Your mother-in-law is coming? She's staying with you? Where are you going to put her?
My neighbor asked me this. I didn't think two minutes about it but then she apologized for it the next day, and I still don't care that she said it because it's certainly a fair question. Where would we put a guest in our 650 square feet house?
Jeff and I are on the crappy-house-good-location real estate investment plan. We live in a 1926 bungalow that has not been changed by any of its owners. Historic, right? Riiiiiight. We are saving for the time when we can either remodel or move. Not bothering with small enhancements, because there are no small enhancements. Finish the basement means redoing the stairs to the basement which are too narrow to redo the way they are which means changing the size of the stairs and then we'd cut into either our already tiny bedroom or our kitchen that we use ever inch of and then boom we are into an addition off the back and if we did THAT then why don't we just make a second story because there is that great view of Lake Union from up there? See? Aren't you tired just thinking about it?
We love our house, our location, our neighbors, our neighborhood. We love living within our means, having to tame our cluttering tendencies daily, an excuse to have a family bed. We love sitting with our laptops in the evening, elbow to elbow. We love feeling like we are green, sort of, by living close in, taking the bus, and having fewer square feet to heat. But we really could use a little more space, so either a move or a remodel is in the works. Sometime. This year or next. You know, when we get around to it.
It's so interesting to watch others watch us live where we do, to watch our little cottage elicit strong reactions. A child says I could never live in a house this small, parroting his parents loud and clear. Someone else says I bet Hugo likes playing at our house because we have so much more room. And always, I thought of something you could do with your basement/kitchen/living room.
I have always believed that my lesson from our house was to figure out a decent relationship with clutter. But I think it is also partly to hunker down to carve out our spot in this world. The Thanksgiving holiday has shown me again that our families are wonderful, and that we sometimes, still, let them into places we shouldn't. I like to think that when we make our housing decision it will mean that all those voices are in the places they should be in our lives--in support of our family and our decision, but from the sidelines.
Or maybe not. This whole seeing lessons in everything can get a little out of hand, no? Maybe we are just supposed to move to Europe.
Oh, and 650 square feet can hold a lot of futons and gracious guests.