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creekylis

Anyone ever feel homesick for their previous home?

creekylis
15 years ago

I have been pouring through old photos for a project and I came across pics of our previous home that I took when I put it on the market. We lived there for 5 years and I did soooo much work to it. It was our second house, but the first one was built for us and we lived there such a short time (4 months!) that I never did anything to it besides buy a little bit of furniture. The second house was 14 years old when we bought it and I had to work very hard to make it "mine". I loved that house.

I thought about posting pics of my old place, but then I figured, why bother... it's not mine anymore and it's probably out of style now too.

Fast forward to our current home. We have lived here for 4 years now and I am still STRUGGLING to make it feel good. I used to knock projects out almost as fast as renofan... Now I just can't seem to get anything done. When we moved here, I had a 3 year old and 10 month old twins. My ability to tackle the decorating was severely stifled. I also didn't seem to have the time to brainstorm decorating ideas. Plus, I have a major lack of funds for any big changes.

Now, the kids are getting older, but I am back to work full time, so I still struggle to find any decorating moments. This house has many less-desirable elements too, such as luan doors instead of paneled, stained trim and no crown, vinyl kitchen floor instead of wood, etc. Add to that the plethora of "things" that come along with three kids, and I just feel like I am drowning. I miss my old place (which I finished literally just in time to list) terribly. Sometimes I just feel like giving up and repainting the whole place white.

I guess I just needed to vent... wonder if anyone else has ever gone through this and come out the other side okay.

Comments (58)

  • bungalow_house
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Yes, I've felt it a couple of different times, and each time I was dissatisfied with the current (at the time) home, which just seemed to magnify the feeling. My last house was one I was dissatisfied with. We snapped it up in the real estate frenzy of 2002 because it was as close as we were going to get to what I was looking for, but it left a lot to be desired. Ultimately, we sold it and bought our now current house in 2006. This is, I think, my favorite house ever, and I have no plans to move until I'm too old to navigate the stairs. I still miss the 2 old houses that I really liked, but not painfully so...I can now say "yes, that was a great house" with a smile on my face instead of tears in my eyes.

    As for decorating, I agree that it's hard to get into decorating a space you don't like, and likewise, being so driven to decorate one that you do like.

  • reno_fan
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    The place really reached its relative peak of perfection the day the photographer came to take the listing photos.

    Oh, me too! Our last house never looked so good until the last 3 weeks we owned it!

    I don't miss the last house at all, but I do miss certain elements. I only got to live with my brick floors 6 months before we sold. Not a day goes by that I don't pine for those floors. I LOVED those floors. But the rest of the hosue? Not at all.

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  • parma42
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I've posted, before, about missing our last home so much.

    My DH was promoted to US manager for a European company. The office is in a Chicago suburb. We had been living over an hour from there, in a very affordable city.

    We built our last house and lived there seven years. It backed up to a forest preserve and we had nature galore. We worked hard on our yard and it was so pretty. The square footage was perfect for us. We had no problem selling it last year.


    The first pic is of our old house. Nothing grand but we loved the area and all the trees, birds and animals. The second pic is of our new breakfast area. If you look through the window, you can see the fence and the house in back. Sorry, no better pics of the yard. No reason to take them, lol. (I added the pics at the last minute so please excuse the order of my paragraphs)

    New house...we built again. More expensive area, cookie-cutter houses, flat land. The timing of our move (real estate market) wiped out all the money we had made from the sale of our previous home. I hung drapes in the kitchen so I don't have to look out back and see the neighbors. We're too close to retirement to think that any trees we plant will ever amount to much.

    In the year we've lived here, my father had to go to a nursing home that is in the city that we left, so we have to travel back and forth alot. DH's dad passed away in Florida. DD moved out of state. DH's new job is more stressful.

    If I didn't have the people on GW to root me on with whatever decorating decisions I muster up the enthusiasm to start on, I'd be in much worse shape. :)

    My advice would be to just take it slowly. Think of one area that you'd really like to see a difference in and try to schedule some time to tackle it. We all go at different paces and we're not all renofan (though we can always wish). This will be the home of your children and will have many great memories for you and your family.

  • uxorial
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    The only things I miss about my previous home are the enormous living room, the "formal" dining room, and the long counter in the laundry room. I definitely don't miss the tan/mauve carpet, popcorn ceilings, textured walls, split-entry floor plan, tiny bedrooms, mirrors everywhere, 1978 dark wood trim, cheap construction, miniscule lot, no privacy, high taxes, and horrible traffic.

  • teach2007
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Well, I don't miss our old house, but our children do. They were 9 and 11 when we sold our house 2 years ago. They still make comments about how cozy it felt, but I think they are getting used to the new home. For months, I had a horrible feeling in my stomach everytime I thought about making them move out of the only home they had ever lived in. It took a while for that feeling to go away!

  • graycern
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Overall I do not miss my old home. There were certain things about it that I preferred over my current house but overall I am happy where I am now.

  • anita55
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I miss sidewalks. I miss walking to town to shop. I miss seeing people on the street and just saying hello. I like living where I have a big yard. I like having birds and animals around me. I like having more privacy. It's a wash I guess, but I still think about moving somewhere with sidewalks and shops to walk to.

  • mjlb
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Very interesting thread, with multiple strands.

    The first is fixing up the house for someone else (to sell), and then not having the pleasure of enjoying it yourself. And the somewhat poignant longing for a prior home that while not perfect, was PERFECTLY ordinary -- as was life then.

