So, you guys all know that Husband and I have moved around a lot in the past few years. After almost a decade of life together in Washington, DC, we shlepped across country to Los Angeles in 2008 to pursue Husband's career (a decision that was largely made for us after the company he was working for in Maryland was bought by an LA-based company). We rented a cute little house with a white picket fence in Studio City & settled in to what we thought would be our life together in Southern California.
Fifteen months later, Silicon Valley called for Husband. And so we packed up again and moved up to Northern California, and rented a cute little house in a town so stereotypically California that its name actually had "Sunny" in it. The landlords sold that house, so two years later, we had to move to another cute little house in another town. And then? THAT landlord decided to sell the house--and not like the previous owner did, giving us 90 days notice and not putting the house on the market until we'd moved out. No, this landlord decided to give us 2 days notice before driving the FOR SALE sign into the front lawn and saying "hopefully when it sells it will be a long escrow and you can work out a rent-back with the new owners, and oh, by the way, can you keep the place tidy and uncluttered and get out for showings and open houses?"
Once we picked our jaws up off the ground, we scrambled and got to work---we'd rented 3 homes in California in the past 4 years. Each landlord had been worse than the next, the last one not informing me that the refrigerator that was in the house when I looked at it did not actually convey to us as renters, and so on the day we moved in, I walked into the kitchen to find a gaping hole where the fridge had been. He was that kind of landlord. While I hated the idea that I had to pack up & move in a hurry, I knew I was going to be glad to be rid of him.
We decided to buy; it wasn't the perfect time for us (is there ever?), but we both felt like we couldn't deal with one more landlord situation & at 41, I was more than ready to be in a home where I could paint the walls and not worry about having to paint them back. And I've been watching way too much HGTV to live in a rental any longer---Too! Many!! DIY!!! Projects!!!! running through my brain to live in someone else's home any longer. And we'd been saving for years.
So of course, we bought the first house we looked at. We did actually look at several houses. But we went back to the first one & even though there were so many things about it we thought we didn't want--on a mountain, windy road, two-stories, etc., we could not get it out of our minds as we looked at other homes that were lovely and hit all of our "must-haves." There were a lot of conversations about why our "must haves" were what they were, and realized that in the end, the emotional attachment we both felt to the house was more important than the idea of how a single-story home would make our life easier. Also, the staircase leading up to the second floor kind of took our breath away.
We moved in right after the new year. We actually spent part of New Years Eve in the house with friends, listening to our voices echo off the walls in the empty rooms and watching the kids dance around, twirling in the living room and giggling. Then on moving day, Ethan and I sat on the brick wall on our driveway and as we watched the empty moving truck back down the hill of our driveway, Ethan said, "This already feels like home, doesn't it?" Heart. Melt. Moment. Burned. In. Memory. Forever.
And it really does. It's still strewn with 1/2 unpacked boxes and the formal living room will likely remain an empty space (perfect for dance parties) for the next year while we get settled. But that's okay, because I plan on living here until I am old(er) and grey(er). Every day I find myself sighing and thinking "I love my house." We live up on the slope of a mountain, surrounded by trees and birds and even a coyote or two, but we're five minutes to the center of town, so you know, I can still walk out of my door & have a Starbucks chai in my hand within 10 minutes--a definite "must have."
My friend Sarah recently posted about reading a book called Happier At Home, which suggests choosing a word to guide your year. She chose the word "relish" which I love (on hot dogs, especially). Part of me wants to totally Single White Female that word from her & use it as my word, but I think instead, I am going to focus on "Grateful." We are beyond blessed. We are finally home.