We moved into Mockingbird Hill Cottage 5 years ago tomorrow on August 30th, 2005. It was such a wonderful day for us, two artistic types who worked in the fickle performing arts and had been through their share of financial ups and downs. We actually bought a house. My dream for years had been to have a little house in the country. The locale in this dream changed depending on where I was living at the time, but the idea of a place in the Northeast kept recurring. Then we moved from San Diego to Westchester County, NY, rented a little cottage and the dream became more specific: find a place that is affordable in the the very expensive greater NYC area. That led us to the Hudson Valley and eventually to our little abode.
My wish list at the time included an attic, a basement, 3 bedrooms and a garage. We looked all over the area, on both sides of the Hudson River, and saw house after disappointing house. One day, after seeing the listing for this house, we paid it a visit. Light filled the rooms. The kitchen, in a house with low ceilings, had a very high ceiling – perfect for a guy who’s over 6’4″. It was built in 1891. It had been owned for years by the local ‘cat lady’ and when she died, the new owner took it down to the studs, rewired everything and flipped the house. But – it only had 2 bedrooms, a basement that was small and entered from the outside (no storage opportunities there), no attic and no garage. It had a large shed that had been built recently. And it had a glorious, wrap-around bluestone porch.
Don loved it. I loved it but was hesitant. Where was the attic, the extra bedroom, the basement? We sat in the realtor’s office, debating our list of ‘must haves.’ In the end, we knew it was for us.
The day after we moved in, we drove back to our rented cottage and spent the most humid day I can ever remember cleaning every inch of the space. We put things we no longer wanted out on the street with a ‘free’ sign. Exhausted at the end of the day, we left renting behind and moved into the new world of a mortgage payment that is larger than the rent we were paying. Sometimes I miss renting – the smaller monthly outlay, someone else being responsible for repairs. But not really. This is our house. We have almost 2 acres of land that is ours.
We freelance in an enonomy that is deeply troubled. We sweat the payment every month. We dream of winning the lottery and just paying the whole thing off. Stranger things have happened. We know this whole house-owning thing is a gamble…but it is for everyone, isn’t it? We are no different.
We love this little cottage with its quirky imperfections. We love the warmth and shelter it gives us. There are things that need to be done around here ( a new furnace in the not-too-distant future) and things that we dream of doing (adding an extension that would have a master bedroom, laundry room, family room, studio space, and storage.)
Sometimes the dream seems impossible but I’ve learned that nothing is impossible. After all, a few short years ago, the dream of owning a home seemed equally impossible. And look where we are now.
Happy Anniversary, Mockingbird Hill Cottage. We love you.