Who are you + why did you buy a fixer upper?

When Levi and I bought a condo in 2015, we had to call our father-in-law to figure out how to change the wall plates/light switch covers in our house. Even right now, I Googled “light plate” to make sure that I was using the correct name (clearly I wasn’t). So how did we end up buying an adorable house in the Poconos that has the original decor from the 80’s?

My dad Jack owned his own excavation/septic company and flipped houses in his spare time. As a kid, I’d help building a stone wall or painting walls – though looking back, I’m sure my presence was more “avoid hiring a babysitter” than “productive team member.” I remember driving around in his black Toyota Tundra while he pointed out the houses he’d built – including my childhood home in Massachusetts. He said when I was older, he’d build me my first house too.

My dad building our first family house in West Newbury, Massachusetts (1993)

My dad died when I was 15. He died in June and somehow this month always is extended, his death anniversary typically coinciding with or offering a one-two gut punch with Father’s Day. This month is always hard for me.

That said, June is also the month I met Levi. We were studying abroad in Salamanca, Spain and became fast friends. After college, we moved to Atlanta (and later into the aforementioned condo) in June 2015. And this year, we decided to buy a house in June.

Rachael and Levi in Aveiro, Portugal (2013)

We looked at a bunch of houses, but something about this house in the Poconos spoke to me. Maybe it was the tiger throw? Or the bathroom with sea creatures glued to the wall? The upstairs deck with rug flooring? Regardless, here I am reclaiming the month of June.

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