I think you'll be surprised to find that the only person judging your house is you. They will understand that you've got plenty of other things on you plate with five children and everything that goes on with that.

Ellen aka Ellie said...

The parents stay? Whoa!

The cool thing about having a fixer upper is people want to see the changes once they're made, even if the wait is a long one.

Foursons said...

I used to be so embarrassed by the falling apart mobile home we lived in. It looked so bad that people would stop and inquire about the vacant house and if they could buy it. Only problem was that it wasn't vacant and my family lived there! Now we live in a beautiful home in a nice neighborhood and I almost wish for the days in that mobile home that we OWNED and could be cleaned in a couple of hours. We were happy there and lots of good memories were made. In time I think you will look back and remember the good and funny memories about living in an outdated home.

And anyone who judges you for having an outdated home...they aren't worth your time.

jennyfer black said...

A house is just a place where you live in. But a home is a special place where family lives harmoniously. That's what is important the most, not the physical side. People are more understanding than what you think.
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