Thursday, October 25, 2012

My house

I spent the day disassembling the door knobs in my house, spray painting them 3 ½ times and reassembling them. It was one of those details I’ve been meaning to get to for years and today was the day I finally did it. (I took 45-year-old cheap pseudo-brass knobs and made them look like wrought iron. Spray them with white primer, then with black spray that has a slightly textured finish, then finish with a coat of flat black spray paint. When dry, go back and touch up where needed. It takes a bit of nerve but the results are great.)

There’s no way I can deny that I’m a house nut. When my mind wanders, I’m usually thinking about how I could move walls, or change the layout of my furniture, or how I would build another house. And houses are a constant theme in my dreams, even in my nightmares. There are few things as horrific to me as the thought of seeing my house destroyed. A few years ago, in real life, my roof cracked and water was pouring into my house on all three levels. The water was pouring in and I was working as fast as I could to stop it. The water won. It was a real-life nightmare.

I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember. When I was married we redid as much of our first house as we could on a tight budget. Then we moved from Maryland to Virginia. We stayed in the first Virginia house only a couple of years, then another house, and another house.

The final house was a dream project—a boring rambler on a nice piece of land. I started sketching, found an architect to develop the plans, and worked with contractors to renovate it. It was beautiful. But a nightmare was taking place in the house of my dreams—soon after the house was finished my marriage fell apart. The house was sold and I bought a little townhouse. That was 13 years ago and I thought I’d never get over having to give up the house of my dreams.   

Fast forward 13 years. It took time. I couldn’t even drive by the old house without getting thrown into deep despair. I coveted the house. I hated the man who bought it and then resold it for $1 million more than he paid us for it. What can I say?—we sold it at the bottom of the real estate market and he sold it on a huge market upswing.

Now the leaves are changing, it’s a beautiful day, and I have new-looking door knobs. I love my little house. I’ve worked on every inch of it, re-created both the house and the yard. And today I realized that I love this little house more than I loved the big old house. I never thought I could say this, but I’m over it. This little house has no divorce cooties, no bad memories, and it’s all mine.


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