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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Living Like No One Else

I don’t know if you remember this, but a while back I was really getting new-house-fever.  I wanted something bigger, nicer, cooler – something I’d be a little more proud to invite people over to. 
We currently have a tiny house that was built in 1955 (not in any of these pictures) in a neighborhood that’s……meh – I don’t know – nothing to get excited about.  But, you know what, the house is paid off, and that makes it look a hell of a lot better!   
So our long-term plan had been to save money so that we could buy a bigger house when Samuel got into junior high, about 6 years from now.  But gosh, that’s so flipping daunting and depressing because we’d have to save 20-25% of Michael’s take-home pay a month to be able to do that.  And we’re just now getting to a point where we’re where we want to be savings-wise.  So saving for that house just seems like it would make things unnecessarily burdensome when we could just learn to be content where we’re at.  (“What?!  Why on earth would someone say that?!  That’s stupid,” they seemed to say…)
So we were talking about painting the outside of our house at some point this year when we have the cash for it (to create at least a tiny attempt at curb appeal), so we went driving around taking phone pictures of the houses that we liked their paint colors on to get ideas (I do this a lot – totally looking like a private investigator or, more likely, stalker).  We ended up in this one neighborhood that I’ve been drooling over for a few years now (only one pic is from there because their brick isn’t cheap enough to paint), and Michael asked if I still wanted to live there.  I said, “You know, it’d be nice, but I’d rather go to Europe every year.”
WP_000187Upsizing life and downsizing lifestyle – that’s our philosophy on money right now.  Living like no one else, so that we can live like no one else.  Perhaps if we had a double-income we could have it all, but since we don’t, we have to choose what would give us the life that we want.  And having a single income was a lifestyle choice as well, so I’m not complaining at all, just recognizing that it was what we wanted. 
This trip that we took to Prague was my first time ever in Europe – ever!  And I left with such a desire for more adventure and enrichment in my life and in the lives of my family.  I’d so rather go to Europe or Japan or Australia or Alaska or wherever than have a bigger, better house.  And I think my kids would be better off traveling the world than having their own rooms. 

But you know me; I’m fickle.  I could totally change my mind in another year or so, but that’s why I wrote this post – to remind myself of what I’m thinking at this moment.  Who knows? 


  1. I totally agree. AND if my kids had the chance to have their own rooms, I'm not sure they'd go for it. At least not in the near future. I sure complain about my house but you know what, it's MY house and I love it.

    We have what we need... we have what we need... we have what we need. I must keep telling myself that.

    1. Haha, yes! We have what we need! Good mantra. :)

  2. I wish I could get C to see minus owning our own home. We are both happy renters for the time being and until his field is finally stable again.

  3. Upsizing life...and life experiences! Yep...that's a great can decide on paint colors for your paid off house while you are in Europe :)

  4. Dave Ramsey all the way! :D Woop!

  5. That's one of the reasons I took on the floor and paint renovation. I now have a beautiful new floor in the main living areas with freshly painted walls. When I got to put everything back it felt like I was moving into a new place :) My next project is going to be new furniture!

  6. " a neighborhood that’s……meh – I don’t know – nothing to get excited about."


    Nothing to get excited about?

    Your street has Mimi, great schools, trees (in other people's yards) and a speed hump option for weary travelers.



  7. Thanks John...This post got me thinking about our house which for those who might not know is right across the street from Annie and Michael. We moved here in 1979 when Michael was 6 months old, you were 2.5 and Paul was 4.5. We came from a very small two bedroom frame house on Paxton--we were so thrilled to find something we could afford in this neighborhood. The schools were at that time some of the best in Arlington..not sure about now, I'm out of the school business, but they were then. The house was a mess: horrible carpet, horrible linoleum, one shower leaking out into the hall. Some my best memories are of David and me working on fixing up the house: laying tile, painting, re-doing both bathrooms. We felt so blessed to have this home and eventually 4 little boys to fill it up. Anyway, that was not even what I was going to tell.
    You know that my Dad was a farmer/rancher in Hamilton county. He called our farm Oleo--just a cheap spread. He and my Mom worked at minimum wage jobs and farmed too to raise 5 kids on that farm. Money was never plentiful but we got by and did not know what we did not have. Anyway, the first time Dad came to see this house he did the obligatory walk through making positive comments. Then he went into the den which has a fireplace flanked by floor- to- ceiling bookshelves. He looked at the fireplace and wistfully said that he had always wanted a house like this--with a den and a fireplace so he could have company over and enjoy visiting. In his frame of reference, the house was desirable. He eventually did sell the farm, move to town and add on a bedroom with all of his hobbies close at hand--he had his den finally.
    Then just last night I lost my keys at prayer meeting and a friend brought me home to get my second set. This friend is retired and she and her family have a hard time making ends meet. She lives in some fairly rundown apartments. When we arrived at our house she exclaimed, oh your house is beautiful. I said well it was built in the 50's, it's not fancy but it has been a good home for us. She said it is beautiful, I would LOVE to have a house like that.
    So I guess what I'm saying is that the level of excitement about a neighborhood is in the eye of the beholder and definitely is colored by where you have been.
    Good post Annie, made me think. Mimi


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