• Tue, Feb 25 - 11:00 am ET

Nothing In This House Belongs To Me So I’m Building A Fort in The Backyard

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We’ve always been apartment people. Back when my husband was still my boyfriend and I was freshly knocked up, we had to move off campus and play grown-ups in a series of tiny boxes, all of which I remember fondly: there was the ramshackle upper quarter of a quadplex in downtown Savannah with no air conditioning and a beautiful view of the neighborhood El Cheapo gas station where you could buy loose cigarettes, straight razor blades, and plastic roses in glass tubes that conveniently resembled crack pipes but definitely weren’t crack pipes, *wink*.

There was the studio in Atlanta that cost a million dollars a month. Back to Savannah where we had to sign a lead paint waiver, then on to Austin in an apartment that appeared to be leasing land from a feral cat reserve, then one where the oven was borrowed from the ‘70s, and my neighbors threatened to kill my two-year-old, and finally a quiet 2 bedroom that was perfect except for the fact that my car got broken into twice.

If you live in an apartment, you know how cramped it can get. I am extremely jelly beans of anyone who has ever had their own room because I’ve never had one. From childhood to college to the real world, someone has always been all up in my biznass.

So when my husband and I were looking over our budget a few years ago and one of us realized, “holy shit, we can totally buy a house if wanted to and no one could stop us because we’re adults now and we can do what we want”, I had some pretty big dreams.

Granite countertops! 5 bedrooms! Backyard! I could hang pictures and not have to spackle the holes with toothpaste later to get my deposit back! Most of all, I was envisioning my room; I wasn’t sure where my husband would sleep but of course I would get that canopy bed my inner 8-year-old wanted, and he could just get out of my face.

The reality is that we purchased a 1400 square foot three bedroom, two bath foreclosure with fixtures from the ‘80’s and a galley kitchen. None of the doors really shut, and the entire thing is an homage to the heyday of the popcorn ceiling. Still, I love my little brass doorknobbed, lumpy ceilinged abode. It is the largest place we have ever lived in, and I am fully aware that the following sentence is a stupid white whine:

I need more space.

You can reach this post's author, Theresa Edwards, on twitter.
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  • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

    I’m moving into your hide hole #notinasexualway

    • Crusty Socks

      So disappointed by your hashtag :(

    • SmrtGrl86

      I have a barn, that I share with 20 goats. Then the spiders come out in August so I say fuck that shit and refuse to go in there again until November.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      omg this barn sounds magic. we need pics of these goats

    • SmrtGrl86

      My girls and my former guard donkey

  • Crusty Socks

    So, dudes get mancaves and chicks get womenforts?

    I’d go with the treehouse thing. Might come in handy during a flood and zombie apocalypse.

    • Valerie

      I am forever thinking of ways to outsmart the Zombies. This is great. Zombies def can’t climb anything.

    • SarahJesness

      Not to mention that a high vantage point helps you look out for potential threats as well as help. And you can shoot arrows from the top and it would look really cool.

      If I had the money I’d make a short film about some people hiding from the zombie apocalypse in a treehouse and there would be the cool arrow action scene.

  • http://www.benwhoski.com/ Benwhoski

    Part of me wants to vote “Treehouse” but another part of me is distrustful of trees’ stability.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      Trees are so untrustworthy

    • Crusty Socks

      Have you found the root of your problems? You should brush aside your fears and extend an olive branch to trees. Leaves a good impression for all treekind.

    • G.E. Phillips

      A tree will go whichever way the wind is blowing. And they have a tendency to leave.

    • Crusty Socks

      GEP, you stole my featured comment

      >:(

    • G.E. Phillips

      Sorry, I didn’t mean to…..eh, who am I kidding? VICTORY IS MINE!!

    • Crusty Socks

      #HDY

    • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

      I don’t blame you. Trees are shifty.

  • Bethany Ramos

    I just love the way you write, you are so hilarious. That being said — I’m constantly reminded that you live so close to me down the road in Austin. I will hang out in your tree fort any day.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      God stop stalking Theresa. she’s mine!

    • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

      Oh my stars and garters!

  • pixie

    I’m liking that fancy one.
    True story, when I was a kid I thought the fancy garden sheds were like Barbie dream houses for kids. When I found out they were sheds I wanted my dad to get one so it could be my life sized Barbie dream house anyways.

