Wisdom Comes Suddenly

Spaceship Included In Purchase Price

February 9th, 2014 · 7 Comments

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Perhaps looking for homes during one of Indiana’s coldest and snowiest winters wasn’t our best idea. We don’t choose these things; some things choose us. After today’s (ugh) snow stopped, we slogged to the opposite side of town in 20 degree weather, unloaded a minivan full of stuff (we probably don’t need) into a snowy and freezing storage unit, and headed to a few open houses.

And therein lies the rub: Greg prefers newer homes. I prefer older homes. Sara & Kelly prefer the home we’re in, and Sara has stated that even if we go, she is staying. And in case we had any doubts, her cat is staying with her. Uh-oh.

Newer homes all look exactly the same to me, and exactly like the one I have. Open concept rectangles with sliding glass doors by the kitchen table, opening onto a small-ish back yard which looks out onto identical homes with identical decks, and an obligatory Bradford pear in the front yard. If you live in this house, please don’t misunderstand. These are great homes. I live in that home, and have for 9 years. I’m simply ready for a change. Greg, however, likes his logically laid-out spaces in a world full of warranties and updated appliances. He’s practical. He’s low-risk. He puts a coat of paint on a wall, and voila! He’s home.

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Our Spanish Ranch, Cape Canaveral, Florida

Older homes are interesting to me. They have a spirit. They have a story. Big trees, and established yards. I don’t love all the quirks of older homes, but I love many of them. I love the nooks and crannies where my eyes land, and I wonder upon who put them there. I become a part of the story, full of layers and texture. I love stripping away parts and making the story mine. I love leaving some parts just as they are, and incorporating both stories into one. It takes both moments and years to fall in love with an older home, and in so doing…I’m home.

While I love watching an older home breath, Greg fears it will cough up a lung. While Greg loves bright, open spaces, I feel exposed. We are at polar opposite sides of the risk-tolerance curve, which is why we are married. When we met, Greg lived in an all-white house, and after he bought it, he changed nothing. I, on the other hand, lived in an 89-year old bungalow, which we are pretty sure the earth was trying to swallow whole. After I bought it, I changed everything. I especially loved changing out my glass fuses in the middle of the night with my bare hands while I heard pipes bursting underneath my house. GOD, I LOVED THAT HOUSE. Greg is right to call me crazy for loving it. I am right to call him boring for thinking it was crazy. If you’re married, this logic makes perfect sense to you. If you’re single, buy the bungalow before you have a penny-wise husband to talk you out of it. Warning: garages leaning to the north may eventually collapse…to the north.

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Upon my last check, my bungalow in Irvington had not yet, been swallowed by the earth.

It’s good that we met. He saved me from electrocution, and I turned his Spanish Ranch into a home. We recognize that our compromises are good for both of us. It’s good to stretch. It’s good to be married. It’s good to live somewhere between a house that can’t be taken down by a hurricane and a house that is a hurricane.

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So we came to live here. With a cross-country move, 2 job changes, and a baby on the way, this house made a lot of sense. Brand-spanking new. Tidy yard. 3-car garage. Cul-de-sac. Complete with sliding glass doors off the kitchen, but I turned down the Bradford Pear, and opted for maples in the backyard instead. With so much change in front of us, this house would not keep us awake with worry at night (we had babies to do that for us). And now I have to figure out how to add Sara, her rescued cat Cy-Cy, AND a SPACESHIP into the listing. Warm, sunny home with gorgeous wood floors! Appliances stay. 1 cat, 1 child, and 1 spaceship included! Spaceship comes with working wings and bubble wrap to cushion any hard landings you may experience! Full guest suite in basement!

So please tell me, which do you prefer: a new house you can move right into, clean and fresh, that won’t impinge its personality upon you? Or an older home, which may both hug and fight you at the same time? Do you think moving with children changes your choices and tolerance for risk? What with children being so inexpensive and all…

 


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7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 PreK Teacher // Feb 9, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    I would opt for a new house with an old Victorian or English Tudor floor plan in a wooded area. Good luck finding your compromise.

  • 2 Karin W // Feb 10, 2014 at 7:43 am

    old houses with personality DEFINITELY! I’m still waiting for my bungalow – they aren’t so popular in the affordable range in Fairfax but we were looking at them before we moved in Baltimore and I fell in love! I do love my 1980’s colonial style on a wooded lot right now though – lots of space for our family and the neighborhood required that so many mature trees remain on the each land parcel when building so we have plenty of trees (most of which, my husband is allergic to and shade enough to prevent grass from growing but I love it anyway!)

  • 3 Stephanie R // Feb 10, 2014 at 8:16 am

    I would have the best of both worlds: a big lot in an old neighborhood, with an old home that has been completely renovated and updated BY SOMEONE ELSE. ;)

    Have I ever told you that back when Mark was doing real estate he showed me photos of that bungalow in Irvington and I said, “This one will be Lori’s house!”

    Enjoy the home search.

  • 4 Ana Paula // Feb 10, 2014 at 9:21 am

    I like the new houses, but I have to say I would love a much bigger lot in a more secluded place.
    Good luck with the search, my friend. Let me know if I can help with anything!!!
    I can’t wait for you to move closer!!!

  • 5 The Momma // Feb 10, 2014 at 10:27 am

    Stephanie! No way! I LOVED that bungalow, and it will forever be a treasure in my journey. That house ROCKED. (Literally, on occasion!). It showed me that I have the patience for older homes, and that’s nice to know about myself, because I’m not one for patience!

  • 6 Chris // Feb 10, 2014 at 10:29 am

    Wait! I may have the perfect place for you! Late 1960’s tri-level in a FANTASTIC location, 3 bedrms up, sewing cave on lower level, 2 1/2 baths. Cat- and kid tested and approved. Ignore that buzzing in the furnace, hey doesn’t everyone’s chimney cap need to be replaced? Lakeside view when it rains a lot (affectionately known as “Lake Insignificant”), asphalt driveway WILL be generously sized when the emerald-green-ash-borer-ravaged tree is taken down and driveway can be re-paved. The kitchen has been upgraded (the original avocado countertops have been replaced so that is upgraded, right?). Wonky layout is charming, back yard is generous, neighbors are fabulous. Owners are looking for newer home and the location of all their savings (2 though college and thank God we’re done with that.) priced to sell…. Love you, Lori, but I am So. Over. It.

  • 7 The Momma // Feb 10, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Wow Chris, you should write Real Estate ads for a living! “Are you in the mood for a fight? Then we have the house for you! It will fight you FOR DECADES!”

    And just when avocado has become all the rage. Of course, that’s in actual dietary terms, probably less so in counter top terms.