But Daddy I want it NOW!
People are often surprised when I tell them we haven’t yet broken ground on our build. After all, we have owned the property for more than 14 months, and I am known to be a rather driven planner (sidebar: I know this comment is ironic, seeing as how bad I have been about blogging…I will endeavor to be more diligent (and not throw another time-diverting large costume party until next year…).
The biggest delay was mother nature, as I mentioned in a previous post. Until we determined our watershed boundaries, we couldn’t draw our plans. And, as we had eight inches of snow in May, Mother Nature truly had her way with us. But once the appropriate stakes were in the ground, the planning started in earnest. We brought all of our ideas with us to the meeting with our architect, Mike Sharrat of Sharratt Design, and our builders, Gary and John Kraemer of Kraemer and Sons. The first meeting was so basic, I suppose — what did we have to have, and how much did we want to spend. It’s kind of like discussing priorities with a toddler: what do need, and what do you want. Need? First floor master, room for entertaining, enough beds and baths for our kids and guests. Want? His and hers closets. A pantry the size of a Manhattan apartment. Sexy shower. We threw a lot on the table, and Mike, Gary and John guided us towards what we could do on our lot with our budget.
We came to the decision that we wanted a home that lives comfortably when we are home with our teenagers, as well as when they have moved on and its just the two of us. One that can do family movie night as well as eight for a gourmet dinner club, or 100 crazy grown ups in Halloween garb. We want to be proud without ragging or making others feel uncomfortable. I see our home as a little black dress: wear it with flip flops, or with pearls, and it’s going to be appropriate.
Our planning meetings were pretty regular — every 2-4 weeks or so, and the drawings became more fine-tuned with each gathering. Each time we met, we were tasked to take the plans home and live with them. Rich and I had different approaches, so usually we ruminated solo, then met to hammer it out. I like to look at the plans and walk them in my mind. I usually have two scenarios: in the first, I am coming home from running errands. How do I go through the house? Letting the dog out of the kennel, dropping shoes, going into the kitchen and getting settled. The second scenario has be greeting guests at the front door: when they come in, what happens I don’t want a traffic jam, and I want folks to know where to place their appetizer tray without even wondering. I know folks will gather in the kitchen, so how do I make that comfortable for me and them?
It’s funny, as I spent the last few weeks prepping for my Halloween party (I was Carol Burnett’s version of Scarlett O’Hara, in case you missed the photos on Facebook), it was wistful. Last big party on McKinley Court! And as I pack up the decorations, I don’t worry about placing the giant web in the box marked “entry way,” because I have no idea how I am going to use the old decorations in the new house. In fact, every time I enter a room I think: will that table fit into the new house? Where will I store the wrapping paper next year? Do I really love all the bric-a-brac enough to pack it and move it? I try to purge something every day, hoping to stem the crap tide. There’s a gal who blogs on Houzz (trying to remember her name…) who lost her home in a fire. She mentions what she misses — and rarely is it the stuff you can replace. So part of me is thinking: is it worth schlepping everything I don’t use daily/weekly/monthly to the new house, or does it just make sense to buy new when (if?) I need them again? For example: I have more than four cabinets in my laundry room (it’s huge, BTW, and one of the few things I will miss when we move) with nothing but art supplies in them. I am going to try to get that down to three, then two. It will not be easy (especially if my daughter gets involved). But it will be worth it.
Moving to a new home is a blank slate. We want to bring treasures with us, not baggage. Photo albums? Of course. Half dried tubes of glitter glue? Not so much. Maybe we should all do that. Try to get a bag of giveaway stuff every week. What do we want, and what do we need? When we get rid of the clutter, we see the treasures so much more clearly. So we will not have his and hers closets, we will share. True, I will have to see my husband’s mind-boggling lack of tidiness, but I will get to see him!