Sunday, January 10, 2010

Dream House

I've lived in my house for almost seventeen years. We built this house as newlyweds and I've been stuck here ever since. I need to just face the fact that I'm never getting out of this house.

I should have known when I met Husband that he wasn't the kind of guy who moved around a lot. He was pretty settled in his own nice little house back then. The fact that it was in a neighborhood that was crumbling around him, with dangerous youth gangs roaming the streets, never fazed him. He wasn't the kind of guy who just up and moved. He had to think about it first for a few decades. Also, he came from a family who didn't like change either, like they'd nail a picture up on the wall in 1946 and that's where it would stay for the next sixty years.

Meanwhile, in my family, my mother spent the sixties repainting, recarpeting, refurbishing. If she ran out of money, she just picked up our furniture and threw it down, like dice, into a new decorating configuration. She could never leave anything alone, except permanent fixtures, like light switches and staircases.

I'm not saying my house isn't great, on the inside. Somehow, in 1993 when we bought it, before we even had kids, we ended up with a house with enough space. Nowadays we use a lot more of that space, but still, we're not squished.

But this great house is plopped on a postage stamp piece of property, and the house takes up most of it. If I reach an arm out the window, I can almost touch my neighbor's house. Our front yards are gravel, like the alleys were back in Chicago. In Arizona this is called "landscaping." Since grass doesn't grow naturally here, our backyard has a combination of dirt and weeds that we like to call a lawn.

So I stalk houses with land. I stalk houses with big kids' bedrooms. I stalk houses with views. I stalk houses in neighborhoods that don't have HOAs. I stalk houses with gigantic laundryrooms that don't have doors to the garage at one end of them. I could settle for a house that had a laundryroom that could actually fit a laundry basket in it.

For right now, I think I'll go rearrange some furniture.

Do you always feel like everything would be perfect if you lived in a different place? Do you live in different circumstances than those you grew up in?


  1. I live in and weeds...yup.
    That's our lawn as well...or if your new, you try the lawn thing forever and then one days while spraying the 'lawn' for weeds...watering the 'lawn' to save the four blades of grass that have managed to cling to snap, and suddenly the idea of 4 tons of gravel in the front yard and yucca plants in place of trees in the back seems like pure genius.
    You want to do something fun....there is a website called united country dot com. It is a rural home want to gawk at cheap houses on acres of land with thousands of square feet that you'll never inhabit...just go there.
    I used to think If only I could live in such and thus a place, I would be happy.
    Then one day I realized that If you can't be happy where you are at, you will never be happy anywhere. I spent years holding off on living because I was miserable in a subdivision. Now I cherish how close my neighbors many opportunities my kids have to make friends. It's all in the perspective.
    Oh, and should be common sense with the whole food thing...but so is breastfeeding. Look how the medical field loused that up in the 60's and 70's.
    Good post.

  2. Right now, I know that my "dream house" is a long way off. Until the husband completes med school (and residency and fellowships) we will not be moving into any sort of house.

    So, we are used to living in too little space with noisy neighbors. Hey, at least we are friends with all our neighbors!

  3. P.S. I sent you an e-mail. I am not sure how often you check your inbox (you probably have a life, unlike me, so are not glued to your e-mail inbox).

  4. Chris, I had no idea there was the same joke lawn in Colorado! I always thought it was purely a desert problem.
    Thanks for such a great perspective on the neighborhood thing. I really work on this a lot and have come to realize that it really has nothing to do with the house - it has to do with the nut inside the house (yes, me).

  5. Ambrosia, I agree, close proximity to neighbors makes close relationships with neighbors (or feuds!) And I got the email and no, I don't have a life beyond the Internet either!

  6. We have moved 8 times in 14 years. It has it's own set of troubles. My lists of "things I want in the next house" is getting quite large. I wish we could stay somewhere long enough to get really settled in.

    I feel for the small yard, it makes it hard for the kids to play outside. In fact large yard is on my next house list (since we are leasing right now while our house in another state is waiting to sell, I know there will be a next house, hopefully soon).

  7. So great! We moved every year for eleven years, so rearranging furniture is about all I'm up for anymore.

  8. Charlotte - that's it exactly. The yard and, in my case, just getting one where the kids can lope freely before they're too big to enjoy it. I keep imagining that I had that when I was a kid then I went on Google maps and looked up our house in Chicago and our yard? Tiny. Oh well.

  9. Lisa, 11 times in 11 years? Oy. Okay, maybe I'm happy with the fact that there are cobwebs growing on me.