The past two weeks have found us home more than usual and it has been nice. The rain has been intense at time, but our city's rivers are staying in their banks for now. This entire summer, I have spent lots of time thinking more about how to make our home work better for us. We bought this home as a foreclosure almost six years ago. It was a mess when we got it, but we felt very blessed to move our family to a safer neighborhood where we could live in relative peace. The yard was completely overrun with weeds, vines, trees, bugs and snakes of all sorts. It was a real jungle, but the almost acre of space gave us breathing room from our neighbors and somewhere for our rather loud family (at the time) to run and squeal. The inside had faulty electricity, leaking windows, no fixtures, broken flooring, leaking windows, and plumbing issues galore. The new mortgage was bigger and stretched our budget so greatly that we could hardly afford to make necessary improvements. It was extremely overwhelming, to say the least, but there were five bedrooms and three separate common areas so that everyone could get away from each other when need be. With the high level of special needs in our family plus living with a child with mental illness, space and breathing room were absolutely necessary to keep everyone safe. We dug in and tried to find the diamond in the rough, feeling blessed all along the way that we were in a better place than before with our tight, antique, former home in the heart of a very crowded inner city environment (where drug dealers sold their wares on the corner and our children (especially our daughter, Goldilocks) befriended the neighborhood prostitute who would stand on the other side of our front fence. Yes, we were blessed to be able to move. But then, within just a year in a half, everything changed. Our daughter Goldilocks ran away from home, and the professionals agreed with us that we would not be safe if she were returned to the home. A big part of our move had been to protect her and protect us from the type of people she attracted to our door. She was the driving force behind our move and now she was gone, leaving us with a huge mortgage for more land and house than we now needed (not to mention the hundreds of dollars it costs every month to board her in a mental health facility). At the same time, the housing market went insane in our city, and our old neighborhood became very popular and much safer. We missed the beauty of our old 1930's Dutch Colonial. This 1950's rancher had never been the style of home my husband and I desired. I hate to admit it, but resentment set in. Here we were in an overwhelming house, with a huge, unmanageable yard; and because Goldilocks had left, we didn't need it anymore. I am a city girl. I love crowded, small and vibrant spaces. However, because of the market being so "hot," there is no way we can afford now to move. We probably can't even make a step-down move because everything is so ridiculously expensive.
I do not like feeling resentful, knowing full well that we are truly blessed. So this summer, I have been working on falling back in love (or at least "like") with my home. We are blessed to have a safe home that, due to lots of work, has new windows, safe appliances and electricity. The front yard is welcoming and manageable. The back and side yards are coming along. We spent the better part of the first four years in this home ripping out unwelcome plant life from the yard. Thanks to my Mom and an Aunt, we now have some nice plantings that we have added to the yard. Recently, we bought a ride on lawnmower, so the grass part of the yard can be done quickly. That way, we can get back to fighting the creeping vines.
|BEFORE -- former owner took drawers, doors, and hardware with her|
Well, I hope this doesn't come across as a whiny post. I really am glad to be a homeowner in this very desirable city in the mountains. So many of my friends are trapped in rentals or have been forced to move far outside the town or even had to move away entirely because the cost of living here is so difficult. Also, I get annoyed when people complain about money when they have so much. I get that, and we have been blessed to be able to make adjustments to our mortgage to make our month to month budget easier. Also, we were blessed with a small inheritance which we have used to do the traveling we accomplished this year. We are indeed very blessed.