So I was thinking

The other day I wrote a post about how the job market has changed from when my parents and grandparents were working. And that got me to thinking about a few things. You know, dear reader, my grandma — my mom’s mom — she worked. I never thought it was strange because she just… worked for as long as I knew her, and that was the norm for us. It’s it weird how what’s normal in our childhood world just feels “right” sometimes. Like, I thought everyone’s mom and grandmom worked. Grandma worked at the local salmon canning factory. I should preface this by saying I come from a young family. My grandma started popping out kids when she was seventeen, my mom when she was nineteen. I was eighteen, and my daughter was sixteen. So I’m fifty-three now which makes my mom about 72, and my grandma about 89, if I did my math correctly. I was born in the mid-sixties, so my mom was born in the late forties I wanna say and my grandma around 1930… I guess. Which means having Grandma work, even though it didn’t seem strange to me, it wasn’t a common thing. Women just didn’t work back then. Of course, my family isn’t exactly conventional. You know?

I totally remember walking down to the beach as a kid…

My mom’s parents were also divorced. I always knew my mom’s mom as Grandma C~ who was married to Grandpa C~ — my mom’s stepdad. My mom’s dad was Grandpa A~. He also remarried, but we never called his wife “Grandma A~” because she didn’t like the idea of being called “Grandma” so we called her by her first name — MaryAnne. My mom’s parents lived on opposite sides of Oregon. Grandpa built and ran a dairy farm in Northeast Oregon for most of his life. Grandma and Grandpa C~had a house on the coast of Oregon and as far as I know, Grandma C~ still lives there with her new-ish husband (whom I’ve never met so I don’t know his name). Grandpa C~ passed away a few years back of a heart attack. As far as I know, she stayed on in the house they had. It’s a beautiful house. No reason to move. And that’s what got me thinking… People of my grandparent’s generation, they bought or built their homes and they moved in to stay. Grandpa A~, he built his house… I’ve only been there a couple of times, but I remember it being very beautiful and sturdy. Grandma and Grandpa C~, they didn’t build their house, but they bought it and maintained it for decades. I visited them more often and I have a lot of fond memories of that house. It is an awesome home. The idea back then was to build a home that lasts generations. A home that one would pass down to one’s kids — or to someone in the family. But, it seems that’s not the way things work nowadays. As with all things, ideas change.

We’re a much more mobile society than we were a few generations ago. I know my family is. My mom joined the Navy, like, in the 1960’s y’all. Way unusual for women back then. Even after she had kids, divorced and got married again, she didn’t move back “home” near her parents. I know she still got along with them a little because she visited them from time to time. Not a lot because we were poor as dirt and the trip from California to Oregon was pretty pricey, but I remember visiting my grandparents as a kids. Then again, maybe she didn’t get along with them and just visited them out of obligation. What do I know? I was a child. Anyway, it’s been my experience that kids these days grow up, move on, start their own families and don’t need the houses their parents have — that’s been my observation. Yours, dear reader, might be different. Every single time I’ve seen someone inherit a house — and I’m 53 years old, I’ve seen this a lot — they’ve stripped it of anything of sentimental (or monetary) value, slapped some paint on it and sold it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone move into their parent’s house after inheriting it. Like… ever. Maybe that’s just my experience. I dunno. Like I said, your mileage may vary. But society is changing around us.

Driveway

All of my life, until I met Douglas, I lived in rentals — mostly apartments. Despite what Hollywood would have y’all believe, dear reader, poor people as a general rule, do not own homes. Banks will not give mortgages to people who cannot afford them. It’s really that simple. Anyway, after meeting Douglas, we dipped our toes into home ownership, and we fell flat on our face. Our first home was fine, but Doug and I had a bit of a miscommunication. I thought we’d buy cheap and fix the place up to how we wanted it. Doug thought we’d buy a house and live in as-is. It was early in our relationship, and we were still working out the kinks in our communication style. ^_^ This house… well the less said about this house the better. It was a siren’s song, and I had big dreams… and there was still a whole lot of miscommunication going on. Plus, this place — I dunno if it’s the house, the city or the general area — has really caused my health to plummet. But the long and short of it is, we bit off more than we could chew. And me being sick just didn’t help. But that’s neither here nor there. This is our second house in six years. I don’t even know if that’s normal or not. I know that my mom bought one house and stayed in it for decades. My grandparents are still in their respective homes as far as I know. People of my generation, we bought a house to settle down. Owning a home used to mean not having to move again, unless the bank came knocking on the door for back payment. You know?

