Thursday, April 29, 2010

Home Owner Woes

I wrote this a little while ago after a particularly stressful weekend, but I forgot to post it.  I still really want your feedback so, better late than never...

At the risk of sounding like a brat, I want to be honest for a minute... I am down-right OVER being a homeowner.  OVER IT.  I may have mentioned this before.

Jeff and I bought our house two years ago next month.  It was EXACTLY what we were looking for --- Built in 1923, it had the "charm" I insisted on, but the contractor/designer couple that lived there before us had done just enough renovations to make it modernized, comfortable, and relatively low maintenance.  It had a lovely front porch where I could put my (much-coveted) porch swing, and a deck for Jeff's grill, tiki-torches, and lots of summer cookouts.

Other things on our list:
Large open area for entertaining. - Check!
Room for a family (one-day) - Check!
Fenced in backyard for our "newest addition" - Check!
Parking for large parties etc... (At the church behind our house... uh, is that bad?) - Check!
And, a really cute neighborhood in walking distance to restaurants/theater/etc.  - Check!

It, truly, was a dream come true.
Photo & Design by Howard Chen

Now, two years later, it still has all those things.  And, I truly enjoy decorating it (Thank you Mom for all the wonderful hand-me-downs), and hosting parties/bible studies/ etc.  BUT... We've also gotten quite a few "bonuses" if you will.
  • CONSTANT yard work.  (We have thoroughly killed, not one, but TWO full yards of grass since moving in.  And, that "dream" deck is COVERED in pollen, leaves, or acorns approximately 94% of the time... Plus, let's be honest, Addy really prefers the air conditioner to the heat of the outdoors.)
  • UN-ENDING house work. (Have you ever tried to keep old, WHITE, kitchen cabinets clean? IMPOSSIBLE. How about keeping dust-bunnies and blonde dog hair off of DARK hard-wood floors?)
  • CLUTTER.  (Seriously, this is my worst nightmare.  I remember worrying that we would "never" have enough stuff to fill this house.  Ahhh, my ignorance! It is amazing how much STUFF we've accumulated in two years.)
  • Edited to Add: And as of yesterday, a BROKEN HOT WATER HEATER.  I have driven to my sister's house to shower the past two mornings because Jeff and I could just NOT accept this sad fate for our gas tank.
I know I sound like a complete spoiled brat...  But, the truth is, Jeff and I maybe just aren't meant to be homeowners.  (I promise you, I would have NEVER guessed this about myself in a million years.)  We like the outdoors - a lot - but between allergies and busyness, we prefer the hiking, picnicking, sunbathing variety over mowing, raking, and planting.  And, I am too much of a perfectionist to handle a WHOLE house, much less an old one. That's just the truth.  I notice everything - every little scratch, drip, etc - and it makes me CRAZY.  Also, I - of course - can't wait to start a family - but, I worry that in a big house I might spend all my time cleaning and not enough time just being a mom...

Please hear this: I feel INCREDIBLY blessed by what we have been given... Honestly, all these thoughts ARE weird for me because I always saw myself living a life just like this, and I still love entertaining, decorating, and even organizing... I am just trying to figure out if this is really what God has for us, if we just kind-of "forced" it because it's the norm.

Recently, when I am at home I feel anxious instead of comfortable and relaxed.  A house just isn't worth that... Even if it is what I always "dreamed of." Maybe that's what growing up is all about... Realizing that sometimes your dreams aren't really what's best for your reality... 

Right now, I'm dreaming of something like this...

(Yes, they have places like these even in my little city.)

What do you think?  Have any of you experienced moving FROM a house TO an apartment or loft?  Am I crazy?  I'd love some input!


  1. Another option is the two of you move into my house. You can have my room, Howard and I will sleep on bunk beds (dream come true).

  2. Oh my GOSH that picture with your puppy and the sign---I could die! I LOVE IT!

  3. we moved into a high-rise 3 mos. ago and are not happy. we are on the 17th floor and even though we are in the downtown area of our city, there is not much to do! I miss having a yard, my 12 year old is bored and im now regreting our decision. think twice before you move! Susan in columbia, sc

  4. That pic of your little family is PRECIOUS!

    I really can't feel too sorry for you b/c your positives FAR OUTWEIGH your negatives! Some of your negatives (other than the yardwork) are things you could have anywhere else. We have clutter (which i also HATE) & dust bunnies like crazy! And we've had MANY broken appliances! We have a trailer. And i cannot WAIT till we have a house!

    I've lived in tons of apartments/condos in my twenties & while they're nice & i like them, i think a house is better for family. I want my kids to have a backyard/neighborhood to run & play in!

    Maybe save your money for a maid & a yard guy?!?! :)

  5. "we prefer the hiking, picnicking, SUNBATHING" Really e?? really...? since when did you actually enjoy sunbathing? haha... and please also tell me when you and jeff last (if ever) went on a picnic.. lol. All joking aside, I love your house, and i think, mess and all, you do a fantastic job of keeping it beautiful. Since i've moved into brians, we've had busted sewage pipe TWO TIMES, leaking bathtub, which has caused the ceiling in the kitchen to leak, and windows that once you put up will never come down..oh, and a pool that doesnt get along with me the second brian goes out of town... Learn to love it. :) I love you

  6. I'd trade places with you in a second! I live in a condo, and to be quite blunt, I hate it. Admittedly, a significant part of the problem is that I dislike our neighborhood and area so much, but with regard to the condo itself, we have almost no storage space, and we can hear just about everything our neighbors do. Coughing. Phone conversations. Music. Barking. There is no real privacy--I'm always afraid neighbors can hear us, even though we are very quiet people.

