When my wife first whispered the baby news in my ear, I knew things were going to change. We were going to outgrow our house in a day. When a baby comes along, you run out of room quickly no matter how many different ways you push around the furniture. A couple cannot live in the comfort of their first home forever.
Our house is what a realtor might grin and call “cozy.” It was the perfect little starter home for newlyweds when we bought it. It was new, move-in ready, and we could chase each other around with few places to hide. But having a baby has shown us that “cozy” doesn’t mean anything like what a realtor wants you to believe. I can move from the living room to the dining room to the kitchen just by turning in place, and I can whisper to myself on one side of the house, hearing my wife say “what?” from the other.
I don’t need a Broadmoor
mansion or anything like that, just a place where I can stretch my arms without touching the walls.
My wife kicked my stuff out of the home office when she converted it into a nursery. I didn’t have much say in the matter, so I packed up my things and moved them out — it would be difficult to write thought-provoking articles with the boy sleeping nearby anyway. (I’d have to sit Indian-style in the crib and stick my arms through the bars to reach the keyboard, and with the way I’d have to lightly tap each letter, you’d think I was a man tuning a piano next to a sleeping lion.) Luckily, I’m not counted upon for thought-provoking articles.
I built my own standing-desk a while back, like I’m Ernest Hemingway or something. It’s sleek, upright and takes up little space, but when baby came along I had to move this desk from the office to the corner of the dining area. Instead of looking like the next great American novelist I must look like I’m in trouble, just standing there, facing the corner.
I also had to move all my books out of the office closet to make room for boxes of diapers, hooded baby-towels — with cartoon eyes that make you jump when you open the door — and way too many onesies on hangers. The boy could change twice a day and still not wear every piece by the time he’s 20. I couldn’t just divide and pile my books in the corners without my wife noticing. I had to box them up and put them in the crawlspace. I can only read down there for so long before the flashlight starts to dim and I hear my name being called.
Sound travels too well in a small house. My wife tells me to keep the TV volume low or else it’ll wake the baby, but if he can hear it in his nursery then I suppose I must be going deaf in the living room. I have to sit right up next to it just to hear if the speakers are on. At that distance I have to turn my head left and right just to read a sentence of the captions, and I barely have time to see any of the show or know who’s in it. At least the old silent films gave you a moment to catch up on the reading before moving forward with the plot.
So, we’re on the lookout for a new home. It’s a seller’s market in the Springs right now. There are a few apps I use to keep tabs on what homes pop up for sale. My phone pings every time a new home hits the market, but houses are selling so fast a man has to sit in his car with the engine idling if he wants to have a shot at putting in an offer. And for some reason our price bracket is filled with homes that have “great potential” and are “a good investment.” This is tricky realtor language that you should try not to fall for. If you don't have "mountain views" in this town then you might be blind.
I will tell you this: I wouldn’t mind having a realtor tell me with a smile that our new home has “room to grow.”
Pico spent his childhood years in the Springs. Now, as a father, he's seeing the city (and life) in a different light. Follow him on twitter at @DavidXPico.