Of course, the downside of cautioning your audience never to read your blog is that there is no one to notice if you happen to miss a week. Which I did last week, as it happens. If you’re faithfully not reading this blog, you might have guessed that the reason has to do with the last blog post I managed to get up. And you’d be right. Last week at blog posting time I was in between packing and moving, and in no fit state to compose anything worth reading.
And this week I am sitting in a new family room, listening to the rain coming down and thanking all that is holy that I don’t have to worry about my office flooding any more, watching the same TV, but it’s up higher so that it looks bigger now, less worried about the noise drifting up the stairs because the stairs are halfway across the house, contemplating a very short walk to my room when it’s time to turn in, and hearing the very muffled noises my children are making now that their computers and televisions and whatnot are a floor away. Overall quite satisfying.
It hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows, of course. There was a gas leak in the backyard, so they turned off the gas back there and now we can’t test out our new spa. The upstairs furnace wouldn’t come on during the house inspection, so they “fixed” that ... now it won’t turn off. We just shelled out nearly $500 for a new pool sweeper and over $200 in floor lamps—we used to go to Target or Wal-Mart once a month and blow 100 bucks a pop, but apparently that’s nothing compared to what we’re going to spend at Home Depot now. And this is not even considering the actual mortgage payment, the first of which won’t be due until the end of the month.
But, hey, nothing’s perfect, right? Not even this house, although it’s pretty damn close. Every time I think about all the little things that are wrong, I start to feel guilty. I have, after all, just bought a seven bedroom house. With four bathrooms. Nearly 3,000 square feet. With a pool and a spa. And a covered patio on one side, and an enclosed garden area on the other. And a two-car garage with a sort of a deck on top of it. And I got it for probably about two-thirds what I would have paid for it not three years ago. And I got a 30-year fixed mortgage with the lowest rate we’ve seen since they started tracking such things. So, you know, when I point out the fact that the driveway is way too narrow to comfortably fit both cars into, or the fact that there's so many freakin' windows in the place that there's nowhere to put any bookcases, I can’t help but feel downright ungrateful. I suppose it’s like the man says: I can’t complain, but sometimes I still do.
But perhaps you don’t want to hear me ramble on about my new house (although I would refer you once again to the name of this blog). Perhaps I should try to place this experience into a larger social context. I suppose I could wax philosophical about the large quantities of stuff we tend to amass over our lifetimes. This new house supposedly has about 700 more square feet than the last one and yet we’re still up to our ears in boxes over here. It’s overwhelming sometimes how much crap we seem to have accumulated.
Or, I could talk about the powerful feeling you can derive from knowing that, no matter how screwed up things are, at least it’s your house. Just the feeling of ownership, of knowing that it’s all yours, warts and all, is worth quite a lot.
But I suppose, in the end, the main thing is that it’s a pretty awesome feeling to know that your family finally has a place in the world. Most likely, assuming we can afford to keep making the payments on this beast, this will be the house where my elder son learns to drive, and where my younger son learns to read. The place where any future children are brought home to from the hospital, or the birthing center, or maybe even be born right here inside these four walls. For the foreseeable future, this is the place where we will swim, and sleep, and play, and eat, and watch, and wait, and live, and love. This is home.
And that's profound enough for me, I think.