Friday, September 04, 2009

Living in two houses can be very confusing.

I love my mother's house. It's old. It's a classic farmhouse, not in that magazine kind of gingerbread way, but in a very real way. It's been modified, altered, added onto, redecorated, started and unfinished, and above all, lived in. People have been born in that house and died in that house. When I was a kid I wrote a whole journal entry about how much I love that house even though it's not spotlessly clean and not all the trim matches anymore, and that 50 year old linoleum in the upstairs hallway is starting to look a little worn.

I've grown a real affection for my own house over the last 12 years. It was never my dream house. I had visions of a beautiful Victorian with 10 inch baseboards, and deep windowsills on high arched windows. Instead I got a cute little 1958 bungalow with puny trim around the windows, which are unimpressive horizontal rectangles. Its one glamorous feature is the swirly stucco ceiling in the living/dining room.

No matter. I love it and not just because it's mine. It's a practical, well planned out house. There's enough room- just enough- for us and the stuff we like to live with.

Technically, it is still my house, even though I'm sort of living at the farm, sort of.

The farmhouse has always felt like home. I grew up there, and since getting married and moving out, it's always been a second home. But you know what? In many ways, you can't really, totally, ever go back, and that's life. Once a chick gets her own place, she gets to liking it.

The long weekend brings me back to this home, this little house in town. We got into our house just after midnight, and turned on only as many lights as necessary. I felt a relief of familiarity. My own dining room, my messy kitchen, my white bathroom. My favourite kind of soap in the dish. My purple bedroom, with the sheets all twisted and hanging sideways off the bed, because my husband has been sleeping there all alone and never bothers to pull the sheets the right way again. The kids' bedrooms that I painted. All but one wall in this house, I painted.

Already it's less ours... we're down to one armchair in the living room, and it's surrounded by boxes of books. I had to take some off the shelf. Apparently, houses don't sell well if they look cluttered. I've often had a hard time telling the difference between "clutter" and "art".

I just think a house looks more like a home with lots of stuff in it. How can a person live without books, and pictures, and art, and musical instruments???

If I understand correctly, it means I have to take out as many things as possible that scream our names and announce any hints of who we are or what we like.

Meanwhile, back at the farm, the dresser in my room is piled with books. My barn jeans are hanging on a hook over the upstairs landing. Tribble has artistically draped her colourful clothes over the desk. There's a stack of comic books beside Bucky's bed, next to the lamp table where he sets his jackknife every night.

Jethro? I feel sorry for him. His head hits the pillow, and the next morning he and his iPhone leave for work again. I'm not sure if he always knows where he is when he first wakes up. That really needs to be fixed. We've got to get all of us on the same property and still keep his job. Tricky.

As for Mom and the ol' Man, life has become a little bit louder and crazier, but not so bad that it's a problem.

For years I've had to keep track of clothes in two houses, because I always had to have barn clothes plus Sunday clothes at the farm. I'm not real good at keeping track of anything. I'm lucky everybody showed up here with clean underwear, and it's a good thing we have washing machines. It looks like I haven't made my life any easier with this move, but you know, that whole thing with the steps and the process and the doing things in steps blah blah blah.

As long as we all have clean undies wherever we're staying, we'll be okay, right?


Heidi Willis said...

i think you are so brave. This time can be so hard. I've left enough homes behind to know. And to be torn between two imperfect homes that you still love... so difficult.

You write about this beautifully. Keep writing. Keep riding. And keep your faith.

In a year you'll look back and realize that despite how hard it was, what a great decision it was.

Coffeypot said...

For someone who isn't organized and half crazy and a licensed horse trainer and author and wife and mother and, most importantly, a blogger, you ain't doing half bad. I should take notes.

Heidi the Hick said...

Heidi, thanks for thinking I'm brave, cuz I don't feel that way and need to be told! I do hope and pray I look back on this time and say it was worth it. HOnestly, even though I'm not really writing fiction now, writing about my life is helping.

Coffeypot, you make me snicker, as usual! Keep taking notes and you too can be half crazy and all of the above! Thanks for coming back to read.

Coffeypot said...

I come back daily, but have been in a little funk and didn't think I had anything positive to say. I sill love ya, though, and think you are a cute little filly.

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