Saturday, May 26, 2012

There's gonna be so much room!

When I was writing up my post about moving to Florida I spent a pretty decent amount of time talking to my Dad about the house we first moved into. I loved that house, and when we moved to Idaho I would compare every house we looked at to my childhood home.

There was something about the layout that I really liked, and it just seems hard to find in most modern homes. Separation. I have lots of memories of people coming over, and that house allowed the adults to be within ear shot of all the kids, and yet completely separate from them. I have to imagine that they enjoyed that aspect as much as we did. Everyone was "together" but without having your conversation constantly interrupted by the two ladies in the corner that no one really invited but are having the loudest conversation about soup ever imagined.

After my parents got divorced, the decision was made to sell the house. I get that, fresh start and such. It's certainly the "house where I grew up" but while that's nice and all, what I'm talking about here is the design of it all. It really made sense, and that seems hard to come by lately.

Turns out this is no mere coincidence. My Mom and Dad were able to actually give very specific input during the design of the house, another long lost idea. It got me thinking about the house we bought here in Idaho. We had decided to move out of our townhouse in Florida for the explicit reason of having kids. Changing states did not change the "why" at all, just the where. So when our realtor asked what kind of things we were looking for, we included everything on our list of wants for ourselves and what we thought we needed for our children. We knew that finding a place that had everything we wanted was probably not going to happen with our budget. Still, when we finally settled on this place, we really thought we had most of it covered. It had a decent sized back yard, for the future games of catch, soccer, backyard camping, and last man standing dance offs. It had my favorite concept of "separate" room areas. Not exactly to the extent that I was hoping, but close! It had an area that could be our office, since we knew that we'd always want our central geek area. Big must for me, it had a great sized kitchen, and that still holds true. When the person who does the majority of the cooking says it's a good size, go with it. To top it all off, we had increased the square footage from the townhouse by more than half. Certainly enough.

If you've ever wondered how much wrong you can fit into a house, it's actually quite a bit. It's amazing how quickly you realize that everything you asked for becomes an issue, and suddenly there's a hundred things you desperately need. Thank god the hospital bills from the birth are so cheap; you can use all the money you're saving to get into that bigger, better house.

So allow me to give a mental tour of my house! Welcome! Again, we knew we wanted kids soon and tried really hard to factor that into our purchase. Let's see where we went wrong.

When you enter the front door you find yourself in a nice sized room with fake wood floors. As a sales point this is said to be the dining room. We, however, are not nearly fancy enough to pull off a formal dining room in addition to the kitchen table. So this is where we set up shop for geek central. Three computers and a laptop split over two gigante (What's up 10th grade Spanish?! BOOM!) corner desks. I sometimes wonder if it's a bit too awesome tacky to walk into this crazy mound of technology when you first walk in, but the truth is there's a futon set up which has actually made it a nice sitting area. Lots of post dinner conversations with friends have ended up around the computers instead of the comfy couch. I wonder if people just follow me in there. Maybe next time I'll go upstairs and get in bed to see if people are too polite to point out that there's probably a better location for idle chit chat. The real issue I have found in our office set up, is buttons. Kids really love the heck out of buttons, don't they? I've always been amazed at what keeps a child's attention. You fill your house with toys for them, and they gravitate toward a set of earphones you haven't used since Bobby Brown was popular. To each his own. So of course, the part of the office the kids like best is the computers. They always find some time throughout the day to come in and turn on/off the computers. Now as short as I can keep it, turning off your computer by holding the power button is a bad idea. I confirmed this with a text message to a very smart guy who works less than 100 feet from a toner vacuum. He responded almost instantly with "it can be" and it is, I even googlewebs it. Carter, who loves to watch Daddy type, is the major culprit here. He likes to use a different keyboard and imitate my typing technique (evidently I just hit my hand on the keyboard for extended periods of time...thank god for spell check). That's all well and good till he sees the power button. Like the lion stalks the zebra, he waits for me to let my guard down, and then he STRIKES! A furious display of claws and fury and goldfish crumb-coated fingers, and I walk in to my computer having been turned off (thank god for auto-save). As a man who has had horrible luck with computers all my life, you can see where this might concern me a bit. Next house? A space for geek central...that has a door. Oh! And like retinal/voice/fingerprint scans to get in! (and a mini fridge)

At the end of the office you have two options, go into the kitchen or head upstairs. Let's finish the downstairs part of the tour.

There's the kitchen, which is fantastic, and has just enough separation from the family room to be legally called two different rooms (I don't like the modern day set up of kitchen/eating area/great room in one long mega-hallway). The family room is where issue two pops up for me. It's actually a really great space, whenever the boys are asleep. The problem we neglected, callously, was how much space would really be there when all our couch cushions were on the floor and every toy the boys own had been placed where ever there might be open space like a really bad jigsaw puzzle. We also have what was at one point, a great 65 inch rear projection TV. Remember those from before flatscreens were affordable? I have plans when it finally dies to gut it, and make it my secret fort. It's gonna be girls allowed. The problem with the TV? You guessed it! Buttons! All the power, picture, format, device selection buttons are right in arms reach for both of the boys. It's always nice to listen to William scream after Carter has turned off the TV right when we're about to find out what the mystery mouskatool is going to be. Seriously, what if Mickey and the gang can't use it to find the path with the stars?!!! Come on, Carter! Next house? A better "play space" or if money allows, an actual play room!

Then there's the laundry room/half bathroom/Dad Hallway(that is "my" room where I keep my music stuff and also my high school self portrait from art class)/Door to the garage/Dog room. I have neither anything serious or funny to say about these places. They all serve their purpose and the kids never go to any of them with the exception of just passing through to the garage. I understand that people often look for me to point out the funny in the again...if it helps...most of our guests poop in the half bathroom. There ya go. Once you get the giggles out, meet me upstairs. Next house? People will poop in one bathroom or another there too.

The upstairs has the last major indoor problem. At the top of the stairs you have four options: master bedroom, kid room 1, kid room 2, kid bathroom. If I were Michael Jordan, I would likely be able to stand in the middle and touch all 4 doors (also if I were Michael Jordan I would have bought a different house). That's the problem. The rooms are so close! This isn't about the chance at the end of the night to finally have some "alone time" *wink* (Hi Mom!). Nope, I think the idea of splitting up the bedroom areas goes much deeper than that.

When I was little, I had bad dreams pretty often. It seems like it was a lot anyway, and I know more than once my Dad was pretty upset about it. Here's the thing though. When you're a kid who wakes up from a bad dream, everything is terrifying. This means you have to weigh your options of staying in bed or traversing the house. See where I'm going here? When it takes all of two seconds to get to your parent's bedroom, that option becomes a lot more doable. So as much as it might have bothered my parents to have this frightened, albeit adorable, little boy show up in their room in the middle of the night, that means there were countless more times that getting across the nightmare maze to their room kept me in my room. This kind of sounds mean, but seriously, I want the boys to have to make that decision of "is it worth it to get over there" when they want to come wake us up. When they do come in late at night, I'm gonna try to remember that sometimes I need a little snuggle to get to sleep. Then, I'll man up, and tell Melissa to make sure she brings her phone with her so she's got an alarm clock in there. Next house? More than 4 steps from our door to theirs.

Now, please excuse me while I go practice my, "It was a joke baby, you know I'll go with them. I'll probably be up anyway." speech.

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