This is a big week in the Jones-Keas household. After six years of living in a two-bedroom apartment, more than a month of working with a realtor and four long days of sorting, moving and cleaning, Gideon and I have moved into our first home together. Would you all collectively pinch me? It still doesn’t feel real!
When we moved to Eureka Springs in 2014, we had less than $1,000 between the two of us. We slept on a mattress on the floor for more than a year and subsisted on bean soup for much longer than that. To say we mastered living below our means is an understatement.
Gideon recently confided in me that he reused coffee beans until late last year when he secured a full-time teaching gig at Eureka Springs Elementary School. Lots of you will think that is gross and I agree, but I also think it is sweet. Gideon knows how stringent I am when it comes to budgeting, so he quietly dealt with a small inconvenience for five years. He didn’t even tell me about it like it was a secret. It was very matter of fact — he said everyone does certain things to make life easier for their partner.
“Well, you don’t ever have to do that again,” I told him. “Now we’re rich.”
That’s kind of a running joke between us. Any time we do something that’s solidly middle class, Gideon will say, “Look, Sam — we’re rich!” Fill the gas tank without checking the bank account? We’re rich! Buy a 10-pound bag of rice to ostensibly last a lifetime? We’re rich! Purchase a cheap car brand-new? You know what I’m going to say — we’re rich!
Of course, he’s not just talking about being rich in dollar bills. He’s talking about living a rich life — the kind of life where you can depend on your partner and share all kinds of accomplishments together. Even our solo accomplishments are shared. Gideon loves to tell people about my Arkansas Press Association awards, and I fondly recount his joy for teaching to anybody who will listen.
We have been married for four years and together for six, and I still get excited to see him at the end of the day. To be honest, I never thought I’d find anybody I liked enough to marry. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the realization that I found somebody so wonderful. Like we always say, we aren’t perfect — but we sure are perfect for each other!
I suppose I could echo that sentiment when it comes to our home. We’d certainly like to make some changes to the house, but the foundation is sound as can be. It is a beautiful home in a beautiful part of our county, just a five-minute drive to the lake. I’m told that we will have a bit of a lake view once all the leaves fall off the trees. The positives far outweigh the negatives, which is a big deal for somebody with an anxiety disorder to say.
And even if we were living in a tiny two-bedroom apartment with a broken freezer and the smallest coat closet known to man, we’d still be happy. In the middle of the move, Gideon pointed out that we have lived almost our entire adult lives together. He said he doesn’t think his life started until we got together.
I’d have to agree with that, and I can’t wait to see what happens next!