Friday, May 8, 2015

Houses We Have Known: Part 2 and Why We Move So Much

As some of you know, we sold one of our houses to our best friends. At the time, they were just really cute strangers, but we knew they were special and "collected" them right away. This is why I'm so in love with For Sale By Owner and Craigslist....we never would have met if we'd gone through a traditional Realtor.

This house is also one of the reasons that I have a bad reputation for getting bored and selling houses. We loved this house but it was kind of small for our family of three and we were thinking of expanding to four. So when someone wrote the neighborhood listserv asking if anyone was thinking about putting their house on the market I hemmed, hawwed and wrote them an email. I WAS thinking about it....why not see what happened?

Before the person came to see it I cleaned the house from top to bottom. Even though she was interested in the house she decided to go with something larger in a fancier neighborhood downtown. That's cool. No harm. No foul and now the house is spotless.

In fact, it's so spotless....that I should just list it For Sale By Owner on Craigslist. Two weeks later we had a bidding war....and shortly after we had sold our house to our cute friends.

The best thing about selling a house you love to friends is that you can still visit it! They've decorated it with their cool and cozy style, added a bathroom and knocked down a wall...but it's still nice to visit it and see the bushes I planted and the paint colors I picked.

This house, like our current house, was such a "The right thing will happen" moment. We'd been looking for houses for months with no winners. Everything was too much work, in a bad spot or just not for us. That day we had been shopping at Costco when a friend called to say that his movers never showed and he needed help unloading his moving van before it was due back to UHaul. We dropped what we were doing and went out to help. (Ya'll, don't pack Rubbermaid bins with books. Especially if you live on the second floor. Liquor store boxes with handles are for books or you can move yourselves.) On the way back to scoop up our car from Costco we were exhausted and hungry....but I just had to check out the new Home for Sale sign in the neighborhood near the museum. We turned the corner and it was love at first sight! What a gorgeous little house! Location wise it was a dream...walking distance to the museum and an aquatics center. Biking distance to downtown and the Famers Market. Trails in the neighborhood and a huge park. I could not wait to see it with the Realtor. Rob Bray, my favorite Realtor, was kind enough to bring us out after his son's birthday but he was running late so we sat on the screened in porch. It was a hot, humid day but the ceiling fan cooled us off. We knew before he even showed up to let us in that we were buying this house.

The inside was even cuter. I love a bungalow.

I made this "stained glass" with plastic stickers from the Scrap Exchange. 

Looks like a real galley kitchen...because it's sinking! This kitchen was small...which was bad since when you have a party, everyone wants to be in the kitchen.

The office/spare bedroom was only ever this neat during showings.

It had one bathroom. (Now it has two!) B and I would walk around looking in closets and in corners and thinking about adding bathrooms. The new owners squeezed one into a closet and it's a great fit.

Fun story about this carpet....I pulled up the old carpet the Thursday before we were supposed to have houseguests to reveal ANCIENT linoleum made from real linols. Yuck. We had Home Depot put this carpet down soon after.

All my listing pictures are listing to the side.  

I found this gem of a tiny Mr. G while I was looking through old photos.

One bad thing about this house is that trees kept falling. I don't know why...but for some reason we lost a TON of trees to the point that I have some PTSD about trees falling and the WOOSH THUMP sounds that it makes. 

It was convenient of this tree to fall between all of the outdoor items.

I just realized that I still have these chairs. They are really faded but still work. 

The house even had a waterfall. Can you believe it? A w-a-t-e-r-f-a-l-l.

Close to downtown, greenways that go to the Farmer's Market, hiking trails and two huge parks in the neighborhood, a community center with a great pool AND a science museum with bears? Where do I sign up, right? So, Julie, I hear you asking....what made you decide to move? It seems like a great house in fantastic location.

It really was. I don't generally talk about why we moved from this house to the huge house. The huge house that we lived in only briefly....what's the mystery? Why do you move so much? Do you just love moving?! 

No mystery. It's just hard for me to talk about, but with Mother's Day coming up it's on my mind so it's now or never. 

Summary: We got married and sold our individual houses to move to one house we both chose, we moved to a big house to have a bigger family but when that didn't work out it seemed silly to keep the expensive big house. Now we're here in the cottage and we don't plan on moving but....sometimes the best thing happens even if you don't know why it's the best thing at the time.

Long version: We moved because we had decided that we were finally ready to expand our family. G was still pretty young and B and I had been married for a few years so it seemed like it was time. We knew we wanted something with more space and more bathrooms. So we bought a huge house with a ton of bathrooms and a ton of space that was marginally closer to my parents.

Soon after we moved in I finally received a diagnosis of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). I had suspected that I had PCOS for a while but it was still jarring.  I had been undiagnosed for almost ten years things and that had taken some tolls on my body. Why didn't I go to a doctor sooner? There's such a stigma about being overweight that I had assumed that I was just not working hard enough and that's why I had all of these symptoms. It hadn't occurred to me that it might be something outside of my own control that I would need help with.

 PCOS is a very common problem for many women. Symptoms include obesity, blood sugar issues, thyroid and lipid problems, difficulty getting pregnant and other gross stuff I don't care to discuss on my DIY blog. It is possible to get pregnant if you have PCOS but it generally involves a lot of work. I renewed my efforts of getting healthier through triathlon training and working with a nutritionist (Hi Laura!) and then met with a specialist at Duke who told me that at my advanced age (side eye, lady) I would probably need expensive medical intervention and it would be a long, stressful and unsure road.

If you know anything about me you know that I don't like a long and unsure road. I applaud people who are brave enough to spend thousands of dollars for hope but that can't be my journey. Maybe I just didn't want it bad enough or maybe I just know myself well enough to know which path is not for me.

I have (mostly) come to terms with the fact that I am not going to have any children of my own but it's been a hard and silent process. I'm sure that a lot of people who know me assume that I just didn't want kids or that since G is more of a man than a child now that we had decided that one was enough. 

I did want kids. I do want to be a mom. I don't talk about it but this time of year is hard. I'm only writing about it because I'm starting to realize that it's hard for many people. 

Being a step-mom has been a blessing in many ways but is also a near constant reminder that I am not a "real" mom. This is not G's fault. He's a great guy who is generous with his appreciation and affection and makes me feel like a valued caregiver. But let's face it, it's tough on the streets for step-parents. According to books and movies when we're not beating children and spending their inheritance on purses we're trying way too hard to replace their real parents and calling them, "Champ." Strangely, even more hurtful are the fellow parents who know me who assume that I somehow don't have the same responsibilities they do. No solidarity for step moms.


So that's the mystery of why we've moved so much and also about why I just let people tease me about it instead of explaining. I know this is very personal stuff but I'm starting to realize that staying silent doesn't help people.

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