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Friday, February 4, 2011

Scenemaking; Our House in the Middle of the Street

I didn't want to buy this house.
Sure it was in better condition, but I wanted to buy the brick house 3 blocks south of this location. It had a massive kitchen. This house was completely renovated top to bottom. Aaron said the lack of necessary maintenance alone was worth it's price.
In hind sight, he was not only right, turns out we needed a house with 4 bedrooms. The brick house only had 3.

I remember the first time I saw this house and it's perfectly manicured lawn with it's For Sale By Owner sign. I remember I used to take different routes home from work looking, scouring the little population 9,000 town for a place to settle. We were desperate to find a home. A home. A place I could nest. A home front I could be proud to bring company to. A place to host Christmas dinner and parties and backyard BBQs.

It's the best house on the block. She sits tall and tan in a squat little yard.

Our home is wrapped in a warm aluminum siding each window framed with maroon shutters. All the renovations she endured the year before we bought her still looked and smelled fresh and new. Built in 1900 she was the very first house plan sold in the Sears & Roebuck Catalog. It's a stock house. Nothing exciting or  cutting edge about her. She was built for endurance and practicality.

Our home is a square. 2 floors of 800 square feet each. 4 perfectly square rooms up. 4 perfectly square rooms down. This is an excellent idea in that every nook and cranny counts for something. No space is wasted. It's also unfortunate in that my foyer is as big as my living room as is as big as my kitchen is as big as my bedroom.

It's a warm home. It nested well. She's humbly decorated in a warm a ray of browns and neutrals. The wood floors have lost their luster and the brown couches are showing their wear but I love the way she smells. I've traveled some in my life and I always love the unique fragrance she greets me with each time I return home.

There are 4 framed pieces of art in the family room. 2 pieces found on clearance from Kmart. A Monet print given to me 19 years ago and a pencil sketch my mother in law framed as a gift to my husband. The drapes were on sale from ShopKo. The blankets a gift. The end tables a gift. The recliner a gift. The side board table snatched from neighbors donate pile. The lamps are too small for the size of this room, purchased from Dollar General. She is humble. This is a very humble home. And yet it feels warm and welcoming.

I think our neighbors would assume by the looks of our home that we do well financially. The truth is we got this house for a really good deal. And in reality, it's been 10 years and she is starting to show her age. All that maintenance my husband looked forward to not doing, needs to be done.

The main floor toilet won't stop leaking. The tile has been pulled up and remains up until we can seal the leak. We've replaced the tank, and since tore it up twice and still a slow steady leak mocks us from the bare naked plank flooring.

The kitchen floor has more gouges and gashes than I can count. The wall paper is torn from when we adopted Libby in August 2009. There is a glob of candle wax behind the couch on the wall and my oil warmer scented plug in dripped on the wood floor and stripped the finish. The hand rail on the stair has been off for 3 years as we're not sure the plaster can handle the stress of a reattachment. The lace on the front door is torn and every time the weather changes quickly the large lead window sweats and drips on the wood frame.

A home is not a house in perfect condition. That's what I've learned in this particular writing assignment.A home is where love grows. Where your children come home. Where their growth is written in pencil on the wall. It's a smell and feeling not designer art or expensive furniture. Our house is old and new. It's where all 5 of our children will remember growing up. It sits tall in our neighborhood, the only house on the block. It's a lovely home. It's our home.



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