Isn’t it scary sometimes just how well your partner knows you? There are things about myself, that I haven’t come to terms with, where Zac just goes straight into “Pavlov Mode” to pull me out of my funk. Remember Pavlov? The Russian physiologist that trained his dogs with bells to find their primal triggers for treats? Yeah, I’m the dog in this scenario. Let me explain, this sounds far-fetched, pun completely intended.
Every time we move ,I go through stages:
Stage 1: Initial excitement, I am in awe of every sight and sound of the new place.
Stage 2: I have a small tear-filled episode, where I miss my family and friends, my house, my comfort zone.
Stage 3: I bounce back and stay busy with fun activities and a positive attitude.
Stage 4: DEFCON 5 break down. Hold onto your belly buttons, I’m off the rails.
This move has been very different for us. As a couple we have never been in this kind of situation, that is, having to decide where we want to live and why. We have always, just showed up to our duty station, picked up our keys at housing, and driven to our assigned home. It is usually at this point, I go DEFCON 5. I walk in, hate the house, refuse to leave the car, tell Zac I want to go back to Louisiana and then he dips into his bag of “dog treats”. It is not until this year, I have really recognized his true talent for calming my crazy. Here is what he does… He tells me, “My sweet precious butter pecan, (his nickname for me when he wants me to laugh), you make every house a home. This will be no different. Would you like to go to the paint store and pick out wall colors? You have such a good eye for design. Then maybe we can grab a nice dinner and a cocktail?”
Do you see his genius? He basically tells me I’m talented, buys me art supplies and dinner, then gets me white-girl-wasted. My mom use to say he was nothing but teeth and abs. Man, she would be proud!
Now, as we have hunted for houses, it has become abundantly clear, we have to recognize our differences in what we determine as wants and needs. Zac wants a double sink in our bathroom, but needs a garage for a workshop. I want period charm, but need a kitchen that functions for all the cooking I like to do. Together we have discovered our different design aesthetics as well. He likes modern, spacious and functional. I live for quirky, cozy but uncluttered. You see our dilemma, and you see how this is going to throw off my emotional well-being.
After a few days of looking at houses, we started to discuss which ones where in our top three, and which ones were a definitive “no.” It really became the tale of two houses. One, had a workshop that made Zac salivate, much like Pavlov's dogs. It abutted one wall of the kitchen and had a large glass window where I could see him working on projects while I cooked. I liked this idea, as I love to watch him when he is creative. He was stoked to see all the outlets, lift doors and space in the workshop. I think it might have already had a beer fridge to boot. This was his number one, he was pretty well sold. The second house had a white picket fence. It boasted period finishes such as the original lead stained glass windows, fire place and tiffany lamp fixtures. It was a very tight layout upstairs, but the down stairs was quaint and and inviting. On the back side of the house was a garden with a conservatory room, featuring an all glass sealing to enjoy the rain in dry comfort. It was my number one, I was sold. I was practically mapping out my furniture in my mind as we exited the property.
So there we were, maintaining two vastly different ideas of what our house in England should be like. We discussed all the pros and cons of each property. (When I say discussed, I mean we pinged each other with snippy and over dramatic remarks. You know, married people discussions.) This spun me into a pouty mood. I was quiet, pensive, but Zac could read I was irritated by his dismantling of my dreamy English home. We decided to put the whole discussion on pause and enjoy some sightseeing over the weekend.
Zac took me to none other than Hampton Court Palace. If you know me, this has been a desire of my history loving heart for years. I am a poor man's Tudor historian, and so exploring this palace and its grounds for 6 hours left me feeling like I should revisit my bad attitude for house hunting. What can I say, I fall for his Pavlov tricks everyday. (Feed me, tell me I'm pretty, and make my little girl dreams come true.) I was walking around the palace and could not help but notice all of the "in your face" symbols. For example, when Henry fell madly in love with Anne Boleyn, he refurbished the Great Hall in her honor. The walls were adorned with the letters "H" & "A"overlapping in a lover's knot to prove his undying devotion. Sure it didn't turn out well, but that's another story. Outside, when Mary and William moved in and decided to rebuild the palace on one side, due to the fact it had fallen into disrepair, they marked the tops of every window with the letters "W" & "M" to denote their labor of love. This got me to thinking. I'm sure as feisty as Anne Boleyn is remembered to be, you know she had an opinion on The Great Hall's design. Dollars to donuts she probably interrupted his Privy Council meeting and asked him why in they hell he picked green damask curtains when clearly they should be red! I am also almost positive that Mary ONLY moved into the palace under the pretense that good ole' Will would keep his promise to make the place sparkle again. It's a push and pull, a give and a take, but you build it together.
So, the next week, a property hits the market that has a little bit of both of our wants and needs. Thats right, the "Guinea Pig Palace." What is most amazing, is that not even the foul smell or weird vibe of the home could squash our excitement for a carport and makeshift workshop with all the period features and charm inside. We walked around the place like two wistful teenagers pointing out all the things we loved, while mapping out all our ideas to make the house our home. After the showing, we pulled the rebel card and snuck back behind the houses's secret garden gate to see what additions we could make to the deck. Finally, it was a meeting of the minds. We held hands and walked the ivy cloaked path down to the village pub, The Green Man. After sipping two gins, we were already building our offer to make the Cherry Cottage in Baconsmead the home of our next chapter. (Yes, that is our legitimate address, I got my cottage!)
So to update all of you that have been following, our offer was accepted! We have moved to the next phase of contracts and clauses. It is SUPER fun. Im really going to try to not get to DEFCON 5 this move, but the night is still young. Kind of wishing I had my own royal council to decipher all of these British terms, but that's a whole other story and I don't want to lose my head! (Sorry Anne.) Stay tuned.
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Just two kids, from a small town.