the weekend is upon us and how is crept along so slowly until now. jimmyredhed and I have nearly all our possessions tucked away into boxes and stored haphazardly in his parents' garage across the city.
we are moving.
we are buying a house.
This house is absolutely incredible and I still catch my breath each time I say the words "we own a house." well, we almost own a house. we're closing on Monday.
Growing up in the sprawling cornfields of rural Illinois, my notion of home is a HUGE two story house on at least a quarter acre of land. Lush green grass and lots of tall trees to climb. A yard for which to lay on and take naps under the sun-filled July days, clumps of grass between your toes as you complete round off backflips, endless cartwheels, and play tag until the street lights come on. It's a big old house that is never quite finished, but always quite perfect. Lots of bedrooms and long elaborate staircases. Home has a basement and an attic where you can search for treasures and have adventures. Long evenings sitting around the dining room table, talking to various family members about life and the ongoing questions.
When I moved to Chicago in 2006, I never thought that I could own a home in the city. With housing prices at more than half a million dollars, in the back of my mind I've always thought that we would rent or leave the city. The thing is I LOVE the city, but a house has always been and will always be my number one priority. Five months ago, we were looking at houses back around my home town, applying for jobs, and pretty much setting our hearts on leaving. A true sport is Jimmy, but I know that he never wants to leave Chicago. Four months ago, we began hearing about foreclosures and the housing tax credit. We got pre-approved and began working with a relator saying we are "80% sure we're not going to buy a house."
Well we found one . . . in our price range . . . and while it's not perfect (yet), I can see our lives play out here for decades to come. Our home is west in the city, in Portage Park, the same neighborhood my husband grew up in. It sits on the back of the lot and is a beautiful red frame home in a block of bungalows. It was actually the first house we picked out of the listings. Our home has three bedrooms and a full basement, a looming and inviting front yard and a wonderful front porch. It was originally built as a barn in 1903 and still has some of the charming characteristics such as the rounded roof and beams across the ceiling. we are going to be so happy here.
As we pack up our stuff and move out of this apartment, I can't help but feel as if we're shutting a chapter of our lives. This is our first "married" home, one we've shared together and has been all ours. It's the first apartment that I've painted and considered a "home." The beautiful built-in bookshelves have stored so much knowledge and memories. We survived our first year of marriage here. I feel that I've learned to cook and communicate and care for myself physically and mentally in this home. We've hosted old friends and new friends, had so many parties, and spent an entire summer eating quesadillas, strawberries with cool whip, and laying on the dining room floor, laughing, and learning how to be in love day in and day out.
We've had so many work experiences in this apartment . . . Jimmy's had at least four jobs, me at least two, and i've nurtured my fledgling business here. I've sewed so many tote bags, cooked so many pots of soup, and soaked my aching body in so many bubble baths. we've raised our first pet in this home and Killer Queen has grown from ornery little kitten to the most affectionate, individual young cat that is such a joy to be around. I planted my first seeds here, in a table top garden that Jimmy built me from reclaimed wood. We've learned how to compost and recycle on our backporch. I've learned how to be peaceful in solitude and peaceful in a crowd. I rode a bike for the first time in a decade, spent evenings at the beach, and fell in love with fruit markets. I've thoroughly enjoyed this neighborhood, heartland cafe, duke's, and the glenwood ave arts fest.
It's really hard to paint this walls back to white and bow out of this barren place that I have invested my heart and my hands in.
goodbye yellow brick walls.