Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Movin' on Up


We bought a house! And sold a house!

Big stuff, right?!

I've got all kinds of details of the real estate whirlwind that took place over the last few weeks...but for now I want to share a little story, and a big piece of my heart:

Last night I met a contractor at the new house to walk him through our (wild) ideas and see what might be feasible (Meeting theme: I want to change everything! What can you do in 13 days for $9.97?!) If you saw my IG stories this weekend, then you got a peek at what we're starting with and what we might want to's a whole lot of "paint it allllllll white!", but our big goal is to to make some adjustments to add another bedroom, and maybe make one of the existing bedrooms larger. I talked the contractor through our potential plans to see what's possible, and while he had all kinds of technical knowledge about how to make the construction work, he had a bit of trouble catching my overall vision:
Contractor: I mean- we can do it. But what do you need another bedroom for?
Me: Guests!

Contractor: Guests? Your parents live here. Who's going to come stay with you?

Me: Ummmm...I dunno. Friends...?
Contractor: Friends? Tell them to go home to sleep at their own house!
Me: Well...out of town friends. And...uh...Dustin's dad!
Contractor: ....ooooook.... But if you add the 5th bedroom, then why do you need to make another bedroom bigger?
Me: So the girls can still share a room without being cramped. 

Contractor: Why can't you just give them each their own room?
Me: Well...because someday we might have more kids.
Contractor: MORE kids? Is there something wrong with you? You have four kids. You must really like kids...You want MORE kids?
Me: Well...I don't know...Maybe we will. My husband says...well I've been thinking...Anyway, the point is...well...I just need more bedrooms, ok?!
 And a little while later:
Me: Can you measure the distance from the floor to the bottom of the window in the family room for me?
Contractor: Why, you trying to turn that into a bedroom too?
Me: .............nooooo?.............
Now, this particular contractor actually did a ton of work for my parents years and years ago, so while I've never worked with him directly, I do know him semi-well enough to know he's mostly (mostly) joking. He's got a really dry sense of humor, so he got a kick out of giving me a hard time, and I had fun playing into the whole charade. At my best, I'm able to sell my nonsense as charm, which is basically essential when you're trying to convince a really good contractor to squeeze a really lofty project (on a really small budget) into a really unreasonable timeline.

So I humored his good-natured jabbing, but it did highlight some things I've been thinking about a lot as we've been exploring the idea of moving. We've felt the urge to move for a while...feeling a little cramped in our current space. But I've also felt unsure- like getting something bigger (and more expensive) is extravagant and unnecessary. Plenty of people grow up with faaaaaaaar less than we have now. Not a single thing on my new house wish-list could be considered a necessity. It's all upgrades and nice-to-haves. And that makes me wonder: Is it worth it? Do I deserve it? And then my wonders spawn more wonders, and swirl into even more wonders:
Do we actually need more space?
Should we really spend all this money on stuff?
Are we really going to have more kids?
Are my priorities out of whack?
Am I just trying to keep up with other people?
Am I spoiled? Are my kids spoiled?
Are we going to be house-poor?
Should we do all the work ourselves?
Should we bail on the whole idea and buy a camper instead?
There are a ton of very real, very valid reasons why a bigger house is a good idea for our family. And there is also a ton of truth in the notion that we don't need a bigger house. And I'm finding myself caught up in the in-between. To get all biblical for a minute: how do I live in the world but not be of the world? How do I reconcile my desire for a nice new house (with nice new finishes, and nice new things to fill it with) with my deeper desire to place my values on things of true value? How do I build a home without accidentally making it an idol? I'm not trying to turn a quest for a three car garage into an existential crisis...but at the same time, I don't want to just blindly follow my wants and whims down a dark path.

But then there's the opposite side of things. The part my contractor was jesting at...
The idea that maybe we are just a little bit weird.

It won't make sense to everyone that I want more bedrooms just in case. They won't understand that I don't have to know who's going to stay there to know that I'm supposed to prepare a bed anyway. They might not get that there is a call in my heart towards hospitality even when I can't explain what form that's going to take. If I sound a little wacky when I start talking about having another kid, then I sound completely nuts when I mention taking in pregnant teens. (chill, Dus, it's just an idea!!)

Sooooo- I'm torn:
Half of me thinks I should sell(/donate) everything and live a simple, minimalist life. We'll buy nothing, and want for nothing. We'll keep the mandolin, a few chambray shirts, and hold hands while we sing sweet songs to Jesus. What discipline and wisdom we'll have then!

But then all of me remembers I COULD NEVER DO THAT. Well, chambray and mando I can's the give-up-all-the-things part I would struggle with. I'm a more-is-more person. I'm a yes and person. I'm a creative person. A crafty person. A borders-on-hoarder person.

So I'm trying to work on honoring all parts of me...while honoring the One who created all of those parts.
Yes- I want to dream and build, and create beautiful things. I'm going to save DIY tutorials, invest in nice hardwood floors, and send Dustin on endless shady Facebook Marketplace pickups. Not because my hope is found in stuff...but because I am hard-wired as a designer and maker and passionate thing-finder. There is joy there, and joy is good.

And also yes- I want to make the most of the much I've been given. I want to have bunk beds and trundles, and pull out sofas and dining tables with leaves on leaves on leaves. I want to be able to say yes. You can stay here. You are welcome here. There is room for you. There is enough for us all.

It might not make sense. Not to you, not to my contractor, not to me sometimes. I don't know if I'm doing anything right. I might be too much. I may not be doing enough. But we're figuring it out...and trying to laugh, and grow, and be kind and stay juuuuust this side of crazy while we muddle along this adventure of doubt and blessing...

As the contractor and I ended our tour for the night (after he schooled me on the need for a walk-in pantry if I was going to insist on keeping all these kids) I smiled and told him the one thing about this renovation I am sure of:
Me: You can't put a price on how much fun this project would be to do together.
Contractor: Well, you're absolutely right about that.
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