When the housing bubble burst, it was probably the first time I felt okay about being somewhat destitute as a child. Finally, being “descended from Irish working class immigrants” and the whole “salt of the earth” thing would work to my advantage. Growing up, the mindset just made me feel bad during my fancier life experiences.
I guess I am genetically wired to disdain richness lorded over people by acquaintances with oversized houses who want to prove to you how WELL THEY’RE DOING. Like everyone else.
I’d lived in Los Angeles for years, somewhat hand-to-mouth, but it was easier to make ends meet because of my wife’s second income. We saw lots of friends with families hit hard by the real estate crash. We empathized with them. I couldn’t have imagined, at the time, how hard that must’ve been.
Like most, I wanted very much to own a home and raise a family; this is where the puzzle pieces of the American- and Irish Dreams line up. I dreamed of taking my first step and securing some land of my own, but I was never in a position to make it happen, a symptom of my artistic aspirations taking me down a different road. At least I bypassed that ‘young and single’ dementia that happens in your early twenties, right?
Flash forward to September, 2009, about 14 days before my wife was due with our son. We lived in a small two bedroom apartment, probably the size of a garage in most McMansions. It was cozy. We’d lived in the complex for almost 10 years and every three years, we would move to a slightly larger unit in the same building. But as the clock counted down to “our” due date, my wife told me, “Let’s do it. Let’s move.”
We decided to find a place with an extra room so family could visit, a larger tub for my wife to labor in and a better kitchen. You know, first world problems.
Our move, though only 12 blocks away, was a bit intense. And who was charged with this alleged moving? Me. Pregnant Avara was only good for a couple hours of laborious activity. My nerves were charged up enough to work furiously for long periods of time, but in hindsight, losing all that sleep and energy right before my son arrived was probably not a great idea. It was, however, great preparation for the hours I put into this blog!
Once we were all moved in, it was apparent just how sprawling the 3-bedroom and 2 1/2 bathroom apartment was. It was actually too big in certain ways, which I chalked up to my shyness about nice things. It required more furniture, accessories. It felt sort of… empty-ish. We’d bought into this ideology that having a bigger place would solve our problems. But it didn’t just cost us money. Soon, we realized there were all sorts of things we needed in order to function in the new space. We inherited costs and stress from our hurried decision.
In the end, Finn slept in our room, not down the hall and to the right as we planned. We didn’t have the financial resources, especially with a new baby, to make our luxurious new habitat into a home. Avara didn’t even get a chance to labor in the massive spa-sized tub (though I made use of that thing like it was my job). It just didn’t suit us and, more importantly, we weren’t suited for it.
It felt like our own bubble burst.
We ended up moving, AGAIN, to a smaller place, and we live here now. It’s not ideal, but we don’t have a choice, really. With careful planning and decision-making, I’m hoping to arrive back at that level of ownership, on my own steam. Gifts and impatiently-achieved aspirations come at a cost. Sometimes, we endeavor to bite off more than we can chew rather than build-up ourselves and possessions by graded approach over time.
I just want to find a place, grow roots and have it become the place my son knows as home, even as he grows into adulthood. Maybe we do it brick-by-brick. I’m worried that won’t happen. But with a child, I’m not willing to skydive, anymore, and have someone throw me a pack.
Know what I mean?
More TRUE HOLLYWOOD STORIES Here
Just kidding about the Hollywood part…
Tranquoo Child Anti-Wakefulness System
Having trouble with the kid but don’t want to tranq them? How about yourself?