Just this past spring, Carlos and I renovated the kitchen in our condo, sold it, and bought a new home. I was talking with Carlos last night, just awed that it was less than a year ago we had remodeled our previous kitchen.
Buying our new home was one of the most stressful things I have ever done. If it had not been for many friends stepping up and helping, and putting up with me losing my calm many times, I would have lost my calm much more extensively and often.
Our friends Ken and Elizabeth opened up their home to us, and gave us an interim home (and I use the word home here, not “place to live”); Karen who went in and closed on our condo so we could leave for Raleigh, NC and I could focus on a race that Sunday; Beth and Walter who opened up their home for us to store some of our possessions that we didn’t want in a storage unit, and then Beth showed up and helped us move; and Monika who lent us a bed for staging our home to sell, and then helped us pack up our home as we got set to move out.
And then our realtor, Jeff Lyon. He saw me at my worst as I went through emotions of fear, panic, not knowing that I was doing (and lead me through it), and so much more. He was there late one evening at our storage unit helping us search for documentation with Carlos’ pre- US naturalization last name, sending documents giving guidance at all hours, having a team of people he trusted to help us get through, and so much more. I often disappointed him in that I was often unhappy/scared at all the chaos, and he wanted me to enjoy the process. I apologized…a lot. But he never let me down. He always was there to help. I guess that’s the down side to being reliable and trusted…I leaned heavy on him for the good and the bad; help and guidance.
But, we made it. And Pshew.
I had wanted to get away from a gated community, but we didn’t. Oh well. We still love our new home.
We are in a recently developed townhome community. And for a while I felt the need to apologize that we are “those people” who chase out the old with what’s new and, per many people “Not so well built.” But as Carlos and I were looked for a new home, we realized we are not ‘do it your selfers’ and most homes in our price range would need extensive remodeling to make them “home”. We wanted an open, light kitchen, and open light home. We needed a 3 bedroom home so we each had an office to work in. To get this, in the time line we had, we needed it in the home already.
I’ve given up apologizing for being “those people”. I realized that every home, at one time, is new. And it may, even long ago, have been perceived as destroying what is already there. People will always judge. You can only do the best you can to secure your own happiness, without deliberately harming others. And that is what Carlos and I did.
Carlos and I are now settled in. Boxes are unpacked. And we have a few home improvement projects in various stages of being incomplete. All in all, we are well on the road to being a “typical American household.”
And what’s important is we are home. As in we love where we live. We are comfortable. We enjoy spending time there. We are reconnecting.
We lived many years in a condo, and it was a good place. But after moving here I realized we had compromised on too much. It was a place to live, and never home. Our new place is home. And it feels wonderful.
Sometimes I think it is pitiful that it took a 3 bedroom home to make 2 people feel at home. But, we each have a home office (our ‘personal space’) and the rest of the house is shared. In our condo, Carlos had an office and I worked on the dining room table.
Since I worked from home, the dining room was my office: the one open, communal space in our condo. If Carlos came home before I was done working, I think he felt like a visitor as I was working and he had to be quiet, or hide in his office. That doesn’t happen anymore.
Now we eat at the dinner table. We still need a table cloth, but I am looking for one that I like in colors that will work for our home. It’s hard!
We talk at the dinner table. We know that we are available to talk and communicate when we are not in our office. And I know Carlos really wants to talk and say hello when he comes in to my office. And I stop, turn, and make time for him. As odd as this sounds, we let our former home breakdown some of our communication. This home is helping us rebuild it. And it feels wonderful.
I love sitting on our balcony enjoying breakfast (occasionally), lunch, and sometimes dinner.
We love sitting in our living room with so much daylight streaming in to our home.
And our garage. It’s the first time in both Carlos’ and my adult lives we have had a garage versus a parking lot. And it is fantastic!
And what I really love? Being able to open the windows. In our condo the windows were low to the ground, and there were retaining walls near them, you just couldn’t get air to circulate well. Now we open the windows on those few, perfect weather days. And the sun shines in. And…wow.
A house is a big thing, and although “home is where the heart is”, there can be a lot of things that let that heart exist more easily. And we have found a lot of things in our new house to truly make it a home.