Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Anniversary, one day late.

Eleven years ago yesterday I took ownership of my home.  It was a Tuesday and brutally hot and humid.  My sister and brother helped me move.  We loaded the U-Haul I had rented.  It was easy to back it right up to the porch, but dragging stuff up the narrow stairway was not fun.  My sister was right on when she told me it's the little things that are such a pain on moving day - the lamps, etc.  I think it took me another two days to bring all that junk out of my condo.  Fortunately I moved only two miles away, into the next town.  It brought me that much closer to my sister's house, even though we were now no longer in the same town.

My dad had been diagnosed with thrombocytopenia the previous October and was dying.  That Friday night he really went downhill, and died three days later.  I think I started obsessing about looking for a house that winter in order to distract me from the incredible sadness in watching him suffer and slip away.

He was too weak to see the house, but I showed him pictures from the real estate listing.  I told him my concern was there was no bathroom upstairs.  He said he'd get me a chamber pot.  He was a very funny guy.  His main concern was whether my brother-in-law had checked it out.  He had, and liked it.

I got my love of old houses, and history, from my dad.  His dream had always been to find an old colonial (18th century) to renovate.  The only good grade I got in art was in seventh grade when I sketched a house he had seriously thought about buying in Chester, Massachusetts.  Somewhere along the way I decided I preferred Victorians.  Maybe it's the high ceilings and porches.  They're more romantic than colonials.

When I was younger (and had so much more energy and good nights' sleep) I used to walk for an hour in the morning before work.  I would walk all around the beautiful village of Rockville, which was a bustling, modern mill town in the late 19th century.  I remember looking up at some of the grand houses, one street over from where I live now, and being in complete awe.  Who lived in these houses?  I don't remember being on the street where I now live, probably because I didn't want to climb the huge hill!

And now, eleven years later I have learned so very much.  I had such dreams for my first house.  I wanted to someday take off the asbestos siding, restore the railings on the porch, and build stairs off the back deck.  In 2008 I started, one side a year, removing the shingles and repairing, scraping, priming and painting the clapboards underneath.  It went very well.  There was a bit of rot on the western side, which I replaced.

Last year I hired someone to repair the front porch.  The railings really add a lot to the look.  I haven't built stairs off the deck and am not sure I will.  It might encroach on my garden and I'm not sure I could bear that.

Speaking of the garden, who knew back then that I would have done so much landscaping?  I waited a year to buy any permanent plants and then indulged my love of roses.  I didn't think about design or aesthetics; I just wanted pretty roses to bring inside the house.  Now I am in the midst of some major rearranging of that original garden.  I'm pretty satisfied with the front yard, however; just a few tweaks are needed.

It had been such a desire of my heart to own a home and have a little garden.  God blessed me beyond my expectations and I am truly grateful.  I have no plans to go live anywhere else.  Sure, sometimes I dream about a bigger, fancier house, or a yard with no hills and more area, but I'm truly satisfied with what I have in the end.

The only project inside I'd like to work on is a bathroom upstairs.  That'll be quite expensive so I have to save up for that.  I got a new kitchen in 2010 after my oven and dishwasher died.  Right now I'm gradually repainting the rooms.  When I moved in I wanted bright pastels for a cottage-y look but now I think that palette is really for a warmer part of the country, or a place on the water.

I do like the new look of the living room.  My new couch arrived in April.

Now there's room for my great-aunt's piecrust table.
Beautiful peonies from the garden.
Don't worry; I've taken down the Christmas wreath!  I came down with a nasty case of pneumonia around St. Patrick's Day and it really set me back with spring preparations.  Now I've gone slightly nuts buying plants because I've paid off the porch.  I'll be back soon with pretty garden pictures, but spring has been so delayed here.  In fact, I'm wearing a coat inside the house tonight typing this because it turned freezing cold.  I've had a lot of damage to hydrangeas, roses, azaleas, etc. due to the two spring snowstorms in April.

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