Monday, December 11, 2006

A Surprising Confession

I just posted some pictures of the outside of the house over at my Euro-American Home. That blog has been even more neglected than this one. But things are kicking into high gear with the house this week, so I finally decided to post some pictures. Also, I realized why I was neglecting the house so much.

Truth be told, I do not like the house. I remember very distinctly the day we signed the papers. As I sat in the lawyer's office, this overwhelming feeling of dread came over me. All I could think was, "Let me out!" I wanted to jump out of my chair and run away. There were two reasons for this. First, I wanted to build and not buy. I thought the house was a bit ugly and it was really hard to picture myself living there.

Second, the house represented my permanent presence here in Germany. I have realized over the past few months that deep down I really thought we would move to the States. However, once that 30 year mortgage was signed, I knew I was not going anywhere. And that was scary.

My in-laws (actually just about anyone) have strong opinions about what to do with the house. And as I have so often demonstrated here, Germans are not afraid to give you their unsolicited opinion. Everything from the flooring to the color of the walls has been a big debate in the family. Frankly I think the only opinions that count are the people who have to pay the mortgage.

The best example of this was a window. Yes, a window. Please see Exhibit A below.

The brown, lead glass window separates the dining room from my office. In my opinion the window had to go. As I will be teaching in my office, I did not want a window into my dining room. However, and more importantly, I think it is ugly. Brown, lead glass my have been very "in" in 1960s Germany, but I am a American woman living in 2006.

Well meaning German: "It is such a beautiful piece of craftsmanship!"

Claire thinking: "But it is still ugly."

Well meaning German: "Just think of how expensive and hard to get something like that is!"

Claire thinking: "So it is expensive, hard to get ugly."

The more people told me to keep it, the more stubborn I got. This window actually caused a huge fight between the German and I. I thought they were dragging their feet about taking it out because they wanted me to keep it. Turns out that we weren't really fighting about the window. We were fighting about how unhappy I was with the entire situation, and that I had no idea how to express my unhappiness.

Of coarse I won. The window no longer exists. We are going to sell it on E-bay. And slowly, over the past few weeks, I have made peace with the house. The kitchen was delivered and the walls in the dining room have been painted. This weekend we will finish the dining room and my office. Last week, I went over on Wednesday afternoon. I bought a deli chicken and some cake. The German and I sat down in the kitchen and had dinner. Just the two of us. In our house. And for the first time it felt like my home.


ann_ona_moose said...

Good idea with Ebay - it was the first thing I thought of when you mentioned that a window like that is expensive. :)

re: the rest bzw. Families and Opinions
I hear you. (Better yet, *Clinton lip bite* I feel your pain.)

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone want a window on the inside of a house? Windows are supposed to show the outside! The onlt thing that matters is when you and your German agree. Anybody else is just an outsider.
But always remember-- nothing in this life is forever!!!! Not even a 30 year mortgage.

My love to both of you!

The German said...

You are right sir. Nothing is forever-----hmmm I could think of some things, but ......
Grandpa, you should come and see, what your little granddaughter is doing with this house. She paints the kitchen wall green. I have to say, that I have to get used to her stile!
Hope we will see you soon
The German---or Cr...

carrie said...

30 year mortgage- whatever, if I know you guys, you'll have it paid in 10...I could use a little of that German frugalness (is that the correct spelling, I looked it up but who knows). Besides that, who says you can't buy a nice little beach house on this side? I'm thinking you will need the tax write off anyway and nothings better than real estate- and I should know.