Our New House: What I’m Looking Forward To

What an exhausting week! We are working so hard on getting our new house ready to officially move in to. We are still living in our apartment for most of April while we take care of some projects that need to be done at the house: painting the three main rooms and then tearing out the carpets. That’s not the last of the work that needs to be done by any means, but it’s what needs to be done before we can move in.

And boy is it work. We’ve been going straight to the house after work each night to paint and/or prep things for painting, sometimes not getting out of there until after 10. Honestly it’s beginning to feel like there is no end in sight! I know it will all pay off when we’ve created a space that we love, but sometimes that day feels decades away. The work is gratifying but it is tiring.

img_2938

So to help me keep my eye on the prize, I thought I’d make my first house post about all the things I’m so looking forward to doing and having as part of our new home.

Our front porch

img_2945
Perfect for enjoying a cup of coffee and a good book, and yelling at kids to get off my lawn.

Air conditioning

You know, after living in dirty abandoned rec centers, wilderness lodges, dorms, and churches over the course of my year in AmeriCorps, I’d like to think I’m pretty darned low-maintenance when it comes to housing. Give me a warm place to sleep, a working toilet and shower and sink, and I’ll be okay. I’ve survived worse. But we all have our pet luxuries, and this is mine. You don’t know what it means to me that I never have to endure another Midwest summer in the upper unit of an old duplex with no central air conditioning. Especially now that I’m going to spend the summer marathon training. The extra balance on the energy bill is worth not spending the next 5 months miserable.

Our back patio and yard

A perfect-sized space for summer get-togethers. Hopefully to be complete with a fire pit one day!

Fall holidays

Fall is going to be such a fun time in our home. We’ll hopefully be settled in and done with some major projects by then, and we’re hoping to be able to host Thanksgiving and also host our first Christmas! That means putting up our first tree and Christmas decorations! In the 5.5 years I’ve lived in Milwaukee, I’ve never had a Christmas here. Not only will it be so fun to have family in our new home for the holidays, it will be nice to not have to travel for them this year.

Oh, and I also can’t wait to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters on Halloween!

Garden space

Those ol’ beds may not look like much now, but wait til you see once I’ve plented ’em full of veggies, which we can then hopefully use to power a much better diet for ourselves. Having my garden right there on my own property will prevent me from utterly failing at it this time…right???

AND a compost bin!

I’ve wanted a compost bin FOR-E-VER. Sure enough, look what’s hangin’ out in our backyard! YESSSS.

img_2942
The sight of dreams coming true.

Lifestyle changes

For all the temporary stress it creates, one of the best things about moving is the clean slate. Getting a fresh start, a do-over. I feel like that’s kind of a cop-out, because if you really want to make a change you can just do it, right? You shouldn’t need an excuse or some outside event to give yourself permission.

But on the other hand, changing your environment can have such an impact on behavior and mindset. Without the constant reminders and triggers for your usual habits and auto-pilot behaviors, it really is easier to turn over the proverbial new leaf once you move to a new place.

Moving has us thinking more about the kind of lifestyle we want to lead and how we want our home to enable that lifestyle and reflect our values. We want to take full advantage of this opportunity to build new habits while we’re building a new home.

Moving is already helping me in the practice of minimalism, because in the process of packing everything in our apartment and getting ready to move it to the new house, we’re forced to really evaluate each of our things and decide whether it is worth packing or whether it has a place in our new home. We have the opportunity to start over with a minimal amount of possessions and just try not to add to it. The house is a blank slate where clutter hasn’t had the chance to camp out in nooks and crannies or hide in plain sight – all we will have is what we choose to add.

We’ve also both become really interested in the pursuit of a zero-waste lifestyle. Of all the ways to practice minimalism, this is the one that intrigues me the most and the one I want to lean into. It will take some work to figure out what a zero waste home looks like for us, but I am grateful for this opportunity to begin building new habits and hopefully eliminating some of the things that trigger our current wastefulness.

We also want to start living more active lifestyles. I admit this one really isn’t directly related to homeownership, but as long as we’re in the spirit of fresh starts and positive changes, I’m throwing it in.

I suppose it sounds odd that someone who runs and trains for marathons would complain that she doesn’t live an active enough lifestyle. But it is absolutely possible, and I’m living proof. I mean, hey, marathon training is not to be taken lightly. But doesn’t it seem odd to run 50 miles a week and then spend most of the rest of your time sitting…in cars, at desks, in front of televisions?

I’m not going to give up running or marathon training, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that I haven’t chosen the healthiest way to live even though I am a runner. Instead of getting my activity in intense bouts of exercise and then spending the majority of my day sitting, wouldn’t it make more sense to just be more active in general? Ride my bike to and from work, walk to stores and other places when I can, tend to a garden, cook more, and oh yeah, do HOUSE work?

