Friday, September 11, 2009

Home is: Where Your Heart Is/Rump Rests

Alexa did a series of posts recently about the homes she has had over the years. Mine aren't nearly as exciting, but hers did make me think a lot about my previous homes (specifically the house I grew up in and what it means to me) and so, at her suggestion, I decided to follow suit.

I have no memory at all of the house my parents brought me home from the hospital to, but then again, I was less than 3 months old when we left it, so I figure, why should I? I do know that my mother always refers to it as "the Hillside house" because it was on Hillside Ave and I know approximately where it is located in the same town I grew up in.

But, at less than 3 months of age, we moved into the house that my father built in the town I call my hometown (which is sort of the same town I live in now. Technically, they are cities, but those who live in big cities would scoff at that. And the area that I live in - well, there is the big South City- and there is a less-big somewhat north city in our county and then there are all these smaller, "city of __________"'s that sort run together in the middle, so that no one really knows where one ends and begins. When we moved into our current house, we were told our address was in unincorporated city of L but when you look it up on any sort of computerized device, our address should be S, not L. Anyhow...) The house is a 3bed/2bath split floor plan, one story with a sunroom that my parents turned into an office a gazillion years ago. We had both a living room and a family room and our family room has a fireplace, which is a rarity in Florida, but my mom wanted one, so she convinced my dad - who hails from Indiana - to put one in and he obliged. Amazing what time does to relationships, isn't it?

I loved that house. And, other than my 1 year of living on campus in a dorm-like situation, I didn't leave it until I got married. It went through changes over the years of course. The first biggest remodel was when my dad moved out the summer I turned 20. My mom gave him most of the furniture, tore up the carpets and wallpapered the walls to get the 19+ years of smoke smell/staining out of the house now that she had control over such things. My room stayed the same and the dining room furniture remained, but that was about it. She put in new carpet in the bedroom (hers - mine had been done when I was in high school) and the living room, and laminate flooring throughout the rest of the house. Eventually, my dog caused the living room carpet to also be removed and more laminate went in there as well. I guess he was trying to assert his independence all over her floor. My father's removal also began what I like to refer to as the "layers" of her decorating whims. In the 9 or so years since they have been divorced, the walls in the house have had at least a 8 different colors painted on them. There was even a time when she tried to hand paint the centers of a floral wallpaper to coordinate, but eventually gave up and ripped it down to add a few layers of paint on those walls as well.

Since getting remarried 3 years ago, she went through a major kitchen overhaul and some aesthetic changes to my old bathroom and the former guest room. She also had the brick fireplace painted and the mantel completely redesigned and replaced.

I moved out of the house into our first apartment upon getting married. We joke that we found the biggest space for the least rent in the county at the time. We had a 950 sq ft, 2 bedroom apartment (1 bath) for under $700 in rent in 2005. It was exciting, but the excitement wore off quickly.
We had picked an apartment toward the front of the complex when we signed our intent and put down our deposit. The front of the complex was nicer and this building was right across from the leasing office, so they kept that area pretty much spotless. Unfortunately, the day we were to move in, they informed us at our arrival that our apartment wasn't ready and we could either wait until the next day (we had taken the day off work and our moving buddy had to work the next day) or take another available apartment, which boasted of new appliances. (new appliances my A$$) at the back of the property. We didn't know better, so we took the apartment that was ready and regretted it for the next 18 months. We lived above 2 different stoner couples and would get hot-boxed as we climbed the stairs to our apartment on a regular basis. We were awakened on several occasions by screaming arguments, car alarms (that would go off for HOURS, I kid you not), one of our neighbors' motorcycle getting repossessed and more. One of our neighbors must have moved from a large house to this apartment and brought all this stuff along. She turned a toilet into a planter, installed a porch swing in our common, shared yard, and tried to put down a wodden pathway all around the building, among other things. She was also about 200lbs and would take walks around the complex in nothing but a sports bra and shorts. We had great neighbors.

We were thrilled beyond measure to move out of there when we could afford to buy a house of our own.

Our current house was found after months of looking. Our realtor found it for us - she saw it and said, "I think I may have found the house you want." She was right. It's a 2 bed/1 bath house (really, I think I would be much more content currently if we had 2 bathrooms, but I'm hoping that can be one of our bigger improvements in the future) with a huge backyard in a family-friendly neighborhood. Our living room/dining room is a great-room style with vaulted ceilings and lots of light/windows. Our front window is one of my favorite features of the house - we have a huge window set underneath 2 unusually shaped windows that follow the shape of the vaulted ceilings. I keep pretty glass bottles and vases in the window - it's beautiful with the sunlight coming through the glass.

We are hoping to do some improvements, as I've mentioned recently. We are planning to enclose the garage to make another bedroom and I'd like to eventually build on to the house and make a master suite, complete with a 2nd bathroom. :) We've already done a lot to the house in the 3 years since we moved in. We re-did the kitchen, replaced the toilet, removed all the awful, layered wallpaper and repainted all the walls. We've painted and put down new flooring in our sunroom and we're getting ready to put a wall-unit AC out there to make it a little more liveable during the summer months and create a play room and office attmosphere.

My mom still lives in the house I grew up in. She is planning to leave it to me in her will (which I hope will not come into play for a very long time) and I will always think of it as home. My daddy built it. It is full of memories of Christmases and play days and all those things that make up a home. I don't know if I will ever live there again, but it is one of those safe places in my heart.

No comments:

Post a Comment