Making the Tough Decisions

So I’ve been talking about house hunting and the excitement and the stress of it. About 30 of my 36 years have been spent living in a rental situation. Even today my parents still do not own their own home. So for me, home ownership is huge. But stability is….uhm….huger. Yeah, I’m making it a word. Just go with it.

The bottom line reason for moving myself and my daughter halfway across the country in 2004 was to provide us with a better life. Financially, environmentally and educationally. (Did I just make up another one?) And though the first year and a half was pure Hell, I’ve done what I set out to do. I’m not buying yachts or anything, but ends are meeting with extra left over. Basically, I can breath and from time to time, splurge a bit. After a lifetime of hanging by a thread, it’s amazing to finally have my feet on the ground.

So, last week, when it came time to decide on an offer and run the numbers, the reality check was clear. I had to choose between owning my own home and being (very!) poor or staying where I am and being ok. I chose ok.

I did call my apartment manager and ask permission to paint some walls. She said no problem as long as we paint them back before we leave. They even supply the paint. So I still get to pick out colors, I’m going to change my furniture around to give it a *new* look, and though we still can’t get a dog or cat, we may add a hamster to the family instead.

The best things about all of this – the stress is gone, I don’t have to pack, and I have all this money in the savings account with which I can go SHOPPING! Whoohoo!! Have I mentioned I really love shopping? LOL!

Have you ever had to make a decision that could change your life completely? What did you chose? Do you regret it? What colors would you choose if you had a blank canvas in your living room? Anybody have a hamster?

25 thoughts on “Making the Tough Decisions”

  1. Hamsters are cute and the up keep is simple. Paint at least one of your walls something dramamtic, it’ll make the whole room pop. And I’m glad the stress has alleviated a bit for you. You made a great decision.

  2. terrio says:

    Kelly – I had a gerbal in Middle School and she was quite easy to take care of. I think Isabelle would like a hamster. I just don’t want a Houdini Hamster that I have to hunt down in the apartment all the time.

    And I do think I made the right decision, thank you. I plan on one bold wall in the LR though not too bold since I’m the one who has to paint it back to blah before I move.

  3. MsHellion says:

    I like reds in the livingroom. (Not a burgundy or mauve fan, though.) Not a fan of orange though…or turquoise…*LOL*

    Hmmm. Considering hamsters are rather smelly (or can be) and can bite (I have the scars)–I’m not sure I do these again. But maybe I would if I had a munchkin and they hadn’t had the joys of smelliness and scars.

    And as to your QOTD, no, not yet.

  4. MistyJo says:

    We had a hamster when I was four-years-old. His name was Beauregard (? sp). He bit me, and I said my first curse words. My dad claims I said, “That shitass did bite me.” But I still think hamsters are cute. I think that Isabelle would adore a hamster. I wonder if she could dress him in clothes.

    I don’t blame you for backing out of the house. Smart decision. I’m not that smart. I bought the money pit.

    As for colors, do you are a picture that you really love, such as a copy of a painting? You could pick a color in the picture to emphasize the picture. Just a thought.

  5. MistyJo says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. irisheyes says:

    I think you made the right decision (for whatever that’s worth!). Owning is awesome but it’s a lot of work… a lot of it that I admittedly do not do. I don’t even wonder if I’d be able to keep up this house if I was a single mom. Unless my kids were older and could help, I’m afraid I wouldn’t tough it out. Although, to be quite honest if anyone could do it, Terri, you could!!

    I’ll refrain from offering my paint opinion. We all know how that will turn out! I can barely make a decision when I’m staring at it on a wall let alone several states away! LOL My family room is one wall wine/burgundy (sorry Hellion, but it really looks nice), the other three are a deep sandy taupe color. We’re putting up the 2 Italian village prints I got off this week and I’m accenting with ivy and grapes. I’m going for a very soothing look and I think I’m getting there.

