Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Journey to "This Vine Life" - Part 2

I'm skipping around a little bit in the story of how we found ourselves on the journey to "This Vine Life." Consider this one a bit of an origin story and where I'm at emotionally with our move. More to come later on how we are actually adjusting to our new home and what the first few days have been like. Here's a hint:  boxes, spiders, more boxes.


Our First Home - "The Cottage"


We bought our first home almost 6 years ago in 2005; right as the "housing bubble" neared its popping point. (Isn't it adorable?) JP, my husband - the smart, savvy forward-thinker that he is, talked me into it. We had looked at the house a few months earlier and JP loved it. I thought it was okay, but also really small and that the asking price was too high, so I refused to discuss it further. We both forgot about it. The owners, who had completely redone the 1927 brick cottage, including converting and expanding a garage into an in-laws quarters complete with a private bathroom, kitchen and stackable washer and dryer, had a hard time unloading it so it sat on the market for several months. Eventually I rediscovered it online and then it was my turn to convince JP that it was the right home for us. The price had dropped and, with the in-laws quarters as a cash flow opportunity, it was the perfect way for us to get into the market (which was still rising at the time).We figured being in a desirable neighborhood, just a short walking distance from the local private University surely couldn't hurt us either. The plan was to live there 3 to 5 years and then move on to something bigger. When the market tanked and our home lost more than half it's value, I figured we were here indefinitely. (If you recall the point of this blog, you'll know that all changed recently.)

We loved our time in this house. As we moved out the last few pieces of furniture on Sunday I looked around and the memories of the last 6 years hit me like a freight train. I remembered the first few weeks of ownership spent painstakingly painting the kitchen a vibrant cherry red color (that required 7 coats and peeled off in places when we removed the painters tape - rookie mistakes) and the way I agonized over any white spots showing through the living room and bedroom walls. I remembered converting the spare bedroom into LJ's nursery and how proud we were of the space we created for him. I remembered the afternoon naps on the sofa in front of the gas insert fireplace with a new baby on my chest. I remembered creeping into LJ's room to confirm his slow and steady breathing when we moved him into his crib just a week after he was born. I remembered the easy walk down the front porch steps and through the tree-lined neighborhood to our favorite Starbucks and to the place where we met and fell in love. I remembered the year we put Christmas lights on all the windows and how excited JP was with the Snoopy blowups he bought for the front yard (and how mad I was when our electric bill was over $500 because of said decorations). I remembered how beautiful it was to have so many friends and family members in this home for LJ's 1st Birthday Party and another time when several faithful friends drove from out of town in a thunder storm to attend a dinner party we hosted. Basically, I remembered all of the memories we poured into this house over the last six years and how fleeting they all seemed as I surveyed the empty rooms. How could all of that time and all of those memories be gone with just a few hours, some manual labor and a moving truck? Even now as I type this my eyes are filled with tears and my heart is filled with a kind of melancholy that I don't quite understand. (Especially since our new home has so many conveniences we were lacking over the past 6 years...like more than one bathroom and a walk-in closet!!!)

I mean, as much as I loved our first home, the place was ridiculously too small for us to live comfortable, organized lives. We were in a constant state of clutter and could never put all of our laundry away when it was clean. It was awkward to have people visit because you couldn't really spread out and to get to the bathroom you had to walk through the kitchen, which was never clean. (Unless it was a Monday or Tuesday and my mother-in-law had been in town for babysitting duty.) But, this cramped little house was ours and we had some great fun and made great memories here!

My friend Randi likened it to the plot of a TV show she just watched and says I have my "graduation goggles" on. You know, as times passes after graduation and you look back and can only remember how much fun you had and how great your friends were and the good times you shared - not how lame it was when you and your best friend were the only seniors who went all out for decades day and spent hours putting together the perfect 80's ensembles only to have her change into regular clothes during 2nd period...or the time your drama teacher went crazy and cancelled practice and made you stand outside during a torrential downpour because you couldn't get a hold of your mom because cell phones didn't exist yet.

I digress...I definitely have my "house nostalgia glasses" on this week. I'm hoping that by the time I finish cleaning the final boxes out of "the cottage" basement and finally get my kitchen unpacked and photos on the wall at the new house that I can move on and start to feel good about making new memories in a new space - remembering how fleeting time is and how important it is to live in every spider-filled, cluttered, too many laundry piles moment and enjoy all life has to offer.

Happy Thursday friends!

-Beck :)