bittersweet

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Remember that one time I wrote about an ugly ceiling fan and the importance of loving where you are?

Well. I still stand by that. But there's been a new development. 

You see, seven days after I wrote about the ugly ceiling fan, our landlord raised the rent. It was almost ... eerie? Ironic? If I didn't know better, I'd think he was retaliating. (He wasn't.) The truth is: our rent was a steal. We've lived here for almost four years—of course it was time to raise the rent. 

Brett and I looked at each other after reading the e-mail and gave each other one of those are-you-thinking-what-I'm-thinking? looks. 

Three days later, our realtor (who up until this point, was simply on standby) sent us a house listing. We saw it the following day, made an offer the day after that, and our offer was accepted 24 hours later. 

To recap: 

January 31: published this post
February 7: landlord raised rent
February 10: realtor sent us a listing
February 11: we saw the house in person
February 12: we made an offer
February 13: our offer was accepted
March 2: we closed escrow

We have not stopped moving since February 10th. For the past two months we've been scrambling to sign papers, meet with inspectors and electricians and roof repairers, make hundreds of decisions (big and small), second guess everything we're doing, pack boxes, pick out paint colors, the list goes on and on. We bought a fixer-upper and let me just say—it's not as effortless as Joanna Gaines would have you believe. 

I actually find it quite easy to walk through a house and think, "This has potential!" Making the 'potential' a reality, on the other hand, is a whole different world. We are bleeding money. Every time we walk through the house, we notice something else that needs to be fixed or replaced. The work is never-ending. We could work on this house for 10 years and deplete every cent in our back account and there would still be something to fix. 

Which brings me back to the ugly ceiling fan! We're coming full circle here. 

This new house has a proverbial ugly ceiling fan of its own. Let me tell you about our pink bathroom! If I may paint you a picture: the tile is pink, the tub is brown, and the toilet is grey. Is it dreadful in your mind? Good. Go deeper. Add ugly wallpaper. Remove all natural light. Is it horrible? You bet.

It's going to be a while before we can afford to update the pink bathroom. Sometimes I envision hosting parties in our new house, and I think about how I am going to apologize for that bathroom. (I know this is ridiculous; I can't help myself.) Related: stay tuned folks, I might be coming out of photography retirement soon. 

Anyway. As I wrote last time around:

This story isn’t about the pink bathroom.

It’s about fully embracing where you are—right here, right now, in this place—and believing that you can find holy and sacred and extraordinary goodness even in the most temporary of circumstances.

Those words held truth with our rental house, and they hold true with all the work we're doing on our fixer-upper. Patience and gratitude and contentment go a long, long way when you're attempting to turn an old, dirty, broken house into something beautiful.

We're on our way. We can't wait to move in. 

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(This is the room that sold me.)

We move tomorrow, and while we are crazy excited, I'd be lying if I said it didn't feel bittersweet leaving this house. I have so many memories here: bringing Carson home from the hospital, signing a book deal at the kitchen table, watching Everett ride a bike for the first time in the front yard. I could list 100 more, easily.

Before we pulled art off the walls and packed everything in boxes, I asked my friend Lee to snap some pictures of us here. We may not have paid the mortgage, but this place was always home. 

Thank you Lee. I will treasure these forever. 
 

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Ashlee Gadd

Ashlee Gadd is a wife, mother, writer and photographer from Sacramento, California. When she’s not dancing in the kitchen with her two boys, Ashlee loves curling up with a good book, lounging in the sunshine, and making friends on the Internet. She loves writing about everything from motherhood and marriage to friendship and faith.