So, the first thing I want to say is that the very best "result", I guess, of moving to the house is written out in gory detail over at Parenting. Or it will be on Thursday. So go read that, will you? Because I think I have even more to say about it (you: shocked!) and you will already know what I'm talking about.
One of the other good things about the house is that the bus route downtown is different, meaning Phillip has to walk a bit farther to catch the bus home, which means he stopped by this shop tonight and brought me some truffles. Not a bad perk, eh?
Seriously, though, and three-year-old antics aside, I've been doing nothing but clapping myself on the back for having the excellent idea to unload the other house and snap up this one. WAY TO GO, ME! And it's really weird, you know? I'm all, "Really, Self? Are you SURE?" Because Phillip and I would often sit in our old living room and say, "This is the nicest house we'll ever live in. It's all downhill from here." And we MEANT it. We had a brand new upgraded everything fancypants townhouse and we knew you could never really be happy if you didn't have granite counter tops.
WHAT A JOKE. Just the other day we were sitting in our new living room and saying, "Um, I don't miss the old house. Is that okay? Is that WRONG?"
Probably my favorite thing about the new house is the fully fenced yard AND the kitchen with plenty of windows and a door I can prop open to hear if anyone is screaming. There are two doors to the backyard - one from the kitchen (up a flight of stairs) and one from the laundry room (no stairs) and if the kids are playing outside I usually leave them both open so I can just... NOT BE OUTSIDE. And there's a million ways to destroy the backyard - throw gravel! pick the flowers! run through the plants! ride trikes through the puddles! - that the kids are happy out there for much longer than I expect. So I get dinner ready in the kitchen without a Mollymonster hanging off my leg, or I fold some clothes or go through the mail without hollering at Jack to stop throwing balls in the house every five minutes. It's kind of amazing. Kind of life-changing. My favorite days have been the sunny ones, where the kids are running around outside and I'm in the kitchen getting dinner ready and listening to The Moth podcast. (I've had an iPod Touch for, like, a YEAR and I'm only really using it NOW. Yay podcasts!)
The other great thing is, of course, the separate rooms. It's an adjustment though. They don't seem to miss each other (and really, why would they) but Jack sleeps WAY later in the mornings now and it throws off my whole Coordinated Schedule thing. (Perhaps you've read my other posts this week. Cough.) Not a bad thing, just not something I've figured out yet. But we love love LOVE not having to race out of bed in the mornings to retrieve The First One Who Wakes Up. There were a couple of posts in blogland recently about how great it is to have kids sharing a room and I felt bad - for about ten seconds. I mean, I DID hope for all that sweet bonding crap, but sleep is more important. Can I get an amen?
Other good stuff:
For a while I was really worried that all the fun stuff-to-walk-to would mean throwing my entire body weight behind the double stroller for ten blocks straight. Not that that would be so horrible and not that I couldn't do it, I just wouldn't WANT to do it. I'm LAZY. So I fretted about this for a bit, but then I realized that just down the street is Seattle's Biking Trail, which I used to spend a lot of time on in college, late at night, fretting about the guy in my dorm who never paid attention to me, and I didn't remember fretting while SWEATING. I mean, I didn't remember any HILLS. So the other day I packed the kids in the stroller, walked down the hill to the trail and you GUYS! Flatness! It's paved and friendly and takes me to a snooty grocery store (five minutes) or a huge playground (15 minutes) or another snooty store (20 minutes) and I haven't even figured out the walking times for all the things I know are in the opposite direction. This also means I might keep up my (flagging) running habit, since you KNOW I was not going to go running HILLS. As if.
The mailbox. This is going to sound stupid BUT. The old house had one of those group mailboxes out on the sidewalk (and NO outgoing mail slot, WTH) and I couldn't go get the mail during nap time when I FELT like getting the mail because I didn't want to leave the kids alone in the house. The new house has an old timey mail box attached to the outside wall by the front door AND it works for outgoing mail. This is a HUGE DEAL. (My life is small.)
The living room that has turned into our joint office/library. It's weird, having a teeny couch, a rocking chair and two desks crammed into your Official Living Room, but it's working well for us. I don't feel like Phillip is locked up in some Man Cave when he does his homework - usually I'm right next to him doing my own "work". I knew having three floors in the old house really separated everyone, but in the new house I'm realizing just how much.
That the kids can play in places where I am not. They play in the playroom or Jack's room. I'm not one of those moms who insists that the toys stay in their respective places - I extricate a lot of toys from our living room at the end of the day - but I just love that they aren't constantly under my feet all day long. I wonder if this makes me sound bad, like I'm not supervising them well enough, but my kids are happy to run around doing their own things and I'm happy to let them. They fight, of course, and I don't get to be in my own space for long, but just not having to be in the same room all morning on a rainy grumpy day is really great for my (our?) disposition.
There's a huge area for a garden and I will get around to planting my seedlings when it stops raining. The landlord just installed a garage door opener. We're getting a new fridge soon. I love the 'character' of older houses. And we took your advice and switched out the shower head in the downstairs shower and lo, there was water pressure.
It's not perfect. I really don't like the laundry room. The kitchen floor, while not as panic-inducing as my old floor, will never look clean no matter how hard I scrub. The kitchen gets really hot when it's just sunny, not even warm, outside. The carpet has tears and ugly spots. I hate the paint color. Our table is too big and heavy for its spot in the kitchen, and there isn't enough storage for food and linens and coats.
BUT WHO CARES. I thought I lived pretty close to things in the old house, but this house is even closer and Phillip and I are realizing that wait, maybe THIS is the nicest house we'll ever live in, because there's no way on earth we can afford to BUY a house in this neighborhood and that's so much of what we love about it. And I just love - LOVE LOVE LOVE - knowing that if and when we decide to buy again we are free. Free! No will-it-sell townhouse hanging over our heads and all that drama. I know I was complainy about it, but I hope you know I'm still sort of shocked we are in our rental house already, when I was thinking MAYBE by June or July. I feel SO blessed.
As a side note, I hung the REST of the pictures today and a certain someone STILL has not said anything about it. I guess I can't have everything.