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The person who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones
(The Chinese probably visited this house!)
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HOME SWEET HOME
5 March 2004
The bathroom is really taking shape. Scott put in the soap dish, got paint ("abalone") on the walls and will be here next week to put the primer coat on the cabinets. Weve agreed that he will special order the sink/counter top from the same people who made the blue swirl for the walls of the bath, so that all will fit. He's purchased the tiles for the floor.
I think its safe to say that the end, while not imminent, is definitely in sight.
Its amazing what a change has taken place in my mindset. Somehow Ive never been the "nesting" type.
I grew up in a rented flat in San Francisco. My parents moved in in 1942, when my mother was pregnant with me. They planned to stay "a couple of months" until they could find something more suitable. They moved out when Jeri was 5 or so, in about 1969 or 70, so it was the only "home" Id ever known.
My mother desperately wanted a home of her own and actually found several in the early days of their marriage, but my paternal grandmother, who ruled not only her own roost but ours as well, convinced my father each time that buying land was a waste of money and so those homes, which would be worth a fortune today, went to someone else and we stayed in our rented flat.
It was a small place. The front door opened into an entry area that was directly opposite the kitchen. My father, when he had his evening drink(s), would sit at the table facing the door and knew who was coming up the stairs. To the right of the entry was the bedroom I shared with my sister. The room was the width of two single beds with a small table between them. We had a very small closet and now that I think back on it, I dont have a clue how we both fit clothes in that closet. It wasn't even full height, as it went back under the stairs of the apartment upstairs from our place.
(My cousin once locked me in the closet and my screams woke the whole neighborhood.)
To the left of the front entry was a short hall. On the left side was my parents bedroom and on the right was the bathroom. At the end of the hall was a room divided by a couch. One end was the living room, the other end was the dining room. When my parents had parties, they moved the couch, rolled up the rugs and people danced on the hardwood floors.
Off of the kitchen was a small laundry room which led out into a tiny concrete back yard, where my mother hung her clothes on the clothesline.
We lived on one of San Franciscos steepest streets and there was no greenery whatever, nor a place to play in front of the house. The stairs from the front door led directly to the sidewalk.
When my father finally agreed to move out of San Francisco, it was to a home in Marin County with nice lawn and big magnolia tree in front, a pool in back, and kids in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, too late for Karen and me. So I never grew up with the concept of owning a house of my own.
After Walt and I married, we moved into a small apartment, then, when I was pregnant with Ned we moved to a small rented house and finally, when I was pregnant with Paul, we bought our first house in Oakland. I loved that house. I still love that house. It was small, but it was ours. It was 60 years old and needed a lot of work, but we were caught up in birthin and raisin babies, so we never did anything substantial to the house until it came time to sell it, and then Walt replaced the rotting kitchen floor. I was always sorry that we only had a few weeks to enjoy having a good floor. But to that point I had kept such a disaster of a house that there was no point in trying to fix it up, because Id just destroy it anyway.
When we moved here, it was into a brand spanking new house. One wed help design ourselves. We made some abominable choices (who chooses white linoleum with five small children, two dogs, and a dirt yard with no grass in it???), but I think we have been comfortable here. As with the Oakland house, I was too busy (and lazy) raising kids to give much thought to keeping the house clean and/or neat. (At least I wasnt like one wife we knew, who vacuumed her rugs into a pattern each day, and then locked her kids outside so they wouldnt mess it up.)
Over the years, I just came to care less and less. I guess on some level, I never really bonded with this house. It was a house. A place to live. I never made it a "home" by adding all those little neat touches that people do to their homes. My "little touches" came in piles of "stuff."
Something happened to me in Australia. Maybe being with Peggy for 6 weeks rubbed off on me. I watched her taking care of her home, not her house. When I came back, it was with eyes that suddenly saw the mess, the clutter...and, more importantly, the potential. I didn't want us to clean and fix up the house so we could sell it. I wanted to enjoy it for awhile myself.
So came the big clean up (ongoing, as you know), and then finally the bathroom project, talked about for the past 15 years. With the house looking better, the "Pepto Room," such as it is, somewhat decorated, and the bathroom about to become a showplace (albeit on a small scale), Im starting to feel like this is "home" not "house." Im starting to look at where we go from the bathroom. Oh, one major project a year is enough (especially since this sort of thing aint cheap), but my commitment to turning the house into something that I can feel has enough of my own touch on it that it can become "home" is high.
There is enough work to do to keep me going until they haul me out of here in a body bag, I suspect, but I hope the mortuary workers at least look around and think "hey--nice house..."
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Spent some time today playing around with this photo in
Weight Lost to date: 43.8 lbs