On the Shelf

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Well, I’ve been dreading writing this post.  

You know that feeling when you give someone something and they put it on the shelf and never use it? I’ve got some disappointing news – my mom has decided for now that she isn’t ready to move into her side of the Momplex.

I know – I’ve had so many mixed feelings about this, and have been dreading having to let you down as well.  I am so terribly sorry to let you down.

We’ve got one Mom moved in, and she loves her new house.  But Mom #2, my own Mom, has her own reasons why she doesn’t want to move yet.  I say yet because we designed the Momplex units to be energy efficient, single level living – so when Mom does change her mind when she’s “old”, low maintenance easy living will be ready for her.

We’ve known this for a little while, and you have probably noticed that our enthusiasm level for working up at the Momplex has dropped off after getting Mom #1 moved in.  It’s certainly harder to put your heart into something when you know it’s just going on the shelf.

But we’ve been keeping at it, getting projects done, and with the new baby, time has been scarce anyway.  I’m delighted to say that we are almost done with the entire Momplex!

But what to do with this empty unit until Mom #2 is ready to move in?

We won’t be renting it out – that wouldn’t be fair to Mom #1.  And we have to continue to heat it and pay utilities for it, since it’s tied into Mom #1’s house.  

So we asked Mom #2 what we should do with her unit.

She suggested we move in.

We decided to build the Momplex because we ourselves need a new house.  I know that makes no sense at all, but we both felt like even though our house is too small (especially now that we are a family of four), badly needs updates and improved energy efficiency, I couldn’t possibly start working on a second house for ourselves (especially since this time it will be our forever dream home) until we built the Momplex for our Moms.

But over the three years that we’ve put our everything into the Momplex, we’ve put on hold all of the projects at our own personal home.  We’ve been needing better insulated windows, as moisture builds up on our cheapo windows in the winter (in Alaska, the temperature difference in the winter on either side of a window can be upwards of 100 degrees causing moisture to build), which leads to mold growth.  Kids can’t be barefoot on our back deck, as it badly needs to be refinished.  Our front doorknob broke, and the weatherseal lets daylight (and the harsh Alaska winter) through.  And I’ve always been concerned that our crawlspace is not poured in concrete, which commonly in Alaska is an opportunity for radon to creep into your home.

When we built our house, we were in our twenties, building paycheck to paycheck, with a newborn baby.  There wasn’t any extra money to do any more than the basics. We couldn’t afford good windows or to pour our crawlspace in concrete.  We couldn’t afford a few extra square feet to add a mudroom or pantry, or even make bedrooms big enough to turn around in.  

And now that we are in a little better position to make updates, our family has expanded, and there’s just no room to take those projects on.  Our rooms are all already doing double (and even triple duty).  The bedroom is also a closet and where I fold laundry.  The laundry room has been converted to the coat closet. The dining room has been taken over by crafts for Grace and projects that I take on for the blog.  The living room has been eroded by adding an office to one side, and a makeshift mudroom to the other.  My former office is now the baby’s room slash storage room slash pantry and cleaning closet.  There’s just no where else for the vacuum to go.  And Grace’s room is so small, with a bed in it, she’s just got a tiny area to play underneath.  

I love our humble little home, and have been thankful to have it.  But there’s no way we could take on major projects to the home itself while living in it with a baby and child.  Where would we live while we replace windows in a room? 

So we’ve made a decision to take Mom #2 up on her offer to stay in her side of the Momplex while we update our current house.  This is a chance for us to take on all those projects, without having to camp out in the yard with a baby (the rumors about Alaska mosquitos, friendly moose and bears, and endless sun are true).  Mom #1 is of course delighted to have grandkids next door (and we are excited to have our kids next door to Grandma who makes the best fried chicken and prettiest quilts).

We don’t know how long these updates will take, or when Mom #2 wants to move in, so we’ll be making it homey in the meantime.  I have a feeling Mom #2 won’t mind some upgrades and projects we take on for her house   as well.

We thank you for following along on this journey, and feel that although this isn’t our ideal ending, it is by no means an ending.  There’s always a door open for Mom #2 whenever she decides to make the Momplex her home.


Ana+ Family

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