For the past 4 years, my husband and I have lived in small, "fixer upper" houses (a.k.a. foreclosed dumps with potential). When we were first looking for these "fixer uppers" I spotted an add for a house that said, "sweat equity". I called my parents and told them about the find and exclaimed, "yeah... even the advertisement said that it had sweet equity." I now know that it has everything to do with SWEAT and nothing to do with SWEET. Tarps hanging from walls. Living in campers while we put up sheet-rock. Dust. Nails. Paint. Decisions. Bottomed-out bank accounts. Take-out and cereal for dinner each night.
BUT. Our first little house turned out to be a dandy. With amazing, brilliant, selfless and HANDY family... you can do just about anything.
And then we became a family of four overnight. And that house grew small.... fast. So... my husband and my father thought... "Hey... since this house came out so great... why don't we try to do the same thing to another house... and sell that one?" It would be a joint effort. And, since the next house might have a little bit more room... we could stay in that one for a while before we sell it.
So that's what we did. We moved into another home. But it wasn't bigger. Garage... yes. Basement... yes. More room? 990 square feet (NO). With twin boys... that's not a whole lot of space I tell you.
So... I've been dreaming a bit. About our next house. When you live in "transition" homes... you don't exactly feel settled. Pictures weren't hung. The basement is still full of boxes full of stuff. But this next home might just be "the one". Or, at least, the one that we are in for a while. And what do I want in this next house?
A yard for the kids. Maybe a garden. A garage would be nice. I don't need a bunch of square footage. Just wide open spaces for company and laughter. I dream of a quiet, sunlit reading room for afternoon naps and "wine o'clocks". I like things old. With character. A location where my kids could ride their bikes to the neighbors house. A place that isn't too far away from the action of "downtown". Close to the ocean? Am I pushing it? (We could probably afford a porta-potty that we could rent and put on the beach?)
But bottom line... you can make a whole lot of dumps into something beautiful.
Time. Sweat. Family (free labor). And Love.
That had me thinking of our sons' home country. What would they be living in if their parents were still healthy and had enough to take care of them? Probably a little hut. One room. Maybe two. Running water? Probably not. Heat? Nope. Wood floors? Dirt. Beds? Probably not.
photo taken by a friend in Ethiopia