    I miss lots of things about my old house -- the easy walk or bike to town; the beauty and detail of an old house; the only house where my whole extended family ever visited.

  • parma42
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    You nailed it mjlb. I got shivers down my spine reading your post.

  • PRO
    Window Accents by Vanessa Downs
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    We almost bought a new home 1 1/2 years ago. We had a contract on it and our house was up for sale when the market took a dive. We managed to get out of the contract on the new house (only by the grace of God as we didn't have a contingency on it!!!).

    I am so thankful that we stayed put. Our house will be paid off in a little over a year and I'm really happy to stay in the house our children have basically grown up in. There were 3 houses on the market in our neighborhood at the time our house was for sale and only 1 has sold and that was just a month ago. We could have been paying 2 mortgages for a year and a half.

    Someday we will move - when the time is right and we'll downsize instead of upsize.

    But for now I am grateful for my old 1980's early 90's house!

  • tradewind_64
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    When I get house envy or I am in despair over my current home (which is more than I would really admit), I reread this essay from one of my English courses in college. Funny, it made no impression on me 15 years ago, but now...I feel every word.

    Homeless

    by Anna Quindlen

    Her name was Ann, and we met in the Port Authority Bus Terminal several Januarys ago. I was doing a story on homeless people. She said I was wasting my time talking to her; she was just passing through, although she'd been passing through for more than two weeks. To prove to me that this was true, she rummaged through a tote bag and a manila envelope and finally unfolded a sheet of typing paper and brought out her photographs.

    They were not pictures of family, or friends, or even a dog or cat, its eyes brown-red in the flashbulb's light. They were pictures of a house. It was like a thousand houses in a hundred towns, not suburb, not city, but somewhere in between, with aluminum siding and a chain-link fence, a narrow driveway running up to a one-car garage, and a patch of backyard. The house was yellow. I looked on the back for a date or a name, but neither was there. There was no need for discussion. I knew what she was trying to tell me, for it was something I had often felt. She was not adrift, alone, anonymous, although her bags and her raincoat with the grime shadowing its creases had made me believe she was. She had a house, or at least once upon a time had had one. Inside were curtains, a couch, a stove, potholders. You are where you live. She was somebody.

    I've never been very good at looking at the big picture, taking the global view, and I've always been a person with an overactive sense of place, the legacy of an Irish grandfather. So it is natural that the thing that seems most wrong with the world to me right now is that there are so many people with no homes. I'm not simply talking about shelter from the elements, or three square meals a day, or a mailing address to which the welfare people can send the check--although I know that all these are important for survival. I'm talking about a home, about precisely those kinds of feelings that have wound up in cross-stitch and French knots on samplers1 over the years.

    Home is where the heart is. There's no place like it. I love my home with a ferocity totally out of proportion to its appearence or location. I love dumb things about it: the hot-water heater, the plastic rack you drain dishes in, the roof over my head, which occasionally leaks. And yet it is precisely those dumb things that make it what it is--a place of certainty, stability, predictability, privacy, for me and for my family.It is where I live. What more can you say about a place than that? That is everything.

    Yet it is something that we have been edging away from gradually during my lifetime and the lifetimes of my parents and grandparents. There was a time when where you lived often was where you worked and where you grew the food you ate and even where you were buried. When that era passed, where you lived at least was where your parents had lived and where you would live with your children when you became enfeebled. Then, suddenly, where you lived was where you lived for three years, until you could move on to something else and something else again.

    And so we have come to something else again, to children who do no understand what it means to go to their rooms because they have never had a room, to men and women whose fantasy is a wall they can paint a color of their own choosing, to old people reduced to sitting on molded plastic chairs, their skin blue-white in the lights of a bus station, who pull pictures of houses out of their bags. Homes have stopped being homes. Now they are real estate.

    People find it curious that those without homes would rather sleep sitting up on benches or huddled in doorways than go to shelters. Certainly some prefer to do so because they are emotionally ill, because they have been locked in before and they are determined not to be locked in again. Others are afraid of the violence and trouble they may find there. But some seem to want something that is not available in shelters, and they will not compromise, not for a cot, or oatmeal, or a shower with special soap that kills the bugs. "One room," a woman with a baby who was sleeping on her sister's floor once told me, "painted blue." That was the crux2 of it; not the size or location, but pride of ownership. Painted blue.

    This is a difficult problem, and some wise and compassionate people are working hard at it. But in the main I think we work around it, just as we walk around it when it is lying on the sidewalk or sitting in the bus terminal--the problem, that is. It has been customary to take people's pain and lessen our own participation in it by turning it into an issue, not a collection of human beings. We turn an adjective into a noun: the poor, not poor people; the homeless, not Ann or the man who lives in the box or the woman who sleeps on the subway grate.

    Sometimes I think we would be better off if we forgot about the broad strokes and concentrated on the details. Here is a woman without a bureau. There is a man with no mirror, no wall to hang it on. They are not the homeless. They are people who have no homes. No drawer that holds the spoons. No window to look out upon the world. My God. That is everything.

  • creekylis
    Original Author
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Tradewind... thank you. That was exactly the slap in the face that I needed.

    I actually usually pride myself on my positivity. This isn't a long-time skill, but one that I have recently adopted with passion. I try very very hard to always look for the good in things, and to be thankful for everything. I journal about my gratitude and I speak of it when I feel the need.

    The last several days have been stressful ones. It doesn't matter why, but I noted last night that I seem to have landed in a funk and I was stuggling to get out. It was especially important to me because I need very much to return to my "attitude of gratitude".

    Your post was exactly what I needed. Good Lord, I have so much to be thankful for. That is all that really matters.

  • ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    This has become a very poignant and touching thread. I feel privileged to be allowed to share in the private feelings of those who have posted, to empathize with the pain of what life has brought and to share in the joys of the good things. Life has given all of us burdens to bear and mistakes to regret and threads like this show us that none of us are unique or alone in that way.

    Thank you all.

  • patricianat
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    an excerpt from my gardener's journal a few years back, posted here on GW at some point in the recent past (Roses forum)...

    While in my young adult life, I adored the trees from which my children hung swings of chains and boards, tires and ropes; camps were built and laughter rang out. It was an easy-care garden fit for a busy young wife, the mother of three active, inquisitive sons, whose hormones raced more quickly than the vacuum cleaner, but more slowly than my own graying locks, boys whose character was steeped in building model cars , playing baseball, basketball, horns, drums, and war games, all competitively, but with perfection, boys who when nudged would load the dishwasher or mow the lawn. No one heard it, no one was listening, but the clock was ticking on.
    As days turned into nights and weeks into months, the years piled up and the children were off to college, only to return as visitors in our own home. No more voices coming from the trees and I promised myself to move on. I tried to busy myself in my newly acquired home but as the brakes of the school bus slowed the big yellow limo to a halt that first Autumn day in my new surroundings, no passengers were boarding or unloading at my home, a life without my children had begun and emptiness cast a dark and foreboding shadow, one that I could not loose, its color bleak, my life seemed suddenly as a vacuum had sucked me in.

  • tradewind_64
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    creekylis, no no no! That was not meant to be a slap at all. I totally get you. When I read this thread I felt such a pang for everyone who was unhappy in their home. I just wanted to share the essay because it helps me when I am despairing or stressed, and if it can provide the same comfort to others, than it simply must be posted :-)

    Joanna

  • parma42
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I understand why you posted that, tradewind, and it was beautiful. People without homes just break my heart. Those people would be so happy to have any place to call their own. Even if it was decorated with a few objects from TJ Maxx and the other stores that get sniffed about here once in a while.

    This place (GW) can be a blessing and a curse. It's human nature to admire the lovely homes that many have. It can go downhill from there or serve as inspiration. Someone is always going to have a nicer kitchen, better molding, more or less space, etc.

    Here's to enjoying what we all have. :)

  • harriethomeowner
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I miss my first little house sometimes, the one my mother and I bought before I met my DH. She gave me the downpayment and cosigned the loan, and I paid the mortgage and lived in it. I was so happy to have that house! It was a little post-WWII Cape Cod with one bathroom and no basement and lots of big windows, very bright and sunny.

    After DH and I got married, we decided it made more sense to buy a nicer place together than to fix that one up any more. Our current house has a lot of character, it's much more spacious, and it was built with higher quality materials. It has three bathrooms, a finished basement, a garage, a big front porch, a screened back porch, a fireplace. The neighborhood is nicer. I know if we had stayed in the previous house we would have regretted not buying something better before it became unaffordable to do so. But right after we bought this place, my FIL died and then my mother became ill and died within a year, so it has always been associated with that sadness. And though it has a lot of nice points, it's not really my ideal house.

    We ended up keeping the old house for about six years after we moved and rented it out, so I suppose it would have been possible for us to have moved back, but it really made no sense, and we never even considered it. We finally sold it when prices went up. Like some of you have said, it never looked better. Although I had done a few things over the years, like installing a new roof and windows, updating the bathroom, and redoing the kitchen, before we sold it we put in new appliances, replaced paneling with drywall, redid the floors throughout, repainted with fresh attractive colors in every room, had a professional landscaper come in and fix up the yard a bit.

    Ah, well. The young woman who bought it was very happy to get it. Time marches on.

  • rebeccag3
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    What a nice thread that just shows how nostalgic we can be, and that it can be a good thing to have such pleasant memories of past lives, as opposed to never having those experiences at all.

    Yes, I too, feel the longing of our old home on the vineyard just outside of town. It's where my DH and I spent the first 12 years of our marriage. I remember being newlyweds and trying to figure out how to cook in that goofy kitchen with its antiquated appliances. And the occasional field mouse running by, to my horror. Then after the first year, waking up to an opposum INSIDE the kitchen with me and in my bowl of freshly picked persimmons on the lower shelf. He had a secret tunnel somewhere behind the kitchen sink of this house which was about 100 years old.

    Funny thing is, we struggled and struggled to make it our own without actually owning it (long-term lease on farmland always negotiating to buy and never having our offer accepted thanks to the duplicitous foreign owner). And the years went by, while we made upgrades without spending too much, knowing we may never actually own it. (We never did after all that time!)

    I remember thinking when family came from back east to visit that I wished it were nicer. They didn't seem to mind though, and splashed in the pool and sat under the stars, telling stories and listening to coyotes and crickets chirping. At that time, all our friends and loved ones were either building or buying brand new homes in developments, and ours was old and kind of creaky. It had character. But we were determined to stay so my husband could farm - his great passion. Looking back, it was really nice and I should have accepted those compliments in better spirit. I'm glad I took lots of pictures. That album brings me joy for the memories.

