Monday, February 19, 2007

should we stay or should we go?

The past few days, Charlie and I have been spending an insane amount of time crunching numbers ... talking to mortgage lenders ... scrutinizing our house ... scrutinizing the house across the street ... contemplating new floors in our house ... contemplating moving to the house across the street ... cleaning up our house to show to prospective buyers ... evaluating every possible angle of moving ... and wondering again and again and again what to do.

There's a big part of me that thinks we ought to stay right where we are.

There's a big part of me that thinks we ought to move.

For the same reasons we love our one-story tiny casa ... I am climbing off the walls because we need more space. Last night, Charlie and I were up late cleaning the house and putting things away. Because today, for the first time ever, we showed off our home to prospective buyers. This morning, we had breakfast at IHOP since the last thing we wanted to do was have the kids make a mess in our clean house before we opened it up.

This whole "potential move" has really taken on a mind of it's own and is just happening. Here I am, 5-months pregnant, with two year old triplets running everywhere - and just a few days ago - I was prepared to pack up the family and move 3,000-miles cross-country. Now, we're entertaining potential home buyers - without consulting a realtor - and eating Rooty Tooty Fresh N' Fruity breakfasts on the fly.

I honestly don't know if this is just part of the forward momentum that happens when things are meant to be ... or if we should stop, drop and roll.

This morning, while I stayed in the backyard playing with the kids - who wanted nothing more than to come in to the house and rip everything apart - Charlie proudly showed off our home. I could hear him pointing out the imported granite countertops ... the matching Kitchen Aid stainless steel appliances ... the upgraded cabinets ... the spanish tile floor ... the newly installed roll-out drawers in every single cabinet in the kitchen ... the newly installed pantry ... the outdoor solar lighting that is hardwired in to our home ... the central air conditioning unit ... the water softener ... the surround sound speakers ... the professional landscaping ... the beautiful view.

I don't know what I expected ... but when I overheard the people say that they loved it and wanted to talk "numbers" I got all freaky. I ran in to the house and started pointing them to similar houses in our neighborhood that were for sale. The one-story just two doors down from ours went on the market last week - maybe they should take a look at that one?! Or, maybe the one-story two neigborhoods over that's been on the market for 6 months. I bet they could get a great deal on that bungaloo!!

While Charlie beamed and was ready to pull out a calculator - I felt an overwhelming urge to run around and pee on all four corners of our property. For the first time in a long time, I was convinced that this is where we should stay. It's incredible how much I love our house when it's clean. But - when we went to look at the house across the street for the fourth time, tonight - Charlie was deadset that we should move. I think I'm deadset, too.

Kinda sorta. Not really. My mind changes every five minutes ... give or take four. And a half.

We could make it work where we are for another few years and maybe we should - considering we've got a new baby coming. Then in a few years - maybe - we'll have a better idea of where we're suppose to be. Provided I don't go absolutely insane from constantly trying to maximize our space. If we buy the house across the street - I feel that we have a longer term commitment to stay in the area.

Yeah, because everyone knows San Diego is such a dump.

When I bawled spoke to my mother the other day, she told me that I needed counseling. She thinks that my inability to settle down and find contentment where I am (aka: paradise), is a direct result of the divorce my parents went through 27 years ago. She might be right. It wasn't easy having my mother in South Carolina - my father in Massachusetts ... and shuttling between the two locations several times a year. When I think about what I really want, it's to know that the next home we purchase, will be the home where our children grow up and where we will remain. I want stability. I want peace. I want to know where we are going to be 3, 5, 10, 20, 50 years from now.

For the love of all that is holy, I want to be decided and calm.

And I want to stop sounding like a broken record. I'm tired of thinking about it ... I can only imagine the people around me are tired of hearing me try to sort through these issues of "where" we're suppose to be.

The other night, I was trying to express this to Charlie and I couldn't hold back the tears. When I told him that I didn't want to be buried in San Diego, he agreed that I need to live more in the "present" and I am either struggling with latent issues that are surfacing from my parents divorce ... or ... this is the worst case of nesting imaginable. I guess if I'm still feeling neurotic after the baby is born, I'll know that these are suppressed feelings from when I was 8.

But speaking of Charlie ... is this a guy thing? We've been together for 16 years and I've never really noticed this idiosyncrasy before. Now, I notice it all the time. Seriously, I'm ready to TP my husband.


