My Body, My House

Today the wind is blowing rain sideways into the west windows.  I am glad to be inside my house.  I would be glad to be inside any building today, but I've been thinking about this house a lot in the past few days because it was two years ago this week that we moved in, on the first snowy day of the year.

I have a complicated relationship with my house.  It's a lovely house on a wooded lot.  It's big enough but not too big.  It's warm, comfortable, and has the one trait we looked for in a house for a long time:  main floor laundry.  The kitchen is roomy and good for working in (if you know what I mean) and has new-ish appliances.  And after ten years of marriage, I could finally unpack our wedding gifts and put them in the cupboards.  Husband's office in 10 minutes away, the kids' school is 4 minutes away.  Attached garage, screen porch, perennial gardens.  All good, all good, all good.

And yet, I never wanted this house.  Our small, semi-crappy Cape Cod across the river was fine for me.  Bad linoleum, drafty French doors, ancient appliances.  Crooked patio.  Detached one-stall garage (so sorry, Husband, you get to park in the street all winter).  Backyard fence that, I promise you, is falling down in today's wind.

Oh, and stairs.  Really steep, 1940s-building-code stairs.  Stairs to our bedroom, stairs to the laundry, stairs to get in the front door and the back door.  Stairs that really started causing problems when my arthritis worsened.  Stairs that I once got stuck on, as in my hips didn't want to move anymore.  Husband was out of town.  I called Ben, then age five, out of his bed, to help me sit down and slide down the stairs.  I slept on the couch that night, and finally accepted that we had to move.

So, long story longer, we found this house which I had driven by and admired many times before.  Once when I drove by there was a for sale sign in the yard.  We closed on both houses the week the week of the banking crisis of 2008.

And now here we are two years later.  Physically, I am so much more comfortable in this house.  I feel safer because I know I can manage my days, the laundry, and even the 1970s-building-code stairs (which are much less steep than stairs in older houses).  But I still feel like I'm clunking around in someone else's house.  It might just take some time, or maybe some effort (I confess, the way I see it, if I have time to "decorate," I have time to write and I'd rather write).  It might just be slow acceptance of what a chronic illness can mean for a life, a family.  I think this was a level of acceptance that was hard for me:  to admit that my illness made it necessary for us to buy a new house.


Dear House, strong, warm house, thank you for protecting me and my family from wind and weather and cold.  Thank you for housing my treasures (few though they are), and my Treasures.  I'm sorry I've left you wearing your 80s garb; I hope you can get used to it.  Thank you for making my every day easier.  And don't mind me for being slow to warm up to you.  I know I'll come around.

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