We bought our house almost exactly four years ago from a woman named Claudia. There were lots of reason she had let things go, not least of which was probably an undiagnosed mental illness. At the time we had been unsuccessfully bidding on houses-- 10 bids in three months, all of them going way beyond (some as much as 20%) asking price in the end. We were both making very little money but were determined to get in a house IN our neighborhood, CLOSE to people that we knew, NOT next to open-air drug activity. Claudia had found herself in an impossible situation with the house, and needed to let it go quickly and quietly. We were the first people in the door. We held our noses, pet the cats, and 30 minutes later we shook on it.
The process would get a little ugly (and really, the house was a freaking pit) but we were ecstatic to have something like this-- bigger than what we had hoped and in a part of the neighborhood we were sure we couldn't afford. It was fall. The leaves were changing.
Four years later I am still ecstatic to be in this house. It has been difficult. Frustrating. When Paul started school (again) last year we agreed to lose the deadlines for finishing things. The last few months I've started to get a little mad-- started to freak out and think that even if we did fix something, it wouldn't be right. It wouldn't be perfect. Well, this is crazy talk, and while I was sitting here worrying that IF it got done, it MIGHT not be right, I realized that it was all staying very much WRONG.
We could cover up the exposed insulation. We have a caulking gun. I love that caulking gun. There is so much paint sitting in the basement unused, surely there is something I could figure out. Then came a new set of deadlines-- the kind I like, involving people that I love. House guests. Folks who have stayed with us over the years and put up with camping in the living room, doing dishes in the tub, and bathing with water that shot straight out of a tube in the wall. They have thankfully stopped asking us if we are "done", but wouldn't it be so great to have something new to show them? Especially my dad, who hasn't been here since Spring and who has helped us through most of the major reno-- the initial demo, jacking up and reinforcing the foundation, leveling the yard, the plumbing... So we got started again, and I'm happy to say that things are moving along swimmingly. I am making decisions! I am using what we have! I am happy with the outcome!
(Some of you expressed sadness over the loss of the green-- a colour I still really like. But I'm working in a little space and I have a hard time keeping that space clean and holy cow does it help having it a bit calmer in here. You'll be happy to know the purple stairwell is staying.)
It is fall. And the leaves are changing. (And somewhere it is Spring-- right Megan?) Good things are happening all 'round.
Alicia and Andy spent some time with us the other night. I hope we can do that more often. We are big big fans of those two. Andy, Paul says you can come over and eat, watch "the guys", and call me Stephanie any night of the week.
We're mostly better (thank you Christina, I hope your soup offer is a standing one :) but our dear, old computer has some sort of disease and I'm not sure how we're going to work it out. It may mean very little blogging for the time being. This is maddening on lots of levels and we're trying to come to a wise decision about the whole business. IN THE MEANTIME, Sally has some great save-the-date sort of news coming in the next couple of days that I'm really happy about. AND in any blogging absence you can be assured that I'm going to have all kinds of crap to share when I get back. That's a promise.
Here's a parting shot of the sort of kitchen we bought into with this house, and then lived with for a good while. Sadly, you can't see the big holes in the ceiling or the water stains down the walls... You can, however, see a bit of my thumb.