While I Was Away

You may have noticed that it’s been awhile since my last “real” update. Part of it is that I don’t love being at a computer for long stretches of time and part of it is because it usually feels like there’s something else that needs doing more urgently (even if it was scrolling through my Instagram feed on my phone…). But the biggest thing, and also the biggest news for me this year, is this:

My watercolor sketch of our new house. The walls and railings are much straighter in person.

We bought a house!!!

I did stop to contemplate how many exclamation points that statement deserved, and I’m standing by my choice of three, largely because this is a first for both of us. We finally made the milestone decision to “stay put” for now and try out the role of home owner. I started looking seriously at the market in March; we looked at, oh, seven houses total (in person, plus probably a hundred more online) before choosing to put an offer on The One at the end of April. Meanwhile I researched sales histories and different types of mortgages and got quotes from a couple different banks and asked for advice from people who know the area and people who know houses. We set up an inspection and a homeowner’s policy and learned just how long it takes to get a stinking mortgage even when all the ducks are in the correct rows. I also learned, though, how many of our coworkers and friends were invested in the process along with us and how many people were eager to help and hear updates. After some back and forth with the seller about the final price and various repairs, we closed at the end of June and the house became ours.

I’ve always loved the idea of hosting dinners and small get-togethers, and have daydreamed about stringing up lights around a back yard and playing fun music at dusk while people drink and talk and laugh. The backyard dream will have to wait a little longer, because ours needs some work (right now it’s mostly gravel). But we’ve more than doubled our living space from the rental we were in. In late September we hosted our first get-together in the form of a house-warming party. Even not counting that, more friends have visited our new house in our first few months here than we ever had at our last house. It also has an excellent front porch, which held us over in warmer weather while we wait to get the back yard in order.

One of our first projects was stringing up some lights on the front porch, which has become one of our favorite places this summer/fall.

And of course! The house has a studio (well, a first-floor bedroom that we converted to a studio) plus lots more space to store art supplies. We soon discovered that the studio also happens to be the darkest room in the otherwise light-filled house at certain times of the day/year, thanks to a lovely maple tree growing in just the right place to block the sun. But that problem was eventually solved by setting up a secondary painting station in the front foyer. (We have a foyer now!) (Another bonus, we also have a library!) So, transitioning to being a homeowner has been a lot of work, but also pretty great.

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