This past weekend we got out as a family and participated in one of our favorite pastimes…
Drive-by our old stomping grounds, that is.
When we first met, J and I both owned little bachelor / bachelorette pads. They happen to be just down the road from where we live now, so periodically we like to do drive-bys of the old ‘hoods and see how our first homes are faring.
His was a three bedroom, two bath garden home with a garage.
Mine was a three bedroom, two bath garden home without a garage.
Coincidentally we both purchased them in the Spring of 2002 and they were just three miles apart. But it took match.com to bring us together. Go figure.
I scanned in some old photos so I could give you a tour of the houses when we lived in them. I only have two photos that don’t have people in them. Obviously I had never heard of D&R back then. I think these two pictures might have been taken with a disposable camera! Pre-digital camera days, that is for sure.
So here is the living room:
Here is my mom in the kitchen:
I loved my garden home when I was single. It was a great party house, even though it was tiny. It had an open floorplan so I could easily squeeze fifteen to twenty people in there for a rip-roaring good time.
I had a poker night party for my 25th birthday / housewarming. One of the best parties ever:
And with the help of my friend Laura I hosted a Murder Mystery Theme Party. We all had fun dressing up like flappers from the rip roaring ’20s.
There’s Laura and me pretending to smoke from our cigarette holders.
This was my dog Cowboy sitting with my good buddy Zach dressed up in his Murder Mystery attire.
That chair he is sitting in was a $17.00 chair I found at a side-of-the-road Junk Sale. It had pine straw stuffing and green vinyl upholstery when I bought it. After I painted it purple and recovered it I thought it looked fabulous. It proudly sat in my house for a number of years. J thought it was hideous.
That was the best part about that house, though. I decorated it exactly how I wanted it without having to worry about any input from any other human being. Not a roommate or a husband to give me a look that said, “You’re gonna put THAT in our living room?” In fact I spent an entire winter with a twenty foot hammock set up in my living room in front of the fireplace. I couldn’t wait until Springtime to use my new hammock so I set it up right there in the living room. I would sway back and forth for hours and read in front of a roaring fire on cold nights. It was heaven. I loved the freedom that came with doing whatever I pleased in that house. It was girly and airy and happy with cathedral ceilings and lots of windows.
J’s house was the complete opposite of mine. It was masculine and sturdy and well kept. Four sides brick. Like a big man cave all under one roof. Quite a bachelor pad for a 22 year old single guy to own. He loves to tell people that he picked the colors of the house to resemble dirt so you couldn’t tell if he had cleaned it or not. He is such a boy.
I have been trying to find photographs of the inside of both of our houses and I realize that there are not that many of either. Here are a few of the best interior shots I can find of his house. We really should have taken more photos.
This is me in the kitchen at my 26th birthday party:
Here I am trying to figure out how to use my newfangled digital camera:
Check out how little Riley was! She would have been 13 months old in this picture.
Also check out the Herculon couches. He thought my purple chair was hideous but he loved those couches. It was definitely a bachelor pad before I moved in and got ahold of it:
This is J in the living room after we got married trying to avoid having his photo taken. Maybe I didn’t take many pictures of the place because he always hides when I pull out a camera. Or maybe we were just too busy… being newlyweds.
He nicknamed his house “Little D” since he has such an affinity for nicknaming inanimate objects. When we decided to get married I sold my house and moved into Little D so we could save money. He’s such an honorable guy that he didn’t want to shack up with me before we got married, so he moved back in with his parents for about six months. Bless his heart. After we got married we lasted approximately three weeks in that 1,200 square feet before we each declared that we needed more space and started looking for newer, bigger houses. Within four months we had bought our current house and moved out of Little D, but it will always hold a special spot in our hearts as “Our First Place”.
On today’s drive-by we saw that there was a For Sale sign in the window. J had seen a few weeks ago that it had gone into foreclosure and was on the market. So being the Snoopy McSnooperson’s that we are, we decided to try to break into the house. I parked in the driveway and waited with Garrett while J went around to all the doors and windows looking for entry. He was around the back of the house when a car pulled up behind me and four inquisitive and semi-angry people stepped out. I rolled my window down and asked if they lived there. A lady replied no, they didn’t, but they were closing on the house in October. I hurriedly explained that my husband was the original owner of the house, and he was just wanting to check it out now that it was back on the market. Thankfully they were nice folks, and they even invited us inside to take a look at it. We gladly took them up on that offer.
Walking back into that house was so weird. A flood of memories came back to me just stepping through the door. I was shocked by how small everything seemed. The kitchen only had about 3 linear foot of usable countertop. TOTAL. After our wedding shower most of our gifts remained packed up in the garage because there was no room in that tiny kitchen to store anything. The master bedroom was the size of one of our guest rooms now.
It was in that house that we spent our wedding night. When I took off my wedding dress a big huge Katydid flew out of my bustle and onto the ceiling. We had an outdoor wedding so apparently it decided to hitchhike home with us after the festivities. It took us forever to catch that thing and shoo it outside. The night before we invited friends to our first big backyard barbecue J shattered the top of our patio table so we spent hours vacuuming the grass with a Shop-Vac to remove all the glass. I celebrated my very first Christmas in that house. I had never celebrated Christmas before I met J, so on Christmas morning we sat in the living room with hot chocolate and cinnamon rolls and opened our gifts from each other. I got a telescope and a leather coat. He got some junk that I bought at Target and ebay. I was a pitiful gift giver those first few years.
J decided to change jobs right before we sold Little D, taking a significant pay cut in the process. Literally the day before we closed on our new home he told his boss that he was leaving the company. I can remember sitting on the guest room floor the night before we moved, freaking out and whispering on the phone to my mom that I was scared to death about purchasing a big new house and the big mortgage that came with it. She assured me that everything would be ok, and now nearly four years later I see that she was right.
Everything is better than ok.
But sometimes it is fun to go back to your roots and see just how far you’ve come.
Since I complained about not having any pictures of the interior of our houses, J emailed me the sales flyers he created for both houses. Here are the photos that I cropped out of the flyers.
Here is my little house all cleaned up and ready to sell:
And Little D looking spiffy: