Now, there's only been a handful of times (and by handful I'm mean, like, two times*) that a business has reached out to me asking if I could help promote their product on my site. I never know how to respond to such requests, because, well, I'm just small potatoes here and product promotion or reviews seems the stuff of much larger potatoes.
But, if you hadn't already noticed, I'm a total sucker for sentimental walks down memory lane. And, since I just wrote about my 10th anniversary living in York, it only makes sense to reflect on the five year, eight month anniversary of moving into my first house, right?
I love this house. In fact, I tell that to Brad on a regular basis. I imagine to the rest of the world, it's just a nondescript brick rancher.
|Here it is when we moved in back in 2009. |
We've since added more shrubbery and flowers to the front
(many of which I run over on a regular basis while backing out of the garage).
|People often assume that our 4 year old picked the color. |
Brad's a big fan of purple and he made a strong case for Grapelicious.
When Brad and I were house hunting, we knew we wanted to stay relatively close to the interstate -- neither of us are from York and we frequently travel to visit family and friends in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and northeastern Pa. I wanted a yard for a dog and Brad wanted a garage. We were both wary of having a major fixer-upper, but figured we could handle some basic home improvement.
We'd looked at some pretty rough houses before our real estate agent took us to see this house, which I didn't want to fall in love with because it was at the top end of our budget.
But there it was on this street lined with huge, old sycamores. Convenient to everything, in a great school district, with its garage and fenced-in yard just waiting for a dog to run around in it.
We were still determined not to fall in love with it.
|Here's is just one of the 11 (11!) closets in our house. |
This does not count the giant pantry and
amazing built-in storage cabinets throughout the basement.
I still giggle thinking about the person
who wanted to ensure each shelf was amply lit.
When we left the house, we both sighed. What a beautiful house, but we probably shouldn't. Newlyweds on a pair of journalist's salaries should probably play it safe.
We thought we might put an offer on another smaller house we'd just looked at. It was within our price range, probably a more responsible choice. But we both knew our hearts weren't in it.
So we decided to put an offer in. This totally shocked our agent who didn't even think we liked the house at all given how quiet we were while walking through it.
I'd like to say we drove a hard bargain and got the price down to a number we felt comfortable with, but we didn't. We probably overpaid (OK, we definitely overpaid -- a fact that became abundantly clear when I started following the deeds listings and watched as the home prices in our neighborhood plummeted. It didn't help, either that we were both furloughed for a week within a month of moving in. Stupid recession. Anyway, we made good use of that week off by painting a 70s-era wood-paneled basement bedroom).
All that seems like a distant memory now though. I have no regrets about buying the house we wanted. I knew it was the place for us the minute we stepped through the door. And over the years we've tackled projects both major and minor to make it our own.
The first, what we still jokingly refer to as our "Weekend Tiling Project" (it ended up taking us more than three weeks ... ahh how naive we were), was to tile the sunroom.
|I feel this picture doesn't really do this massive expanse of floor justice.|
|I can tell this was a before picture because I|
still look blindly optimistic about the whole thing.
Also, the lack of tile on the floor.
|I still pine for you Lime Green Beetle.|
|Peanut Butter takes a load off after a long day of trying |
to walk on wet grout, escape to the back yard and knock over water glasses.
When I left work to stay at home with Lily three years ago, I became fixated on what would be our next major project. Transforming our kitchen and its dated, dark wood cabinets and bile-colored countertops. I'm not being overdramatic here, see:
|How much more crap can they fit on their counters? You're no doubt asking yourself. So much more stuff!|
Then, just a month or two before Jovie was due, we buckled down. Brad's parents came down for a weekend and we finished painting the cabinets, had the new solid surface counters installed, and Brad and his dad tackled the glass tile backsplash. We also put new hardware on the cabinets and painted the rest of the kitchen. It was glorious.
|No, the counters are not normally this empty. Also, don't look to closely at the floor. |
Or the throw rug for that matter. Just do me a solid and don't zoom in .
Our house isn't perfect. The pipes are prone to backups. The basement gets damp when it's monsooning. The wood floors are newborn-waking creaky and in desperate need of refinishing. The layout of our bathroom is infuriating, especially when tired parents are attempting to wrangle slippery, spazzy children post-bath. Our home is quickly being overtaken by large, plastic playthings.
But even with two adults, two kids, two cats, an obnoxious hound and a hefty colony of house centipedes, I don't feel like we've outgrown the place. In fact, I kind of like the idea of allowing our little brick rancher to dictate the amount of stuff we actually need. I think life might be simpler that way.
It's not just the house itself either. I love watching the girls chase the dog around the oak tree in the back yard. I have big plans for the little garden shed out back that needs a new coat of paint. Same goes for the bathroom. I love anticipating the noise and silliness that comes when my siblings and parents and nieces and nephews crowd into my sunroom-turned-banquet hall for Thanksgiving. I love our neighbors and our neighborhood and all its quirky residents. I love that we have the perfect spot to watch the day go by ...
I suppose that technically it's our starter home because its where my family started. I prefer to just call it home because I can't imagine us anywhere else.
The folks at Urban Compass specialize in helping New Yorkers who are apartment hunting find their ideal neighborhood. I'm no expert in New York real estate, but I can say that you won't love your house if you don't love where it's located. It does't matter how many well-lit closets there are or how many new appliances it has, you'll never truly feel at home if you don't open your heart to the people and experiences around you.
*Back in October, a PR sort from a company called MorphSuits asked me if I was going to be posting anything about Halloween costumes, and if so, if I was interested in having them send me a costume. Here's what a MorphSuit looks like:
The world isn't ready for me (or anyone in my family, for that matter) to don a MorphSuit. Though, come to think of it, I have I have at least one nephew who, given the opportunity, might wear one of these on a daily basis. Anyway, I declined the offer.