by the Artist
I received an unexpected gift last week. I invited the Carpenter's cousin over for dinner. We are creative sisters who like to hang out from time to time. She had wanted to paint something for me for awhile but just never got around to it. Unexpected gifts are so fun. And a gift that is hand crafted is that much more special isn't it? When someone takes time out of their busy life to think of you.
As soon as I saw the painting I was overwhelmed and flooded with memories. It is a painting of the laundry room window at the last spec home we built. I loved that window. It happily lit up the interior of the laundry room. I bugged the Carpenter to add an extra detail- the window box. Now adding a window box to a spec home is frivolous really. It doesn't add to the value and only adds to the cost in both time and materials.
Well I got my wish. And just in time for spring.. I filled it with the most cheerful magenta cascading petunias. It made me happy just looking at it. Well that window box certainly did not speed up the sale of the house. It had gone on the market at the cusp of the national housing market crisis.
A year before when the Carpenter brought me to see the sad little cottage, that sat where the Blue House now sits, I walked in and looked out a tiny window. There was the lake sparkling at the end of the street. I was hooked. Beyond hooked. I swallowed the hook. It would take surgery to remove it. Well figuratively speaking.
We moved forward with our plans. The Carpenter built the house to sell. I built it to live in. My blue dream. I picked out every single detail from the roof to the floor. We designed the floor plan together. It was exhilarating. Secretly I continued to plan to move in. I was enamored with the small town lifestyle. I could step out my front door and walk anywhere to many interesting destinations very safely. I could walk to the post office, or to the lake or crash the weddings at the gazebo at the park (which the Snack Manager and I did quite regularly) or sit enjoying conversation with neighbors. It would be like living in a warm hug.
Eventually we moved into the what we call "The Blue House" so I could stage it. I convinced the Carpenter that sitting empty and unloved was not helping matters. So we packed up many of our belongings and moved in. I was in heaven. Blue heaven. The Carpenter… well not so much. He knew the clock was ticking. And tick on it did!
The first and only Christmas we lived there I looked out my window one day at dusk.. there was a family walking down the middle of the street pulling a tiny sled with a small Christmas tree.. snow was falling lightly. I thought I had died and landed in a Norman Rockwell painting!
The plusses of the house not selling were very few but significant to me. I gained lifelong friends, I got to enjoy the fruit of our labor- a fine designed incredible home, I got to live the small town lifestyle if even for a very short while, and I did learn a lot from the entire experience both good and bad.
Well the house did sell and we packed up and moved back to our "real" home. It took awhile to recover from "surgery". I felt like my heart and soul was ripped out when we had to leave that house. I could barely look at it. One day I was across the street at a friends house and I could see through the living room windows the late afternoon sun streaming in the front door… the soft golden light. I wasn't there.. but I was there. It was a huge ache that has taken me years to get over.
But I'm healed. I appreciate my "real" home and have left my blue dream behind. I know now that my home is where the Snack Manager and the Carpenter live. That is where my heart lives.