The house in which Josh and I currently reside is not in our name, and we do not rent it. The house was built by Josh's grandfather approximately 50 years ago. It is the house in which Josh's father grew up. Due to Louisiana property laws, when Josh's grandfather passed away, the house and the 30ish acres which it sits on became the property of both Josh's father and his uncle (the two sons). For the past decade, the house has essentially been passed around to various members of the family whenever they needed it. For a while, Josh's cousin and his family lived here. Then Josh's uncle's family. For a while Josh's cousin used it as a resting point while she was going to school since it was closer to the university than her own home. When we moved in, the house was filled with Josh's uncle's stuff which he was storing here while he built a new house. And now, Josh and I have been living here for the past year. It's been such an amazing blessing in so many ways. God has truly provided for us. Without the responsibility of rent or a house payment, Josh and I have nearly paid off all of our debt and been able to buy a new car (that we'll probably drive until it falls apart like the one it replaced). How many newly-weds have that opportunity? Hardly any. It is one of the things in my life that I thank God for everyday.
Now, while all this is true, there are definitely some down sides to the house. It is 50 years old, and so it lacks some things which I (growing up in the suburbs in a brick house) have grown accustomed to. It does not have central heating and air. We have window air conditioning units, and gas heaters. It does not have grounded outlets (this means that the majority of our outlets in the house have only two holes, so we need an adapter for anything with three prongs). Most of the doors stick (the front door hardly ever closes properly, and the bathroom door doesn't close at all). There is no dishwasher (although, since there's only two of us, I've quickly gotten over), actually, I take that back, there is a dishwasher. However, it is broken (the kitchen floods whenever it is turned on), and when we moved in, there were still dishes from Josh's grandfather (I kid you not, the same grandfather who passed away ten years ago), and the entire inside of the dishwasher was covered with gnat eggs (talk about some major bleach action happening there). There is mold growing in our carpets (the carpets are all the original carpet, and the combination of being neglected for the past ten years and the humidity of Louisiana, it isn't surprising) (as in, the house smells like mold any time I vacuum). Now you may say, "what do you mean it hasn't been taken care of?" Well, to put this as nicely as possible, although we are not the first to have lived here in the past decade, we are definitely the first to take care of it at all. When we moved in the carpets were so full of mold that Josh couldn't be in a carpeted room for more than 30 minutes before having a full blown allergic reaction (only two of the rooms are carpeted). There wasn't a single air conditioner in the house (we purchased and installed all three that we currently have), the heaters were all the original gas heaters (NOT SAFE!), there was crayon and permanent marker on the walls and windows (Josh's cousin has kids), half of the blinds were falling down, and (I know it seems like I'm exaggerating here, but I swear I'm not) the two bedrooms were filled completely floor to ceiling with Josh's uncle's stuff. Now, since then, Josh's uncle has removed most of his belongings (we only have a relatively small pile of his stuff by the back door), I have vacuumed obsessively enough to at least make the carpet mold bearable (as bearable as mold can be), Josh has re-painted the outside, and majorly taken care of some over-grown plants, and overall we've invested quite a bit of time and money into this place. It is absolutely livable now, and as I said earlier, it is such an amazing blessing to us. I can't even describe how thankful I am for this house, so please don't think that all I can do is complain, there is plenty about this house that I love (although that's probably a later post). Plus, as I've said, we've done a ton of work to it, and it's so so so much better than it was when we moved in (I wish that I'd taken pictures of it before so that you could compare, but alas... I did not).
As it stands now, there's really only one major thing that I would have to change before I could completely love the house as a whole. That one thing is the walls.
They are solid wood panels. The originals. Now, I hate wood walls (the real kind and the fake kind). I mentioned this in my previous post, which spurred multiple comments mentioning painting the walls. Ok, here's the thing... One of the first things I said after I moved into the house (I moved in before Josh... that's a story for another time) was, "Can I paint the walls?" To which I received a somewhat annoyed, "Uhhh... no." At the time, I was sad, and could not for the life of me understand why, but now, I think I totally get it. First, they're solid wood, not just some fake paneling. Second, that's part of what makes this house special. Third, it's not our house! Fourth (and probably most influential), Josh's dad is extremely attached to this house. I mean, I know that he grew up here, but still. I mean, he's planning on living in this house when he retires. This is the house that he was raised in, and this is the house that he wants to die in (even though they currently live two states away in New Mexico). So to even consider making such a drastic change to the house is inconceivable. I mean, we're totally free to do whatever we want as fas as upgrades go, but we can't actually alter the house itself.
So... all that to say, while I very much appreciate the helpful kindness shown to me through all of those comments, painting the wood walls is simply not an option (although I've very seriously considered painting the ceilings, partly cause they seriously need it, and partly because I want to add a little something of "me" to the house). So there you go. That is (mostly) the story of my house. And for all it's flaws, and for all the annoyances, I thank God everyday for such an amazing blessing. I never imagined that His blessings would pour over me as abundantly as they have in everything that I do, including this house.