We got the keys to our house on May 17, 2017, on a day when the dogwood tree in our front yard was in full bloom, the pop of pink blossoms complementing the clear blue sky. I looked out the window a few days ago and saw those familiar flowers, mentally checked the calendar, and thought, “Wow, have we really been here a year already?” Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. Other times, our former apartment near the mall is a foggy memory.
As I mentioned a while back, I have Big Plans™ for our little acreage — I have since the day we put in our offer on the place — but patience has never been my strongest trait. I often find myself getting frustrated that I don’t have a plethora of raised beds yet, that I only grew a few things last summer, that I’ve only planted one fruit tree, that we haven’t painted a single room in our house yet — and we’ve been homeowners for a year now.
I’m still learning to accept that it takes a while to completely settle into a new house, and especially one with land attached. And it’s also been a struggle for me to accept the imperfections in our home that we can’t change right away or easily, like the baby blue formica countertops in our kitchen. (Can you say yuck?)
Our neighbors are all retired and have immaculate yards. I often feel like I’m not spending enough time on our house, and the pressure to work work work has been a constant source of anxiety for me. It’s like Instagram envy, but real life, in person, and it comes with the constant worry our neighbors are judging us for not having everything picture perfect. I have to remind myself of the things we have done so far. We’re not lazy, things just take a while — especially when we both work full-time jobs. Properly settling into a new house can take some time.
The following is a list of things we’ve done around our lil’ homestead since moving in a year ago. It’s not a huge list, but I’m happy with what we’ve done.
- I got a “new” (vintage) oven that we moved into the house and put a new electrical cord on. (This doesn’t sound like a big deal, but holy shit was it heavy.)
- We got new kitchen flooring that better suits our taste (Ok, sure, we didn’t install it ourselves. This was a result of some water damage and our insurance covered the new flooring. BUT it was on our list of things to do at some point!)
- I canned a lot of wild blackberry jam last summer and experimented with applesauce and apple butter from our tree. We didn’t buy jam for almost a whole year, and it was great!
- I made a sourdough starter from scratch and have been baking delicious things with it ever since.
- I painted half of our kitchen cabinets and installed new hardware on them
- Jordan and my dad installed a new water heater that dramatically cut our electric bill
- I planted lots of things! Holy shit did I plant lots of things, both indoors and out. Jordan is positively sick of me talking about plants.
Like I said, it’s not a huge list. Last year was spent unpacking and settling in, getting into the rhythm of our new house and land, making note of what’s growing where, and also… having experiences outside of our home. I don’t know if it’s just my parents’ generation, but “experiences” aren’t something my parents seem to value like Jordan and I do.
When we weren’t working at home, we spent time with friends. We flew to L.A. to rock our faces off to the musical stylings of Glen Danzig ft. the original Misfits. We ate at some great local restaurants. We went to the beach with Jordan’s family, and we celebrated wonderful couples joining their lives.
We have five weddings to attend this summer. FIVE. And while there is a large part of me that is worried about the garden and finding a pet sitter and “how bad will the weeds accumulate?” and “what will the neighbors think?” — another part of me is excited. We’re still young, and we will have plenty of time to work on our house. Everything will be fine, the dahlias can wait, and it will never matter what the neighbors think — we will soon be the “old couple” in a neighborhood full of youngsters possibly chasing the same dream we’ve been chasing.
And right now, I think it’s about time for me to log off, sit on the porch with a cup of tea, and forget about weeding the walkway and just enjoy our place. I don’t often do that enough, and before we know it, those youngsters will be pulling up in a moving van next door.