Sunday, June 24, 2007

Planning a new home is like planning a wedding

We're in! Joe carried me across the threshold, and we had a champagne toast to mark our first day in the new house. It struck me immediately that planning for a new home is like planning a wedding -- emotions run high with both excitement and overwhelm. Everyone has advice and suggestions that are wonderful but can be like eating too many cookies...too much of a good thing. And the swirling list of to-do's renders you almost paralyzed. Where do you start? How do you stay organized? How is life going to change after all this planning? It's exactly the same.

So we're planning our new home like we're doing the wedding -- we don't make decisions without consulting with each other, we depend on each other's strengths in certain areas, we keep a sense of humor when we can, and we focus on the bigger meaning of it all -- the start of a new life together. Friends and family stopped by to help and to bring flowers, friends stopped by with welcome messages and gifts, and the new neighbors have been terrific. Although it wasn't exactly the most ideal first impression when I had to go next door to borrow a corkscrew, a moment topped only by the fact that our neighbor's 8 year-old son knew where it was and went to get it for us ;)

So we're in the middle of a wave-filled ocean with lots of ups and downs, as the house reveals itself to us. [I'm inspired right now by one of my favorite movies playing on my DVD right now -- Under the Tuscan Sun, where Frances says that "the key to overcoming buyer's remorse is to have a plan. Pick one room and make it your own. Go slowly. Introduce yourself, and the house will introduce itself to you.' So true.] Our house has revealed itself to have gorgeous hardwood floors underneath the shoddy carpet. And a 1950's maritime wallpaper behind the ugly wood paneling in what will be our office. And an oven that doesn't work. So much for our romantic dinner at the house tonight. But a new home, like a wedding, has thousands of facets and details and steps...not every one of them can be flawless. We have to have a few challenges to make it worth it. The best weddings come through a trial by fire with lots of unexpected setbacks, and that's how it will be with the house.

What matters most about the new house, like a wedding, is who you're spending your life with. That's it. So while exhaustion is definitely a factor, we always push through that hitting the wall period and get a few extra good hours in. Bottom line: in the first two days, we have all the carpets up, all the bedrooms cleared of an obscene number of staples in the floor, wallpaper down in 2 rooms, a new light fixture up, most of our kitchen supplies in place, our cable and phone in place, and a wooden duck named Anthony who sits in our front window looking back over his shoulder at us like he's just seen something phenomenal outside. All the phenomenal is inside. Just like with a wedding.