The rental house has been a great way to try out different features of an eventual new home.
For example, the place has a two-car carport. Coming from Minnesota and Maine - where people build proper garages - the carport idea was completely foreign to us. Let me tell you this: carports are awesome. Not only does a carport provide a permanently shady spot for your car in the summer (without the bird poop that comes standard with every other shady spot in the DC area) but it also provides some protection from the cold in the winter. There have been several mornings when I have noticed light frost on other cars parked on the street, but our vehicles in the kickass carport are completely frost-free. All hail the carport.
A yard has been a Big Deal in our never-ending search for a new house. It has been a high priority for Bump; not only a decent-sized yard, but a flat one. Fenced. Perhaps it might hold a deck, definitely a big grill. It would be the kind of space where children would be sent to run, lightly supervised, for hours on end. Maybe this is because we had been condo-dwellers for the past 12 years, but Bump was even looking forward to mowing.
The rental house has a lot of yard. A large, sloped expanse in the front with new sod that felt like carpet between your toes. A huge fenced area in the back that is so big I can't hit you with a football if you stand at one end and I stand at the other. Most importantly, the yard came with a lawn service to deal with the maintenance and the leaves. Bump might have been looking forward to mowing, but every Tuesday when those lawn guys pulled up with their weed eaters and ear muffs and gigantic mowers, I was really flipping pleased that wasn't me.
Also, DC is hot. Summers are too hot to venture outdoors for two pansies from Minnesota and Maine. When we were brave enough to face the horrifically sweltering temperatures, the mosquitoes were terrible. Lumpyhead and Lula would come back in the house after 20 minutes, scratching at dozens of huge welts and still reeking of the bug spray that obviously didn't do any good. That ideal back yard didn't get much use, and the beautiful sod on the front lawn looks dead now.
But Suprise Wonderful Feature #2 (with #1 being the carport) is the screen porch. When we moved in we expected the screen porch would serve only as a place to put on our shoes. It is now being used as a dumping ground for shoes and a cold place to store beer (more convenient than the basement fridge) and a temporary holding facility for a broken recliner (until bulk trash comes to pick it up), just as we foresaw. But! For a few weeks in October, when the weather was beautiful and the mornings sunny, we spent all day on the screen porch. It was a lovely extra room that caught a light breeze from the street and was free from the bugs that plagued the back yard. It even has a ledge all around the interior, so you can set your drink down anywhere along the perimeter. Sweet.
It has been nice to have a trial run with a house. We have enjoyed elements we never thought we would use, and have changed our minds about the importance of others.
We bought a house last week. We're excited. We're trading the carport for a garage and losing the screen porch. We're giving up on a yard, but getting a playground at the end of the cul-de-sac. We'll move in as soon as it's built.
Also: how do you pronounce the word "bedroom"? Do you say "BED-ruhm" or "BEH-droom"? Just wondering.