Some achievements feel epic. The house that I built feels like an epic accomplishment. I got a big girl loan from the bank all by myself. *This may also seem like it’s not that big a deal but in the 80’s I needed a man to co-sign for me. I will never take the path carved by every woman who came before me to fight for her right to economic independence for granted.
I signed the contract. I made all the decisions. I came up with a floor plan. I put things in storage. I picked the paint. I went to countless meetings with the builder. I went from shop to shop looking at faucets and counter tops and fireplaces, doors and windows and….and…and. I got shingles picking the shingles. *Actually I got them because my original financial institution declined my mortgage after saying that I could have it. I learned a lot about personable, scrupulous business practice and shifty business practice.
My learning curve was steep.
But I did it. Yay me.
Here I am in a beautiful new house. So gorgeous. Such beautiful flat walls. Everything is uniform in contrast to the old house I lived in.
House versus home
Owning a house was just one step in the process of creating my dwelling. The other decisions: where the furniture went and which picture was the first to find a spot on the wall; the dishes and which cupboard they’d go in; how frequently would I light candles and incense? This was all part of getting to know my new space.
As I live in it I have pressed the fragrances of my life into the walls: perfumed soaps, Nag Champa, sandalwood, patchouli, baking bread and, well, cooking almost anything. The new house smell is nice but it’s not home. Walking in my front door and knowing it’s mine from the smell—that’s home.
Having friends over to hang out in the kitchen while I prep a meal is one of my favorite things. Having my people be so comfortable that they put their feet up on the couch or the coffee table, or curl up under a blanket after a long cold walk in front of the fireplace—this is home. Using up all the dishes and glasses because I’ve had so many people over—this is home.
The other part, the more intimate part is the thing that actually connects me to my space. I walk from room to room looking at the light through the windows. Which rooms glow that golden light at sunset and which ones fill first in the morning sunshine. Making my way through the house at night when all the lights are off and figuring where everything is by feel and feeling, familiarizing myself with the new floor plan is all part of the getting to know her.
I have napped in almost every space in this place. I have dreamed waking and slumbering in all those spaces. I feel such a gratitude to all the things that had to fall in place for this abode to exist, here and now. Although there are still parts that are not quite done, small decisions that haven’t been made I have full confidence that they will come to pass.
The best part of all is the history of this house. It is solely mine and the people in my life right now. There is no other history but the one I make and that is precious.