I confess: I've been feeling a little house dissatisfaction lately. Disliking the unreachable cobwebs and impossible-to-keep-clean windows and crappy cabinets and lack of a place for Paul to work and the kids' never-organized-or-put-away toys and the everlastingly dirty floor and the rug I never liked and the cheapo always-slipping couch slipcover and the upholstery coming off the ottoman and the stuff piled in the corners of my bedroom.
I fantasize a family/play room, a wood stove, a workspace, more bookshelves, nicer dining room chairs, new upholstery. A real kitchen with actual storage and drawers that work.
Amanda Soule's new house (and the fact that they have time and money to fix it up) doesn't help. Christmas coming (with its possibilities for entertaining) doesn't help. My lack of time and poor housekeeping skills don't help.
When we were living in Raleigh, our most favorite pastime was looking at houses for sale. Seriously. We spent nearly every available weekend walking through endless new developments, open houses, new construction. We lived for the annual Parade of Homes. For a while we even had a lot and were bidding out to builders our "dream home". HG TV was our favorite channel, Fine Homebuilding a favorite bookstore browse. It was nearly an obsession.
When we first moved here, of course, we drove and drove. Up every dirt road with a "For Sale" sign and many without. We had changed our definition of "dream home" and were focused on a different set of features than in Raleigh (view, lay of the land, etc). But we were still always looking for the next best thing.
Once we found this place our house obsession stopped. Or at least mine did. I no longer surfed Real Estate websites, searched the MLS listings, detoured through neighborhoods. I was no longer interested in decorating magazines, TV shows about houses. (Although I still wouldn't mind having the big white farmhouse and its 76 acres across the way, or the 42 acres with 1600 ft of creek frontage down the road).
But the other day, fueled by the dissatisfaction described above, I looked. You see, I've been noticing more and more homes for sale in this area. Some are homes we admired when we first came here--or before we came here. Some are places I've noticed in passing. Some are new to my attention. So, I went Online, and I looked. I took virtual tours, went through all of the photos for each listing that had them, tried to discern locations. I poured over it for about two hours.
And the funny thing is, with each house I looked at, I grew more and more happy with exactly what I have. This one is nice but it's on a main road with traffic; this one lacks the long view we have; this one has a too-steep yard, no place for a garden or for the kids to play; none of them have the wrap-around porch I love so much, not to mention my father next door.
When I shut down the computer and looked around, I still saw the sources of my unease, but I saw them as temporary, fixable. I realized that very few of the "problems" have anything to do with the house itself and those that do are changeable--someday.
In the mean time, I can clean the windows, clean everything better, organize the toys and get rid of a bunch of them, train my girls to stop treating me as a maid, rearrange stuff for better flow, get actual custom slipcovers.
Then I can step out onto my porch and play with my girls while my beautiful mountains stand as the backdrop. And I can enjoy being at home. Happily at home.
PS: You might be interested in this post from two years ago, in which I gave a photographic tour of my house. Some things have changed: we've added a play kitchen, a bookcase, switched out the crib for a real bed, cleaned out the unfinished basement a couple of times, stapled Owen's art to the LR/DR walls, changed the tablecloth. The baby grew. And the dog in the photo is gone :(. But it's still a pretty accurate tour.