After eight years of marriage, my husband and I finally bought a house.
Let me first start by saying I've never lived in a house. My childhood was spent in southern California, where condos were much more the norm. When we moved to Nebraska, we lived in a spacious, maintenance-free apartment.
I grew accustomed to apartment living. My husband, however, did not, and has let me know that since we moved in together. Now, we’re finally in a place where we can own our own home, and I’m excited — and slightly terrified. Here are some of the joys a house might bring and some of the things I’m not looking forward to.
What I can’t wait for:
1. Having space. Apartment life means we’re a little cramped. It’s hard to be alone when there isn’t a place to escape to, and having a place to be alone is important — even for kids. Kids need a private space to unwind, to be upset, to create and to be alone with their thoughts.
2. Having a yard. Everyone keep telling me that kids need a yard — a space where they can run and play. We will finally have a space to let the kids be kids, dirt and all.
3. Something to make our own. In an apartment, you’re limited in what changes you can make, if any. A house will give us the opportunity to create something that is uniquely ours.
4. Building equity. Over the years we have paid close to $115,000 in rent, with nothing tangible to show for it. We can finally start building equity for our future.
5. Having a basement. This is probably not for the reasons you think. You see, I am terrified of tornadoes. Living on the third floor of an apartment with no basement or storm shelter and hearing the sirens or weather radio go off in the middle of the night is one of the most panic-inducing sounds. I am very much looking forward to having a basement.
6. Quiet (and lack thereof). I am looking forward to not hearing the neighbors’ every fight, boisterous party or hallway conversation. Even more exciting is being able to let the kids play noisily without fear of upset neighbors.
What I’m dreading:
1. Leaving behind memories. This apartment was our first home as a family, the only home the kids have ever really known. It is where I became a wife, a graduate and a mother for the second time. It’s where holidays happened, children met milestones, etc. Our family had many firsts here. It’s a difficult thing to think someone else will now occupy our space.
2. Having a yard. This one makes an appearance here, too. I’ve never been the outdoorsy type; I’d take a pool over a yard any day. Not only do I not need the outdoors, it becomes a chore to maintain it — no matter the season.
3. Becoming the taxi. We are just far enough away from everything that I will have to shuttle my three kids — who attend three different schools and have a myriad of activities — to and from everything.
4. Moving farther from family. I am incredibly fortunate at the amount of help I have received over the years from family members. With the move, the assistance from family will become much more limited.
5. Maintenance. One of the perks you pay for in an apartment is on-call maintenance. If an appliance goes out, they replace it. If your roof leaks, they patch it. If it snows 12 inches, they shovel it. I am not looking forward to taking these tasks — and costs — on by ourselves.
6. Purging and packing. Moving is emotionally draining. It's hard to go through closets and keepsakes and decide what’s worth saving and what I finally need to let go of. Moving has made me feel overwhelmed with sentiment.
I know I’ll miss the place we’ve called home all these years — probably even more than I’m anticipating — but I’m sure we’ll make this new space home soon enough.
Shea Saladee lives in Papillion with her husband, Brent, and their three children. She works as an instructor at the University of Nebraska Omaha.