Friday, January 24, 2014

So Long, Washington Blvd....

A million years ago, Husband and I bought our first house.  It was at, what we didn't realize at the time, was the absolute tippy-top height of the housing boom and we spent a gajillion dollars on a tiny little house (one side of a duplex, actually).  We never really loved the house, we were just burnt out on the search--literally months of looking at, bidding on, and losing house after house after house to other buyers who had giant chunks of cash to throw down, or the financial freedom to continue escalating their offer until we'd have been stupid to continue competing.

And so, one Thursday evening we went to see this house, just on the market, on a busy road and apparently owned by carnival folks.  Every room was painted a more garishly neon color than the last and there was a hole in the kitchen ceiling.  Ceilings were painted marigold yellow and walls were maroon and neon green. When walking around the outside of the house, we found a window that wasn't visible from the inside--because the owners had covered it up with a poorly constructed built-in entertainment center and bookshelves.  Resigned, we sighed, "Offer them $100 over asking," because in spite of how ugly it was, it was a house, and it was on the market and we were so tired of looking.  We'd been used to saying, "Start the offer at 5K over asking..." and still being left in the dust by people who could pay in cash, up front, 10K over asking.  We expected the carnival folk to laugh our offer right out the door.

Instead they took it.  Carnies are pretty unpredictable.  Turns out, they didn't think the house would show so well in an open house situation (GO FIGURE!) and so they decided to take our money and run.

So that's how we bought our first house.  A month before the real estate market crashed and made it entirely unsellable until 2014.

Did I mention that the house next door to it was abandoned?  And not abandoned like someone had recently moved out and it was still on the market.  I mean, boarded-up, crumbling brick, possibly rife with evil spirits and/or crack-heads, rodent-y abandoned.  (we never saw evidence of poltergeists or crack-heads...can't say the same for the rodents).  This also made the house unsellable until 2014...

It was not a really wise purchase (note issues with resale value...)  Husband (then fiancĂ©) and I bit our nails a lot and wondered if we should back out of the deal, forfeit our deposit and resign ourselves to apartment living for another year after our wedding.  But at the end of the day, we went through with the purchase, took a sledge hammer to the window-blocking built-ins, and layered coat upon coat of less eye-poking paint colors on every wall of the house before we moved in.  We told ourselves, "Its our first house, not our forever house; it doesn't have to be perfect.  It will be fine."

And then. We got married, I got pregnant and then this happened (seriously, how was he ever that tiny?  How was I that young?!):


And suddenly the horrifically awful house purchase was a home.

We painted here.... (and you can totally see boarded-up squirrel house next door)


We climbed on furniture here....


and took a break from painting to taste the paint...ew



We built train tracks here (when we could clear enough floor space)...


Seriously, Sarah.  Put away some toys...


OMG, we were ADORABLE in this house, what with the finger chewing...


...and the squealing/dancing/whatever that is, with random dining room chairs in the livingroom....


...and the crazy hair and baby belly....


....and the forced "fun" in the snow...


 ...and the first selfie (not ever, but of us)!!!


And OMG.  I just can't even...



We left the house back in '08, bound for the West coast (which was probably a good idea, given Ethan's face in that snow picture that seems to be saying, "Why, mama? Why you make me sit out here in this cold stuff? Don't you love me?") Since then, we've had renters in the house and I've not so much as driven by it on any of our trips to the East coast.  We were definitely ready to sell it, considering we are Californians happily residing in what we hope is our forever home.

But still, when our realtor sent us the message that the closing was complete and our old house was now someone else's home? Sigh. Can't lie, I might have gotten a little verklempt right in the middle of Starbucks.  There's something about giving up a space that played such a huge part in your life; of handing over the rooms where your baby slept, and learned to walk and sing and play.  Its just tugging at my heart a bit more than I thought it would.  Such is the life of a sentimental sap.  I love our new home, I love living in California, but a tiny piece of my heart will always reside on Washington Blvd.

5 comments:

Unknown said...

I can relate to this SO much. It's exactly how I felt when we sold our house in PA. The house where all my babies crawled.
I love the shots of you & your Lil Man. So precious. You will always have your memories, right? YAY for digital photography!!

Becca said...

So sweet! It must be a relief, but I totally know what you mean. I still have nostalgic thoughts about the house we last lived in, where Charlie was born, which was 1300 square feet. Can you imagine that now?

Also, one of the first posts of yours that I read was about your kitchen remodel and it was AWESOME.

Sarah said...

Aw, Harry had that snow suit-- I remember reading your blog when Ethan was that teeny-- it seems like yesterday, not 7 years ago. Congrats on the sale!!

Sue said...

I will always have fond memories of my termite infested 500 sq ft first house. Yes! 500 sq ft. Most of my friends apt's were bigger, but dammitall, this was MINE! I was not pissing away rent every month like they were! I was building equity! Oh yeah, good times!

Pam (the organizer) said...

oh, man! that house! I actually drove by it the other day and realized suddenyl where I was -- it was where I met, when we met here on your blog and I came over and we organized your stuff!

sigh.

i guess this means you're never coming back, huh?