Monday, August 12, 2013

The New Darby Residence, Est. July 15, 2013

Goodbye city life . . . 

and hello sleepy little beach town.  Do you hear that?  Listen . . .

Nope, me neither.  I hear nothing.  No car horns honking at my children and me to hurry up or get out of the way.  No sailor-mouthed bikers on Damen threatening impatient drivers.  No construction and no machinery and no chatty Cathys at the bus stop yacking it up into the wee hours of the night.

I need to pinch myself occasionally to remember this isn't a vacation house.  It's real.  A house.  A yard.    No one living below us.  No rushing to grab little hands the second we inch out of the front door.  No insane traffic.  No crazy crowds.  Clint keeps asking if I'm okay when he sees that far-away look in my eyes, and I tell him I'm more than okay . . . I'm finally able to relax.  Life is calmer.  Mack's tantrums have lessened.  We have room to stretch out and not be in anyone else's way.  I'm living in a dream world right now.

It's amazing what we had gotten used to and learned to enjoy.  Walking up almost three flights of stairs with 2 children, searching for parking nearby when the car was full of groceries, getting in line at the Y at 4AM to sign up for camp, long walks in the rain to preschool when I didn't have the car, and trying to keep an eye on both of my rowdy children at overcrowded parks.  It all began to feel very normal for me, and I quickly forgot how much easier life in a small town could be.  

But the city was cool and had so much to offer.  Our little neighborhood was awesome for children -- their schools, their classes, the restaurants.  Of course we miss our friends.  Mimi's best friends all lived within half a mile of us, and her very best friend lived only a few feet away (as did two of mine).    

I wouldn't take any of these experiences -- good and bad -- back for anything in the world.  Living in Chicago was such a blessing for us, and we are happy we survived the last three years.

But for the next 40 years . . .

That's how long I want to be able to live in this new house before I have to move again.  Until my hips break and I can no longer see to walk through the doors -- all 28 of them.

Not that we have 28 rooms, but we have many, many, many beautiful 83-year-old wooden doors in this house.  About half of them aren't necessary -- doors in and out of the kitchen and between the den and living room -- but I love the beauty and history in them.

Some privacy for the tiny bathroom under the stairs, please.

And the doorknobs.  Love, love, love.

Even a few emerald green ones.

The quaint table by the front door.

The super tall windows.

And, oh, that staircase.

Beautiful arches.

And this crazy old garage door motor that works surprisingly well.

And these windows.  Yes, the old curtains will be gone hopefully by this weekend, but the windows are something special.

I didn't even like this house when the realtor told us to take a peek at it before it hit the market.  I saw a pic and it wasn't even close to the Cape Cod gray wood with white trim I had in mind.  But I did her a favor, and I'm so glad.  The neighbors tell us the house has great karma, and we're starting to learn why.  The couple raised 5 children in this house and lived her for the past 35 years.  The wife loved to entertain and made this the "neighborhood house" with lots of cocktail parties, pizza parties for the neighborhood kids, dinner parties, and hosting showers and birthdays.  She left gifts for our children each time we visited the house before the closing, and she has already mailed several sweet notes that included information about the house and the village.  When I called the village about a fence permit, the lady on the other line said, "Oh, you're moving into the O'Meara house!  They were so sweet!"  Everyone loved them, so we have very big shoes to fill.

Until we get some of these cream walls painted and new window treatments hung, maybe we can use the outdoor space for the social events it seems we need to be throwing.

Oh, to have trees!

The only reason Clint cares about a yard.

There is a little secret part to the backyard that I love.

Left for us . . . and it's staying.

See Mimi running down the street.  And Mack is already ahead of her.  Who's freaking out about this?  Not this momma.

  But it seems we have some old tenants who need to evacuate pronto.  Eeks!  Spiders!!  The combo of lots of trees and an old house with lots of tiny entries is not good for us.  I've already begun spreading the lavender oil.

While we have most boxes unpacked, it will still be a while before this house feels like ours.  Some paint, a few new light fixtures, and curtains will be enough for now.  Then on to the kitchen and bathroom, right, honey? um, Clint?  

 And this fireplace . . . what the heck is under this faux marble finish?

I must go enjoy a nice little rain shower in my favorite room of the house now . . . 

and then you may not hear from me for another year or two while I'm painting and sewing curtains and enjoying my new boring life in the burbs . . .