    We redid the hardwood floors ourselves and couldn't walk for about three days from all the squatting. We redid the entire kitchen and painted every room. I sewed all the window treatments and even did some tile work. We joked that over the years, we must have bought about 500 tubes of caulking to reseal old windows sashes and called it the "house of caulk".

    When it was time to leave farming for lack of profit, and to my husband's great despair, we bought a house in town with our savings, in an older historic area where I dreamed of living as a kid. Of course we bought at the top of the market in early 2006! The only luck we had was that we bought a real fixer and one of the ugliest homes on the best street, in the best area. The price reflected it's fixer status.

    For 2 1/2 years now, we have been redoing bits and pieces, and are finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. My DH has had a hard time enjoying it though, and misses living on the ranch. I too, miss the open space and great seasonal smells and sounds of the creatures at night.

    But...you know, we are absolutely blessed to live in our new home which is turning into a little dollhouse that I've always wanted. And that old house prepared me for living in a home with character and not doing everything the Joneses are doing! And - we finally OWN our home.

    Maybe part of the difficulty here is accepting change. What do you folks think?

  • hoyamom
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Being that we are a military family and have moved many many times and lived in different houses there is only one house that I really liked. It was located in Jacksonville, Florida and it was a one story (no basement) but I loved the layout. I didn't do too much to the house bc we knew we would be leaving in 3 yrs and there was a lack of funds. Oh how I would have loved to have that house built in my present location. Now that the kids are gone and I have more time, I could have really decorated it beautifully (with all of your help of course). I feel bad that I never got a chance to do that. We are decorating our present house because this is where we are going to retire and hopefully climbing the stairs in this two story will keep us in shape!!

  • cherigw
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    somethings i miss. . .my saltillo floors and the WHITE carpet I put down in my bedroom after the boys graduated from college and were no longer home. . . the dry swale I installed down the side of my yard to carry away the water that drained into my yard when my crazy backyard neighbor left his water running. . . the sunlight that STREAMED in through the 6 ft windows on either side of the patio.

    But there are things I love about my "new" (old) house. . .the garden room on the front that lets me keep plants going all year long, room for a formal dining table and chairs, the huge elm in the back yard and the squirrels that scamper back and forth from the electrical lines to the limbs. . . the Virginia creeper that covers my back fence and turns flame red in the fall.

    So. . . every place has it's wonders. . .and it's pitfalls. I just enjoy the memories of the past (bare feet on the cool saltillo floors in the summer) and the joys of today. . .gas logs in the FP, sprinkler system, the things on the agenda "to do" (which just keeps getting longer and longer!!)

  • Oakley
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Interesting topic. I'm kinda, sorta going through this but in a different way. Now that the boys are grown and gone, we can actually afford to build on, and completely gut the front part of the house. Our house used to be rectangle, now it's an L shape, with a HUGE new room. Our dream room.

    The sheet rock is up, the windows are in, we're just waiting for the fire place guy to finish up his job to start on ours. There are days I don't even go in there. When I do, it feels like a strange room. I know the room will be very cozy when it's done. Part of me feels guilty because we didn't do this when the boys were here, but college, etc., got in the way.

    Now I'm telling my old kitchen cabinets goodbye. There's a big spot in front of the sink where I've spent years washing dishes and the stain has rubbed off the wood! The little knicks in the wall will be gone where I measured the boys height.

    But I will NEVER paint over the little dirty handprint from a 3 year old boy who must have climbed on the bathroom counter and put his hand above the mirror. :)

    Just enjoy your children right now, they DO grow up fast. Go to garage sales when they're in school or thrift shops and spiff up your house for now. That's what I used to do!

  • creekylis
    Original Author
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    "creekylis, no no no! That was not meant to be a slap at all. I totally get you. When I read this thread I felt such a pang for everyone who was unhappy in their home. I just wanted to share the essay because it helps me when I am despairing or stressed, and if it can provide the same comfort to others, than it simply must be posted :-)

    Joanna"

    Joanna... I believe I took your post as it was intended and I was FAR from offended. By "slap in the face", I meant as in "GET A HOLD OF YOURSELF, GIRL!". I needed a little change in perspective, and you delivered. I appreciate that, and your post, very much.

    :o)

  • emmachas_gw Shaffer
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    This is the most beautiful, inspirational thread. I would love to reach out and hug all of you.
    creekylis, I've never moved from a home without crying---for days, weeks. I always felt that I was losing parts of myself with each move. The house that the children grew up in for 19 yrs. The dream house that held the grandchildren's laughter for 13 yrs. I share your feelings, patricia43. It's the stages of life that we miss. We hold the memories dear to our hearts, but miss the homes those memories were made in.
    Thank you, Joanna, for sharing your beautiful essay. It brought tears to my eyes. My heart goes out to those without homes, and I pray for them.
    Since selling our dream home 7 months ago (sadly, too much house and land for us to maintain at this stage of life), DH and I have been 'camped out' in a tiny home barely big enough to hold our possessions, much too cramped to make or hold any memories. We spent those months planning the new, smaller dream house to be built next to the old dream house. Spent one month searching all over the country for some beautiful place to live out a few of our golden years. Each place, though breath takingly beautiful, was lacking --family, friends, memories.
    As 2008 ended, we bought a house. Not a dream house. Not in some exotic locale. We were just tired of digging through boxes and repeating, "I remember seeing it somewhere---"
    Until I read this thread, I could never considered the house we bought MY space. It would just be another temporary space. You've inspired me to see the possibilities. We'll be blessed with children and grandchildren nearby. We can fill that house with laughter and memories. Fill the yard with roses and hydrandeas---and paint any room blue. Maybe it will become home, at least for now, maybe forever. Who knows?
    Thank you. All of you!

