I just texted my friend, “When Blake get his million dollar job (ha), we are buying a house that requires no upgrades.” Then I told Blake, “When you get your million dollar job, remind me that we want to buy a house that requires no upgrades.” And he agreed and then we both laughed. Because we have really “enjoyed” making this house our home. It started out carpeted and peach and brown baseboards. It started out royal purple master bedroom, unfinished attic and minimal landscaping. It started out a family’s dream 60 years ago and became our dream.
And if we had bought a new house, we wouldn’t have been able to stay up painting with Hailey till 1 AM and ordering pizza like college students. We wouldn’t have been able to drink enough Dr Pepper to increase their stock or gain and lose a few pounds. And we wouldn’t have been able to transplant plants that have grown too big or plant tulip bulb beds in premade beds. We wouldn’t have found a hippy flower section of wallpaper in the boy’s closet and the rest painted pink. We wouldn’t have learned how to sheetrock and mud and tape the walk up attic. We wouldn’t have been able to giggle over Blake’s “Darth Vader” mask that saved him from inhaling the fumes from finishing the (original!) hard wood floors.
I wouldn’t have been able to have a near panic attack when Blake pulled up the carpet in hopes of the hard wood floor being in good condition. It was! We wouldn’t have had our friends, the Pences, come over and paint with their magical steady hands, our seven kids running wild in the process. We wouldn’t have our own personal arsenal of power tools, saws and random construction items. We wouldn’t have been able to see our kids with mud in their hair or paint on their noses. We wouldn’t have heard Blake shout out his glory cry whenever he finished a frustrating project. We wouldn’t have been able to go to the dump to throw away all the old cabinets that the previous owners hauled up to the attic instead of throwing them away.
We wouldn’t have had dreams and fulfilled them or written a massive list of attainable and ridiculously expensive house projects, from painting kitchen cabinets to installing new showers. We wouldn’t have had this frustrating and wonderful and growing experience. We wouldn’t have been able to choose what was most important to us, teaching our kids that they can do anything they want to try. We wouldn’t have been able to watch endless youtube videos and spend lots of money, but save lots of money by doing it ourselves. So, when I say I don’t want a fixer upper next time, maybe I don’t. But maybe every house is a fixer upper because you don’t like the paint color or the carpet or blinds. And so you change it and feel total pride and satisfaction because you created something that reflects who you are. I think that’s the real lesson learned from a fixer upper