I have had a love/hate relationship with my house since the summer after we moved in. Ten years ago.
My ex-husband and I bought the house when The Middle Monkey was just about a year old. We were living in a two bedroom/one bath/1,000 square foot house. It was cute, and it was on almost half an acre. But, let’s face it – it was a TINY house. So, we figured we had two choices. 1.) build on to the existing house, or 2.) buy a new one. We decided that since we had an infant and a not-quite-3-year-old, it made more sense to buy a new one.
So, we put the house on the market. THEN we started looking for a new house.
We looked for MONTHS. And nothing was “perfect.” But, we thought we had time.
That is, until an offer was made on our house and we had a month to vacate. Suddenly, we had to find something new AND FAST!
When we toured this house, we fell in love instantly. Four bedrooms (sure one is really closet sized, but we only had two children at the time), two and a half baths, big fenced yard (necessary as Duffey was still around). Perfect! Oh sure, it needed some work. But, it didn’t seem like things I couldn’t handle. (I love my ex-husband with all my heart, but a handy man he is not.) Oh and, sure it had been a rental property for eight years. No problem! This was it. Our HOME.
We moved in on a cold February day. It was during the school year, so I didn’t have time to really work on it. Until summer rolled around. I decided to tackle the yard. The huge mess of a yard. And I have been working on the house and the yard ever since.
As I have been tearing up the yard, it occurred to me that the lessons I have learned about owning a home, I could apply to dating. No, really. Just stick with me here.
So here they are, Susan’s Lessons on Homeownership and Dating…
- Beware of love at first sight. As I said, it was love at first sight with the house. And love at first sight usually means you are not thinking rationally – and you are seeing things with rose-colored glasses. Had we REALLY looked at the house, we might have seen the problems. The same holds true with dating. ‘Nuff said about that…
- Watch out for “fixer-uppers.” Yes, I knew the house needed work. But, my thought was, “with a little bit of elbow grease, it will be FINE! I can make it PERFECT!” Ok, now, ladies and gentlemen, let’s admit it. We’ve ALL said that about someone we have been interested in. Every last one of us. And what happens when we can’t “fix” them? Or they don’t WANT to be fixed…
- Bigger is not necessarily better. My house sits on a BIG corner lot. I have a front yard, a big side yard, and a back yard. It’s like a yard and a half. Seriously. Oh, sure. It LOOKS good. And it really seemed like an ideal situation. Lots of room. But, really. It is just a whole lot of work. Smaller would be easier. And how does this fit in with the whole dating thing? Well, ladies…I am sure you get my meaning behind it. And gentlemen? Think about it. 😉
- Things may look great on the outside, but watch out for hidden problems. Jumping right in on the dating part here. Haven’t we ALL dated someone who on the outside looked PERFECT? And WAS perfect. For a while. Until the CRAZIES come out. Same with the house.
- Problems that you THOUGHT were taken care of, may come back to haunt you. When we moved into the house, the whole backyard was COVERED in English ivy. It slopes and until we took out 5 trees, it was very shady. Our first summer here, I started pulling out the ivy BY HAND. Yanking it out of the ground. It was backbreaking work. And you know what? It STILL COMES BACK! I am still pulling up ivy from the yard. I hate that freakin’ ivy. And in relationships, haven’t we all had to deal with a re-visited issue? (“Yes, damn it! I got upset when you said we were just having fun. I had been drinking. Let it go!”)
- Just below the surface there are roots to some long dead things that is damn hard to get rid of. In preparing the backyard to seed with grass, I have been clearing out a bunch of stuff. Digging in the dirt. Smoothing things out. I’ll dig down just a bit, and find a root. To what? I have no idea. There is nothing near it. Absolutely nothing. So, I start pulling up the root. And pulling. And pulling. And pulling. And the next thing I know, I have pulled out an inch thick, 12-foot long root. Oh – and there’s another one. And another one. What the hell?!? I have dated men like that. Scratch the surface and there is a loooooooonnnnnnnggggg root to some long dead relationship. Whomever messed them up REALLY did a job on them. And no matter how much I try to pull out that damn root, there’s another one I have to contend with. It is unending.
- If you aren’t willing to put in the work, you might as well just walk away. Homeownership and relationships are both HARD WORK. You really have to work at it. Period.
- Once you have everything just right, you have to make sure you maintain it, or everything will fall apart. I hate cleaning my house. I really do. With a passion. It never fails, I ignore it for a bit, and all hell breaks loose and I have to spend DAYS cleaning it again. Ugh. Same with the yard. Relationships also need maintaining. When things are going smoothly, we tend to slack off. Next thing we know, someone feels neglected. And you start arguing. And well, all hell breaks loose.
And while my house makes me nuts, and I hate it at times (like now…my hot water heater just died), I continue to have faith that ONE DAY it will be exactly what I want it to be. Kinda like the hope I have that ONE DAY, I will find a relationship that is exactly what I want it to be.
Optimist or delusional?
You be the judge.