We are really moving to the Midwest.
My stomach gets that empty-achy feeling when I think of all I must do between now and then. Mostly I pray and procrastinate. I hope that praying will soon help me stop procrastinating.
Sometimes it is easier if I focus on a part of the process that is a little less awful, like the part about finding a new house.
We never did quite get our "dream" house. That's OK. We have 20 acres of lovely land in the country, on which we never built, but that's OK too. I like the house I have; I like it a lot. The only thing it's missing is a broom closet, and truth be told, I don't think broom closets exist in Central New York.
I like my house so much, that I started looking for a similar house in the Midwest. I was searching online, looking at this and that, when it dawned on me... my kids are not coming with me. In fact, the older three will probably never live at home again. Jonno is going to college this fall. David is going to medical school. Not a one of them will live in my new house with me.
The thought makes me more sad than ever as I try to face packing up and moving out of this house that I like, this house that has served us so well for the past 18 years.
In the meantime, what in the world kind of house do you get when you are moving with an empty nest, but you have four tremendous, incredible, wonderful kids and you want them always, always to know that they can come home for a visit, and there will be room for them. Even if (oh, please, please let it happen) they all come at the same time, there will be room for them. Even if they get married and have families and all come at the same time, I'd like to be able to do it, although I pray to God that at least one of them will settle near me and share the hosting of this type of family reunion.
I'm thinking my first choice of house, if I could actually design it and have it exist, would be something like this:
It would be either a split-entry or a ranch with three bedroom and two bathrooms upstairs, and a walk-out basement with two more bedrooms and another bathroom. Shawn and I could live on the main floor and each use a spare bedroom for our "offices" when nobody was visiting.
The main floor would have a large, open area with connected kitchen, dining-room and living-room. The kitchen would be full of lovely stained oak, cherry or maple cabinets; I'm not fussy as long as they are not too dark or too light. An island with a breakfast bar would overlook the rest of the space, and Shawn and I would always eat there when were were alone. A fireplace, either red brick or gray stone trimmed in oak, would be the focal point of the living-room, but there would also be a beautiful, large window looking out to the front yard. Bookshelves projecting on either side of the window would give it an alcove sort of feeling. The floor would be hardwood, the ceiling would be vaulted, and the counter-tops would be a warm, brownish quartz. It would be big enough to host a large family dinner or a small group Bible study, but small enough that we wouldn't feel lost when we were home by ourselves.
Additional dream features: a wooden cathedral ceiling, like a church, crowned by a ridiculous crystal chandelier over the dining-room table. Also, I'd love French doors from the dining-room to a cozy sun-room/enclosed porch where I could read my Bible in an overstuffed floral chair of particularly bad taste.
I like my bathrooms fairly basic. The best bathrooms, in my humble opinion, have one piece fiberglass tub-shower units with no grout (easy to clean), and beautiful ceramic tile floors. I like black and white tiles, the little, old-fashioned octagonal ones. I also saw a sparkly white quartz counter-top once, and I thought it would be very nice in a bathroom.
Please, I do not want a whirlpool tub and separate glass shower in my master bathroom. I do not enjoy cleaning glass shower doors. Shower curtains are the bomb; you throw them into the washer until they are shot, and then you replace them (for a whole lot less than it costs to replace a moldy glass shower door).
I also hate the design where the toilet is off in its own little prison cell, relegated to a place of dishonor in a posh "salle-de-bain." One generally goes into the bathroom to use the toilet, and I hate for it to be hard to find. I also have a thing about wanting a toilet to be adjacent to a sink. Sometimes you just need that set up, and when you need it, you really need it, and that's all I'm going to say, but I'm serious. My ideal master bathroom would have an antechamber with a sink, mirror and linen closet. This enables one to use a non-steamed up mirror while someone else is showering. A pocket door would lead from this area to the regular bathroom, which would be small enough to get nice and warm quickly when in use, and contain a sink, toilet, standard tub/shower and window for ventilation.
The downstairs (sunny, bright walk-out basement) would have two bedrooms, a standard bathroom, and a large great room with potential for installing a small kitchen in case we ever needed to put somebody up in an apartment down there. I'd love it to have heated cement floors, stained a funky marbled brown, and a fireplace or woodstove. It would have sliders leading out to a stamp-crete patio surrounded by rose bushes. There would also be a storage/utility room on the non-windowed side of the house on the bedroom end.
A 2.5 -3 car garage with plenty of space to store the deck furniture in the winter would finish it off. Some brick on the exterior would be fantastic. Also, plenty of closets, including a broom closet. That's my dream house. It seems to me that everyone should want such a house, and it seems strange that it is so hard to find.