    As for hamsters, I’m the wrong person to ask. Hamsters are smelly and noisy. We’re on #3 or is it #4. I lost count. I know they need to be warm, are nocturnal (which means if you get them a wheel they spin on it all night long!!!) and only live about 2-3 years. Make sure you prepare Isabelle for the last one. The DH took the DS out to the pet store a couple of years ago to purchase his first hamster. Bought the rodent, took him outside on the stoop and said “Look, Bud, hamsters die. Sorry, but that’s a fact of life. Since you may only have a short time with him make the most of it.”

    To my horror, my son was very okay with that. His response was- “Okay, Dad, after Stinky dies can I go back and get the brown one with the white stripe around his butt?” I was convinced I had an emotionally damaged child with no feelings who would grow up to be a serial killer. Turns out most kids his age deal with small pet deaths a lot better than you would think. He showed the appropriate amount of grief when his grandmother died so I’m not gonna worry about him anymore.

  7. irisheyes says:

    Misty had a great idea. I usually pick a piece of art or for the bathroom and kitchen a towel or something that has the color I’m looking for and pull that color out and decorate around it.

  8. terrio says:

    Hellion – I hate to burst your bubble but burgundy is in the RED family.

    MistyJo – I do have a large canvas in the LR that has shades of rose/mauve/burgundy and a touch of light green. I brought home some little color cards to hold up next to it.

    Irish – That family room sounds wonderful. I haven’t decided yet how many walls I want to paint since I’ll have to paint them all back before I leave.

    As for the hamster – I do know about that spinning wheel all night long. That’s why she would NOT be kept in one of the bedrooms. Nope, out in the LR where she can keep the poor bird awake all night. LOL!

    And thanks for your support of my decision. I got to go shopping tonight. I must have taken more than a dozen items in that dressing room and came out with two that fit. But that’s two more than I had before.

  9. Stephanie Plum has a hamster named Rex. Maybe if you get one, a Morelli or a Ranger will show up on your life. Maybe both. 🙂

    We rent now too, after years of home ownership. Looking at moving south in the future when John took his current job, we didn’t want to worry if we could sell/would lose money when it was time to dig ourselves out of the snow. Yes, it snowed yesterday. The house we’re in is adorable. I don’t mind white walls.

    I vote yea for less stress!

  10. MsHellion says:

    I am aware burgundy is in the red family; I did pass art class. I just don’t care for it. *grins at Irish* Even when it’s tastefully done and looks great.

    Those wedding flashbacks.

    I don’t care for the purplely underneath color…not a purple fan.

    Oooh, Maggie has a point about the hamster. *makes note to stop by pet store on way home*

  11. terrio says:

    Maggie – I do believe you’ve convinced me. I believe there will be a hamster in my house by week’s end.

    Hellion – what wedding and what purple? I’m lost. LOL!

  12. I like blues… light dusty blues/greys for walls.

    Rat’s make better pets for kids, because you can train them… there are a tail-less variety if that freaks you out–but they tend to die in hot temperatures. But rats don’t bite and you can buy them in any colour–blue anyone? They look like a Canadian five dollar bill.

    And yay on painting. I want to own a home, but in all reality. Toronto is tres expensivo!

  13. Oh I did a burgundy room once–took six coats of paint — and we primed first. Let me tell you, covering that up before we moved was NOT fun. But it is a beautiful colour to live in if you like dark spaces.

  14. terrio says:

    I know you know of what you speak but I can’t buy a rat. Just can’t. LOL!

    Blues are nice but wouldn’t go with my current decor. I’m sure it will be rose tones. And that six coats thing is why it won’t be a very dark rose tone. LOL!

    Tiff – your apartment is so cool you don’t need to do anything else to it. As you know, mine is like a giant blank canvas.

  15. I know… blank canvas is cool. I still need to paint my bedroom, though. Everything else is painted, but light tones. Blue tones, lol.

    I also like french blues… a bit darker. Roses are nice, but that wouldn’t fly in my house. Though I’m pushing for a dusty mauve in the bedroom.

  16. terrio says:

    Oh, isn’t that thingy you made that hangs over your bed burgundy or something? Mauve would look good in there. And make it nice and light.

