I remember when I walked into our house the very first time. We had, days before, looked at a house right around the corner that was in really bad shape, but it reminded me of my parents house, and I had instantly wanted it. The house was practically abandoned, clearly an elderly couple had lived there and had just let things go. There was substantial damage from smoking, but I saw through the gunk. Well, as it turned out, it wasn’t the house for us. It had structural problems which, upon further inspection, Mr. Chandler was not digging.
So we moved on, we felt really miserable starting back at square one again. I remember the day that we had brought our parents to the “dream” house for their once over and my dad was not impressed. My dad has always been the one to give in, really want to make me happy. I could sense that he was disappointed in the choice, and wanted only the best for us. After wandering through the house, disconnecting from it, we left. I remember going around the block and seeing this pink house for sale. It didn’t even register. Zero charm, totally overgrown, and pink. Who has pink siding, I kept thinking.
Growing up in a charming two story brick house with dormers had spoiled me. This was the house that I envisioned living in. Not a pink rambler with arbor vitae bushes taller than the house itself.
Unfortunately, it is completely unrealistic to think that your first house will be a superstar. So, I decided a few days later to take a look at the pink house. Cue the sad music and a sour attitude.
Can you believe that as soon as I walked into the pink house, I saw this?
And instead of feeling instantly let down, there was something there. I almost felt bad. It was a cozy house. The sunlight was beaming in through the dining room and kitchen, and although it was the middle of January, it was so warm and cozy. I guess it could have been the 3-inch thick shag carpet in the living room that was making it cozy, but still. I. LOVED. THIS. HOUSE.
Sure, it was fugly. And yeah, it smelled like an old person. But there was potential. Potential that I had not before seen in the other ker-billion houses I had looked at online.
So it was meant to be, that a girl who cringed when she drove by the first time, would actually come to live in that pink, somewhat ugly, house. It’s not been easy, and I shudder to think of ever having to paint kitchen cabinets again, or rip up 1200 square feet of dusty, stained shag carpet again. But really, really, I would do it all again. Isn’t that what life is all about?
We made a responsible decision. We set our budget (much lower than what we’d been approved for) so that we’d have room in our wallets to rip out cabinets on a whim and paint every (single, solitary) surface in the house. And for that, I’m so grateful. Because we’ve managed to make what looked like a dud into our first home, and we absolutely love it.
Our favorite thing to do is sit right here at the dining room table after the last dinner plate has been cleaned, and Ms. Ellie has had her walk and play cribbage. Just us. And every once and a while I’ll catch Mr. Chandler stealing a peek at his living room, or leaning back in his chair admiring all that we’ve done.
The most important thing in life is love, health, and happiness. And I am happy to report that our house is full of all three. We love coming home to this silly pink house, kicking our shoes off, flicking the day old dog nuggets off the bottom of our feet that we just stepped on, and knowing that it’s ours.
Take pride in what you’ve got, even if it’s in need of some help. I always try to remember my Grandparents house. They didn’t have much, but their house was their castle. And I know that the memories that were made in that house are richer because of the love that they both had for it. I’m certain that when we look back we’ll have nothing but warm, rich memories of our very first home, too.