Ryan and I have been married seven years this past June. It’s both been slow and fast depending on the season, the number of kids, and whether we’re in the middle of a fight or not. In that time we’ve lived in seven different homes. Just keeping it spicy, I guess. That or I’d run out of furniture arrangements and so needed a new space. I’ll never tell.
So let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we?
1. The Tree House
This was our first place after getting married. You can’t tell, but the trees literally shoot up right behind the deck in the back. You had to pay $50 more per month to get the treehouse view. Around the property, there were secluded hot tubs amongst trees. We hosted a Mystery Murder party here by cramming too many people into a small one bedroom apartment, but we made it work. Some friends and we scrambled over the high privacy fence to go swimming in the clubhouse pool at 2am after a night of dancing. Ryan’s friend brought over pure (and illegal) Absinthe from his time studying in the Czech Republic and we tried it just to see if Moulin Rouge was accurate and we’d hallucinate that fairies were flying around.
We had good times in the tree house. But winter rolled around and we decided to start looking for a home to buy. Our lease was 9 months and it was nearing the end. My sister lived in a particular area that we knew to be of good value so we watched and then found one.
I was still shy and nervous around the neighbors. I’d wave, but anything more made act like an 8th grader. Looking back, I so wish I’d come out of my shell more. One guy on the street had about ten flags on his flagpole indicating all of his heritage. His house was the nicest and he had a huge birthday party for his mom every year, complete with some local band playing in his backyard. That was our first invite and we met some more neighbors our age. They were witty and preppy and down home goofballs. We had a block party and the mayor showed up.
This was our first time owning and we just weren’t into it. We didn’t have the urge to upgrade rooms or the unfinished basement. I wasn’t into landscaping so we kept everything as it was. We did replace the windows right before moving: Our sewer line broke while guest stayed the night.
Then one day Ryan interviewed for a position in Arkansas…and away we flew! Luckily we sold the house two months later, just as the market was crashing. I think buying in that area definitely helped.
After the sewer line incident, we were definitely not interested in buying for a while. So we found a little apartment in a town not far from his new job.
3. The golf course apartment
I drove down earlier in the day and Ryan was going to drive down after he left his job for the last time. I’d never been to this part of Arkansas before my first night in the apartment. I’ll be honest, I was crestfallen. Where were my oak trees? Where was the greenery? I’d had my hopes up after going to Ryan’s family reunion in North Central Arkansas. He, his brother, and I drove through the most green I’d ever seen in one drive. Plus, we visited their family’s homestead property that I’m still lusting after. No running water with a toddler and newborn, YES – IT’S PERFECT!!!
Dang, give me an old farmhouse and I’ll throw out every common sense left in my body. Click >here< to read about that trip.
Anyway, so I drove into this town thinking I’d be surrounded by farmland and old white homes. I knew the place we were going to rent had running water, but I thought for sure it was just an upgrade done in the 50s by the third generation of kids that lived there. You know, there.. in that farmhouse.
No, there were about 20 billion stoplights on a short stretch of street and I’d wondered if I’d like this area at all. I cried when I entered the apartment. But then Ryan arrived and we started exploring. We became closer too. It was just the two of us, making our way.
After another short lease, we decided to move even closer to Ryan’s work. Plus, I’d gotten a job in that town as well. So we did, and arrived at
Number 4: The Dorm Room at the lazy -beep!- and his overworked wife’s apartment complex.
Ugh. The owner/property manager guy annoyed me so much. Every time I went into the office, the wife was running around and he was sitting on the chair eating chocolate. One time I was running in the gym that was right next to the office. The TV was on and he came in to ask if it could be turned down. I said (like the polite person that I am), “Oh, I’m running right now, could you walk over there and turn it down? Thanks.” I felt like I was giving an invisible high-five to his wife right then. He actually did something. Amazing!
The good thing that came out of this apartment was finding out how small of a place Ryan and I could live in. We called it the Dorm Room because it was the smallest floor plan and we climbed up a loft bed every night to sleep. This was a deliberate choice as we wanted to pay off Ryan’s MBA loan as quickly as possible. It became a challenge and I loved making choices that were not popular. At least not popular with the youngin’s on HGTV’s House Hunters. I swear, every time someone my age appeared on the show they insisted on a McMansion. I was happy in my cozy dorm room.
I had my appendix removed here. Ryan’s brother moved down and began living with us.
Our lease was coming to an end and so we went searching for something else. We found a place in town and after calling the landlord, she mentioned that she had another property on the edge of her turkey farm. We saw it, we debated, we stared at each other with wide, scared eyes, and decided to do it. Heck, rent was only $233 a month. Can’t beat that. But….
5. Yikes, The Shack
Well, we got our open land and we also got judgments. I recently shared a review on my second blog: The Mobile-Homemaker. You can read it here. It was a chronicle of my homemaking attempts. It was also my way of embracing this piece of tin and hoping others would see it as a quirky part of my life.
We started and neglected a garden here. Ruthie was born here (sorry girl, try to laugh about it.) I made dandelion wine here, from dandelions right outside the front door. If you’d like to know, it burns like fire.
After Ruthie was born I started to feel isolated. The shy girl in her second property was very different from the girl now. This girl wanted to talk and to meet and be friendly. Ruthie brought me out of my shell.
So after almost two years of living at the shack, we began searching for a place in town. And settled on…
Number 6: The Townhome
What the property lacks in character, it makes up for in location. This is right across the street from the city park, the city library, city trails, and a few blocks from the cute small downtown.
It was exactly what I needed. Annie was born here (an upgrade from The Shack… again, sorry Ruth.) And people!! Two families my age with kids Ruthie’s age lived in this block. Two more families moved into another block of townhomes and we often congregated in the backyard. Talk, talk, talk, talk. Yes! Finally! I loved it.
What I didn’t love?
Living right by the driveway of the house behind us.
You can’t really see the drive b/c it’s dirt and grass…. and that dirt and grass blends right into our small backyard area. Imagine a 9 month pregnant lady freaking out because her toddler keeps playing in that driveway. My mind immediately goes to the worst case scenario and I knew I wouldn’t be able to move fast enough if a car came through. Thankfully there were extra hands, but I shouldn’t rely on other people to watch my kid all the time.
Man, if only we had fenced in yard. If only… so we bought one.
And that’s our number 7. We’ve moved into our new home that I’m excited to share. It ticks many of the boxes we wanted in a property and that gave us the confidence to jump back into homeownership again. I was worried about leaving built-in playdates at the townhome, but the neighbors have already come over (twice) with sweet goodies as well as a reminder that they are going to have a lunch to introduce us to the rest of the neighborhood. The daughter next door has already been offered up as a babysitter and deer roam our backyard every night. We are happy. Ryan likes the possibilities, Ruthie likes the space to run around, and me? You got it: the fenced in yard.
After I come up for air amongst all these boxes, I’ll post some photos.
We need to have a garage sale. Immediately. Before I suffocate.