I’m sure on some level I’m underestimating the amount of work it takes to change behavior and make new habits, but I’m excited for this opportunity to finally gain some momentum in creating the life I really want to live. The biggest thing this life change has done for us is to allow us to feel like we’re not stuck anymore – stuck in a crummy apartment, in an unhealthy lifestyle, in a boring life with no change or challenge. It’s so invigorating to feel like I’m working toward something again, like I’m finally creating something.

Advertisements

15 thoughts on “Our New House: What I’m Looking Forward To

  1. Good luck getting all of the house stuff finished so you can move in! Your new patio plus having AC should make for a very nice summer.

    I completely feel you on wanting to lead a healthier lifestyle. Taking time off this winter was kind of a wake up call in terms of how, aside from running, unhealthy I can be. I’ve been trying to be more aware of things like drinking more water and eating more fruits and veggies, but it is so easy to just get busy and let things slip through the cracks. Hopefully a fresh change of scenery helps you cement your new habits 🙂

    Like

    1. Thank you!

      Yes, winter time off (and fall time off…summer…) was a wake-up call for me too. It’s amazing how quickly the pounds come on when you’re not exercising but eating roughly the same, and then how painstaking it is to get them back off later. Not that being skinny is the most important reason to be healthy, but gaining weight is a visual reminder of the damage that inactivity and bad diet can do to our bodies.

      Like

        1. I have a Fitbit Surge which is also my GPS watch – although I have not been using it for running as much because the GPS is not accurate on some of my routes. I don’t use the hourly reminders, which I probably should, but I do like the challenge of trying to hit 10,000 steps. Although I apparently am either a lazy sloth of I have an unusually long stride because every other person I know makes it sound like they get 10K steps just by breathing every day *shrug*. Funny story: Kevin has a different Fitbit model than me and during our trip to Zion, he would log 2,500 more steps than me even though we did the exact same thing all day. So there is also some variance in device sensitivity, I would guess. Long story short: I think it’s a good tool to use to remind/challenge yourself to move more but I wouldn’t always trust the accuracy.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Your patio looks awesome! I wish we had something like that. We have a small yard and I just started composting for the first time. I’ve been super excited about doing it, but until now, I’ve always lived in apartments instead of houses. My place does not have air conditioning, so I am hoping the Utah summer doesn’t make me too miserable.

    I feel ya on staying active. It can be hard sometimes, even when we are running. I actually find that I am usually more active when I don’t run than when I do. I think when I’m putting up 50-60 mile weeks, I am just so exhausted that I tend to lose some activity. I’m pretty sure that the move to Utah is gonna keep us in shape though. We are out hiking every evening and weekend. Haha! A move can really make a big difference.

    Like

    1. That’s a good point that the sheer exhaustion of training can affect activity levels. I think a lot of it is the mindset of “I don’t need to do all this active stuff, I already run!” which I’ve been guilty of. But if I’m just going to sit around all day then I’m probably just negating a lot of the positive effects of the miles I run. I’ve noticed that a healthy amount of running – aka, somewhere in between couch surfing and hardcore marathon training – actually makes me want to be more active, not less.

      If I lived out there I’d hike every day too!! Good for you, ya lucky duck! LOL

      Like

  3. Oooooooh, is that stained glass window in your new house? It’s so beautiful! I love stained glass!

    I honestly don’t know how people survived summers without air conditioning in the days before it existed. I’m really interested in historic architecture, and a lot of buildings in Chicago (and I’m sure other places where warm weather exists) were built with windows that maximized air flow (bay windows, for example), but man, no amount of air flow can eliminate humidity, and even a ton of air flow won’t do much if it’s 95 degrees outside. And while the climate has certainly changed in the past century or so, it hasn’t changed THAT much. It’s not like it was never hot or humid in the Midwest before climate change. I would’ve been the grumpiest person in the world if I lived in the 1860s and had to wear a full length cotton dress and make it through a whole summer without air conditioning (or even running water to take a cold shower!). All that to say, I’m very happy for you that you now have a fully air conditioned home to call your own 🙂

    Like

    1. Ain’t that the truth!! I guess people back in that day just…adapted? It must have been rough.

      This is why I always say that a slightly lower temp with high humidity is worse than dry heat. Because you can hide from the sun – you can get into the shade, you can cover your skin. But you can’t escape humidity. And it just *feels* gross. I swear I have become so much less tolerant of hot weather as I get older. Each year summer makes me more miserable, it seems. When I was a kid it didn’t bother me as much as cold weather; now it’s the opposite. So let’s just say I’ll never be one of those people who retires in FL or AZ!

      Like

  4. This is so exciting to read and I can relate to all of it so well! I’ve definitely become way more green and minimal since buying our house. It blows my mind that our 900 square foot house feels like too much space when there are people with 3000 + square foot mansions complaining about lack of space. We’re hoping to make our house more green by getting rain barrels and solar panels in the next year and I’ll be starting my first garden in the next few days! Can’t wait to see what you guys get up to as well!! YAY HOME OWNERSHIP!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s