  • Véronique Houde

    When I was a kid, we lived next to a wooded area. In said wooded area, some boys had built this kick-ass but oh-so unstable THREE STORY TREE HOUSE. To this day, I still can’t believe that the city left it up it was so goddamn dangerous. But there were weekends where we would run into the woods in order to get to the treehouse first, and then fight with the other groups trying to lay their claims to the place. So, just because I’m totally reminiscing about my lost childhood, I totally think you should build yourself a rickety THREE STORY TREE HOUSE. Oh. There was also this mattress metal frame without the cushiony stuff that we used to bounce on in front of the THREE STORY TREE HOUSE. That’s fun too.

  • Alexandra

    I could hang pictures and not have to spackle the holes with toothpaste later to get my deposit back

    DONE THIS MANY TIMES!

    • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

      Colgate. There is no other.

    • Ptownsteveschick

      I’ve always bought spackle and done it for real. Now I feel like an asshole. #HOWDAREYOU

    • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

      I’m sorry. SORRY YOU’RE A SUCKER.

  • Ptownsteveschick

    The only thing in this tiny apartment that is mine is the groove in the couch I am slowly whittling with my ass. My craft stuff is hidden everywhere, my daughter lives in the master bedroom, we live in the tiny bedroom and have aprox 2 feet of space on either side of our bed. Someday, someday, I will have my knitting room, with a fireplace, comfy loveseat, and a tv with cartoon free netflix attatched. That is my fort dream and no one shall steal it away from me. Oh edited to add, that my hidey hole whatever it is will have a private bath, so I can take a crap in peace.

    • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

      WHAT? You get a whole couch groove? #lucky #nofair

    • Ptownsteveschick

      I have won it through much hissing and growling and the fact that my husband doesn’t like to put his feet up on the chaise.

    • SarahJesness

      That’s how my cat took over my dad’s new chair. He never gets to use it.

    • Ptownsteveschick

      I am part cat. Complete with falling asleep in sunbeams #catlife

  • Tea

    Buy a tumbleweedhoome/tinyhouse and park that sucker in the back yard. We plan to custom build one some day as an In-law cottage/Cabin to rent out. This is because if my in-laws or plain old family even think of trying to insinuate themselves into staying under our roof, someone’s going to get stabbed. So, I banish them to the cottage, don’t show up at the house before 8:30 am.

    It might also make a kick ass artist studio, so if spouse-guy wants his mom to stay with us, I’m moving into the back yard house.

  • Armchair Observer

    Treehouse, hon, treehouse. It can be your *mom*cave. Think about how awesome a tree swing would be with a glass of merlot in your hand. Treehouse sex isn’t half bad either. ;-)

    • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

      I would never call it a momcave. It’s going to be Theresa’s Boom Boom Room and the password is going to be butts.

    • Armchair Observer

      So, cilantro heavy, eh?

    • Valerie

      Yeah…Momcave sounds too much like a va-jay.

    • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

      I don’t really like “momming” anything. Can’t explain it.

  • Valerie

    I think the kids would want the treehouse too hard so that’s a no.

  • Lee

    My hidey hole is literally a closet. A weird walk through closet between a bathroom and the playroom that just fits a desk and a chair.

  • Kay_Sue

    I’d suggest this one. The rope ladder looks like a blast, and you can always cut it if the kid tries to climb up…

    • Amber Starr

      OMG, I need to live here. Imma go pack up my stuff and be right there.

    • Kay_Sue

      Me too. I love the stained glass looking windows you can see, lol.

    • Valerie

      This would keep you in good shape in your older years, too.

    • Kay_Sue

      Very true!

    • Crusty Socks

      OK, we need to figure out running water and we’re good

    • Valerie

      Yeah…if I can’t flush the treehouse toilet, I’m out.

  • G.E. Phillips

    My apartment is actually a “regular” studio and an efficiency studio stuck together, so what that gives me is a one bedroom apartment with two full bathrooms. So I don’t have my own bedroom, but I DO have my own bathroom, which is the only room in the place that is completely devoid of all superhero paraphanalia. Sometimes I ask Face if I can go to the bathroom in private (apparently, I need his permission) but I really just go in there and play Angry Birds on my phone. #momcave

  • Natasha B

    No joke, neighbors a ‘hood over have one of those ridic tree houses with a spiral staircase. I need to make friends with them.
    With baby #4 on the way, things are looking like I’ll have to give up my sewing room, which I’m fighting tooth and nail. I need a treehouse. With electricity. Our shed is too full of crap.

