Saturday, October 11, 2008


Well, we're moved in and fairly settled here. A brand new townhouse/condo. A new neighborhood, lush green grass, perfect landscaping, a huge yard for Bailey to run in, new carpet throughout, all new appliances, that familiar smell of new construction everywhere and a nice deck to enjoy that we always wished for at the old house.

So, why am I not overwhelmed with happiness?

The old house had it's issues. Low water pressure, a roof that was ready to need replacement, electrical outlets that were not grounded and needed to be updated and it was built in 1958 and was showing it's age.
Since moving into it in 2005, Andrew and I had done a ton of work and updating to it. A new kitchen, new kitchen and dining room flooring, new paint and wallpaper inside, landscaping outside, new water heater, new water softener, upstairs bathroom update and new doors and windows. When we left it was ten times the house we moved into and I think that is precisely why it felt like "home" to me. I have some sort of need to put something into my home. I don't just mean my possessions. What I've come to realize, is that in order for me to feel like I'm "home" I need to put some of me into my home. I think what that boils down to is good, old fashioned sweat and blood. I certainly put enough of both of those into the old house.

You see, I am a firm believer in a house having a "soul". Some of you will know exactly what I mean and others will click to the next blog at this point. For those of you remaining, I have lived in new houses as well as old ones. My first house was built in 1927 and had more charm in it's coat closet than you'll find in any new home built today. That house had a soul I could feel the very day I moved in. It had a history before me that it's walls knew all about. I lived there for eight years and over that period of time it's walls revealed a few pieces of that history to me. Like the day I discovered faint writing in pencil on the walls of the garage attic. Apparently, in the 1940's the family that lived there had a couple of teenage sons who kept a billiards table in the upstairs attic of the garage. The faint pencil markings were the scores recorded by date of their games with friends. I remember most of those dates were from 1942 and 1943. Another secret that those walls revealed was discovered when I tore out the walls when remodeling the upstairs bathroom. Hidden behind the 75 year old lath and plaster was a wooden box with "Barnette's Appliance Store" stenciled on the side. After doing some research, I located old records that showed the first owners of that home were the Barnette's who had owned a local appliance store. The box was apparently the crate that a fixture or something had been unpacked from and thrown inside that wall before it was closed up and plastered. I think that will always remain my favorite house because of the soul it had right from the start.

My next home was one that I built brand new in 1998. I remember thinking that as soon as I moved in I wouldn't have to do anything except enjoy my new surroundings in a big, brand new house. Well, that thought was proven wrong on move in day. All white walls and no window coverings. I had my work cut out for me already. But after several months of curtain and blind installation, painting, wallpapering and landscaping, it was already feeling like home. I had put some of "me" into it.

After that I moved to a few other houses where I did various other construction projects or remodeling that made them "my home" and they all revealed a different, but special feeling to me while living in them that I refer to as soul.

Here I sit in this house now. White walls. New carpet with no stains yet. not a scratch in the mouldings. That "new house smell". Everything works perfectly, as it should. The dog seems content. We've been here about six weeks now and things are in place for the most part. We've spent the past two weeks getting things hung on the walls and Home Depot finally got the new blinds installed on the windows a couple of days ago.

I'm sure in time we'll put some manual labor into painting to warm the place up and I will begin to inject some "soul" into this place. Until then, all I've done is hit my thumb with the hammer while pounding a nail into the wall to hang a picture. Maybe that's a start.