Its bittersweet, but we are moving next weekend. The house is just too big.
When My-Sugar-Na and I started dating in 2003, she was living in Iowa and I in Waukesha. When she made the decision to move back to her hometown, we decided to move in together and found a little apartment in Bay View....
Flashback #1 - We had actually found a 2-story house in West Allis in which we had paid the security deposit, but when the church that owned the building (tipped by nefarious sources) found out that my divorce wasn't final, they refused our lease and refunded our money. But since the wheels were already in motion on her move from Iowa, we had to pick something really quick.
The building we ended up in wasn't too bad on the inside, actually, but was in one of those brick corner buildings that at one time held both a beauty salon and a butcher shop. The current owner had gutted and remodeled the inside, resulting in three one-bedroom apartments upstairs, a little studio downstairs, and a three-bedroom "deluxe" apartment downstairs.
Like I said, it was nice enough, but definitely done on the cheap. The bathroom had a double-wide, Jacuzzi tub, but it was installed poorly and I ended up falling through the bottom of it. The cabinet doors weren't quite lined up right in the kitchen, and the walls separating the apartments had nothing more than drywall (Side note; the first guy that rented the studio while we lived there worked second shift, and would often come home around midnight and start making dinner. His kitchen was separated from our bedroom by only drywall. Each night we could hear his microwave as if it was in our bedroom, and could usually smell his dinner too. Don't get me started on what it was like when his girlfriend moved in with him.)
(The side note continues; But that studio renter was a gem compared to the next guy in. He was a stoner who always stayed out on the weekends until bar time, then often brought the party home with him. We were routinely woken up at 2:30 AM when a dozen of his buddies would come over, turn on the music and party into the wee hours. The landlord didn't care, as he said that this guy had rented the place and had the right to have visitors. We called the police numerous times, but they refused to open the door and the cops didn't feel they had reason to bust in, so the party would resume once the cops left.)
So after we got married in 2005 (and while she was recuperating from back surgery in 2006) we were walking through the neighborhood and found a four-bedroom house for rent. The kids were getting older and, more urgently, bigger (14 / 13 / 9 / 8) and we needed the room. We made an appointment to look at it, and though we didn't think it would work for us, we decided that the time was right to buy a house together.
We looked at a number of places together, and she also saw some alone, and one of those solo trips produced the gem we live in now....
Flashback #2 - When she called me at work, I couldn't believe it. She said a five-bedroom house in a quiet West Allis neighborhood with a dining room w/ built in buffet, family room and two-plus car garage. We made an appointment to look at it together and I fell in love with it, too.
The owners were asking $X, but our real estate agent told us that they were divorcing and the house was in foreclosure. I told him to offer $X-big Y. I almost couldn't believe it when our real estate agent told me it was a bad idea "If you love it that much, pay what they want".
In the end, the owners paid them what I offered, and I felt like a hero. I had this gigantic house, each kid would have his/her own bedroom, and... what the hell was I going to do with all this house?
Once we moved out of the old place, and into the new, we managed to fill up the house...
Flashback #3 - We argued about the blue denim living room curtains, the burgundy and blue painted panels on the dining room wall, about taking the carpeting out of the kitchen, and about the living room curtains some more... I think the curtains look great in contrast to the dark-stained window panes and sills (and this is MY blog). I also really liked how those panels stood out in the room, breaking up that huge wall.
But we did other new homeowner stuff, like picking out then painting the living room and dining room (ceilings a shade or two darker than the walls, and the arched areas darker still).
Till we ran out of extra money. (Side note; That lower bathroom will need some real work by somebody.)
We held all sorts of family events there, birthdays, Cheer Days, Christmases, Thanksgivings, graduations, etc. We had room galore. Not crazy about our concrete yard, as the driveway took up so much room that we didn't really have a yard. Outdoor events were few, as the west sun could be brutal on the concrete.
But the kids started growing up and not needing us quite as much. (Sponsor's Name Here)'s Official Son, Mitten, is up in Oshkosh in college, Official Stepson, Grizzley is living with his dad in Iowa, Official Stepdaughter, Sloppy is in high school and lives with us, except that she spends most of her time at Larry II's house (except for when Larry II is at our house) and Official Daughter ,Gooey just doesn't come over as much as she used to. She will be in high school next year, and has her own friends and they are all closer to her mom's house.
The idea of selling the house came last winter, as night after night, My-Sugar-Na and I would be in the living room, hear the furnace kick-in, and realizing we are heating 2000 square feet for the two of us sitting in a 15 square foot proximity. We made the decision in the spring (hoping to make it past State Fair). We did have second thoughts this summer, as Sloppy and Larry II spent untold time there "with nothing to do" and Mitten lived with us during the summer.
But fall came, and surprise surprise... we are alone again. I mean, we can't even get Gooey and Sloppy to help us pack (Sloppy would rather live in a refrigerator box on the curb than to move further away from Larry II).
We made the right decision. Doesn't mean that it is comfortable. Doesn't mean that I like it. Doesn't mean that I want to move and leave the house we love.
Never fear, however, loyal readers (all six of you). We did find another house in West Allis, very near Central high school. My blog will continue, as will my bowling, vacation, indoor soccer and gambling adventures. I will just do it from a more cramped three-bedroom house a mile south. I am sure that by the time we are all settled in, I will love this house, too.
You think 87th & Grant is too far for cars to park for the State Fair for $10?