  1. As gently as possible, I'd like to say that it seems to me that you are looking at this situatin with pure emotion. It would be hard not to do that when you are 5 months pregnant and caring for 2-year-old triplets. You have many memories in your current home, but you will take them with you and make more memories in any home you have.
    However, maybe you need to take the time to think this all through in terms of what is PRACTICAL.
    Is it practical to stay where you are if you have the means (and the need)to move into something bigger?
    Is it practical to think of moving across the country at this time in your lives? Will it ever be practical?
    Is it practical to think of moving across the street at this point in your lives? Would it be easier to do any kind of move when you have a newborn?
    I certainly don't know what any of these answers would be, but you do.
    This is just how I handle difficult decisions and I'm losing my mind and I finally get to the point where "Something's gotta give." I try to take a breath and think in practical terms and ask practical questions.
    I know what you mean about wanting to be calm. I am working on a decision myself and it is very difficult to be in emotional limbo. Perhaps I need to take a breath and start thinking in practical terms....
    You will do the right thing. Just remember to be kind to yourself through all of this

  2. thoughtful, ordered change, not chaotic turmoil.

    A new houOf course you love your current home! You've done a beautiful job of decorating it and maintaining it, and the atmosphere is full of love. You will create the same ambiance and beauty in your next hosue.

    At this point in your lives, however, change is good. You need to stir yourself up occasionally and live! By change, I mean thoughtful, considered change. A new house at this time does not mean you are destined to stay in San Diego forever. It only means that you will be living in a larger, more convenient house for the next little while, which sounds like a good move.

    Warmest wishes, Susan

  3. Whatever you do, keep on writing. You blog is delightful!

  4. I agree with Susan! Change will defin. be a GOOD thing! A year from now you will look back on this experience and say, "Why was I even stressing!" Just turn it around and think - this is a GREAT thing! We get more room for our family and we don't even have to hire a moving tuck! I'm just sayin'....

  5. Well as a mom of 5 children I wanted to add my thoughts. I have been reading your blog for a short time. I enjoy it and in ways I can relate. I have two young teenagers and triplets who are 7. We currently live in a 5 bed 2000sq.ft home. Before the triplets we lived in 1 bed 800 sq.ft home. It has been nice to have a bigger home. When we first had the triplets my oldest two were barely 1st grade. When things felt like a pressure cooker we always had that extra space to run to when we needed to get away from the others. Now we feel like the house is to big. We want the kids to share rooms and space. We are in the process of selling our home to look for a 2-3 bed with a basement. They are times in this big house we and myself especially, feel disconnected from the others. Plus the utility bills are higher and the food budget has been growing steady. So the great hope is that a smaller house will equal lower utility bills and more money for the growing food budget and hopefully less disconnectedness, without pressure cook feel. In other ways I read your blog and chuckle. You had it more hard than I; I think. Your first kids were three; my last kids were three. It does make a difference when you have that first kid experience. But in your case the one you are expecting now will probably feel like a piece of cake. Having triplets to put you through the ropes in the beginning will make you feel like been there done that. I bet you just might be able to stay in the house where you are at, until you can think clearer. The wanting to move is that good ole nesting syndrome. Anyways whatever decision you make I wish you the best of luck!! Wow..time flies quickly!

  6. Two things:
    - I think we have a tendency to stress ourselves out about making the PERFECT decision ... that we're going to be less successful and somehow lesser beings if we're not 100% sure of our decisions. But it's hard to be sure when there are pros and cons for staying or going. So don't be hard on yourselves. Go with what you think will make you happier and your lives easier -- you have enough factors making it hard!
    -- Also, just to let you know that you've helped me get through the last couple weeks. My 16 month old has had a tummy virus (read: hourly diaper changes and more than usual puking) for 14 days. I kept thinking: "At least it's only diapers and puke for ONE kid." and "What would Jen do?" Grin. Thanks for the inspiration ... and if you DO end up staying and ever get around to making more blankets for Mel's charity, let me know when you get together.

  7. I am delurking to put in my two cents because I am facing similar decisions and indecision. But first I have to confess that the TP pic is what pushed me out of lurkdom! I could have taken the exact same pic in my bathroom this morning!
    Anyway, I have 4 kids - 7 & 4 yr old boys and 18m twin girls - and I have been trying to get us moved out of Mass. for several years. We have a house we love - an old farmhouse that we've renovated and put our hearts into. But we are 1500-2000 miles from our families and between that, the weather, and the cost of living, I am certain we need to leave. But then there's the whole job issue.... sigh. Back and forth we go until I feel like my head is going to explode.

    Am I helping?? No? Well, here's my completely biased and subjective opinion. Move. Space is only going to get tighter. And if you have people who want to buy, I'd say in this market, don't hesitate. Across the street or across the country... that's a tougher one. If you truly feel at home in your community, then drag everything across the street. If not, explore your options elsewhere.

    I love NE and I've lived here for over 20 years. But it will never be home. My folks aren't divorced, but we moved a lot when I was a kid and I *completely* understand your need for a sense permanence. I too want our next move to be to a house & community where we will stay for the next 20 years. I don't think that's just your nesting talking. And, hey, if it's due to your childhood history, then so be it. Regardless of where your feelings originate, they are valid.

