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House in order

The continuing quest for the perfect abode

I feel like I’m in a relationship with my house. I made a commitment to it. I signed stuff. Money was exchanged. I spent more to be legally bound to my house than to my spouse. I dedicate more hours to cleaning it than I do to cleaning myself. That’s love.

My loyalty only falters those times I want to poop when my husband is using our only toilet, or when I imagine myself in an airy, light-filled ranch house living room. I don’t want more space, just differently-planned space. I also don’t want to pour my heart into small adjustments and updates that suit me perfectly, only to leave them behind. I’m not afraid of home repairs, but I do them only for my personal enjoyment, not out of consideration for the next homeowner.

You learn what you need

I had no idea I’d change so much from when I bought my first home to now. I was such a whimsical, innocent child then. All I wanted was wood floors, an older home, walls and doors and such. Now, I know wood floors are still a must, but so is one large living space rather than two. For me, two is just more. One big one means my husband and I can do our hobbies together. I want a kitchen where my husband can cook for me and I can sit nearby and keep him company, rather than sitting in the living room like I am too good to be with the help.

What I’d change

If I had lots of money or amazing renovation skills, and if I knew I’d be in my home for years, I’d knock out a wall to my kitchen and change my tile counters to concrete or Corian. I’d redo the bathroom tile, build a pergola, plant more trees, paint my front porch and, for sure, put in asparagus bushes. I keep thinking, “What if I put in my asparagus and nurture it like I would my soul, only to sell the house two years into the three years it takes for the plant to produce its delicious offspring? Would a future buyer consider a mature asparagus plant a plus?” God, I know I would.

What the pro would change

My husband and I met with a realtor recently just to chat. He said the obvious: Fill and paint the holes in your walls. Touch up your trim. Put your shit away. Don’t tear down those cabinets, because buyers love storage. In case you were wondering, he didn’t tell us to plant asparagus.

The plan for now

On the one hand, I have a list of what I’d do to make my sweet 1950s bungalow my perfect, weirdly-tailored home. On the other hand, I have a list of updates that would help sell our house. As I often do in moments of stalemate, I compile a trusty Venn diagram. Each list has its own respective circle, and some items from each list fall in that nice little overlap space. It’s these items we’ll attack first. We’re making progress while leaving the question of moving to our future selves. I’ll probably plant the asparagus; when is putting more asparagus in the world (for you or another) a bad idea?