When JDubbs and I first saw the house which was to be our first home, it was December 2007 and we had big dreams and high expectations. However, this house was a bit of an ugly duckling. We trudged through over a foot of snow to the dark and drab kitchen and I immediately wanted to turn around and run back to sunny San Diego as fast as my Uggs could carry me. I said things like absolutely not and who would want to live there? In defense of our home-to-be, it had been unoccupied for over a year and left to foreclose, with all its possessions (including bullets, creepy baby swing, clothes in the closets), to rot. Yeah, just what I imagined leaving my airy, well-lit condo in Carlsbad for. Sign me up.
Well, two months, one short sale, and one pregnancy later, the price of the house dropped thirty thousand dollars and JDubbs took me for a walk to talk over the immense potential of the little house in the woods. Begrudgingly I acquiesced, but I have to admit that it took me forever to see that potential, even after living here for months.
Yeah, I know, it's cute from afar. It's picturesque. So very Vermont. But it's had its share of money-pit moments. We have had to redo the roof, get a new water heater, cap the old chimney, build a fireplace, insulate the crawl space, insulate the entire upstairs, redo the upstairs bathroom, knock out the wall between the closet and pantry to create more usable space, paint, repaint after leaks, rip out the random downstair shower and sheetrock. And that's just inside.
The outside. Oh, lord. Doesn't look so bad from the front, but trust me. Not a flat patch in the entire four acres, not more than a random blade of grass here and there. Nothing that even really consisted of a yard. It was just not very usable outside space. It never made me think that I could take my toddler outside to play; in reality he risked rolling down the hill onto the unpaved, gravel driveway or cutting his head open on the oh-so-quaint flagstone paths sporadically lining our "front yard." And I use that term loosely.
And poor Jax. Compared to Em, he lived in an arid wasteland.
A farce of a front yard.
Look at how dirty he is! The straggly wild flowers and grass! You can just see in his expression, Okay, so, where exactly am I supposed to learn to walk? Ride a tricycle? PLAY?
Enter JDubbs, his dad, brother Tom, and our contractor Corey. We cut down fifteen trees and crowned dozens more. When Corey was building the fireplace and just happened to have a backhoe handy, he offered to flatten the sideyard and rip up the decorative stumps littering the yard. Um, yes, please!
Then add 25 yards of topsoil, 7 tons of rock, some annuals and flowering trees, plus days of manpower, and voila! A new yard. But still, we had that unsightly and sketchy deck.
I was counting on finding a corpse or two under there next to JDubbs's surfboard, but I was wrong. Just a lot of spiders.
Papa, JDubbs, and Tom built us a new deck made from composite wood...
...and it is so much prettier and less of a hassle than our old deck. It's gorgeous! It gives our house a little curb appeal, which it was sorely missing.
We still have so many more dreams for this, our first home.
But, for all its headaches, it has been a safe and comfortable place to raise two babies and a puppy. We have so much room to grow and the kids have uncharted wilderness to explore, not to mention a yard! We really are very very lucky that JDubbs saw the potential in what has turned out to be a wonderful home for our family.
But I bet you don't want to come help him rake up the leaves, huh? Me neither!