Finally, as 2012 nears an end, things are starting to feel a bit more organized and sane. Even looking for a new job is less stressful than the first post-graduate hunt because I know we are staying in our new house, in a little Western Pennsylvania township I like a lot. It's a nice place to live, reminding me of the foothills back in Central California — except these hills are green!
It appears my wife and I will be able to sell our first Pennsylvania house thanks to a decent market here. If the house sells before Christmas, as seems likely, it will be a huge relief to us.
Moving was stressful enough, as it is for everyone, but that house didn't agree with me or the furry kids. Our new house is, for many reasons, simply better for us. The new house still doesn't feel like "home" but it should in a year or two as we finish the major projects. The first house wasn't going to feel "right" without a substantial investment and lots of effort. It could be a great house, understand, but it needed a new kitchen, new driveway, and several significant updates to make me comfortable. We were living in the office, where we worked, watched television, and spend most of our time.
We did a good job fixing up the house to sell it. It looks much better than when we moved into the house. But, the kitchen alone was reason to consider another move.
I like our bigger, newer kitchen. We do something unusual: we cook our meals at home. No, we don't prepare gourmet meals, but at least we try to eat at home far more than the national norm. The kitchen needs space to prepare meals. We have blenders, mixers, food processors, and lots of gadgets. When two people are in the kitchen, a little space matters. Making cookies was difficult in a kitchen without counter space.
The new house feels better to me because it is so roomy. We used to live in a 700-square foot apartment. That was tough because there wasn't room for anything. Our kitchen was our office. There were two bikes in my small bedroom, along with a computer desk. We somehow survived in a space that felt more like a self-storage locker than a household.
After living in an 1128-square foot house in urban Minneapolis, I knew I needed space. Now, we have lots of space. There's still some clutter until we get the spaces organized and some basic furniture, but there is room in the new house for us, the cats, our books, and our home office equipment.
Next spring, we plan to start landscaping projects. That will make the house feel more like ours. I liked what we did in Minneapolis, though the yard was small and we should have made the planing beds much wider. I look forward to flowers, ornamental grasses, and some small trees. I also hope we can terrace the yard, making several planting beds for different types of gardens.
It feels good to know we have a clear plan and place we can call home.
Having a "normal life" is a good thing.