Life is good. Really, really good. We are really happy, and our kids are really happy. And often, when life is good I don’t sit down and write about it. I should, of course. But I don’t need it as an outlet, so it gets put off. But that doesn’t explain why I didn’t write more during the first few months of owning our current house. I surely needed an outlet then! I guess I just drowned myself in rice krispy treats and took out my anger on Reid...and anyone who dared ask “how’s the house?”
So, how is the house, you might ask. There’s a long and a short answer to that question. The short one is: it is full of character and charm, it’s been more work than we’d anticipated, but it keeps us together and warm. We’re enjoying the space, and LOVE having a more rural life, especially the chickens, the dog and the upcoming sheep!
The long answer? Well, here it is:
Once upon a time, in the royal suburbs of Highlands Ranch, there lived a wife and mother of 4 who, with the loving support of her knight in shining 2-piece suits, decided to buy a farmhouse in the country. While packing all of her family’s belongings, she injured her lower back. This happened just days before the purchase was complete--really unfortunate timing. Understandably upset by this set back, she resigned to the fact that she needed help. She reluctantly welcomed volunteer maidens from her village into her home to help with final packing and cleaning. Though extremely embarassed that her secret hoarder's stashes were now seen by all, she was more overcome by gratitude, love and appreciation, making it that much harder to leave this village she'd come to love so dearly.
Confident that healing would progress quickly in the fresh country air she looked forward to the moment when the last walls would be painted, the last carpet piece nailed down, the attic fan installed, the countertops (generously donated by her royal father!!) in place, and her family would move in to their dream home. For then, the rest and relaxation could begin.
Little did she know that the farmhouse they’d purchased was actually hiding secrets. Very bad secrets. Such as a completely rotted subfloor, which had been hidden by the bright turquoise carpet. What a dirty secret to hide! (The image of her husband standing, waist deep inside of her floor, was too much to bear. Hadn't Tom Hanks found himself in the floor, too? She simply had to take a photo and share it in this eact moment.)
The swamp coolers, which had been covered with snow at the time of inspection, turned out to be older than the house (which the plumber found to be interesting and impressive) and were spewing rusty and otherwise hazardous materials in the house. Another dirty secret!
The lovely and charming spiral staircase, which had been such a draw to the farmhouse in the first place, is literally falling to pieces. That is to say that pieces are literally falling off of it, and it has been deemed “unfit for use until repaired.” This is perhaps the dirtiest secret of all. (And has yet to be taken care of.)
The cabinets, though beautiful, hand-crafted by the previous owner, and all made from one cherry tree(!!) were also falling apart. The hinges were all broken, and so were some of the actual doors. The tops of the base cabinets were even, which made the countertop installers very unhappy. Many hours of repairs went into the cabinets. And many, many, many hours of restaining.
The beautiful French doors which lead from the sunroom to the gardens have an oversized gap between them which is tragically large enough for any and all moths to fit through. Whilst this poor mother and wife was dealing with more house- worry and house-stress and house-remorse than her back and soul could bear, her farmhouse became an sanctuary for moths every night at sunset. Her knight in shining armour, who was equally as exhausted by all the tedious work being put into the farmhouse (e.g. applying weather stripping to all the doors, repairing hinges, replacing every single grimy old outlet and switch) possesses an unfortunately high tolerance for moths. And so she was left to take care of the situation on her own. From approximately 9pm-11pm, every night for the first 4 weeks in the farmhouse you could find her with two flyswatters in one hand and her shopvac in the other. And a disturbing expression of horror and glee across her face. Happy was the day the weather changed and the moths migrated to the west.
|Heading west doesn't seem like a bad idea|
The first, second and third washing machines she purchased for the farmhouse had vastly different, though equally as major defects. So intense was her frustration that she considered hand washing all her clothes, and hanging them to dry on her not-yet-existent clothesline. But then remembered that she hates cleaning. Luckily, the fourth time was the charm. Or maybe it was the colorful language she used with Customer Service. At last she has a magical machine that does in one load what her previous machine could do in three.
All of this was enough to make this mother and wife question herself intensely. Had she allowed her selfish desires of country-living to cloud her vision such that now her entire family would suffer a long and miserable life in a run-down farmhouse, with a disgruntled father and a permanently crabby mother? Was this all a mistake? It had felt so right, but was it? Should they have just stayed in the suburbs and lived a normal life? Why was everything going wrong??!?!
These questions weighed heavily on her mind for the first two months in the home.
And then they arrived. The first of many farm miracles. Without any efforts or battles or debating or deciding, they just showed up on the property one Saturday morning, coop and all. Nineteen beautiful feathered multi-colored egg-laying pieces of paleo manna from heaven.
The story of why they were given to this little family isn't as interesting as the timing and effortlessness of their arrival. This mother and wife was at the end of her twine, ready to call uncle, hang a white flag over her head and move to a condo. And believe it or not, those chickens saved her! Watching her kids feed them corn, pick out their names, (which was a terrible idea, by the way) and bring in the first eggs reminded her of her why they'd come here in the first place. Their
money pit fixer-upper had tried to quash her dreams, but they were alive. She was alive!
The day those hens showed up was the first best day of Life at the Farmhouse.
And they are all living happily every after. (The family that is, not the chickens. Three of them became dinner.)