Doug coming home from shopping

And yet here we are, dear reader, facing the prospect of packing everything up and moving again. I am trying to control my urge to throw/give everything away or sell it all because that’s how I move. But Douglas is too attached to his stuff. I’ll never understand this whole being attached to… things. Yeah, sure nostalgia and all that. But I don’t have a strong sense of nostalgia I guess. Anyway, we’re once again getting our stuff together in preparation to move… somewhere. Wherever the work is. I like owning a home because then we can have as many pets as the law allows and we don’t have to worry about rules and regulations of the landlord. But the downside is, if something breaks, we’ve gotta pay for fixing it, and there’s that whole maintaining the house thing… But there’s good and bad to everything. Not owning a home makes it way easier to move too. Don’t have to worry about selling the house. Of course that was kind of the point of buying a house in the first place. We were supposed to be settling down. Retiring. Living out the rest of our lives here. Like my grandparents with their homes… though we really don’t have anyone to pass a house onto. My kids are grown and gone and living their own lives. What are they gonna do with a house in the sticks?

It’s weird how much can change in just a few years.

wallup.net

7 thoughts on “So I was thinking

  1. Melanie B Cee

    I was, and am, going to comment on the post about retirement. This one was excellent as well…it was true ‘in the day’ that people bought homes to live in until they were carried out. Craftsmanship meant something too, so those houses? Would last and last. Now (and from personal experience) they sort of slap them together and get away with as much cost cutting as the owner will stand (sometimes without the owner’s knowledge). My house turned five in December and for it’s kind, it’s still a very good home, and will continue to be one as long as I can afford to maintain it. It may be (and soon) that I can’t anymore and we’re back to the rental scenario (or assisted living), IF assisted living is still a ‘thing’. I don’t have any idea. I bought (mortgaged) my first home in 1991. Everyone told me I couldn’t/shouldn’t because I was relatively poor and you’re absolutely right about banks being finicky about lending money to folks who may not be able to pay it back. My house was a H.U.D. house, which translates to “beat to shit property, fixer-upper, might be a LOT of work to make livable. One I viewed didn’t even have a roof on it. The State will pony up money to help with renovations and will pay for plumbing and electrical issues out right. I did it. I was immediately sorry too, in some ways. I left behind a shitbag landlord, who promptly tripled the rent on the house I had lived in for eight years. It was a joke trying to get him to fix things…even big things like plumbing that HAVE to work. Those are the downsides to renting…shit bag slumlords who keep raising rents on fire traps and condemned homes and apartments (which I had lived in that sort TWICE during my life). I loved being able to hang pictures and put holes (discreet, easily spacklable holes) in my walls for my art and pictures. I loved being able to paint the walls any color I wanted. There are freedoms to home ownership. But as you point out the downside to home owner ship is that YOU ARE TOTALLY RESPONSIBLE. Insurance? out of YOUR pocket, maintenance? out of your pocket. Mortgage and damage and oh good lord. The worst of home ownership. So although I own, and I’ll continue to own as long as I’m still standing because I don’t get along with people anyway, and adding neighbors in an apartment house to the mix? Disaster. But I don’t know what kind of quality I’ll own, as time goes along because it’s too expensive to own and own quality.

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    1. Willow Post author

      I think some of your answer got eaten… but I get the gist of it. I like owning over renting too. We bought both houses with the idea that this was where we were gonna stay until we died. Life just doesn’t work out that way I guess. I remember H.U.D. houses. We got some H.U.D. help when we were renting from someone awhile back (first husband and I). He made improvements on the house to bring it up to HUD standards and we got a discount on the rent. First hubby may have been an asshole, but he was handy around the house.

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    1. Willow Post author

      I’m not sure what that means, but it’s not about winning or losing. I’m simply stating the facts as I see them. We’re probably gonna move within the next year and there are pros and cons to both buying a house and renting a place. It just occurred to me whilst I was thinking about it, how things have changed since I was a kid. That’s all.

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  2. Courtney Wright

    Things are certainly different for us from the past generations as we are different than those who have come after us. I am about the same age, since I turned 55 last August and my parents are young. My mom 73 and dad 75. My daughter is 32 and married to a man who is 37, his parents are almost as old as MINE! Which is weird for my daughter of course. My mother still works selling real estate and my dad works (after retiring not once, but twice) for an auction house. They have been divorced all of my life… I swear I should write a book LOL! The last quote is poignant and I agree 100%. Good luck with the move.. ❤

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    1. Willow Post author

      It’s weird having young parents sometimes. 🙂 My husband’s parents are as old as my grandparents. He was surprised that my grandparents were still alive. My kids are also in their late twenties, early thirties (I have four kids).

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