Saturday, November 22, 2008

Square Footage

I think Violet is 16 pounds and around 26 inches long. I don't know what that is volume wise, she can't take up more than 2 square feet when stretched all the way out, but the addition of her to our family makes me long for a new house.

Shawn and I bought our little 1920's bungalow in 2006, before we were married, before my Dad died, before the housing bubble burst. That day in August when we signed our name a jillion times, making this old place ours, it seemed that there couldn't be a better house for us. We fell for the history of the house.

I like to think about the other babies who came home to this place, the other couples who cooked eggs here, even the geriatrics who holed up in the living room, watching Wheel of Fortune, until their adult kids decided it was time for a rest home. I love that Shawn gets as hot and bothered by virgin hardwoods and crumbly plaster walls as I do. I love that I live less that a mile from the house where I grew up, even though as a teenager I would have crapped had I known I'd end up settling down so close by. But, I love our neighborhood, all cracking sidewalks and giant trees and large front porches and brick public school buildings. I love our fireplace and the dark beams that run the length of my living room ceiling and the build in china cabinet in our dining room.

I do love this little house but, damn, I would love me walk-in closet, too.

My brother Andy and his wife Aly and their two kids just moved back to Indy after living in Evansville for the last several years. They bought a house in a neighborhood not far from us, but their home was built 40 years later than ours. It's amazing how architechture and neighborhood planning changed between 1920 and 1960. Our neighborhood is layed out in neat, geometric blocks, each house with a yard about as big as a postage stamp. Andy and Aly's hood, just two miles away, still very much in Indianapolis, is all winding lanes, quiet cul-de-sacs, and yards that require a riding mower. The square footage of their closets alone, and I am not kidding here, is probably equal to that of our entire house. Like us, they had to do some rehab when they moved in. Unlike us, when they take a break from a project, say, installing a new light fixture, there is actually a place to put their tools, out of sight, until they get back to complete the job.

I think the thing that really got me thinking about moving was the holidays. Not that my 2 year old nephew's walk-in closet hadn't intrigued me, but the upcoming influx of relatives from near and far makes me long for more space to accomodate them. As both Shawn's side and my side of the family have added members this year, it is getting increasingly difficult for us to squeeze everyone into our charming bungalow. With only two bedrooms, ours and a nursery, we don't have much of a place for houseguests. Shawn's parents stayed with us on Thanksgiving night and they were relegated to the pull out couch in the living room. His sister Elisha came down for the day with her husband and four kids but there really is no way we could have comfortably hosted them overnight. All told, once you add in Shawn's other sister Bridget and her husband Shane, there were 8 adults and 5 kids in our tiny house for Thanksgiving yesterday. The pic posted above is of Violet and her 4 cousins; Logan, Aleah, Ashley, and Alana.

It all worked out fine, actually,and no one complained, but I really would have liked it if,at the end of the day, everyone could have crashed here and not had to drive 3 hours to get back home. Don't get me wrong, I don't want a B&B, but a couple additional bedrooms, an extra bath, and some floor space for kid' sleeping bags would've sufficed. We're about to run into the same situation at Christmas as a lot of my aunts, uncles and cousins come in from Texas and Conneticut. Shawn and I won't be hosting any of the houseguests or get-togethers. Our place just isn't big enough.

So I'm wondering if 2009 will bring a new house for our family. We continue to discuss the pros and cons of moving. I am doubtful that we could find an affordable home in our current neighborhood that we wouldn't outgrow immediately. A vinyl wrapped house in an outlying suburb would offer us the most space for the least money, but neither Shawn nor I want a cookie cutter place devoid of character. Given the state of the economy, I am content staying put for the immediate future. After all, packing people in during the holidays is nothing new and, for the 3 humans and one canine who call this house home, we're pretty happily snug here.

1 comment:

Aly said...

I often find myself looking at the house behind us, wishing you lived there. How funny to have lived hundreds of miles apart our entire relationship, only to find that the 5 miles or so that separate us now seems too far. xo