  • arleneb
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Creeklys,

    In 1970 we moved from the mobile home we were living in (to save money) into our first real house in a suburb of NYC. We really stretched financially to buy it, and to me it was a dream come true. It was only 6 years old, but we did a lot of DIYs to make it ours.

    In 1976 we moved back to the midwest into a 50-year old house on the lake we'd always wanted to live on. The location was another dream come true -- but to my shock, I mourned that NY house like crazy! I really struggled for a long time.

    In 2001 we tore that old house down and built a new one -- you got it! Another dream come true!! Perfect location, almost perfect house!

    Last spring we moved to Tennessee, building another new house. Right now we're in an apartment, dealing with a build that has been problem-ridden since day 1. The positive is that when our two daughters sell their houses, they'll be building next door. But . . . I'm really struggling -- missing that new lake house we left!

    One thing I've come to realize is that transitions are difficult for me. I'm missing not only the lake and the house, but the ties and connections of 32 years. The friends, the church, the sight of sun glinting on the waves, the hydrangeas and other things I'd planted and nurtured . . . the whole life I had there.

    My point is that, at least for me, this is something I go through every time I move. Dee Brestin, an author I love, once described her feelings in a new place -- she said she feels like a plant that's been pulled up and held in mid-air, roots dangling and drying out with no nourishment. Eventually new roots will form, but the dangling, dry time is not easy.

    Blessings to you as you work through this. You're not alone!

    Arlene

  • creekylis
    Original Author
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thanks for responding to my thread, everyone. It was very theraputic. I guess we all need that once in a while. ;o)

  • tracey_b
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thank you for this thread. I just spent the evening in deep discussion with hubby about the job offer he's about to accept which will take us several states away. I fought back the tears trying to convince him that I would be okay about the move, but I came here, and reading this, had to let out those tears.

    THIS is my dream home. We built it 10 years ago. It's on a subdivision lake; it's everything I ever wanted, but hubby is too stressed in his current position to enjoy it, and I feel guilty "having it all." I'm sure that given enough time, I'll come to enjoy the new location, but I know I'll be leaving a bit of me behind when we leave here. Of course, a lot of my "angst" comes from trying to figure out how to move an almost 21 yr/old cat who's frail and hates change.

    I think the Universe sent me this icky-thus-far winter to make me more amenable to a move back further south, though!

    But, I know I'm lucky. I have a home; I will have a home. Hubby has a good job and will continue to have a good job. I am "wealthy" indeed! It's okay if I miss my soon-to-be previous home....it's better than the alternative that some face.

  • pbrisjar
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I miss my old home all the time. It was an old Victorian in a great neighborhood within walking distance of several restaurants, a coffee shop, a movie theater and so much more. Lots of open space for entertaining (it had been remodeled/added on to at least a few times) and beautiful hardwood floors. It had a pond and waterfall in the back yard. Sure, it had its drawbacks (busy corner lot, some bad constriction in the remodel, not a lot of storage and a creepy neighbor across the street).

    COntrast that with current home: Late 70's suburban tract home in the outer pits of suburbia. Absolutely no character whatsoever, popcorn ceilings, popcorn walls in the MBR, tacky fireplace, teeny tiny rooms, really bad linoleum and tile jobs, dropped ceiling in kitchen, tacky brick/stucco exterior... I would never ever ever in ten million years have chosen this house or anything even remotely like it for my home.

    BUT, this home has my Love. This town is where his family lives. If it were at all possible, I'd move back to where I was in half a heartbeat. But it's not. So we stay here and work slowly but steadily on making this a home we can both love.

    Besides, the puppies love the warmer, drier weather and the bigger more isolated yard.

  • rucnmom
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    House - no; neighbors - yes.

  • susie100
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Not only have I never missed or longed for a house I've lived in, and I've lived in several.....but as soon as I'm done painting/fluffing/tweaking, I'm ready to leave. I've lived in my present house for just a little over two years, doing all the interior painting, etc., myself (bought the house after divorcing my husband). I'm almost done and I could walk away right now and never look back. I've always been like that (married or not). I wonder about myself though....WTH is wrong with me.

  • honeybea5
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    This thread has brought out a feeling I've been kind of hiding from myself. As an adult I always wanted to own a home. But I couldn't afford to buy, my salary rose much more slowly than the market. A year ago I finally was able to buy a small house of my own but for many years prior I'd rented a small, gabled, blue house with a little front porch, threatened to be overgown by bushes and trees in the middle of a quiet city neighborhood. I whined a lot about not being able to buy my own place in those years.

    I complained about the pine tree pelting cones and needles everywhere, the single pane windows that had to be plastic covered in winter, the cold uninsulated floors, swirly orange vinyl in the kitchen and ugly worn carpeting. The landlords didn't really do maintenance let alone upgrades. But it was livable.