    Thanks for writing about all this stuff. I have been enjoying reading your blog and I actually have been checking in, hoping for an update on your move/don't move saga. Good luck with everything. (Slinking back into the shadows now.)

  8. I know how you feel about moving. We have a little different twist on it. I went through IVF and had a singleton. We lived in San Diego (Scripps Ranch) and LOVED LOVED LOVED it. But my family lives in TX. In a fit of pregnant emotions, one day I decided it was extremely important for my son to live near his grandparents. Never mind the fact that his other two actually LIVE in San Diego -- but he's just the 5th grandchild for them, whereas he's the 1st and only on my side.

    So we packed up and moved to TX, selling our gorgeous CA home w/the incredible view that we'd spent the last two years completely renovating. This all while my son was 7 wks old.

    Now here is where our stories diverge...we had plenty of space as we only had a family totalling three people. So as far as the cramped quarters, I can't help you except as far as to say, how in the world are you doing it now w/the five of you???

    It's taken a long time to settle in to TX. I miss CA every day. I speak w/my good friends out in CA and it takes me days to get over the nostalgia and desires to move back. There's still days I wonder if we did the right thing, as I miss it so much. But all of our reasons to move are still valid and in force so I try to put aside the longings for CA and its beauty and fabulous weather.

    I guess the thing I wish I'd have done was wait till my son was older before I made any decisions. I wish I'd waited till he was at least one. I wonder if the pregnancy hormones made me over-emotional about wanting to be so close to my family (especially when they start to give me so much unsolicited advice).

    If you can move to the house across the street and like the house and can afford it, I'd do that before I'd move across the country. Give yourself more time before you make that big of a decision. Across the street, not so big...across the country, thousands of miles big.

    Best of luck to you, Jen. I adore your blog.

  9. I too am coming out of lurkdom...and I know you very well may have already approached God about this decision, but if not, do. He cares about all aspects of our life...and this one will impact you for many years to come. If you feel more peaceful about one option in prayer, it is more than likely the path He wants you on.

    I have loved reading your's even made my short list when I only have time to read a few on a crazy day.

    And my hat is off to you for just making it through the last few months. They have been overwhelming just to read about, let alone live.

    I wish you the best of luck in this decision. My thoughts and prayers will be with you.

  10. Jen- I can answer your question for you right now.

    How are the schools? How is the school that your children will attend in three short years?

    If the answer is that the school if fabulous, then buy the house across the street. Frankly, you need the room. I KNOW you need the room!

    If the school sucks then don't get saddled down to a bigger mortgage. Get the hell out of there.

    Go take a tour of the school and get back to me! I have a website where you can look up the test scores so email if you want to know if your kids are going to college.

  11. You poor thing... all of these things you have to think about while working, running after triplets and being 5 months pregnant!

    I'm sure you have so many happy memories in your home, and I can totally understand why you wouldn't want to leave. But I can also understand your need for more space.

    Maybe counseling isn't such a bad idea... I've been, and it was a great experience!

  12. Man, that's tough. I hate it when I can't get my mind to decide on something. Just try to be practical and not sentimental and emotional. A small space is going to drive you crazy, especially with an infant. I vote for a little change.

  13. I have no advice, because I don't have an answer for you, because, well, I think YOU have the answer and YOU have to be the one to decide what is best for your family. Go with your gut feeling, and just run, run, run, and don't look back. And please, let us know what you decide!

    On another note, I LOVE the toilet paper picture. I can totally relate. I'm wondering if you snuck into our bathroom and took the picture. I'm going to go fix that ;)

  14. Okay, take a pregnancy yoga course and relax a little; then read that book of yours "Don't sweat the small stuff"; then do what I did with the toilet roll.

    Take out the dispenser and place baskets in the bathroom filled with toilet rolls (2-3). With my 4 guys, all they have to do is grab a toilet roll from the basket and "drop" it back in the "decorative" basket.

    I haven't changed a roll since!!!!Then hug your children and kiss your husband when you get home.
    Love, Marg

  15. Dear Jen

    I was going to comment yesterday morning, but could not find the right words.
    Just as well I waited as all these other lovely ladies have expressed themselves beautifully.
    I am a firm believer in "going with the flow" and letting fate take its course. Look at us now, in Indonesia! who would of thought that it was remotely possible 12 months ago?
    The house across the road has come available at the exactly the right time, My opinion is that it is meant for you to have a little stop off across the road and save the decision to move across the country for a little longer.
    I hope you are able to relax soon.
    Thinking of you...

  16. LOL...i do that with the TP all the time. Ooops! my bad.