Reading Olga’s post about moving and kitchen renovation a couple of mornings ago made me want to write a blogpost right away. I wanted to head upstairs, sit at my writing-table and start tapping away on my laptop. Of course, the fact that I was reading her post as I was gulping down my morning coffee, right before I had to rush out to work made it almost impossible for me write right away. But I find that there is something very soothing about to-the-point and no-fuss writing such as her’s. Reading such writing makes me want to practice such writing. I know that, if it is not my writing style already, it is the style I am going for.
Now that I am here, finally writing this post I realize that it was not only Olga’s writing style that tickled my writing bone that morning. Her post also made me think back to the time that we moved out of our first house into the home we are currently in. It has been a little over 9 years now. How time flies! As I sit here letting my mind wander to that time when we lived in our first house in Bridgeton, so many memories, mainly good ones, very good ones actually, wash over me.
In her post Olga mentions that she felt her current home was ready for her to move out. Things that worked perfectly fine till right before their move were starting to fall apart. That sentence really hit home for me. I remember the same thing happening at old house. A perfectly working gas stove with four working burners decided that two of its burners should stop working three days before we moved. The storm door fell off its hinges one day before we moved. A week before the move our air conditioner died on us. I guess the house was READY for us to leave.
At that time though, I did not look at it like that. It had taken us over four months to get the house sold. During those four months we had to work so hard to keep the house immaculate for the potential buyers who might drop by at any time. And with each passing week we were getting more and more worn out and stressed. To make matters worse our new house was close to finishing. So selling the current home was necessary for us.
I had also just given birth to our second child recently and what should have been a joyous time was filled with cleaning, fixing and stressing. Oh, to be young and foolish! Looking back, we should have probably waited till the baby was older before trying to sell the home we were in. But more important than that we should have waited to build our new house. But hindsight is always 20/20. And I guess all is well that ends well.
Even though it has been nine years, even to this day when we find ourselves in our old neighborhood we look upon it with great fondness. While we do not regret that we moved on, we are very thankful we got to live there. We met some loving people who took us on as their own family.
Our house was definitely what one would call a money pit or maybe it was fixer upper. Whatever you call it, it was probably not the house we should have bought. Two young absolutely non-handy immigrants who don’t know a thing about owning a home probably should not have gone in for a fixer upper. The people who sold it to us must have been so thrilled to have naive first time buyers who bought the house because solely because the wife(me!) liked the decor of the house.
Every season brought its own challenges. But all it took was the first downpour after we had moved in to realize what we were in for. The rain seeped from the main level to the lower due to some damage to the deck. Or the first winter when we realized how badly the windows needed replacing. It was then we started realizing the list would be endless.
My parents visited us from India a couple of times while we lived in that house. My dad loved the projects that the fixer upper gave him. He walked daily to Home Depot, got his supplies and worked away. Little by little he tackled so many of the projects. We are so indebted to him. And to my mother and my sister who stopped me from going off the deep end every time we found something else broken in the house. Thank heavens, for a supportive family!
After my dad left for India, apart from the various handymen we hired for the various tasks, we had the fortune of having Don remodel my kitchen. While Don was working hard on remodeling my kitchen, his wife Dotty made sure we were all fed. Don and Dotty were our elderly neighbors who took us on as their own. Both are no more. But they stay alive in our hearts.
While some projects had to be done like the bathrooms which became unusable or the leaking drain pipe, some others were caused by my sister and I. After moving into the house, we suddenly decided that we could handle projects like changing the carpet in the basements or redoing the crown molding. Of course, that led to even more spending on handymen to fix our handy work.
By the time the numerous projects were done, we were about done with the house. But I guess the house was done with us and our poking and prodding as well.
Nonetheless, that little split level brick house with its one acre yard (unbelievable amount of yard work for people like us who had no idea what went into maintaining a lawn) and rose bushes in the front yard and a backyard with a large deck, numerous trees and picnic table will always remain in our hearts as a symbol of our humble beginnings. Humble but happy beginning albeit in a money pit. It may have not have been much of a house, but it gave us a warm, loving and cozy place to call home anyway. Our first real home together! Based on that foundation and everything we learned from it, we were ale to successfully make the transition to our new home. Here’s to the first house & home!
Until next time,