There is a lie that we often tell ourselves that if we had the means to buy this or that, things would be better. It’s the same lie every single person tells themselves when they buy a lottery ticket. I’m not saying I have anything against buying a lottery ticket, mind you, because I love to do that a few times a year. I buy a ticket when it’s a big jackpot and then I use the time until the drawing to Zillow-shop. Have you ever done this?
Zillow is so much fun when you pretend you have a limitless budget! My son thinks that I’m crazy, because “you’re just making yourself feel bad about what you’ll never have.” I disagree, because it’s fun to imagine where you might go live, AND there are some truly atrocious and amazingly expensive houses out there. It makes you feel a lot better about your own abode when you see something like that.
It just entertains the heck out of me! I don’t know why.
Anyway, we built a house in Vermont when we first moved here in 1999. Yes, we had a contractor, but my husband did the entire electrical wiring, all hard floor installation, all electrical installation, and we painted and tiled and so on ourselves. My husband and I knew how to do these things, and it was the only way we could afford a house in Vermont at the time, being poor young’uns with baby #2 on the way.
We moved in and there wasn’t heat, nothing was finished – we just had to keep working, avoid stepping on nails, and not give up. We made it into a nice house over the following years, I think, but I remember wishing it was better than it was. Wouldn’t it be nice if? Wouldn’t it be better if we weren’t always patching up this or that?
15-ish years later, we made the decision to take a transfer to North Carolina. We were making more money, and the housing market is so much cheaper there. Colleges were cheaper there, and we reasoned that and the job market also made it better for our teenagers, soon to be adults. So, we took the leap! We built a house there, and we didn’t do any of it ourselves this time. It was like playing a game on the computer; we got to pick everything out, including new furniture because our other stuff was 15 years old and ready to die on us. We went from 1,800 sqft, to 4,500 sqft. Oh, the house was so pretty-pretty-SHINY!
And nothing was better, and very bad things happened to my family (that couldn’t have been foreseen, but have been devastating and linked heavily to our move there.) This was a horrible lesson to learn. Shiny means nothing.
We moved for the wrong reasons (I was pretty mad at Vermont with the taxes and a few other things going on, and worried for my children’s future.) In this awful process I learned that if you have something you love(d), even if it gets a bit ugly, think twice before you trade it in. The grass is NOT always greener. <insert other annoyingly accurate but trite saying here> We should have found another solution, especially since we loved so many other things about Vermont. Looking back, I can see that we got upset and panicked at the same time, and it clouded our judgement.
Fortunately, an opportunity presented itself to get transferred back and we jumped at it! Moving is crazy hard, but we wanted out and back to our peaceful surroundings (and more open minded folks; I was scolded in NC in the first week that none of my nude artwork would be allowed to be displayed locally… and yet, the amount of sex shops might just out number the churches. People are seriously conflicted in NC, I guess?) This was difficult, but we found a house that we liked.
Our house is about 25 years old though, and it was built by people well into their retirement. People who really enjoyed the 1970’s and 1980’s, and so they put in what they were comfortable with, sprayed everything white (same paint on the ceiling, walls, doors and trim – I wish I was kidding), had some sort of floor-ADD going on so there’s almost a different floor in every room, and then didn’t change a thing until they sold it to us.
EVERYTHING needs to be changed or fixed. The house has good bones, but all the floors, bathrooms, and kitchen need to be ripped out. Everything needs to be painted. There’s so much that needs to be done that every time I try to start anything, I get overwhelmed because it seems to dovetail into the next thing, and then I think… wouldn’t wine be better? Yes, let’s think about wine. Or chocolate.
We finally started, hitting our master bedroom, closet and family room at the same time because they’re all tied together. We’ve been working at this for weeks now, and we keep finding more things… We’re completely overwhelmed. I’m hoping that finishing a corner of the house will make the rest seem more achievable (but this is where I have vanished to.)
But even if it’s all this hard, at least we’re here. Vermont is where I am supposed to be. I am relaxed and calm here, in a way I never was able to relax in North Carolina – even with plenty of bad stuff still going on. I can weather it better here. You just have to know where your place is, and this one is mine. So, even though the house is a disaster right now and totally overwhelming, I know we’re in the right place.
Also, the new view helps, too.