There’s this episode of “Golden Girls,” where Blanche takes the girls home to her Georgian (plantation) childhood home and as she’s showing them around the estate, she points out the six places where she first lost her virginity. ;)
While packing, purging, and painting the house we’ve lived in the past fifteen years, I’m taking a similar mental tour. Not the virginity part, so much. We were already married when we bought this house, but we did do a lot of firsts here. (Nothing gross- stop it. Well, a few gross things, but that’s not what this is about. Knock it off). This is the place I’ve spent the majority of my adult life, the place I’ve lived longest, ever.
So, even though no one seems to want to buy it (sob, it’s been on the market for four days and NO BIDDING WAR, so we are obviously doomed), I have great affection for this wee nest, and it felt good to love it up with some care before we head out (SOMEONE BUY THIS BITCH, I PAINTED INSIDE CABINETS FOR YOU MONSTERS).
Ah, sweet memories….
There’s the back yard where I learned to meditate under that giant oak tree in a hammock, and where the kids wrestled like puppies and the little one went head-over-heels through a soccer net, caught like a fly in a spiderweb. There’s the sunroom, where I used to sit for hours, for days, for months, when I was studying for my PA school exams. Sometimes just me and my greyhound dog- then, Mia-who always got the box fan pointed at her if it was hot out. So much life out there spent buried in books, in terror that I would fail my exams, then once I passed those, in fear that I would fail my patients. I can close my eyes and see my classmates, gathered around out there, our study groups feeling like soldiers prepping for war.
Further down the driveway, you come to the side door, the one we use to access our house and affectionately call “the death door,” because it leads a few steps up into the kitchen, and a lot of hard wooden steps down into the basement. We’ve all fallen down those stairs. I fell down once while wearing footie pajamas and carrying a very full martini. I have no regrets. Also in the basement there are ghosts of parties and holidays past: Harry Potter themed Halloween party, girls’ nights, family gatherings.
Mostly when I’m down there in our wood-panelled super 70’s basement, I picture the hours, days, months spent nursing infants while binge-watching shows on our movie screen. That’s the best part of our house- Robb built a giant screen and hung a projector, and it’s bliss to have a movie theater in the house. What was NOT bliss was taking care of newborns, and whenever I look at the flimsy wooden door on the slapdash basement bathroom (the “Captain’s room” because of its nautical decor), I recall the time I pulled it off its hinges while rage-sobbing in a postpartum blur. When a mom of a newborn is crying, dear husband, you GET YOUR ASS UP AND GET HER A TISSUE TO BLOW HER NOSE or she’ll huff and puff and tear down the house. Everyone knows this rule.
Upstairs is our miniscule, tiny, ridiculous kitchen with the apartment sized appliances. We both love to cook and we eat this plant-based weirdo diet, so we spend a LOT of time making food. Before kids, it was all fresh veggies and fruits, ancient grains, and raw creations. Now, it’s just reheating veggie burgers. I recall rolling biscuits on a mat up the side of the microwave while making a Thanksgiving feast, because there wasn’t any counter space. Later, we removed the microwave all together when we needed the counter for a small ice cream maker while we developed vegan ice cream recipes that would one day become our business that took over our lives for the past five years (and took at least two dozen years off my life).
Christmas trees and more nursing come to mind as we continue our tour to the living room. We’ve got a tiny little bitty TV up in there, one that normal people might hang in a normal kitchen or fancy bathroom or something. We surrounded it on the wall with framed pictures, hoping it wouldn’t look goofy. It did not work. The dining room is where we laugh and laugh and do art and arguments, it’s the center of all things. My kids’ eyes never look more magically hazel than by the light of the dying sun coming through the window at dinner time (which is 4:30pm, since it’s fucking Michigan and it gets dark really early here).
What else? The kids’ bedrooms- I remember failing at sleep training when they were infants, which is why they’re almost ready for college and we’re still assisting them to bed every night. Then we climb the stairs to the master bedroom, which I am under contract to describe as “where the magic happens” even when my husband is not present on the tour. It’s where we’ve run our business and DONE our business, if you know what I mean….(I mean where we’ve fought a lot and sometimes fucked. That was clear, right?)
What else? I guess I won’t take you out on the roof or anything, because it all severely needs to be replaced and we’ll fall through if we step out there.
The whole place is a 1,000 sq ft cozy hug, witnessing so much of our joy and pain, for so many years. I’m ready to move on, but I’ll always love it. After all, it’s not the only one of us who’s now a bit old and crusty with bits threatening to fall off.
Should I put all of this in the real estate ad, y/n?