About a month ago, Phil and I made one of the biggest steps forward in our lives together; we bought our first house. This is something that we had been working toward for two years, and last fall we started looking in earnest. Surprisingly enough, it was only a couple of weeks before we found our Home.
It wasn’t exactly what we had been looking for. We had both been dreaming of a huge two-story house with an attic, a basement, a huge back deck and bay windows, and had been such two-story snobs that we had gone through the listings and eliminated all single-story houses without even looking at them (or so we thought). But as soon as we walked through the door, we knew that something about this house was special. It had almost none of our picky little desired features, but what it did have was an attached two-car garage, a fireplace, a huge fenced back yard and a kitchen that was to die for. It was almost nothing that we’d been looking for, but somehow it was everything we’d wanted. Not only that, but the house was obviously well-loved. The roof was brand new, as were most of the appliances, and there was not a scratch, spot or stain to be found. But most important of all was the fact that, as soon as we’d finished our tour, we both knew beyond a doubt that this was Our House. It wasn’t anything huge or fancy; but it was safe, and cozy, and accessible, and a perfect place to start a family.
We put an offer in right away, and things progressed more smoothly than I could ever have dared to dream. Our initial offer was rejected, but only because we had asked the sellers to cover all closing costs, and we were able to reach an acceptable compromise very quickly. There was a bit of a fiasco with Phil’s parents’ housewarming gift (the washer and drier they had bought for us were sold out from under their noses and then promptly discontinued), but as luck would have it, the owners decided to sell us their washer and drier for $200 and included all other appliances in the price of the house. We closed in mid-January, and on February 12th, we moved in.
The move itself went relatively quickly, as we managed to have upwards of 10 helpers on the day. Phil and I had also been moving boxes slowly over the course of a few weeks, taking as many as we could every time we went out to the house (we changed the locks, painted an accent wall in the bedroom, hauled my brothers out to help us build some furniture). The night before the move, he and I drove out to the house to bring the cats (who did not think this was a good idea) and let them get acclimated to the new environment before moving day. Both of them slunk around like their back legs were asleep for the first hour or so, then they sort of split off in different directions of insanity. General Zod, Phil’s tuxedo cat, took to hiding so well that we tore the house apart looking for him that first night. Shrapnel, my Maine coon/ragdoll mix, sat shuddering and inert until we picked him up and moved him, then as the evening progressed decided that the best idea would be to hide behind the toilet in the hall bathroom. He stayed there all through the next day, screaming and hissing at everyone who dared enter the bathroom, and once the family and friends were there Zod joined him, white-eyed and hiding under the sink.
Phil and I got up at about 5 that morning and cleaned all the bedding out of the way, showered really quickly (we realized that morning that we’d neglected to bring a shower curtain, which made things a little more of an adventure than we’d planned), and grabbed a quick fast-food breakfast. His parents came over around 7, and almost immediately Phil and his dad went off to pick up the truck, and his mom took me on a tour of our garden (despite my excitement to finally have one of my own, I could barely tell the flowers from the weeds, let alone tell what kinds they were). A couple hours later, my mom and sister arrived and we were able to get to unpacking in earnest. Two of our friends showed up about an hour after that, and by noon we had not only unpacked all of the boxes in the dining room, but had also finished painting everything and had gotten the kitchen assembled and snacks set out for everyone. The boys arrived with the truck a couple hours later, and the house became a frenzy of activity as everyone frantically unloaded the truck so that it could be returned to the rental company before 3 (they made it, but just barely!). After that, things slowed down a little and by about 5:00, all of the furniture was set up, all of the electronics up and running, all the clothes folded and put away, and pizza and coffee were being steadily demolished in the kitchen.
Now, a week and a half later, things are going at a much more leisurely pace. We’ve been slowly finishing up with the apartment (there was much more left unpacked than we’d thought, and the living and dining rooms and hallway still need cleaned), but that should be done by the time this weekend is over. We’re close enough to being done with unpacking that the sense of urgency has left us, which means that there are fewer boxes, but they’ve been sitting there for a week getting unpacked one thing at a time. The cats seem to have adjusted, although Zod is not keen on the garbage men; I think he’s convinced that they’re stealing from us, and he sits in the window and growls until they’re gone. I’m slowly settling in to my new office; it helps that everyone there, including most the clients, is INCREDIBLY friendly. And Phil and I are on cloud nine. I don’t know exactly what it is that makes this big a difference, but I can’t remember the last time we were both sleeping so well, and both so eager to go home at the end of the day. And last weekend, I went out and bought a pear tree!
There will be much more to come on the process of actually setting up a household, but not now. I have to go fold some laundry!