The movers came Tuesday to pack up most of our possessions and put them in a shipping container and send them to Ireland. It’s been a grueling couple of weeks, physically and emotionally, going through every room in the house and deciding what to keep and what to donate, sell, or give away. Luckily, I think some of my first trimester fatigue subsided enough for me to be able to crank through work while Tom was in Brazil for the new job. I wouldn’t exactly call it the 2nd trimester “burst of energy” I kept hearing about, but whatever it is has been helpful. I’m also so grateful to my friends and family who helped get ready for the move in Tom’s absence.
Going through every single item forced me to remember the story behind each item, and decide whether the memory can stand on its own, or if that item has too much sentiment behind it to get rid of it. The one thing I absolutely can’t bring with us is the house itself. I didn’t think I was that attached to the house, but the more items that have been removed, the less the house actually feels like ours, and the more memories of being in the house remain. We’ve had so many great times in our first house, and even the not-so-great ones had positive outcomes in the end.
I fell in love with our first home almost immediately. It was a textbook fixer-upper: almost every room needed some amount of work, but the location, school system, and the large, private yard helped sell it for us. I loved the antique details like the stained glass front door and cast iron heating grates, and the potential in the large kitchen space. I remember after touring the house with our real estate agent, Tom and I were standing in the office upstairs, and I said to him “I think I love it.”
Here’s a little album of photos. (Embedding it didn’t work for some reason) (Not included in photo album: cesspool sewage system, guest room with Styrofoam wall next to bathroom, outdoor shower with no surround, overgrown backyard, and dirt driveway)
Tom proposed on the front porch before entering the house for the first time as homeowners, the day we closed. The following two years of our lives were consumed with wedding planning and house projects.
Tom and I had zero idea of how to do much home improvement stuff ourselves when we first moved in. One of the first fights we got in after moving, was when we got snippy with each other attempting to install blinds with a manual screwdriver. We quickly learned that having the appropriate tools for the job made every project much quicker and easier. Even navigating through the local Home Depot got easier after a while.
Over the 4 years we’ve lived here we’ve fixed up both bathrooms, paved the driveway, did extensive landscaping work, added gutters, replaced the furnace and hot water heater (both of which died in the first year of owning the house), and renovated the kitchen.
The kitchen renovation was difficult, and took over a year and a half from the time we thought we secured a contractor to the end result, but it came out more wonderful than I could have expected. Here’s another little album of the kitchen renovation.
We’ve hosted lots of guests and parties in this house. The Boston Marathon goes by the house and we hosted a marathon party each year. I will really miss those parties.
I planned our wedding in this house. We spent lots of evenings on the front porch. My cat Lenny‘s ashes are buried in the backyard. I have lots of memories of friends and relatives helping us complete home projects, and cooking for them or taking them out to say thank you. Our dry cleaner, hair dresser, mechanic, and go-to breakfast spot are all within a 5 minute walk. We settled into ourselves and our relationship in our house.
Before we knew anything about the opportunity in Dublin, when we started talking about having kids more seriously, we realized we could raise one kid in the house, but probably not two. With no garage and only 2 bedrooms with closets we couldn’t picture a family with two teenagers living in the house in its current state. With housing prices continuing to rise in the area and the cost of living in our town continuing to increase as well, we knew that we would need to either commit to this house as our forever home and plan for an addition at some point in the future, or sell the house and move further west. We likely wouldn’t be able to afford to upgrade to a bigger home in our town.
Now that most of our stuff is gone, it’s hard to be in our home, stripped of anything that makes it feel like ours. It feels like a long, drawn out goodbye to the home where we both did so much growing up.
While it’s difficult to say goodbye, I’m excited to set up new roots and a new life with a family in Dublin. It will be different, and parts of it won’t be easy, but this opportunity presents the chance at a fresh start, and the sky’s the limit!