The kids were launched. ED and boys lived nearby, and the younger two were established in Chicago. After living with us for three years, my mother passed away and her room had been reconverted back to the office. Mike and I loved our house and neighborhood, but I was feeling the itch to find space for our new life. We were both busy with careers, family, and friends and enjoyed entertaining. Ours was the party house. The five bedrooms were well used. But our family room and kitchen were small with a largely unused living room and dining room staring at us. We didn’t need much less space; rather, we needed a new layout. In addition, we had a relatively large 11,000 foot lot which required maintenance.
We weren’t interested in leaving the area until retirement, still a few years off. And even then, we wouldn’t leave Mike’s father who lived nearby. No less important, lots of family and long-time friends were close by. Having dabbled in real estate a few years earlier, I knew what I wanted while knowing it didn’t exist in our area in our price range.
Mike and I discussed major remodeling. I agree that I was the one who resisted: I wasn’t sure we could get what we wanted. We had no experience with a designer, but looking back, I realize we should have consulted one. Even so, in the back of my mind, I was nervous that at some point we would prefer a single-story house, both to avoid stairs and the high cost of heating/cooling the second story in Arizona.
Concurrently, ED was becoming more dissatisfied with the school district the boys attended. She, too, loved her house, but indications were that it would become very tight with two growing boys. An attempt to sell the house and replace it with an appropriate home was futile.
Our extended family has a holiday tradition: after dinner is cleared and before dessert is served, libations are poured into plastic cups and we head out for a walk through the neighborhood. It is a fun way to settle our tummies, greet the neighbors and socialize with each other. We take the dogs and babies in strollers and grannies in wheelchairs.
My sister and brother each have beautiful homes in a beautiful neighborhood which includes excellent schools. During one holiday stroll, admiring the homes and landscaping, ED commented that she would never be able to afford to live in such a neighborhood.
To be continued. . .
Spoiler Alert: we all move into that exact neighborhood.