For better or worse, we live in a part of the country where houses are ridiculously cheap. I say that because I have lived in other parts where we could never even dream of owning a 1 bedroom condo on 2 salaries. It was the biggest factor when deciding to move here after having Kendall, leaving behind a much posher existence to take up space in an area with NO Trader Joes. (Although, word on the street is Dallas is finally getting a few, praise Peppermint Joe Joes!)
By nearly anyone’s standard, we are living the American Dream in a house that is most definitely enough. It is big enough for all four of us. It is safe enough for my kids to play in the front yard. It is sturdy enough to endure these Texas storms. It’s pretty enough to show off when it’s clean. It’s warm enough in the winter and cool enough in the summer. We are blessed to have it.
Sometimes, though, I’ll admit I dream of more. There are always bigger, better, newer houses going up around us. They have more bedrooms, they have lofts that make great playrooms where toys are not seen by guests, they have media rooms that I could hijack and turn into my office/craft room, they have 3 car garages that would give Scott enough space to make a real workshop, they have long driveways that would give Kendall and Leyna a safe place to learn to ride a bike. They don’t need as much work.
And *some* are, though just barely, within our reach.
Something about this time of year always has me searching the real estate websites and checking out the model homes, lusting after the bigger, better houses we could maybe afford. The reality is, though, that even is we could afford one, we can’t sell this one… not without a loss. That’s what we get for buying at the top of the market back in ’08.
But, let’s say we could sell. We would really be stretching ourselves to move onto bigger mortgage payments right now. We would have to give up luxuries like Starbucks whenever I’m too tired to figure out the coffee maker at home, eating out and frequent trips to visit family. We might end up in a position of working just to pay to live in our home, and that’s no way to experience life.
I read something the other day and it really struck a cord.
The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they make the best of everything.
Isn’t that the truth? In an effort to help change my perception and appreciate how much I really have to be thankful for, I’m on a mission to make the best of everything, starting with this house.
Our realtor said when we put in the offer on this place that it’s a “clean slate” and it has “good bones.” We’ve been slowly adding to those bones and jazzing up that clean slate since we moved in, but we’ve really been in overdrive the last 6 months. Our newest, biggest, most challenging project being the hardwood floors that my husband and his brother installed. They are now sanded and ready for the clear coat that we plan to apply this weekend. (Yup! We decided on clear over mahogany.)
Don’t worry, I plan to share much more about the floors, how we finished them and the final product soon. And then I’m going to file it in the new category called Love The One You’re With. I hope to share many more home improvements, DIY tips, organization overhauls and decorating ideas with you all over the next year. We have plans to re-do our kitchen (on a shoestring budget), finish our master bathroom, organize our closet and FINALLY make our room look like something other than a college dorm room. I’m sure there will be many smaller improvements along the way, too.
I may not be able to live in the house I love, but I’m going to try to love the house I’m with. Who’s with me? Tell me what your home improvement projects are right now.