    We combined two apartments' worth of stuff when I moved in (my husband lived here for a year before I moved in), and the place has never, not once, looked as nice and neat as I want it to. Too much stuff, not enough space--and we've already given a ton of things away, so it's not as if we're holding on to everything we've ever owned.

    So yeah, I'd say keep counting your blessings. The drawbacks you describe can mostly be solved or handled, and with a dog, you're definitely better off with a yard.

    I do totally hear you on how awful it is to be anxious while at home. I can never fully relax here. I am counting the days until we can move (in about a year). Without exaggeration, I think that the day we sell this place will be the happiest day of my life.

  7. I would never go from a house to an apartment. If i could afford a house and all the upkeep i would do it in a heart beat! Children are happier in a house with a yard and a nice neighborhood. Im sure these worries of yours are just a bit overwhelming right now but overtime it will be the norm and it will be your happy home, filled with kids and pets and crazy messes! just have fun and enjoy it!

  8. I'm in an apartment now and can't wait until we can get a house! It is nice having low maitenance.. but having a guy under us that screams at his kids and is always smoking on his porch so I can never let fresh air in drives me nuts! I think you'd regret moving back into an apt. especially once you have kids:)

  9. I was waiting for you to finally post this-- I thought maybe you were just having a bad day and the desire had passed :) I'm also glad to see that you are aware of a key aspect to some of this frustration: you're a perfectionist! Which, don't get me wrong, is awesome... but when you show me your "mess," it doesn't nearly compare to the mess at our home :) I'm surprised you haven't run out of our house screaming and crying after seeing all of our clutter and dog hair!

    My opinion: your home is absolutely beautiful and you do a phenomenal job of keeping it up. I feel you on the "having too much STUFF" and lack of grass issues. But that doesn't change the fact that when I walk through your front door I feel like I'm stepping into Martha Stewart Living/Real Simple. Hence the reason I always invite myself over.

    But, if you're really serious about wanting to try out the apartment living, it does seem like it would be easier to test it now than when you already have kids.

    Last but not least, do NOT get a second dog. The dust and fur does not double as one would think, but is more like quadruple the amount of one dog. I cannot stress this enough. (Fiddle, if you're reading this, I'm kidding-- I wouldn't trade you for the world)

  10. Oh, yes... Cailie reminded me about the smoking issue. Our downstairs neighbor smokes like a chimney, so our unit sometimes smells like smoke. Neither my husband nor I have ever smoked a cigarette in our lives, yet we have to smell it. Another drawback of living in close quarters.

    Really, apartment/condo life is like living in a cleaner, more attractive college dorm. You probably would not want to go back to that!

  11. The best advice I can give you is to get a yard guy. You will be surprised at how truly inexpensive they are. We sold/gave away all of our lawn equipment, so we don't have that clutter in the garage. It is one of the best decisions we ever made and our lawn looks fabulous while we lounge inside like two giant couch potatoes!

  12. I live with my mom which is really a mark of Success. However, I have taken on the mowing. Besides the fact that I have no career or worldly success to own a home, the yardwork alone is enough to have forced me to resign to a life in the subaru forever. Sorry you have a yard.

  13. I love, love, love my condo in the city that is walking distance to everything. However, I was a nanny for a couple who had a penthouse condo and the little girl realllllly missed having a yard and the quarters just seemed too close for comfort..especially when you get to thinking about the teen years that seem so far away.

  14. Well, my husband and I have a little house that was inherited from his grandparents. I love it, but he feels anxious here, sort of like you were describing. We are currently looking into buying an Airstream to fix up, and park at a campground halfway to his school (we live in small town USA. his commute is an hour and 1/2!) to live in during the week. Sounds like the best of both worlds to me! Outdoor living that will allow us to sit back and relax Mon-Fri, and home on the weekends with our friends and church! :) Plus, at least around here, you can park an rv/camper relatively cheap!

  15. Okay- here is the solution... because you are NOT allowed to move! :)

    Hire a cleaning service and a yard man! And keep the repair man's name on your phone. Life will be much better and you'll be able to enjoy living and sunbathing again! (That's until you have children..we'll talk about that another time)

    Love ya!

  16. oh my gosh, i totally looked at your house a few years ago!! i know it may seem like too much sometimes, but it's part of life and unfortuantely, what being an adult means. Maybe you can save money each month to pay a neighborhood kid to mow and do yard work, and pinch pennies for a housekeeper. Just remember tax time, owning a home is awesome!

  17. hey, just found your blog from Taylors. I'm Laura, nice to "meet" you. I'm right there with you with home woes. It sure is a lot of work. I'm always dreaming of the next bigger and better thing!

  18. I love this post but I have to say the puppy picture takes the cake! SO CUTE!!!

  19. Being a homeowner definitely has it's ups and downs. Your blog is too cute!! I love your pup!

  20. First off, I must tell you I am a twenty two year old little girl who is about to graduate college and currently still living with the parentals:)
    So, now that all of that is out of the way, I personally have always wanted a loft/apartment exactly for that reason.
    I love cute little houses and there pretty side walks with their pretty flowers. BUT, I do realize [thanks to my pawpaw and nanny] that a gorgeous house, inside as well as outside is REALLY REALLY hard work and ALOT of maintenance.




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