  17. Tessa Dare says:

    Hi, Terri! I applaud all your decisions. I often long for the days of carefree renting… you don’t realize those extra costs of home ownership sometimes. The roof/plumbing/wiring that needs fixing, etc.

    I love colorful walls. The only rooms with white walls in my house are my kitchen and one small bathroom. The others are a squashy-gold, claret red, sage green, taupe, slate blue… etc. The reason I love colorful walls is because i never know what to hang on walls, so at least they look bright without any art or pictures up!

    I have no advice on hamsters. But they sure are cute!

  18. terrio says:

    I admit, Tessa, there is something great about knowing if anything breaks, I don’t have to pay to fix it. And that’s a lot of color. I grew up in a house with white walls that never changed and furniture that was never moved. It took years before I realized you could go crazy and change things up.

    I think that’s what Trading Spaces and shows of that kind did for us decorating-challenged. It gave us ideas and made it ok to try new things.

    Thanks for including me in your catch up on blogs day. LOL!

  19. MsHellion says:

    My best friend’s wedding; she let her husband pick the color for the bridesmaids and he picked burgundy. I haven’t liked it since. Even if I like it, I ungraciously go: “Yeah, whatever” if anyone asks my opinion of it. Then I shudder and try to leave.

    I refused to buy a car once because it was burgundy; my friend was PISSED. She knew why. (As if you had to be a genius to put it together.)

  20. terrio says:

    You’ve got serious issues.

  21. Janga says:

    Terri, just checking what you have to pay a plumber for an hour of his time makes a big argument for renting.

    Have you thought about using fabric instead of paint on a wall? You use starch to make it adhere. When you leave, you just peel the fabric off and wash the wall with soap and water. No painting required. You can even wash the fabric and reuse it.

    I have a friend, who is an artist, who used the technique in her bedroom, and it was gorgeous.

  22. terrio says:

    Janga – I had thought about using fabric on a wall in the past but had no idea how to put it up. Starch you say? I bet I could do that. Even if just on one wall.

    Isabelle now wants two different colors in her room. Heaven help me. And my ex-FIL has a plumbing business. I know how much money they used to blow on things. And that was in an economically depressed area. Can’t imagine what it would cost here.

  23. Marnee Jo says:

    Ah! Now I read. So sorry I’ve been MIA on this and wasn’t more support on your decision when you’d made it.

    I think you’re doing the right thing. Buying a house is a big deal and you have to be ready for it.

    Also, my ex-mortgage professional self says that you could also revisit in 6-12 months as the housing market is taking a huge nosedive. You may find houses much cheaper and loans much more affordable as our economy tanks.

    That was uplifting, huh?


    Anyway, I’m glad you’re feeling less stressed. And yay new paint!!

  24. Quantum says:

    Terri, don’t tell me your going shopping with the mortgage money!!!

    I hope you included the future in your sums, unless your sure that Mr Wonderful will turn up and take care of everything.

    Rent money is down the drain and lost for ever but mortgage money buys something solid and lasting. Inflation also reduces the relative debt and when you draw your pension there should be no mortgage or rent left to pay. You also own a valuable asset that you can sell if necessary.

    OK, lecture over. In your position I would keep watching for a suitable property within the price range….there ain’t I boring……. its how I made my millions *g*

    As to painting the rented accommodation, why not stick to the existing colours and spruce it up with a fresh coat of paint. You can then decorate the walls with beautiful pictures. You can swap the pictures to change the mood. Peaceful serenity one day to erotic tension for that special candle lit occasion….just my opinion *g*

  25. terrio says:

    Never fear, Q. The money is still there. Most of it anyway. This is more a postponement than a cancellation. Housing prices have dropped here but not back to a level where I can afford to buy anything.

    I’m holding out for the prices to continue to fall and to revisit my options later this year and maybe again next spring.

    Not painting until monsoon season ends here. I’m not complaining as I know many of you are seeing lots more water than I, but I think I’d rather the paint dry in a day instead of a week or two.

    And what happened to that cute little picture I found? Hmmmm….

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