The first time we toured our house, I had to pinch my nose and cover my mouth. The reek of cat and ferret urine was so strong I spent the majority of the five-minute visit gagging.
By the time we were back in the truck – after breezing through the kitchen (with the oven that you couldn’t open at the same time as the door to the bathroom), and the postage stamp bathroom in all it’s pink ceramic glory, and the two upstairs bedrooms with the best-not-to-question stains all over the carpets – I was convinced:
“This one’s ours.”
And it was.
On April 3 (my Mom’s birthday), 2007 Ken and I became legally bound by mortgage (two years prior to doing the same by marriage). We stripped out every neglected and infected piece of material – until we were down to studs…and we even replaced some of those, too.
Since the day we signed we’ve knocked down walls, built a deck, ripped out shrubs, laid all new floors, replaced all the plumbing and heating (added central air – a luxury we still can’t quite believe we have), fixed the stairs, drained the basement, installed a brand new kitchen and bathroom, rewired – everything, replaced all the windows, resided the dormers, put on a new roof (the day before our son was delivered two months prematurely, because…we didn’t have enough going on), and dug out the center of the backyard’s paver patio to add a permanent fire pit.
Last year, we sought out bids to overhaul our yard and repave our horseshoe driveway that still hasn’t received an ounce of the love we’ve poured into the rest of our property.
During one visit with a local landscaper, Ken pointed out the fire pit and talked about it being the only real must for the backyard – to which the landscaper responded:
“I mean, c’mon, how often do you come out here to have a fire?”
Ken laughed. “My wife grew up in New Hampshire. The only reason we don’t have a wood stove in the basement is because she says she’s done spending her summers stacking wood. We have a lot of fires – but if you ask her – she’ll say, not enough.”
The estimates to do what we wanted ended up totaling about a quarter of our salary – so, we passed.
The fires, though, they continue.
Last night – roasting marshmallows, and taking in the snap, crackle, pop of the 200 year-old red oak that lovingly crashed in between our neighbors’ fence and our side deck (without a bit of damage to either) a few years back – felt like magic.
Bunnies feasted on our yard’s eclectic mix of greens, a team of lightning bugs put on a delicate lazer show, and the camp of bats high above – chirping and diving – seemed to call out to our inner-most superheroes.
Amdist all of it, I took a deep breath, turned to my husband and said: “You know, our house really is so much more than enough.”