Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A Different House 

It was our last look at the house, a final pre-purchase walk-through with parents in tow just to show off a little, spread the good cheer, get their blessing on this miracle that had, from the first moment we saw it, seemed too good to be true. We marveled at the finished basement, the humongous add-on family room, the extra bedroom. We wondered at the carefully cultivated yardage, the wide swaths of lawn, the far side of the neighbor’s fences.

And then we thought about how nervous we were, and how much work we’d have to put in, both short-term and eternally, to mold and keep the house into its greatest potential.

And then we walked away.

And went back to a much smaller home on the back of two high-canopy wooded acres, just two plots down from a beautiful waterfall, abutting a hundred undevelopable shaded walking trails put down by the army corps of engineers.

And examined every inch of the property from basement to backyard, from front porch to master bedroom.

And stood in the rooms, and thought of ourselves there, and smiled.

And in the end, we went for it. Despite sliding glass doors that opened out into a three foot drop where the previous owners had never bothered to build a deck; despite steep and narrow hardwood staircase up to the second floor. Despite a hole in the yard, round with sand and gravel fill, where a pool had until recently stood.

We almost took the house that represented all that we always said we never really wanted. But bigger isn’t better. It costs too much to keep the yard from encroaching; too much to think of the neighbors on the other side of the fence, too much to think of home as merely the interior of a house just starting to lean into the wind.

More, it costs too much to try to be the people who live in big suburban houses too much alike from the next one. Too much to worry that the big yardtree might fall, leaving us bereft of shade. Too much, indeed, to pretend that we can afford oil for twelve. Too much to spend our lives and weekend hours desperately holding back the encroaching weeds and self-imposed expectations of grandeur.

Instead, we went for the house that seemed like us. The house with room to wander and build. The house we could afford to keep and then some.

The house that felt like home.

And for the first time in a thousand days, we feel like the kind of mature, sensible, grounded and centered adults who deserve it.

Because, in the end, it wasn’t about the house. It was about us. And here as in all things, bigger isn’t better. It’s the peace within us, the spirits of love and laughter and adventure we hold over ourselves like a wedding canopy, wrap ourselves in like a wedding blanket, snuggle into four in a bed every night, that mattered.

So we bid this morning on the house we can afford in all ways – financially and emotionally, ego-wise and in its sheer growth potential. Better, though, we bid on the house that already seemed ready to receive us for who we are, a fifth spoke in our wheel, container and core for the love that we share.

And this is it!

Thanks to Mom, Dad, and Darcie’s parents, who took one look at the house and – each in their own respectful way, proactive or subtle – helped us realize that we were neither them nor the Joneses. They’ll always be welcome in our home.

And thanks to them - assuming, of course, that the sellers accept our bid - we’ll always feel welcome there, too.

posted by boyhowdy | 8:40 PM |

It's absolutely beautiful and I would kill to have your front porch. I have always wanted a farmer's porch.
I've been following your adventure for some time now and I am so pleased to see it has all worked out for the best. You provide the rest of us with hope that it is possible, that things can work out in the end.
Ah...thanks for that, Jo.

That said, I'm a bit reluctant to call it "the end" just yet. Heck, the sellers haven't yet responded to our opening bid; it remains realistically possible that some other fools will step in tomorrow and offer full price, thus garnering the prize and leaving us back at square one.

Things won't have truly worked out the best until we've actually got a deed in hand.

But they certainly are lookin' up, ain't they?
It is very cute. And just like Jo, I am envious of your porch. I am reading this a little late, so I know some time has passed, but I hope they accept your bid.
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