Having bid our official farewell to Old House (as my 4 year old calls it), it’s time to talk a bit about New House.
To start with, it’s lovely and has much to recommend it, though there are also a fair amount of headaches we knew were coming because it’s an old house (irony that the house we call New House is older than the house we call Old House have been discussed at length). But we’re dealing with them one by one and, though we are still far from unpacked (my office is completely filled with boxes and my pre-pregnancy clothes are just… gone?), it’s starting to slowly feel like home. The preschooler is absolutely in love with the place because it’s more room for her to run wild and make a huge mess (key to a successful childhood, of course). We have a pool now and our yard is way more landscaped than we would have ever done ourselves so there are a billion pretty flowers (such as the wisteria pictured above that grows over our gate). This coupled with some of the fanciness inside has us mostly intimidated because it’s like a proper grownup house for proper grownups and yet we own it so surely there’s been some mistake?
There was a lot of competition for this house and I wrote the sellers a letter with our offer talking about my memories of sleepovers and trick or treating with friends in this very neighborhood when I was a kid (it’s in the school district I grew up in which we wanted, though on the complete opposite side of town from where we lived) and wanting my girls to have that. When they cited this letter as the reason they took our offer over others (which was not the highest by a long shot), I told a writer friend I felt guilty because I manipulated them with my words. She replied, “Uh, you’re a writer. Manipulating people with your words is literally your job.” Which, OK… Touché.
But because there was so much more competition, we made a bunch of concessions all of which adds up to lots of spending, workers coming in and out and other annoyances which is holding me back from falling totally in love with the place yet. There was also a lot of drama with little details related to the sale so we weren’t sure if we actually had the house until they physically handed us the keys so I never let myself get emotionally attached just in case. But now that we are here, our hope is that that we will stay here for a good long time (which is great since this move was such a nightmare I’d be happy to never do it again ever.)
As you can probably tell, I’m having some mixed emotions here. Because there’s a lot I love about this house, obviously, or we wouldn’t have bought it. It ticks off mostly everything on our wishlist in terms of both what’s in the house itself and the location. It was only the third house we visited at and, when I saw it, I was immediately like: Sold. Done. Buy it.
But… because it was only the third house we visited and we did the whole process in such an absolutely insane rush while pregnant, there’s this weird What If feeling lingering that I didn’t have the with Old House. When we bought our old house, it was after looking at what felt like every house for sale in the universe so, when we found it, it was instant love because we knew it was the best thing for us of everything out there. This time, we made the decision so fast, it’s hard not to wonder what we could have found if we had more time. Of course, realistically, this is a dumb way to think but there we are.
The other problem is that, while we bought this house with the intention of staying here for a very long time and I know we would be happy here, that is somewhat stifling. I keep thinking of all the dream houses my husband and I used to talk about getting someday and realizing that, no, this is where we’ll be on those somedays is a little sad. Or at least limiting. It’s realizing we made this decision of where we’re going to live for the bulk of the rest of our lives in a huge rush when we didn’t even get to give it our full attention and that’s…what it is, I guess.
There’s also the spectre of my parents’ house, which I love and don’t want to completely rule out owning someday should they decide to move. On the plus side, it’s in the same school district as our new house so, if we did ever choose to move, the kids wouldn’t have to change schools. But will any of us want to move by then? Who knows!
And, yes, it’s ridiculous to think about all this now when literally anything could change at any point but I can’t help it because of the haste we did the whole process in. Frankly, if we had known in the fall of last year what we know now about the economy and politics, would we have moved at all? Probably not.
It comes down to having met this house in a wild round of speed dating and now, after that whirlwind courtship, we’ve got to get to know each other. When I have time to unpack a bit, that will help. So will decorating and making it my own. Right now, there’s boxes everywhere and things where other people shoved them when we moved in which agitates me to no end but there’s no time to fix it so that’s how it will have to stay for now. I keep trying to remember that we went a full year in our Old House with no furniture in several rooms so it was a while before that one become properly itself as well. It will take time.
So that’s where we are. Happy but still trying to find our comfy spot in our new surroundings.
“Are you all settled in at the New House?” people ask and the answer is, no, not yet. Not really. But we’re working on it, bit by bit.