That time I grew a big beard

Back in September, we did something that I’m confident will grow into one of those “that time” stories in our family. You know, the kind of stories that start with, “Remember that time we…” and end with either some wonderful tale of adventure or the words, “man that was dumb.” I can’t yet tell you how this one will go – only that I’m confident it will occupy such a space in our family history. It will start like this…

Remember that time we bought that house that was almost as old as my parents.

And by that I don’t mean almost as old as my parents’ house. I mean almost as old as my parents.

To be fair, my parents are pretty young to be my parents. What I mean is they’ve usually been younger than most of my friends’ parents, and only recently have I noticed them doing things like this:

and shoplifting at the grocery store. Okay, so no shoplifting yet, but I assume it’s coming. Anyway, they’re still under 60, but like this house we bought, just barely.

We had lived in our previous house (that was way younger than me, much less my relatively-young-to-be-my-parents parents) for about four years, and we liked it very much. Mostly we liked that everything worked. We were comfortable and not particularly in a rush to go anywhere else. We also didn’t expect to live there forever, especially once we started adding more humans to our herd.

I’m still not sure what happened next. What I do know is that we and three other couples in our circle of weird friends all bought really old houses at roughly the same time – three of us within about a mile of each other. What has ensued for all of us was six months (and counting) of demolition and plumbing and painting and flooring and electrocution and new scars and cursing and a very loud sucking sound that is piles of money disappearing into the coffers of Lowes, Home Depot, and various beverage makers and marriage therapists.

That makes it all sound worse than it was. Well, no it doesn’t. But there are also many good things that have happened as a result of our move. We have trees – lots of them, and big enough to crush our whole house if one of them dies and falls. (We had only two crepe myrtles at our previous house, and one of them got ill and vomited goo all over our front sidewalk until my dad, brothers, and I ended its miserable tree life in a painful and gory episode involving inadequate tools for tree-cutting-down.) We have neighbors who actually speak to us. We live within a mile of five families who are a regular part of our life. We are now Bryanites. We have a lot more space than before, which is nice for all kinds of reasons: we can fit more kids, we can throw big parties, and we have a room on the far end of the house that’s almost-but-not-quite an apartment that allowed us to have Juliette join our household after she returned from Uganda.

Perhaps most importantly, this move will be remembered as that time I grew a big beard. See.

We spent about a week working on the house before we moved into it. We barely slept for several days, and I was lucky to get a shower at the end of each day. Shaving was not on my radar. Then we moved, and for two weeks I could not find my razor. By that point, I had a beard. My beautiful wife is not fond of the beard in general, but in the collective psychosis that followed the move, she said I could keep it a while. So I did.

Remember that time I grew a big beard?

Yeah, that was the same time we bought the house that was almost as old as your parents – the one that we raised our kids in and that never got crushed by a falling tree. Man, I’m so glad we did that.

That’s the hope, anyway.

Oh, and here’s some cuteness from the new place to offset the big beard:

By the way, that poor guy will keep falling up the escalator as long as you keep watching. And yes, I absolutely expect that posting that has earned me an equally magical moment at some point in my future.