Five years ago today, we signed our lives over to the bank. We spent about 3 hours signing and dating on the highlighted line and then tentatively stepped into our house. Ours. It was brand new. The walls were
completely boring white. There was still sawdust around the baseboards. The carpet had no tread marks. There were no stains anywhere. It looked and smelled fresh.
It didn’t take us long to leave our first mark. It was snowing the day we moved in and despite our best effort, we still tracked in mud (from our still-un-sodded yard) and wet snow onto our brand new floor. But we were too excited to care much.
We eagerly brought in box after box of our very few earthly possessions. All that we had to our name was a mattress and box-springs, a hodge-podge of gifts from the wedding, and a couch and chairs we had purchased second-hand literally days before the move.
The first wave of reality sunk in as it grew dark and became very apparent that we had no curtains or blinds to cover any of our windows. Not even our bathroom was safe from a peepshow to the entire neighborhood. It would be several days before we would get all of the blinds up (and we made-shift curtains until then, and just kept the house….extra-dark)…but those are just one of many, many things that we added with our bare hands to our house.
Clearly, we purchased this house as a “starter home”. It had enough room to grow, but not contain a large family
which we still hope to someday have. When people asked us how long we planned to stay, we would always answer “three years…at the very most five. Well, I guess that means we’re moving tomorrow!
Since then, we (or I guess I should say N and my father-in-law) have painted every single corner, added 4 ceiling fans, 2 back-splashes, a half-bath and a built-in book shelf. We’ve filled in the landscaping, seeded the yard (numerous, numerous times), and added a lava rock garden. We paved around our landscaping, added a side-patio, built storage into the garage, turned a closet into a fully-functioning office, changed out light fixtures, added multiple shelves to our closet (did I mention that I like jeans??), hung paintings and pictures, purchased just the right furniture and spent week after week cleaning it, straightening it and learning every square foot of it. We repainted the front door and added a storm door. Now it really has become ours. Every stain in the carpet and scratch on the wall is from us. Every paint color was lovingly picked out and applied just so. Each room has been organized and detailed with just the right amount of furniture and decor. We know the exact route to take from our driveway to Wal-mart/church/work depending on the time of day. We have casual relationships built with many of our neighbors and can just about spout off most of their names on a given street.
And I’m not ready to leave. This is the house has seen us fall in love, re-work our budget, and create new projects. This is the house that I brought my baby home too. This is the house where my cat has made his bed. This is the house where we have created and celebrated Christmas traditions. This is the house that I have organized just the way I like it. This house has been our refuge after traumatic days at work. This is the house we looked forward to returning to after vacation. This house is the very first thing that we owned together.
Every year we go out on our “anniversary of owning a house” and celebrate/lament being homeowners. Tonight we will remember five years of very ordinary but special memories…and we will laugh and scoff about our young pride five years ago. And while I have no idea what the future holds, I am glad there isn’t yet a FOR SALE sign in the yard. Because I guess I can still see us living here for another three, at the very most five more years.