Reflection: On Buying a Home, Five Years Later

Buying a home. Most of us dream of becoming home owners — even before we really know what it means to OWN a home. Owning a home is more stressful than I ever imagined — mostly because my home never feels “done.” The list of projects keeps piling up; we keep saving for a new kitchen, for example, and then the basement floods or the fence blows over or we can’t seem to ever be rid of the ants!

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Owning a home, unfortunately, is not just about paint colors and backsplash tiles. Our house is the number-one source of stress in our lives. We thought we wanted an older house with charm, so we bought a 1927 Chicago Bungalow with stained-glassed windows and wood floors and an exterior made of brick. I was in love when we saw the house; so was Mike. We wanted it so bad it hurt when we found out we weren’t the only offer.

I imagined a new kitchen and a dormer roof with a master suite one day as I imagined backyard parties and glasses of wine on our back deck, soaking in the smell of lilacs from the neighbor’s tree. It was perfect.

Now, five years later, our dream house isn’t quite what we imagined. We have two sons — and new dishwasher sounds more lovely than stained-glass windows. AJ slept in the basement until it flooded last month. We never feel like we have enough space; I blame the toys for this. The heaps of plastic junk.

Most of all, we don’t live in the neighborhood where we want to send our boys to school. This kills us most. The CPS issue. Stuck in a house we can’t sell because we bought our house at the wrong time and the market hasn’t improved enough.

So, we’ve been thinking about downsizing. Buying a condo in a neighborhood where we like the school. We aren’t sure. But it’s on the table.

We are terrible — terrible — home owners. We are never home. We are not handy. We are not project-people when it comes to our home. It is not a priority when it feels like it should be.

So, we will see what happens. Our home. Our house. This place we bought when we moved back to Chicago from Austin, this place where I became pregnant with Noah, this place where we brought Noah home, this place where we lost Belle, this place where I became pregnant with AJ, this place where we brought AJ home, this place where we became a family, are becoming a family, this place I love and hate. This place. Our place. Ours.

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4 thoughts on “Reflection: On Buying a Home, Five Years Later

    • Thanks for your comment. As a public school educator, I’m not sure I want to homeschool my kids but I agree that living in the city has so much to offer. We don’t want to move to the burbs.

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