Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Quite a decision we've made...

So, who's ready to think I've completely lost my mind? Ryan has lost his too, since he was a big helper in this decision.

(I can just SEE you all anxiously scrolling a bit further to see what sort of predicament I've managed to find myself in this time!)

Ok, enough time-wasting. We're moving in with my parents.

HOLD ON!! Don't run away screaming yet, and listen to the whole story... I'm warnin' you though, because this is going to be a long one. So go on, get a nice cup of tea and a plate of cookies and settle in for my story.

The Story:
We've made a decision over the last, hmm... month or so? that it's time to pack our bags and move on. You see, we're currently living in a house owned by Ryan's Grandparents for the monthly fee of nothing. We've done a whole heap of work on this house, and had a lot of fun in the process. I love home renovation and projects, so this has been perfect for us. It's been a bit pricey to live here though, regardless of the cheap rent... utility bills stack up, driving in from out of town so often is hard on the cars and raises the gas bill... I'm not complaining about the work, no, or the costs, but I don't want anyone to believe we're just sponging this all up and giving nothing in return. We aren't.

We don't spoil ourselves rotten or waste our cash... I clip coupons like a maniac, we don't eat out unless for a special occasion... and yet we're still not accomplishing much but to make ends meet.

Anyway, now just feels like a good time to go, ya know??

So, on with the apartment search, right? That's what we thought... so we went out weekend after weekend, spent countless hours online Googling local apartments, etc., etc. and nothing was ever... right. I figured our monthly budget and created a fancy-dancy spreadsheet that calculated everything for me. With each new apartment discovery, we'd race to the spreadsheet and enter in the new set of numbers. The outcomes just seemed worse and worse... never great, for sure.

My parents offered a couple of times to let us move in to their big huge house, but we always just smiled and said thank you. Who wants to live with their parents in their mid-20's, and with a baby on the way?? But then one day mom called with a new proposition... "How about converting our garage to a studio apartment?"

Now this idea deserved some thought. You see, we're massively in debt over our college educations. Mind you, we're not USING our degrees. Either of us. That's neither here nor there, the debt has been placed on our shoulders through our own decisions and we've really got no choice but to fight our way out. I'm very grateful for my college experience and for my degree, as is Ryan, but it's sure stinky to feel so grateful when you're paying through the nose for it so many months later.

So, we slept on the idea. Ate on the idea. Talked on the idea. Worked on the idea... and then the idea became a reality. My parent's garage is nearly 500 square feet, which truth be told, is nearly as large as some of the apartments we looked at. The bathroom we'll be using will be located just inside the door from the new living quarters, so it's not included in our 400-some-odd measurements.

As of today, construction is under way! Step one is pretty boring... a contractor came with his crew and they poured concrete for a new, large, storage space in the back yard. The space will house everything currently living in the garage. Things to come include adding our new loo to the laundry room, piping water to the garage so we can have a kitchen, and a bunch of other stuff.

Now... for those of you shaking your heads and wondering, still, what we've gotten ourselves in to, let me explain our theory. Instead of paying monthly for rent, electricity, cable, internet, and whatever else, we'll be piping that money directly toward that student loan debt I keep mentioning. If we're able to stick to our plan, the student debt in Ryan's name will be wiped out within a year, and we'll have made a sizable dent in the balance owed on my mom car. Eliminating those large payments from our monthly budget will free up some serious cash to be applied to a mortgage payment of our own within the next couple of years.

So... let me answer some questions that are bound to crop up:

1. Will your apartment feel like a garage? Nope! We're going to add some windows, we've already got a door to the outside, we'll build a wall to cover the garage door, we'll texture and paint the walls, install some pretty 'wood' laminate flooring and so on and so forth. We'll have a fully functional kitchen, and we'll install hanging room dividers to create a bedroom and nursery, much like a 'loft style' apartment.

2. Will this be like those movies where a 30-something 'kid' still lives with his/her parents? No, no, no... trust me. We aren't going to be sharing meals on a regular basis, and there will be a series of walls between our two living spaces. We won't be relying on my parents for daily essentials, just thanking them graciously for, well, letting us live in their house.

3. Can I still come over? Sure you can! We'll still act like normal Ryan and Christina... not than anyone visits us now, but hey, maybe baby will entice some visitors? You won't have to hang out with my parents if you want to come over. Unless you want to--because we all know my mom is just as cool as me, but a bit older.

4. What are you going to do with all of your stuff? That's a toughie... some of it will obviously come with us. You know, the things we use every day, like this computer! Important stuff that we don't 'use' every day, but aren't willing to part with will be stored temporarily, and all of the other junk will be going away--want some free junk? We're actually pretty darned excited to use this opportunity to do some serious downsizing and try to be a bit more... simple.

5. Are you nuts? Yes, probably. We knew that BEFORE making this decision though.

Alright. Did you make it all the way to the end of my post?? If you did, bless you for being patient. It seems like I'm feeling a bit wordier this evening than usual. So there's my life in a nutshell, and you can all look forward to some fun progress reports and photos. Once it's all done, let's have a housewarming party, hmm? Um... in the driveway, or perhaps the back yard, because you sure won't all fit in our new home at one time.

Oh, and one last thing... we've decided it's just not cool to say we're living in a garage, so my mom decided today we should call it the "Outer Space." So, in a month or so, Ryan and I will officially be moving to Outer Space.


Shara said...

That's great...I always knew you were a space cadet! ;) I've had to move back home too for a while and although it sucked (I wasn't fortunate enough to have kitchen facilities), it was the best thing for my pocket book too. It's wonderful that your family is so willing to have you come! I'll look forward to seeing pictures as the project continues. And to have his student loans paid off within a year!!! Wow...that in itself is worth it. I guess I need to get myself out to your house soon then if I'm ever to even see it, don't I? Good luck and don't forget who loves to rummage through your "give away" piles! ;)

Swampgirl said...

I've seen several multi-generation family set-ups. It's good that you will have your own space, kitchen, bathroom - will you share laundry space? How about babykins-will you get welcome advice or "too much" advice? It was hard for me during those early-learning times when I wanted to do my thing -with my child- alone. My family tended to want to do things their way. I had different levels of support on breast feeding, discipline, car seats, doctor's recomendations, and on and on....If you feel good about all that then you will have the advantge of helping hands when you need them!

Maggie said...

that's awesome that you have such a great family! post photos of the construction!

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