Friday, August 29, 2008

Do Not Try This at Home

OK, I promised all of you something more substantial to feast your little minds on, so today I am going to share with you my experience of LIVING WITH MY IN-LAWS. Mind you, this story is not for the weak of heart or stomach and if you are prone to anxiety attacks, you might want to navigate away from this page and find something about rainbows and kitty cats. I would also like to say, for liability issues, that I do not endorse or condone living with your in-laws for any extended period of time, so please DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME!

I will start three and a half years ago, when the evil plan was originally hatched by (OK, yes, I am the villian of the story) me. I didn't say that I was innocent, so stop being all shocked and dismayed. Yes, it was my idea. But my bonehead husband took it and ran with it, which I never expected him to do. So really, it was a joint boner (haha, I love that word) that brought us to where we are today.

Once upon a time there were two extremely good looking and talented young people in love and anxiously awaiting their wedding day. But alas, they were missing one very important piece of their dream life together--a home. So the beautiful bride-to-be suggested that they convert the handsome groom-to-be's parents' basement into an apartment for them to live in so they could save money and buy a fixer-upper, fix it up and move in to live happily ever after...

OK, I am going to stop here so that I can explain that it really was a good idea. Well, it would have been if housing prices didn't SKYROCKET the minute we made this decision. The plan was to live there for ONE year and buy a two-family house that needed some work. That way, we wouldn't be paying rent while we were fixing up the new house, and then the income from the other unit would help pay the mortgage. BRILLIANT! It was brilliant, really. But the economy didn't cooperate and we ended up not finding anything for two years.

During this time, we got pregnant--OOPS! (My husband will say that I planned this all along, don't believe him!) I had fertility issues so we were told it was going to take a very long time to get pregnant. But this time it was mother nature (that saucy little minx that she is) that had something else in mind and POOF! after three months of fertility treatment, I got pregnant on my own. Now, this was all for the best because we got my beautiful and fabulous little girl out of the deal, but keep in mind, we were living in a space about the size of a studio apartment, with my then 6-year-old stepson sleeping upstairs in my in-laws part of the house. We were going to have to squeeze Unexpected Baby somewhere and just hope and pray that we found a house soon.

Lo and behold, we did find a house shortly after my daughter was born, but it needed A LOT of work. Structural work, to be exact. Which basically means that my dad, the 65-year-old contractor and my husband, the guy taking over the family business forced to work 12 hour days, were going to rebuild the entire first floor. Literally. OK, let's do it! (What were we thinking? you might ask. Well, we were thinking that we were so DESPERATE to get out of my in-laws' house that we would do just about anything. So we did.) We were bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to rip the house apart piece by piece and build it back up again into our little love nest. We thought it would take about six months to a year. It didn't.

Fast forward to two years later. And we are still here. Sigh. The house took EVEN MORE work than we expected, and every time we started one project, we unearthed something else that needed to be done (gotta love 150-year-old houses!). Thankfully, the work is coming to a close and we should be moved in (hopefully) by Thanksgiving. (Hopefully is the operative word here.) If not, I think I might just run away and live with some hobos on a train for a while until the work is done. I could acclimate, I'm pretty flexible, and I could learn to like beans from a can.

Now, don't get me wrong, my in-laws are VERY good people, and I get along great with them. But the fact of the matter is, kids are just not meant to go home after they have left the nest. There are a few things about having your own place that you get accustomed to, such as privacy, closet space and the ability to have sex wherever and whenever you want. These things are hard to leave behind. Also, the option of doing laundry whenever you want was a feature of my pre-in-laws life that I miss desperately. Right now I share a washer and dryer with my mother-in-law so I have to catch them at just the right time to be able to do laundry (and on really hot days I am not allowed to run the dryer because it heats up the house). Yes, this sucks. Laundry piles up and my husband complains and I end up doing it all in one day and I hate it. I used to complain at my old apartment about having to lug the laundry downstairs to the basement to do it. Now I would KILL to have the only thing between me and clean clothes be a set of stairs. Honest to God, I didn't know how good I had it.

The moral of this story is probably not what you think. Although I would not recommend the road we travelled for many reasons, I do not regret the decision that we made almost four years ago. What we did allowed us to buy a two family house that is going to bring us income for years to come. We wouldn't have been able to do what we did without ditching the rent we were paying every month and cutting back on expenses. But most importantly, moving in with my in-laws gave me a gift that I never would have received had we not made this decision: it made me appreciate the freedom that we had before, and therefore, when we move I will be so grateful for what we have. People have it a lot worse than we have had it for the past few years, and we are lucky and blessed that we had family that was willing to take us in so we could reach our goals. And now we can move forward, into our new home, and know that we worked hard for it, sacrificed for it and that we are so fortunate to have it.

So now, can anyone lend me a hand with this laundry??