Four years ago, Scott and I decided to buy a house. We were living in a small, 800 square foot apartment in Danbury, CT, unmarried, and lightyears away from having kids. Our sights were set mostly according to our budget, which was very small in Fairfield County terms. Had the real estate market not gone bananas, we wouldn't have been able to entertain any notions of buying a house at all. But between the flood of short sales and the new homebuyer's tax credit, we were finally in the game. We spent months searching the surrounding towns and cities, falling in and out of love with a series of houses that were either shambley, run-down, or in less than ideal areas. After an entire season of disappointments, we finally got lucky.
It was a little red house, built in the 60's and being sold by the daughter of an elderly lady who was being moved into a nursing home. The house was completely outdated, but well cared for, and actually pretty cute. It had two small bedrooms, one bath, and a walk-out garage. It was just over the town line between our ideal town of Bethel, and the city of Danbury. It was on the Danbury side, and facing a fairly busy street, but we knew this was the cream of the crop. We made an offer, and just as the ball started rolling our life took a very unexpected turn.
Sometime during that 48 hour period between making our offer and writing the check my husband received a phone call from an old band-mate. We were offered the chance to move to Beijing in hopes of the band going on tour and developing a sturdy following in China. Against all that I thought was probable, Scott accepted the offer. Several months later we landed in Beijing, but that's another story.
It's hard to believe how long it has been since our life turned upside-down. After everything fell apart overseas, we limped back home to regroup. I went to cooking school. We moved to Austin. Little by little we've been putting our grown-up life back together again, trying to get back to where we were before Bejing. It's been a long road, but we've finally arrived.
Almost four years later we've landed in a much-improved version of where we were back then. We bought our first house, and instead of being almost too small, it's almost too big. Where the last place was a little bit old, this one is a little bit new. Most importantly, this place is exactly where we want it to be. Austin has been so good to us. I can't really express the gratitude that I have for this city, and all of the people we've met who have helped us make it home.
So once again I'm reminded how the biggest "mistake" we ever made shaped our lives in so many unpredictable ways. It's like our life was floating down a river. We were moving, and things were good. We could have continued on that way, and we'd probably have been happy enough. We'd own that little red house right now, and odds are that there would already be a baby or two living there with us. We'd be with Scott's family, and our network of long-time friends. We wouldn't have been unhappy in Connecticut.
Instead, we took a chance by going off route. The course was perilous, the rapids were brutal, and we lost almost everything in our boat. But when the rough water subsided, it took us to a place where we could start over. Our baggage was sunk. Our ties were snapped. It was just us and an empty beach.
We're moving into our new house one day at a time, carload by carload. Our friends and family have been helping us paint the walls and unpack boxes all weekend. I've never felt so at home in a place so immediately, and I'm almost embarrassed to admit how much I love this house. I know in reality that it is just a physical posession like any other, and at the end of the day I should keep my emotional value of it in check, but when I look at this place I see more than an economic investment. I see my babies crawling across the floors. I hear the footsteps of my loved ones from all over the country coming to visit. I imagine having all of my sisters under one roof, giggling and shouting over one another (like we do). I think of their kids, growing up with my kids, and I think of how it could all happen right here in view of these walls we are painting.
I see every pain and hurdle that Scott have I have gone through together, and how they brought us to this point in our lives. After knowing eachother for fifteen years there is probably one for every square inch. Our past and future flash before my eyes every time I open that front door. I'm guessing that the misty eyed emotion will start wearing off once I'm carrying mail and groceries inside instead of moving boxes. For now, I'm gonna just simmer away in my kleenex. I can't believe we bought a house!
P.S. Congrats to Maggie on winning the pasta from last week's contest! Get ready for some fiber, girl!