    And despite my complaining I loved the light from south windows, and the privacy of the backyard. I liked the little panes of glass in the barn door of the unusable garage, and a pink dogwood tree outside the kitchen window. The big trees in the front yard were really messy but golden in fall. A huge outdated wood stove didn't have a damper, so wind whistled in the pipe, but if power went out a fire warmed really well and a meal could be heated on the top of it's pot belly. Popcorn ceilings. The neighbor kids grew from loud youngsters into young adults with cars and jobs while I was there. Then I bought my own house and moved. At last - my own place.

    Having lived in my house a year now it still doesn't feel completely like home and I don't know how to fix that. The little gable house seemed to have a worn down but cheerful personality, it embraced its space in and out. It's interior was not much bigger but there seemed to be much more elbow room. Neighbors met at the mailboxes and chatted.

    This house, even after its 50 or so years, sits on it's plot of land with just one big evergreen tree and grass. No grouped mailboxes, no neighborly chatter. The house is warm and dry and the windows don't require plastic, there are no popcorn ceilings, and my stuff is all here. I've painted outside a gentle friendly color, which helped, but for some reason this house is aloof and still doesn't greet me with a smile like the blue gable house did. Does that make any sense?

  • johnmari
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Frequently. Of course, I'm in serious "I hate my house" mode right now anyway. DH loves it, loves the neighborhood and the town (both of which I dislike), so I don't say a single word lest I hurt his feelings. I feel like I'm drowning. The water heater failed this morning, so it's a good thing I didn't order the window blinds I had in the Penneys shopping cart just the other night.

    Yeah, I complained about aspects of my previous house - like the weird placement on the lot, the long steep driveway that could have done double duty as a ski jump, the total lack of intrinsic charm, the bikers that loved to ride en masse by the house in the summer - but I still miss the bathroom that I put over a year and a half's blood (literally), sweat and tears into, my first-floor bedroom (I've fallen down the stairs at least once a month since we moved in), my fireplace, my woods, the natural-gas everything (I hate my electric stove, hate it hate it hate it), the oversized two-car garage, the relative isolation... I had spent many hours working on plans for it that we didn't get to - we had planned to stay for 20 years or so, we stayed there 3. Just as other people have said, it reached its peak the day the listing photos were taken.

  • estreya
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hubby and i purchased our first home when we were in our late 30's. A company transfer to a Canadian site at a time when our U.S. dollar was much stronger allowed us to have enough in savings for that ever-elusive down payment.

    Oh, how i loved that home. It had a wrap around porch and a view of the water, the later of which could be entirely blocked with an outstretched arm and raised thumb. But it was still a water view, and hubby and i would sit there on the porch every Sunday morning with nothing but our coffee and a bouquet of garden flowers between us.

    First home is like the first love, and even when the relationship sours, one can't help but to be sentimental about it.

    And the relationship did sour. Empty lots around it got developed (why didn't we realize how impactful that would be?), the Canadian site closed and the house became a real financial drain before we finally came to grips with selling it.

    Now, we're in a "new construction" that admittedly lacks some of the character of our first home. But it's on five acres, so no one can build on top of us. :) We live and learn.

  • bronwynsmom
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hoo, boy. I do so know how you feel. We sold the house that was our home for 15 years last year because my husband had taken a job in another state. We had to. Business fell apart, our savings were gone, we were in debt for the first time in our married life, and there was no better choice. With astonishing luck, we sold at top dollar to lovely people who loved everything about our house, and bought most of what we didn't take, about ten seconds before the bottom began to fall out, and found a rental in the neighborhood we wanted in the old section of the city that had just been renovated by an owner/architect with classical taste and complete sensitivity to this 19th century townhouse. We got an apartment in a very nice high-rise for my husband in the other city, and we burned up the skies between so that we were only apart a little more than half the time.
    The company was not well managed, which made the life we were living too hard for the reward, and he left and came home. End of income, back to independent business, which has yet to begin to pay us much. In spite of that, we are, at least for now, rescued from financial disaster, and it was time, after all, to simplify our lives and ditch the yard work. But we had hundred-year-old oak trees, and boxwoods from an eighteenth century plantation, and I redesigned and reorganized and rebuilt every inch of that house, and it was like cutting off my arm. I am frustrated here by lack of closets and fewer smaller rooms and after a lot of culling, still too much stuff, and not enough money to do what I want to do.
    For the first six months, I couldn't drive down the old street. I still grieve my beautiful library with its Georgian fireplace grate and the gas fire in it, and the kitchen I designed myself, and the workshop and laundry room and spa bathroom in the English basement, and the dark, quiet nights, and the owls and deer and hawks, and the river across the street.
    But I am free of yardwork and too much maintenance and too much self-flagellation about all the things I wasn't handling well enough to suit me. And I love my new neighborhood, with its cobbled streets and restaurants and accidental meetings of neighbors on the streets that turn into drinks and dinner somewhere, and a university within walking distance.
    This post made me weep over what I lost, but it also made me realize that I can get the heck out of my chair and make this house our home, one way or another. My heart goes out to those of you whose lives have taken unexpected bad turns...mine has, too, and there is a lot to be done to make us safe again for our soon-to-arrive old age. But I am alive, and relatively well, and I am loved, and inside in winter, and no one wants to hurt me, and if I complain, somebody please just throw a glass of water in my face!

