The Evolution of a Home – Part 1

The other day I went by my BIL’s apartment.  He and his family are getting ready to move to a new place so he can start residency.  We chatted for a little about moving onward and upward.  They are moving from cinder block University housing to a real house with a fenced yard.  It got me thinking about all the places ODD and I have lived and how it has changed over the years.  I’ve thought about it during each of our last few moves but I never get around to posting about it because by the time we’ve really moved in and I’m back to blogging again the idea has flitted away.  I figured nowI started writing it as one post but it was getting really long so I’m breaking it up into segments instead and including photos.  This probably won’t be interesting to anyone but me but I’d like to have it recorded somewhere so here it is.

Home #1 – house on HR, Utah. – Sq Ft. unknown but we only used maybe 500 of it – Free!

Right after ODD and I got back from our honeymoon we settled into our first place.  It was actually somebody else’s place.  One of ODD’s neighbors was an older couple who were sun/snow birds.  They left for Arizona the day before we returned from our honeymoon and asked us to house-sit for them for a few months while they were gone.

It was funny having such a big place for just the two of us.  It was also funny using somebody else’s stuff and not really having many of our own belongings around.  It didn’t really matter because between school and work we didn’t spend much time there.  I don’t think we even really bothered taking our clothes out of the suitcases while we were there because we knew it wouldn’t be for that long.  Most of our wedding gifts were being kept in ODD’s parents’ basement but anything that came along after the wedding was kept in the house.  Big boxes filled with our new pans or our new TV or our new vacuum lined the dining room.  Our time house-sitting was cut short by a month when the owners came home early for a surgery.  I can’t say we were sad to leave our first place.  It never really felt like our own and we were anxious to dig in and use our own stuff.

The view across the dining room to the kitchen.  We were never around to really use the kitchen much.  In those days we mostly subsisted on baked potatoes.

House Sitting

Boxes of gifts lining the dining room.  I don’t now if that TV even worked.  We only ever used a small one in the bedroom that we’d propped up on a tall stack of boxes.

House Sitting

Home #2 – 2 bed/1 bath cinder block University housing – 760 Sq. Ft – approximately $450/month

The first place that was really ours was the Village.  We lived in “triads” which were three two-story buildings (18 units each) in a triangle with a yard in the middle where kids could play.  My parents bought a new piano around the time we got married so they offered us the old one.  Since we had a piano we were given a ground level apartment.  We opted for a two bedroom because, though we had no children and didn’t intend on having any for a while, we did have a lot of stuff.  I would tell people that and they’d smile and nod and say they had a lot of stuff, too.  Then they’d actually visit and realize I wasn’t exaggerating.  Almost every foot of wall space was covered with furniture.

The walls were cinder block and we were not allowed to paint so it was all white.  The carpet and tile were industrial grade with zero padding.  The windows were drafty so we covered them in plastic to make them more efficient and we hardly opened the blinds because on one side of the house they faced a busy sidewalk and street and on the other they looked out on the shared yard.

Our furniture was a second hand mish mash as most newly-wed furnishings are.  ODD’s grandma was moved into a nursing home around the time we got married so we inherited a chair, a table, and a bedroom set from her.  Our couch was an awesome 60′s cream wrap around that used to belong to a local preacher.  The bottom was out so anybody who sat in it sank halfway to the floor.  Our TV stand was something ODD found for $10 on a University classified board.  We did buy a cupboard and a computer desk new and I brought a couple of bookshelves and a dresser from my single days and that’s about it.

We had to use special hangers to hang anything on the cinder block walls.  ODD got sick of that after a while and when he decided to devote a wall of our bedroom to his Brazil paraphernalia (he served a mission for our church there) he just used duct tape.  Duct tape was also the weapon of choice when stringing cable around the apartment.

There was only one cable outlet and we had two TVs.  We strung cable around the living room, across the front door, down the hall, into our bedroom, and into our VCR/DVD player.  It had to go through the VCR because that TV wasn’t capable of more than 13 channels.  From there it snaked back out of the bedroom, down the hall, across the front door, around the living room, and into the other TV.  If we wanted to watch a movie we had to put the VHS or DVD into the VCR/DVD player in the bedroom and put the living room TV on the “game” setting to watch it.

The cords and duct tape make us laugh now but with the mis-matched furniture, the closet door that wouldn’t close because the washer inside it was too big, and the dryer out on the back porch, it didn’t seem that out of place.

Our bedroom closet and the card table that doubled as the computer table until we bought a real one.

The Village

A shot of ODD’s Brazil wall in our bedroom.  Eventually things began falling down since they were only hung with duct tape.

The Village

Looking into the kitchen.  The fridge was short.  Shortly after moving in we bought a tall, white cupboard to give us some pantry space.  It fit between the far end of the table and the cupboards there.  ODD’s study spot was at the near end of the table.

The Village

This is our living room as seen from the kitchen.  We were babysitting a neighbor’s little boy and making a blanket for with him.

The Village

This is a shot of our lovely wrap around.  The upholstery was sort of like velvet or velor.

The Village

This is a shot of our bedroom.  The blanket covered the window to help block out light (it faced south) and it was also sort of an insulator.  Have you noticed we never make our bed?  Still don’t.  You may notice, all the lighting is kind of harsh.  The lights were all florescent and tended to give an ugly cast to everything.  Pictured with me is Kermit with a cute, short haircut.  We were getting ready to perform Handel’s Messiah.

The Village

Home #3 – ODD’s parents’ basement HR, Utah – About 2000 Sq Ft. – Free!

We knew we were going to move to CA in July but our contract at the Village ran out at at the end of May.  We had to pack all our stuff up, move most of it into a storage unit, and move the rest of it into ODD’s parents’ mostly unused basement where we lived for a couple of months until we made our big move.

We didn’t use much space since we most of our stuff was in storage.  Again, I don’t think we even really put any clothes away other than a few things that needed to be hung in the closet.  The bedroom we slept in faced East so every morning the sun woke me up at dawn.  Eventually I was so frustrated I put aluminum foil up on the window to block out the light.  I had yet to discover the wonders of an eyemask and it was the best solution I could come up with.

I was working two jobs at the time and didn’t spend much time around but ODD had started a slide scanning business and could work from home and was around a lot.  Again, it didn’t really feel like our space, had none of our decorations or furnishings, and we didn’t bother to personalize it since we knew we’d be moving shortly.

Looking across the dining room into the kitchen.

ODD's parents' basement

2 comments to The Evolution of a Home – Part 1

  • mom

    so fun! I had forgotten about the first place for those few short months. It’s fun to see those apartment pictures again. That was a fun little place. Can’t wait to see the rest of the installments!

  • Tia

    The joys of newlywed apartment living. We were going to move into the student housing at one point until we measured the bedrooms and our california king bed would take up all but a foot of the space and realized it wouldn’t work. “Thank goodness” for apartment managing. The sound of living out of suitcases for any extended amount of time definitely sounds like a bummer though.