Downstairs, Upstairs

upstairsMy son and his family have been living (upstairs) with us about a month now. For my part, I have no complaints about the arrangement; we’re glad we have the space to accommodate them while they look for another place.

Perhaps the most significant aspect of this arrangement has been having our grandson under the same roof. In the mornings, he brings his cheerful, almost four-year-old self down the stairs and greets us eagerly. He’s ready to interact, prepared to cuddle and share his stuffed animals with us, and chock-full of commentary about the day ahead of him (and us). It’s a treat. For my Beloved and myself, our grandson’s presence is a huge reminder of how blessed we are.

On the other hand, I think we may be approaching nightmare status with our daughter-in-law. I can say it’s been a month since they moved in; my DIL would say (much more emphatically), it’s been a MONTH! From her point of view, one month is about how long she’d hoped it would take for them to find a house. (Yes, she’s definitely an optimist.)

Never having lived with my mother-in-law (thankfully), I don’t know that experience first-hand. But I can honestly say, there’s been no tension, no cause for anxiety. (Why, I ask myself, would anyone mind living with delightful people like me and my sweet husband?!) Nevertheless, I’m also sympathetic to our DIL’s desire that they find a place of their own. She’s used to things being done in a particular way … and truly, they don’t have the kind of space upstairs as they previously enjoyed in an entire house of their own.

The house-hunt is (naturally) stymied by factors that include the (1) kind of house they prefer (2) available in their price range and (3) located in an area of town that suits their needs. Obviously, almost everyone searching for another place to live faces these (or similar) challenges. When I suggested to DIL they might want to talk with some builders to see if they’d have a better chance of finding (and affording) what they want via new construction, DIL demurred, insisting new construction would “take too long.”

As they’ve looked at various properties, though, they’ve weighed the desirability of newer home vs. older. DIL adores quaint, one-hundred-year-old homes with plenty of character. My son looks at these vintage homes and visions of “money pit” dance through his head. Other considerations abound: acreage vs. subdivision, long commute vs. short, etc. When they located a house they both agreed on, it ended up being in a 55-plus community! (I didn’t know younger folks could be locked out of a neighborhood, did you?)

The search continues. I’m reminded of a time many years ago when my Beloved and I were purchasing our first home. We had two small children and no money to speak of, but we hoped to find a home with ample square footage to hold what we expected would be our growing family. We settled on a home with just over 2,000 square feet (four bedrooms and two baths) … a home that needed a huge amount of work. What can I say? We were young and naive, but we lived happily in that home for 23 years.

The poem below provides a glimpse of that inaugural home-owning experience. The week we moved in (back in 1977), we were immediately confronted with unexpected and costly repairs (undisclosed by the sellers). This poem attempts a humorous retelling of what was (at the time) a terribly discouraging turn of events. Our “Dream Home” suddenly turned into disaster … and the Latin phrase caveat emptor moved from theory to harsh reality.

Thankfully, we survived … but whenever we hear about a Handyman Special, this is the reality we remember!

Handyman-Special, remodeling, renovation, bathroom updates, poetry, light verse, poem

Poem: Handyman Special

 

Renée