  • nan_nc
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    What lovely, lyrical, and inspirational posts to this thread! I don't have a past home I miss, just the one I live in now which is slowly becoming the home I envisioned when I first saw it 20 years ago. It will probably never be complete in my lifetime, but the changes as they come are celebrated (even if not perfect, as we are entirely DIY) and sometimes "good enough" is indeed good enough! And I smile every time I enter my new bathroom, which is exactly as I saw it on first sight.

  • hoosiergirl
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Patricia, that was hauntingly beautiful! And Tradewind, that essay is SO true! Thank you both for sharing.

  • emmachas_gw Shaffer
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    hostagrams, I've drawn strength from your postings before. It was some how comforting to know someone out there missed the same things I missed---the sun on the lake, the plants I'd rooted, seeded, transplanted to fill the yard with year round blooms. I thought about you last month when we bought the home near my daughter. I wish that house had your new back yard. I'll keep watching your progress.
    honeybea5, I understand. And I think it makes perfect sense.
    My MIL often complained that I think with my heart rather than my head. After reading this thread, I think I'm in VERY good company. Transitions are difficult because we are blessed with lives that gather wonderful memories.
    I just hope I have enough years left to enjoy the full blown results of the next round of rooting, seeding, transplanting! It would be easier to hit the nursery sale tables, but I have to bring ALL of my memory plants with me---And you thought you had problems letting go!!
    creekylis, thanks for this thread. I needed it!

  • pfmastin
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    This is a wonderful, touching thread.

    parma42, I just want to say to you, "plant some trees". They will be good for your soul. I am almost 60 and I felt the same way as you when we moved this last time. I knew I needed to have a yard with some mature trees since I'd probably not be around long enough to watch one grow from a sapling. But...I did plant saplings and it's given me so much joy to watch them grow in their first years. There's something about a very young tree pushing out blooms that touches us. :)
    hugs,
    Pam

  • bronwynsmom
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Yes, plant trees.
    'When asked what he would do, if he knew the next day he was going to die, Martin Luther replied, "I would plant a tree".'

    And:

    "He that plants trees loves others besides himself." -- Thomas Fuller

    "One generation plants the trees under whose cool shade another generation takes its ease." (Proverb)

  • spitfire_01
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I wanted to tell Parma the same thing but didn't want to overstep my bounds (as I tend to do). I just planted a row of Hetz Wintergreen arborvitae. They are supposed to grow fast, keep one central leader, and retain their color through the winter. I just put mine in the ground this fall, so I don't know if they will live up to the hype. I always say that a house is not my home until I dig in the dirt. It's my way of staking my territory!

    Good luck to all ... wherever home may be!

  • hoosiergirl
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    We are living in our dream home, but even so, I still miss my old home at times. It was a tract home in a subdivision (not my style at all), but we made it ours. (Speaking of trees, we planted many trees, and I do miss them even though we have trees all around us here!) I really miss our screened porch (we haven't built one for this home yet, and with the state of the economy as it is, we think we should hang onto our cash for the time being). I also miss the feeling of that house, but when I try to put my finger on what it was exactly, I can't articulate it. I think it was just that we were happy there for the most part and our kids were really little in that home. Our son came home from the hospital to that home, and our daughter lived there from 6 mos. through 10 years. So the pitter-patter of little feet, kids swinging on the swings, the growth charts, and all the comings and goings-on with little ones happened there. I do love this house and we are gradually making it "home", but it will never have those memories, and for those, I miss our old home.

    But how fortunate we are that we have the luxury of owning even one home! I do think we are spoiled, and I am very grateful for the blessings we have. I remember looking out of the backdoor window of the first home I owned: a tiny, four-room shotgun house. It was nothing fancy at all, and needed all kinds of work, but I loved that house, and remember thinking how I loved that tiny little backyard when I looked out that window. I hope I can always find a view that makes me that happy.

  • parma42
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thanks to all for your "plant trees" advice. We certainly will this spring. I wanted to, last fall, but there was just too much going on.

    I know I can get some birds to visit me. Something along the lines of "If you plant it, they will come" ? :)

  • october17
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I bought this house (twenty years ago) because it reminded me so much of the house I grew up in. The kitchen is really the thing - same size, same number and placement of windows. The whole house was a mess, we did a total, complete gut. Still working on it! But somehow, I don't feel the same about this one as I did about the one I grew up in. Like one of the previous posts, I miss the neighbors too.

  • creekylis
    Original Author
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    ...as if to say, "Be careful what you wish for", I found out this week that my job is going away. We will not be able to afford this house without it.

    I must remember to always count my blessings...

  • luckygal
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    creekylis, thank you for starting this most inspirational thread. I doubt you had any idea of the impact your angst on Sunday when you originally posted would have on so many of us. I wish you all the best life has to offer as you search for your next home. I know you will take your enlightened experience with you on this next part of your journey.

    I've lived in more houses than I could ever have imagined I would and remember every one with some fondness. Also remember most with less positive feelings as none were perfect and required lots of work. I knew when I married my DH 43 years ago that we would move often as he was a career military officer but I had no idea of my own feelings on the subject - my life experience was not very long at that time. Fortunately I have always been able to look forward to the unknowns of the future with positive hope that things will always improve. Guess I'm a dreamer!

    Because both DH and I are confirmed DIY'ers we made improvements to every home even the rented ones. Every one was greatly improved whether we lived there 2 months or 4 years. We've been in our present "dream home" for 13 years and have done very little as we planned it and had it built. We have repainted and are starting to make other improvements but there's not the same urgency as when we knew our time in a home was limited. And it's not because this house is perfect, I don't think it's possible to build a completely perfect house as things and people change and there's always something new. I have matured out of being a perfectionist so don't make changes so readily any longer.

