So, I'm smitten. I'll admit it.
I haven't felt this way in quite a while. I didn't want to admit it until everything was all said and done, because I just couldn't risk getting my heart broken. But honestly? Pretty much the moment I saw the very first picture, I knew.
I'm kind of in love with my new house.
Like all love stories, it's not perfect. The last owner (who sat, irritated and bored throughout the closing, texting and complaining the entire time) did not exactly share my loving feelings toward this inanimate object, therefore he also didn't exactly put the love and care in to the house that it needed. Which means he was offering a granite counter-top allowance when he should have replaced some pieces of rotting wood around the garage doors. He did when we told him he would have to, but it would just seem obvious to me that rotting wood is more important than having shiny, shiny counter tops. Maybe that's just me though. I tend to go for substance over flash myself.
(His lack of concern was also evident in his packing, as he left us tons of paint, stain, paint brushes, caulk, curtains, and even a rather large ladder. So. Thanks lazy face!)
I've cleaned and painted endlessly and it feels like I still have so much to do. I keep finding little things; a piece of quarter-round missing around the dishwasher, a small broken piece of wood I had to caulk, more burned-out light bulbs than should be allowed by law. Last night I slept in my new room for the first time ever and I could not find my way back to the bed after I got up to use the bathroom. My new office has no light fixture. My only excuse for not realizing this before is that the office is at the front of the house and there are two large windows in it. Every time I'd been here before the house was mine it was sunny and bright. It's been raining for two days now and the lack of light is rather obvious.
Our infinitely patient real estate agent showed us 41 houses before we got to this one. She sent me the pictures, I gasped, and I promptly said no. It cost more than I wanted to spend. I'm not very firm about a whole lot of things, but by God there was absolutely no way I was going over my budget.
But oh. How I loved the house. How I loved the green kitchen. The black shutters. The garage. The backyard. The hardwood in the downstairs. The pictures were so inviting and so warm and so pretty and...I just loved it. I really loved it.
And it scared the crap out of me.
The last two houses I bought were tiny. They were new, which is fun and nice, but they were tiny. My townhouse was less than 1100 square feet. The yard was a tiny square patch, fenced in around it. The house we just sold in Tennessee was slightly over 1100. It had a yard, but it sloped down from the house and it wasn't fenced (also, it was kind of a pain in the butt, to be honest). This house that I couldn't stop looking at the pictures of was much bigger. It had a real yard and a deck on the back. It had a dining room. A WHOLE ROOM JUST FOR DINING. Unheard of. That's something an adult would have. A real adult, not just some idiot like me who masquerades as an adult from time to time. A real, live, honest and true grown-up would buy this house. Not me.
It seemed wrong to even consider it, much less fall in love with it. Besides, I hadn't even SEEN it in real life. I mean, seriously. Ridiculous.
I couldn't sleep that night and the next morning I called my real estate agent in North Carolina and asked her to please take Jason to see the house.
Jason called me from inside the house and said,
"Stephanie. This is our house."
So I said, "For the love of God, DO NOT MAKE AN OFFER" because, you know, he's prone to do things like that, and I got myself to North Carolina with the quickness and made an appointment with the realtor to see "our" house myself, all the while grumbling a bit about the price and feeling a little frustrated that none of the other forty-one houses could have worked because Jason is so damn picky. I think I sighed to myself a lot and probably rolled my eyes a few times. I can't remember.
At the appointed time, Jason and I drove through the tree-lined neighborhood towards the house and I couldn't help but notice that none of the residents of said neighborhood felt the need to remark on how fat my ass was. There were no naked children running about the street. There were two small girls on bicycles, but they pulled over to the side as we passed. They also waved. All the yards were neat and I didn't see any houses in disrepair.
So. You know. Nothing I was used to.
We turned down the street the house is on and as it came into view I swear I had a moment of panic that hit me so hard I felt like I was going to vomit.
Because the house? It's beautiful.
Like, scary beautiful.
I mean, it's not a fancy mansion or anything, but really? It's beautiful to me.
I looked at Jason, made some comment about "sister moved up like George and Wheezy" and went inside.
The second I stepped inside, and I'm not even kidding about this, I felt like this was my house. (I did not tell Jason he was right, though. We couldn't have that)
I could see myself in the kitchen baking. I could see us handing out Halloween candy to the 15,000 children that will surely trudge through the neighborhood begging, I could totally see lighting up the fireplace and having our Christmas tree in that corner. I could see us having Thanksgiving dinner in the red dining room, even if I still can't decide if I want it to be red. I could see us there.
It felt like home.
It felt like our home.
We made an offer that day and if I recall correctly the owners signed it the next day (after some back and forth, of course, and the real estate agent was right, I did NOT have to go over my budget anyway). Pretty much as soon as the offer was made I emailed Big Jim and told him I had to talk to him ASAP. Because I was feeling a whole lot of, OH-MY-GOD-WHAT-HAVE-I-DONE-ERY!?!? and it scared me. A lot. A lot a lot a lot.
Because Big Jim is a genius he told me I felt the way I felt because I didn't feel I deserved nice things. Because he's even more of a genius, he reminded me that I did. That I do. That it's okay to have a good house. That it's okay to have a big house. That it's okay, even though I'm scared, to move to where I know God wants me to be.
So this house now belongs to us. The green kitchen belongs to us. The staircase Ginger is not quite sure about belongs to us. The red dining room that's really growing on me belongs to us. The bonus room with all the windows over the garage where we'll watch television and eat popcorn and play games? That's ours too.
It feels good.
It feels really, really good to be home.