As Christians, we try to find that balance between keeping a roof over our heads---and ours is brand new at that...and spending our money wisely. Instead of turning our empty nest into a super-duper-dollhouse-birdhouse, we try to support most worthy causes that count for eternity rather than just for here on earth. This house could blow away in a tornado, or burn to the ground if a spark finds that leaking pressure sprayer in the garage, or if the neighbors flick a cigarette into the dry grass/weeds that compose our yard.
I'd love to remodel. Put down a new kitchen floor, and repaint the inside, but we like to live within our means. So, those things can wait. The tub is slowly rusting out, so a major bathroom remodeling job is also in our future. And remodeling is such a strain on a marriage. Inconveniences, dangers, frayed nerves, jobs begetting jobs, higher costs than originally budgeted, etc. And always, in the back of our minds, keeping the house up good enough to sell if called to serve elsewhere.
In another five months, our middle son will get more semi-permanent digs at his next assignment so he will be taking more furniture with him, like his huge desk, and extra long twin bed. Then we can move the spare room furniture back to his old bedroom, and re-arrange things to repaint easier. It's a thought, anyway.
It is a small house. Just right for two people. But, ready for guests. A new normal begins today. The last to leave the nest came home on a four day pass, and picked up some more of his stuff, and is now driving north to his next school, his next assignment. One last weekend of late night dating, and lectures, and spoiling our last one. We won't have to go to Pei Wei or Cracker Barrel or Red Robin for a while...except Cracker Barrel does have good Lima beans as the vegetable of the day on Saturday.
Our boys introduced us to places we never would have ventured into without their tutelage---Chipotle, Subway Sandwiches, Red Robin, Pei Wei. When we are home alone, we eat lighter for supper than he-who-works-out and needs more calories and who has not gained an ounce in years now, needs.
This morning, before he left, I asked if he needed the lecture on studying hard, and doing his job as unto the Lord. He said no, so it is nice to just have to reference the lectures, and let him know we are ready, willing and able, but no longer needed.
I am thankful for how insurance at least covered half of the cost of the new roof. Bob put the old one on 21 years ago, so it was time. We have two shiny new whirly birds on the roof, and a ridge vent thingy, and heavier, 30-year shingles, so by the time we need another new roof, we will be in our eighties. Maybe someday we can get more insulation in the attic. Our youngest found this cool stuff that adheres to the walls and keeps the attic at a constant 85 degrees. And he is up in attics all the time. So for him to be impressed...it has to be good stuff. I just wonder how long it costs to get back the "savings" from the initial outlay. And not just in a lower AC electric bill, but less wear and tear on that AC, too. Always something with a house.
We moved into this house when our firstborn was just six months old because that baby needed a backyard. We can't wait for that firstborn to bring his firstborn for a visit to run and play in his old backyard. We keep it mowed and free of stickers for just that day.