    I expect the time of year and other current factors have much to do with any dissatisfaction or anxiety we may feel right now. Hopefully we can all get busy with projects and look forward to spring gardening and the renewed life and hope of that time of year. Counting blessings is always good.:)

  • amysrq
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Creeky, I am so sorry to hear your bad news. There are silver linings out there, but it is a damn tough time to be trying to find them. Good luck and keep your loved ones close.

  • pfmastin
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    creekylis,
    Oh, wow...our lives can change so quickly. I'm so sorry to hear your news. It's hard to be comforted at a time like this. If you do, indeed, need to relocate my wish for you is that you find the perfect cottage shaded by lovely trees.
    Thinking of you,
    Pam

  • daisyadair
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    The first place I lived after moving out of mom and dad's was a rented really old two-story brownstone. We were so poor that it remained completely bare the whole time we were living there. We had a bed, one dresser, a dining room table with a few chairs and a sofa. It had two bedroom and one of them was completely unfurnished. The empty bedroom had a huge closet with a window and the most beautiful antique vanity table and there was a claw foot tub in the bathroom. There was also a sink in the bedroom we slept in. Everything but the sofa came with the house! It was close to down town and I loved sitting on the sofa watching the park across the street and the cars go by. It was a charming place to live even in complete povery!

    creekylis, Thank you so much for starting this thread, I've loved everyone's stories. I'm sorry you're going through a rough patch and hope you can see the light at the end of the tunnel soon.

  • julie92
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I have been married now for 15 yrs and have lived in this home we custom built for 10 yrs. The first 5 yrs we lived in a 2 BR, one Bathroom, tiny apt where we shared many precious times. We moved there after getting married in our early twenties. Prior to getting married, we struggled to scrape together $7500 for a down payment on 9 acres of land. While living in that small apt, we payed off they land, saved money, and had our first child, a beautiful baby girl. We also made many special friends. During that time, we also started building a 2400 sq ft home that we contracted ourselves. Not to mention the countless hours my DH and Dad spent plumbing, painting, doing trimwork, etc. We did not see each other much over the yr it took to build our home. When we finally were finished and able to move in I remember the excitement I felt moving the boxes and all the toys from that small apt just a couple of miles from our new home. But once we moved here, I felt isolated. No more neighbors to visit everyday. Only though it was only a couple of miles away, it seemed like 1000 miles, because my life had taken a drastic change. I cried for a couple of months. My DH even offered to sell our home and move back to the apts we loved so much our first 5 yrs together. I knew we had worked and planned so hard for this home to be perfect. We stayed and had a son about 3 yrs after moving to our new home. Now I would never dream of going back to the life I had before, but memories are securely attached in the back of my mind that I will never forget. Our family of 4 would have never made it in the small apt.

    I find myself now lurking on this website everyday that I discovered while remodeling my kitchen. My husband thinks I am crazy that I spend so much time looking at others visions and dream kitchens. He often makes the comment that I should be thankful for the home we have which will be payed for in just a few years and our kids are still just 8 and 13. I do see things on this website that I love and sometimes even makes me dislike the home I have. I have gained much knowledge on this website, but I also have become more critical of every detail I see. I am glad to read this thread that reminded me to be thankful for the things I do have. I know there are people from all places and walks of life on GW, but you never know what kind of situation they are in.

    My aunt and her DH have no children and make plenty of money. She has a brother who is basically homeless that moves from motel to motel just to survive. She does help him tremendously, but he lived with her for awhile while she was in the process of remodeling her kitchen. When she got a new frig she cried because it was not what she had envisioned. He just looked at her and said "you can't even be happy with a brand new frig, and I don't even own a frig or place to put one." That opened my eyes to the real world. There are so many people who have lost there life savings in these terrible times we live in. I hope this thread helps everyone on GW realize how thankful we all are to have the homes we live in. I could dream all day of something bigger and better or changed, but I still would not be any happier in life than I am today!

    Thanks Creekylis for the thread. In time your heart will heal and you will have wonderful memories of your other home!

  • polly929
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I do miss my last house for sentimental reasons. I brought my daughters home from the hospital to that house and I was always greeted with balloons and signs of "welcome to the neighborhood little one" from my neighbors. I miss sitting on my front porch. I have grown to love my current home, but it is an evolving process as we are restoring the 100yr. old cottage and DH is doing it all himself and living through construction is not very fun. But I am very fortunate and this tread has reminded me of that.
    I just read this entire thread in its entirety at work and I am crying real tears, I hope no one catches me.

  • gracie-2006
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I have read most, not all the posts above, and after moving many times in the early part of my first marriage, I can truly relate. Thankgoodness, I am now in a home that we have truly made our home. I went through a divorce and remarried. My husband and I decided to stay in my home and re-model to make it our home. It was such a wise decision. But the home I truly miss is my own home growing up. My family was in that home my entire life. It brought such joy going back to it when we moved out of town. So many memories and so much of it had remained the same. Taking walks in the neighborhood was so fun- going down memory lane. My parents have passed away and our home has been completely re-modeled. So, it is very sad for me to even see it now. It takes a long time for a home to become your own. It just shows that it is not all the furniture and pictures we put in our homes, but our own personal touches and decor.