Thursday, November 7, 2013


When we found out we would be moving, about 10 months ago, we made a list of what we would like in our next house.

The house we ended up with does not match our list.  At all.

1.  We wanted a ranch with a finished walk-out basement.  We got a two-story with an unfinished basement that does not have potential for finishing.  (There are doors out the basement to the backyard, but they can hardly count, as the whole point was that the basement be habitable.)  But.  At least we got a basement at all.

2.  We wanted a house in the country with, minimum, a half acre lot.  We got a house in a neighborhood with a quarter acre lot.

3.  We wanted a house with brick.  Most of the houses in the area have brick... this was not an extravagant desire, it seemed very attainable.  But we got a house with no brick, just faded gray vinyl siding.

4.  We wanted a gas stove.  We got an electric stove.

5.  After our first house, in North Syracuse, we swore we would never again buy a house with a corner lot.  We have a corner lot.

6.  We wanted a house with natural woodwork.  We got a house with white woodwork.

7.  We wanted a three car garage.  We got a two car garage.

8.  I really, really did not want a glass shower door.  I have a glass shower door.  And it is not in pristine condition.

9.  I did not care about a whirlpool bathtub, did not really want one.  Guess what?  I got one.

10.  I wanted a broom closet.  But there is no broom closet.  No pantry, either.  Yet.

11.  We did not put this on our list, but we had spent the past 18 years upgrading our old house, getting rid of pale beige "plush" carpet in favor of more attractive, more resilient flooring and replacing vinyl bathroom floors with ceramic tile.  Shortly before we sold that house, we had replaced everything except the carpet in the walk-in closet in our bedroom.  The house we bought took us back to ground zero: seven rooms and a hallway of pale beige "plush" carpet, two bathrooms with vinyl floors, and a master bathroom with a combination of vinyl and (oh please) pale beige carpet.  Yes, there is pale beige carpet in my master bathroom.  Heavy sigh.

12.  The kitchen in this house is about as far removed from my taste as a kitchen could possibly be.  I cannot think of any combination of finishes that would be further from my taste than this kitchen.   Some days I simply feel as though I am mucking about in somebody else's kitchen; most often I feel like I'm in a beach house rental.  The bizarre choice of pastel-ish colors contributes to this impression.  The counter-tops are a cloying pink-beige, somewhere between salmon and very light terra-cotta clay, perfectly flat laminate with absolutely no pattern or texture.  The cabinets are blond, sort of a light skin-color.  The floor is 8x8 square ceramic tiles in a peachy-beige, not as pink as the counters, but pinker than the cabinets.   And the wide grout lines are dark gray, so the pattern of squares jumps out violently.  The backsplash is done in 4x4 white tiles, like a bathroom, but blessedly inobtrusive.  The hardware on the cabinets is all shiny yellow brass, as is the kitchen sink faucet, which is corroding horribly.  The sink itself is yet another ghastly shade of pink-beige.  The walls are a soft, sea-foam green which would not be a bad color if it actually matched anything, and if I could ever get past my quirky personal revulsion for living long-term in the color green.  So you see, multiple shades of pinky beige, blond wood, sea-foam green walls, bright yellow handles... it's pastel and beachy.  Light and bright.  But.  The appliances are black, and so is the rubber base cove molding.  A huge black refrigerator juts into the middle of the kitchen, blocking traffic.  Sometimes it goes beyond feeling like somebody else's kitchen and makes me feel tired.  And sad.  I would never in a million years have picked this kitchen.

 (This was taken while we were trying to get moved in, but it is still messy, 
as there is nowhere in this kitchen for storing large items like, 
for instance, a blender or a food processor.)

(The kitchen I left behind)

So I could complain.  I could whine and moan and struggle against what I have been given.  But, the fact of the matter is that God hedged us in until we bought this place.  It was not our first choice, or our second or even our fifth.  Somehow, God stripped away all our other options and this house was the one that was left.  A house I never, ever would have picked on my own.

So I have to believe that this is where God wants us.  He directed our path, put His hand on the circumstances, and brought us to this house.  And if this is where God wants us to live, then He must have a reason for wanting us to live here.  He has a purpose.  He has a purpose.  He does not do things carelessly, and He does not make mistakes.  The fact that this house is so completely different from what we were looking for makes me think that God worked diligently to place us here.  It is so unexpected, so unnatural, so hard to explain, barring His active will at work.

We must be patient and wait, hoping expectantly that God will work all things for good, as He promises.  Someday, we may be blessed to understand why He brought us here, specifically.  I'm quite sure it has nothing to do with decorating or earthly comforts.

In the meantime, we can be thankful that our neighborhood borders on this beautiful park where we take lovely, long walks.  God willing, we can work on changing the kitchen and -- I hope! -- getting the carpet out of our bathroom!


Lindsay Davis said...

Ruth, this reminds me of the apartment we lived in before we moved to New York. I hated that place. i could write a list about as long as yours (including dark paneling and 20+ mice in the baby's room). I did not want to move there to begin with and the 2 years we lived there i never felt like it was home. BUT, it was also very clearly where God put us. Our neighbors across the street "just happened to be" the family of a kid in our youth group. And then the mom died suddenly. We were there to help them out. Not the 2 years i would have chosen. But I am thankful God put us there so He could use us. And I am so glad to hear that you are trying to have this perspective as well. I'll be excited to hear how God confirms that for you in time! I miss you often!

ruth said...

Miss you too! I put on my winter jacket to walk the dogs the other day, and Lucy's baby mittens were still in my pocket. They don't probably even fit Reuben at this point. Sorry about that!

Sounds like you had a lot to hate about your apartment! This house is a nice house, and very comfortable. I should not complain! It just isn't what I ever would have chosen, and it feels strange. I could choose to pout because God didn't give me what I thought I wanted, or I can choose to say, "What are you doing, Lord? What are you up to here?" He must be up to something!