I had an intense conversation with John the other night. It's funny how similar we are in how we think about most things. Then, every once in a while, we realize that there are a few things we are like night and day on. Come to find out that "moving" is one of those things.
A while back I wrote about my feelings of restlessness and being homeless. I am constantly looking for the next big move. I look at houses online all the time and when I find one close to what I want, I send the link to John to ask his opinion. I had no idea that every time I did this I was causing a major stress reaction. He does NOT view moving the same way I do. To him it's a total upheaval and an endlessly painful process he views with a mixture of horror and dread.
Poor John! I've been subjecting him to my chronic "one foot out the door" syndrome for years and years.
See... John found the house we are currently living in. I was having a really hard time finding something I liked and was in our price range when we first decided to make the change from renting to home ownership ten years ago. On my own, I'd been looking for over a year and a half with no luck. He spotted an ad on the back of one of those free "homes" magazines you pick up at the supermarket checkout and, next thing I knew, we were picking a plot of land to build on.
Let's just say that this house was a compromise, on my part. I was tired of looking, and with some renovation in the coming years (like finishing the basement and putting in hardwood floors when we could afford it) the house could be made into close to what I had in mind. Then the builder screwed up a few things (like forgetting to put in the roughed-in plumbing downstairs for a future half-bath) and making the price of the house model we wanted completely cost-prohibitive on our then limited budget.
That forced us to select a model that many others in the neighborhood would soon pick. Suddenly our house wasn't unique. Everyone copied our color choices and soon the neighborhood took on a bland sameness that really bugged me. But I just kept reassuring myself that this was our starter home. One day we would upgrade to what I REALLY wanted. THEN, at long last, I would be "home".
Well. It's 10 years later. We are still here. I find out how John really views the prospect of moving. So, I've spend 10 years with my foot out the door and waiting for that next big move. John is quick to reassure me that if I find just the right house, he would be happy to consider it. But his criteria is strict (as is mine). And now I know he doesn't want to see ANY of those "maybe" houses. No more sending him links to Century21.com! Not unless I think it's THE house.
So is this it? Am I finally HOME? Maybe it's time I kick my restless wanderlust to the curb and just make THIS house the home of my dreams. The only thing that bothers me is it will take a lot of money to get there. Money we currently don't have. I need to decide, for my own sanity. Stay? Go?
The house "to do" list:
1. Add about 6 inches of topsoil to the lower yard with mulch. Add swingset.
2. Build steps to access the lower yard safely. Fence in back yard for privacy and piece of mind.
3. Finish the basement. Project to include adding a wall to make new guest room/office space, playroom with loads of shelves and a desk area, easy to clean flooring.
4. Tear down old deck and add addition to include 4 season porch/sun room on upper level and new bathroom on lower level (off of new playroom/guest room).
5. Add steps from downstairs slider (off playroom) and a patio outside.
6. Finally redo front walk so we have real steps and walkway lights for safety.
7. Add retaining wall to slope of doom (a hill next to our driveway that is slowly eroding and depositing dirt and rocks).
8. Renovate our master bath to remove tiny bathtub and replace with sit down shower stall. Hopefully new bathroom added on downstairs will have roomy soaking tub. Or perhaps we'll do half-bath and add a hot tub area instead.
9. Add swimming pool of some kind to lower yard.
10. Remove yucky pale pet stained carpet and replace with hardwood.
11. Redo master bedroom closet so it's actually a useful space.
Am I crazy, or would it be better to just find a house with all this already in it? It will take us another 10 years to save enough cash for all this work, I think.