Two days before our 30th wedding anniversary and I can finally say it: we are DONE remodeling houses!
Tom and I have owned three houses since we’ve been married and I can honestly say that most weekends in those (almost) 30 years have been spent “working on the house.” Our first house in Oceanside, California was brand new, so most of Tom’s work in that house was spent outside, building a yard. It was his first big project and everything he did, he did alone (I was inside wrangling four kidlets!), just figuring things out as he went along. Here’s the yard a few weeks after we moved in (look at preschooler Elisabeth and toddler Peter!):
(That’s Tasha, our only non-Golden Retriever dog. We eventually ended up giving her away because she couldn’t be completely trusted with the kids… probably because we were too busy with said kids to train her properly.)
And here’s the yard just before we sold the house in 1993, five years later (and yes, it took the full five years to create this):
I loved that yard and that house and that neighborhood and our neighbors and all of it. I think I’ll always be able to say that some of my happiest years were spent in that house.
From there, we moved to another brand new house in another brand new neighborhood, this time in Richland, Washington.
Tom did plenty of work inside, but it was mostly of the “make-it-feel-like-ours” variety. I don’t even have any “before” photos of our back yard, but imagine a whole lot of dirt, dust, and sagebrush – because that’s what Eastern Washington consists of!
When we sold the house in 1995 a mere 18 months after buying it (Tom hated his job at Hanford and hated the area, calling it the “arm pit of Washington State), this is what the back yard looked like (and that’s Aleks, Kat, and their cousins Tina and Barry):
…and this is Peter supervising the moving process:
In summer of 1995, we bought this house in Woodinville, Washington:
It was the first “old” house we’d owned(if you could call a 1978 split-level “old”) and it needed massive amounts of work, both inside and outside. We would have loved another new house, but the market sucked in both Richland and Seattle and this (gag) split level was all we could afford. Neither of us liked it all that much (except for the to-die-for yard and forested acre), and Tom insisted all along that “you can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear.” But we took a deep breath in 1995, started in on the process and did all this (13 years of house renovations in one blog post)! As I exclaimed at the end of that post, the only things left to do at that point was to replace the god-awful front door and paint the house.
Both have now been done and this is what our house looks like today:
And today I can say that, except for the typical “home maintenance” stuff, we are DONE!
Done, I tell you!
Ha! Ironically, Tom just kibitzed this post and he insists, “Oh, no we’re not done!”
I have forgotten, it seems, that his plan for this summer is to create in this backyard space beneath the new deck…
…a babbling stream that meanders around big stepping-stone boulders which lead to the flagstone patio with new fire pit. (He’ll remove the fire pit and patio that he and Kat built years ago and replace that area with the new stream with boulders, and he’ll put flagstone on the slab where the hot tub used to be and build a new fire pit there.)
So I guess I was wrong. On our 30th wedding anniversary in two days, Tom will still be building and remodeling! I have a feeling Tom will always be building and remodeling – and as much as it seems I might complain, I am actually extremely grateful to be married to such a handy, talented, creative, hard-working man who has made many a house a true home for his family.