Thursday, July 5, 2012

House Call

Em and Ry’s house is a very, very, very nice house, I posted  on Facebook last week. I wasn’t surprised when a couple of my friends replied by asking,              “With two cats in the yard?”

 “No, but a beagle on the porch and two poodles across the way,” I wrote back. Occasionally status threads go as anticipated.

Married nine months ago this week, my daughter and son-in-law are homeowners now, with a mortgage to pay and a baby on the way. To think I thought this was going to be a quiet year. Quiet may be out of reach for some time. Quietness, I have found, is highly overrated.

The getting married part was long planned – Em and Ry were engaged for over two years. The couple’s move to an apartment - about an hour east - just a month before their wedding, surprised me.

Baby was hoped for. Now, the newlyweds’ move to a house, just before baby-makes-three, makes sense. I  didn’t like the  splintery outdoor stairs to their second floor apartment over a gift shop, even  before Em was pregnant. I disliked each step more and more as she got bigger and bigger.  

Some refer to the new house as a “starter home.” In 1982, some referred to the home Emily and her brother eventually grew up in as a “starter” too. A Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young kind of house.
Larry and I had a five year plan for our small ranch (surrounded by tall pines). Before we knew it, the single-digit plan became a double-digit plan. That plan involved turning the garage into a family room and adding a new garage to that.
Renovating a garage in 1987. . into a family room
In time we started looking at bigger homes. One, across town, caught our eye: two floors, kitchen that opened to what designers called a Great Room at the time. The stuff of family magazine spreads. When I mentioned the house, which we had decided to bid on, to a friend who lived in what seemed to be our prospective neighborhood, she said, “ Yeah – and the neighbors are nice – which is a good thing since, sitting on your back deck, you can hear your neighbor ‘toot’ around here.” She wasn’t talking trumpet practice. The development had been built on former farm land. There wasn’t a tree taller than five-foot-me in sight.

The next day or so we were raking our perpetual pile after pile of oak leaves, which, by the way, fell year round  in our treed lot (surrounded by tall pines). All we could hear were birds. That is, until we began to hear the sounds one doesn't hear unless all one can hear, at first, are birds. We could hear the rustle and light thump of our children jumping into piles of leaves here and there. We could hear the tinkle a soft breeze plays off a distant wind chime.  
Larry and I looked at each other as if to ask, Are we crazy? We  both knew a tinkle beat a toot in any yard. Within a day we removed our bid for the house on the other side of town and extended our ten year plan for our "starter" home to fifteen. By the time that deadline rolled around we had raised the roof of our starter home – and got the added space sealed just before the quirky April Fool’s Day Blizzard of ’97. You never know, do you?
Yet, we did know that it would take a lot less time to grow a home (not an expression we would have used fifteen years ago) than it would to grow the pines and the privacy we had  grown accustom to on our wooded lot.

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