You know, Tim and I have been married for 13 years now. I think that I know him pretty well. Still, though, he can shock me. The first time he said, "I think we should move down town," well, that was a shock. I've always seen him as a country boy and, like I said, well, I thought I knew him pretty well. We squabbled about it a little. I didn't mind downsizing. We surely no longer need a six-bedroom house, for pity's sake. I didn't want to move in town though. I do know my own self, and I know that I like my quiet country life.
Now Tim listened to what I had to say on the topic. By 'listened' I mean that he stopped talking while I talked. But before too long, he was talking about a house. Naturally, it was in town. He wanted to make an appointment for the two of us to see it. I just did not have time. I was up to my armpits in school work. In his typical fashion, Tim just kept talking about it. He happened to be driving by the house when he saw the realtor showing the house. He stopped by, and the realtor was more than willing to show it again. Once he'd viewed the house, he started in again. He really, REALLY wanted me to see this house. I explained once more: I was busy. I just did not have the time. Really. I couldn't.
Time went on, and school got tougher, and hours picked up at the store and, still, Tim talked on. Finally, I looked at my husband and said, "Really, Tim, you are beginning to make me crazy here. I don't have time to go look at this house. You are the expert. You know these things. If you think it is a good deal, put a bid on the thing. Just please quit talking about it." Tim chewed on that a while. He went and looked at the house once more. "Maybe we shouldn't get it," he said. "It's pretty dirty." By that point, I was beside myself. School was overwhelming. I was so sick of writing papers I wanted to cry. I looked at my persistent, uncertain husband and said, "Dirt can be cleaned. If that's all that's wrong with it, just buy it." The next day, at school, the message came in. We had another house.
Two days later, we were meeting with the realtor to sign the paperwork. I had never seen the house before. We walked in the side portico, and into a spacious foyer. Tim was not exaggerating. This was a filthy, filthy house. It had set vacant for some time. The realtor and Tim talked while I roamed the house. French doors opened to a living room. On the other side of that, another set of French doors opened into a library with glass fronted bookcases and a fireplace. I stood there turning around in the middle of the room. I could see our furniture there. There was a sunroom. Downsizing? Yeah. That had not worked out for us. We were moving into a bigger house. I walked up the stairs to the second floor, and then up another flight of stairs to the third floor. Although the paperwork only listed five bedrooms, I counted six. I wandered and I saw potential. I saw our things there. I saw Tim and me there. Room by room, story by story, I fell in love.
I finally headed back downstairs where Tim and the realtor were talking. A little uncertainly, Tim said, "Well? What do you think?" I looked at him, and said, "Tim. Oh my gosh! I love this house!" and Tim was relieved.
Since we've bought our house, Tim's begun to work on the water, and the electricity. It was very poorly winterized, and Tim sadly hauled two truckloads of cast iron radiators to the scrap yard. He did so love those radiators. Paula, Warren carpet cleaning mogul, came to take a look at the beautiful berber carpet, and gave us the news: unsalvageable. Broken pipes, black water sprayed across the wall. A jerry-rigged electrical system. The back yard probably held 3 or 4 autumns of leaves. Poor Tim has bashed his head on the hood to the stove coming out of the basement several times. Everywhere we look, there is lots to be done. More than we ever imagined.
However, we are not discouraged. It is still a beautiful house, a grand home that has been sadly abused and neglected. Underneath that unsalvageable carpet? Hardwood floors. Underneath the years of leaves? The bones of what appears to have been a formal garden, complete with a walk way. Beneath the grime and debris, we began to discover possibilities that we'd not even imagined (and goodness knows, Tim and I have very good imaginations!). We started out with grand plans, and as we go along, the plans become even grander yet. We find that we lay awake in bed holding hands, and our dreaming begins long before our eyes shut.
I found myself sweeping the other day, pushing together great piles of detritus from another family. As I worked, I daydreamed about the house in her heyday. She had once been a beloved home, well cared for. Then that beautiful home became just a poorly maintained house, and the decline began. It seemed sad to me. The breeze blew through the wide open windows and the thunder rumbled in the distance. "Don't worry," I said to the house, sweeping up another dustpan full of dirt. "It will be okay." Was it my imagination, or did the house seem relieved?
I continued sweeping and I sang to myself: "our house is a very, very, very fine house, with two cats in the yard" The thunder outside drew ever closer, but I was not afraid. Our house has weathered many a storm. It may sound just a little crazy, but I think that the three of us will be very happy together.
Debby Hornburg lives in Scandia for the time being. Her blog can be found at lifesfunnylikethat.blogspot.com, and she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org