House Fantasies

Yesterday, Ron and I rode a rollercoaster ride of house fantasy...living close to Chloe's school, a short commute, a smaller, easier, less expensive house with hardwood floors and a front porch and a garden in the yard. We toured model homes in El Dorado Hills (which has absolutely nothing to do with what we would be looking for but was where we were waiting to pick up Chloe from a sleepover) and talked about what it would be like to drive less and garden more, to be so close to everything, to not pay all the maintenance and upkeep that our big suburban house requires. We perused smart phone apps searching for available houses and then came home and computer blitzed the same. We found some nice prospects, with some open houses to visit today, and we managed to freak out our poor daughter with even the idea of moving. We facebook messaged for an hour after we both went to bed and it was so fun to have a little adventure together. To not feel so settled; to see possibilities still open to us when at this stage of life it's so easy to feel a bit like the doors are all locked and the directions chosen.

I seem to do this every year when the days get short...I start imagining a different life, a complete upheaval, a fresh start. And then, right on cue, I wake up.

Just to let you in on my fantasy, here's some houses I picture. None of these, mind you, would be in our price range in the neighborhoods we would like to be in...of course.

photo | David Sawyer

photo | David Sawyer

photo | David Sawyer

photo | David Sawyer

Predictably, after I finally closed up my lap top and turned off the lights, the reality started setting in and I couldn't sleep. How to leave behind Chloe's wonderful friends next door where she skates back and forth so easily, squealing with happiness in both of our back yards, and out front, in the park, cartwheeling and climbing trees. Leaving Therese and our walks and talk therapy. Goodbye to our park and lake and field just across the street for Teddy and I each morning, my favorite moments of the day. No egrets or goslings or baby turtles or muskrats and beavers swimming. No white goose, no glimpses of skinny hipped coyotes moving away from us in the field. No neighbors to wave to that we've known for seventeen years, and farewell to all the neighborhood dogs I know by name. No bonus room for Chloe and friends to escape to with their noise and their tween secrets, or for Ron's Jets games. No office for me; where would my piano go, and how about my much loved just-remodeled-four-years-ago kitchen? My mom miles away instead of just down the street, her trampoline and support much harder to visit. No pool filled with laughter and rising voices in the summer.  How about the squirrels in the back yard and the birds that we feed? How about my collection of green and blue vases or all of my seasonal wreaths and stakes for the front yard? No staircase where I kneeled in labor with Chloe, no backyard where Ron and I said our vows in front of our family and friends and we danced with KD the magic dog and Kayla the puppy. How about those same pets buried under the roses?

How could we possibly leave all of this?

For a shorter commute and some money saved?

Maybe someday there will be some place that could pull us away, that we all will walk into and say, yes, this is it, this somehow calls us. There would have to be some powerful magic there to make me say goodbye to this place where my family, and my heart, live.

Today, we'll enjoy the open houses and most likely come home happily grateful for all that we have here. Bruised and battered by dogs and humans that our house is, located in Elk Grove where maybe the property values aren't going in the best direction long term, it is home. It truly is beautiful in the spring when all of my roses put on their very best show. This picture was taken a few years ago when the paint was fresher, the slate path newer, the landscape a little less overgrown. Still, today, it is lovely.

Deliciously, that doorway of beckoning possibility, of the unknown, is open. And that, in itself, is a gift.

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