Tuesday, November 15, 2011

To My Dear Little Cottage

Our house is a very, very fine house

With two cats in the yard

Life used to be so hard

- Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

My first week here, this is what you looked like
I met you, my dear little house, a year ago this weekend.  I stood in the living room for the first time two days before I was set to close and become your owner.  That term strikes me as a little ironic actually.  Who really owns who in these situations?  I was leafing through my mother's photos today looking for one to re-print for my Aunt Ginny's birthday and saw a photo of a relative's house from 1952.  It could be any number of houses in my neighborhood today, and it made me think about the other souls who have spent time in your walls and the people who will come after me.  You will stand long after I can no longer.  I am just a temporary caretaker, I realize that.  Probably more so in an area like this one, where history lives comfortably with the present.  But, for now, you offer us shelter and a place to begin this new life, and we in turn owe you our allegiance and the obligation to care for you while you are "ours".  With that in mind, I am therefore very sorry that a whole year later that horrible floral wallpaper still adorns the walls of the downstairs bathroom, but I hope you will be patient with me.  You do, after all, have a lot of time on your hands.  For us, it has been a tumultuous year, and just getting here and working to adjust to what I call the Now What has been a lot to do and process.  Hopefully, as we enter our second year together, things can smooth out and that wallpaper can finally come down.

A houseguest sleeps over
In the meantime, let's pause to reflect on our year together.  For my part, I will never forget that first moment, standing in the empty, cold house a little after sunset after a long, hard day of traveling to see what I had gambled on.  And hating it.  For a full ten minutes I thought I had screwed up royally.  Everything seemed so little.  The walls were low compared to the vaulted ceiling of my house in Texas.  The rooms broken up into little spaces, the staircases narrow.  Then, after the initial culture shock, for lack of a better term, wore off, I was able to see the possibilities instead of the drawbacks, and I would spend the next two months plotting and planning where all of our things would fit into your little spaces - all the while forgetting to take into account the floor vents, which threw a lot of that out of the window, if you'll pardon that pun.  And, then of course, I failed to think about measuring doorway widths and stairways to make sure everything would even fit inside, let alone where I envisioned it.  Needless to say, that lack of foresight meant that I had to do some mean improvising once I got here with a crammed truckload worth of stuff.   As a result bedroom furniture is in the dining room,  kitchen stuff is in the sunroom and a bunch of everything else is jammed up in the attic - which once seemed to be a cavernous space, now fairly crowded with a lot of things I swore I couldn't live without.  But, as I look around, I have to admit I get a little puffed up with pride at the work I did here alone those first few months.  If I say so myself, I made the most of your little spaces.  It may pale in comparison to the work that Greg and his friends were doing to re-hab the house back in Texas, but I think you and I have coupled to make a really comfortable little space here.  Good job, Cottage!

The Final Wave:  Marissa's Dorm Room Stuff Arrives
And we did it three separate times really.   After the initial push, you had to endure two more loads worth of stuff, including my personal little zoo.  I sometimes wonder, if walls could talk, what you would have to say about all these four-legged animals invading your space.  Or maybe the walls would just be screaming, "NOOOOOOO!"  Just think, at one point, I had twice as many...  You got off lucky, my friend.

But, you're gamely housing them as well as three humans, and, despite my complaints about the tiny kitchen (which, I am sorry, I still struggle with), the really important things are here:  which is my little family.

 You have witnessed a lot of collective angst over these months as we struggled to find our way, literally and figuratively, in this new world.  But, at the end of each day, your stout walls envelope us and keep us protected.  For that, no matter what happens going forward, I will always hold a special place for you in my heart.  And I will, as a reward, take that horrible wallpaper down.  Soon.

1 comment:

  1. just this past weekend, I thought to myself "does this place LOOK like home to me? If I went away for a long time, would this be distinctively the home-home I recognize and am happy to come back to?" I was thinking about this while going to smoke, so I stopped myself and turned to look from the doorway - just scan over the rooms that were visible and all the walls and accessories. I smiled to myself when I turned and walked out, thinking, "Yep, moma did real good - it looks like home."

    Just thought I'd share that little anecdote.