  • emilyg25

    We don’t have kids yet, and my husband is well aware (and supportive) of my plans to build a studio in the backyard. It’s gonna say “Mommyz Clubhouse No Kidz Allowed.” Like this:

    • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

      It’s so pretty! But too open. I should have added the caveat about how I hate nature.

  • MegzWray

    I just fell in love with someone besides Eve. #Butts

    • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

      butts is the best word.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      downvoted for having someone fall in love with you

    • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

      Look who’s being a #reversebully again.

    • Ptownsteveschick

      Discus took our downvotes away! Now we can’t see how much we hate each other anymore! #HDY

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      umm, excuse me? I’m right here ya know.

  • Andy

    Right now, my hide hole is the guest room/craft room. I recently evicted my daughter from that room, as the last time she was in there she proceeded to unwind three spools of thread that tie them around the bed. My dream hidey hole, well…does everyone remember the Hogwarts tree houses JK Rowling had built for her kids? Yep, I’d kill for those.

  • Magrat

    When I was a kid my mom’s personal space was the house and the password was, “Go play outside, I have a headache.”

    • Andrea

      You know there’s something to be said for that. When did it become acceptable for kids to take over the whole damn house??? I dunno, must have been between the time I was a kid and when I started to have kids.
      I finally had to put my foot down and forbid any of their shit outside their rooms. I throw everything that theirs in their rooms. I don’t even look. Twice a year I give them a couple of lawn trash bags and tell them they can’t come out until thoe trash bags are full.

    • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

      Def. My kid has a room to play precisely because I don’t want her in my shnizz and cause the guinea pigs stank. But I still want a room (not the living room or kitchen) that I can shut the door and be by myself.

  • redzulu

    Do it! Build the last one. I will bring mimosas! :)

  • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

    ‘dis will be my shed. you can come visit and pet my lamby

    • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

      Is this from that kirsten dunst marie antoinette movie? Because it looks like it is. And I love that.

  • tSubh Dearg

    The password is always butts!

    • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

      At least, it should be.

  • SarahJesness

    I had to share a room when I was a kid. Hated it. The one good thing about moving away was that I finally got my own room.

    Though I never attempted to make a PERSONAL space. Me and my friend once formed a fort out of a bush. We pulled out some of the interior branches and set some cardboard on the ground. Worked like a charm. Also the leaves smelled like lemons so that was pretty cool. We had a treehouse-style playset that was pretty neat. Had swings and stuff. My parents had this nice little doghouse built for my dog but the damn ingrate canine NEVER used it! I should’ve considered using that as a personal space.

    I hope I make enough money to own land. (I intend to live somewhere pretty cheap) And I totally would build an outdoor clubhouse.

  • SarahJesness

    You could probably buy a cheap shed and put in some lights and carpeting.

  • evilstepmom

    What I wouldn’t give for basements in Texas! It would MINE! ALL MINE!

    • Andy

      I’m a born and bred Texan, but my husband and I lived in Chicago for nine years before moving back to Houston. And my biggest regret about our time up there is that we didn’t shell out the extra money for a house with a basement.

  • Kaili

    I don’t even have kids but I would kill for my own space. We live in a tiny post war workers cottage in Brisbane. Nice sized yard, 3 teeny bedrooms and a single bathroom. I have a partner and two big dogs and a cat. With the dog beds in the living room and the partner sprawled on our small couch there is no room for me. We don’t have an eat in kitchen or room for a table. When I moved in the spare bedrooms were full of junk that my partner couldn’t throw away. I’ve finally emptied one room for my reading room, and then one of my best friends needs a place to stay so he filled it with all his shit. The last room has all the junk in it. We don’t have a deck, except for a small porch and that has all the outside dog beds in it. If I sit on the lawn, I get covered in dogs and in green ants. I can’t even pee in peace as the cat thinks that is his cuddle time. So I hear ya, Momma. All women deserve a tiny space of their own. I would love to fart, scratch the pubes growing back in, and watch my shitty Netflix shows with a cold beer in my hand… IN PEACE!

  • Ddaisy

    I pretty much did this last summer. I was living with my parents and working a lot of graveyard shifts, so I just set up a cot in the backyard garage, and it was MY fort for the summer.

    We have a 1000-sq. foot house that my dad has lived in since long before a wife and kids arrived, and until recently, there were 5 adults and a dog crammed in there. Nope nope nope.

    The garage saved my sanity. DO IT, Theresa. Make a fort.

  • Lilly

    you can waste time dreaming on tumbleweed houses — they have plans online

    http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/