Ever felt like writing a thank you letter to something you take for granted? I mean without someone prompting you to do it? Nope, me neither. (Because, duh, taking it for granted….)
Well this is not how I wanted to start a letter to my house, so let’s begin again.
Just like I don’t understand the need for ridiculous extravagance when you marry somebody, I don’t get it when it comes to building yourself a crazy-ass mansion to live in, with thousands of square feet that you love to look at and admire but rarely use. There are many people in my life who have gorgeous new homes, or homes that are old but have been renovated to look like gorgeous new homes. This is obviously important to them and makes them happy and that’s all good. My house is not new, not renovated, and not gorgeous. And that’s okay.
Hello. Just wanted to let you know I love and appreciate you and I’m sorry for taking twenty-eight years to tell you this.
I don’t know how you felt about your builders way back in 1973, or your first owners or your second. But I’m pretty sure you loved us when we moved in all those years ago, right? Because three’s a charm. We were lucky to find you at a great price, and thankful that you didn’t need too many changes right away. However, we wasted no time taking down those gawd-awful green drapes in your living room and getting rid of the brown leafy wall paper, a crappy carpet in one of your bedrooms and your ugly kitchen linoleum. You’re welcome. Eventually we got around to painting everywhere. I hope you like the colors. Or should I just say I hope you love yellow. We promised you we would finish the unfinished room in the basement and put in another bathroom downstairs.
Yes, I know you’re still waiting. But your attic needed new insulation, and your roof now has excellent shingles, and there’s the new kitchen counter and the beautiful new floor that looks like real wood and a new furnace to keep us both warm. We do try to keep you clean and presentable. Maybe gorgeous just isn’t in the cards for us.
Hey, we could have abandoned you and moved on and let somebody new fix you up properly, and that’s still a possibility for some bright day in the future. I know I’ve used it as an excuse to delay the things that should be done, saying ‘what’s the point, whoever buys this house will probably change it anyway.’
Did that scare you, hearing me say it all the time? I’m sure it’s gotten so old and repetitive now that you don’t pay attention to it anymore.
We no longer need the unfinished room to be finished, and the time when we really needed that extra bathroom has come and gone. I AM promising you a renovated main bathroom before we leave, because I think both of us are just completely sick and tired of purple in that seventies style. A few more years and it will be an amazing retro feature – except that bathroom fixtures (even annoyingly durable purple ones) don’t last forever.
And right now you are beautifully functional and you suit us just fine. Every one of your rooms holds wonderful memories of growth and change. I look at the little bedrooms and remember who used to occupy them and how those teenagers grew up and left home and came back and left again. And then how they brought their own little people here so that we needed the unfinished room to morph into a playroom. And the downstairs bedroom to accommodate two beds and mattresses on the floor and the library to double as a guest room. One of these days we won’t need all that. We won’t be able to so easily go up and down your stairs or shovel your driveway or paint your ceilings. You will be too big for us, and you’ll start longing for another family to fill your rooms with noise and laughter.
Meanwhile, we will continue to love you and look after you in our hap-hazard fashion and appreciate you until the time is right to let you go. I don’t think there will be any new red walls in your immediate future, and I am trying really hard to stop hanging strange things on the ones you already have. You may not be gorgeous, but wow, you have character and you are able to hold an amazing amount of junk. You are warm and cozy in the winter and bright and breezy in the summer. We are blessed to have you.
Thank you house, for being our very fine house.
Charming Owners Number Three
(who love their home, have dubious interior decorating skills, but very big hearts.)