Monday, March 13, 2017

On Moving and New Houses

We've moved a lot during these past eleven years as a Navy family.  This marks move number six and also the first time we've been forced to move even though we weren't actually leaving the area.  It would figure that the first time my husband has ever received orders to stay in one place for multiple tours, our landlords would decide to sell their house.

Luckily we have wonderful friends and family who all descended upon us to make what could have been a very unpleasant situation about as good as an unexpected move across town could be.  The whole process from finding out we needed to move, to securing a new house, to actually moving in was ridiculously fast, even by military move standards.

Three weeks.

Three weeks from notice of the impending sale, to my dad and all of Chris' most muscular friends loading all our various household goods onto a rental truck and unloading them in our new home--including the new piano which I had assured my husband upon acquisition would not be a problem because the military always move us so we wouldn't have to worry about handling it ourselves.  Did I mention we have wonderful friends?

I still haven't really had time to process everything, it all happened so quickly and there was so much that needed to be done.

I loved our old house.  It was by far my favorite house of all our houses.  I loved its character, its swinging door into the kitchen, the sun room full of windows, Margaret's tiny nursery, the gas fireplace that we kept going all winter long, the one random glass doorknob, the low place in the fence where the kids would hop back and forth into the neighbor's yard to play.  It was a "Colonial" whereas our new house is a "Rambler."  I'm not sure what that is exactly, but it sure doesn't have the same historic, charming feel.

I don't want to be unfair to The Rambler, it does have many good points, not least of which is that, unlike our old home, this one has never caught fire, so that's reassuring.  We are in a much quieter area so the kids are able to roam free and ride bikes which they haven't done since we left Florida.    There's an actual garage which was very exciting for Chris.  The house has also been recently flipped so the kitchen and bathrooms are all almost brand new and the basement's been redone too so we have a nice big room to play and do school in.  It's all very new and and bright and clean.  

One of the best things about the new house is that it has been updated--and also the fact that it doesn't smell musty or like cats--which is no small feat in this area and our price range.  But I think the newness of it is also why I don't love it.  I keep thinking about this passage from West With the Night,
"The walls of my house are without memories, or secrets, or laughter.  Not enough of life has been breathed into them--their warmth is artificial, too few hands have turned the window latches, too few feet have tread the thresholds. The boards of the floor, self-conscious as youth or falsely proud as the newly rich, have not yet unlimbered enough to utter a single cordial creak.  In time they will, but not for me." 
Maybe it's the fact that we move so much that I crave a home with history and charm.  A place with quirks and hominess built in since we don't generally have time to make those ourselves.  Of course being perpetual renters means that the quirky homes I love aren't always good choices since they tend to need work and you can't redo a rental kitchen even if it begs you to.  So we compromise and go with the updated house with the lovely kitchen full of pretty finishes that nevertheless makes me crazy because it was obviously designed by a flipper and not someone who actually planned to ever cook in it.

And yes, I realize that I'm complaining because my new house is too nice and new.  I can't help it, I like little cozy old homes, and while I'm sure this little new home will feel more cozy eventually it's not quite there yet.  
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