Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A blogger's house is her castle

Don't judge a book by its cover—from the outside Our Home looks like any one of a hundred drab vintage yearbooks I've seen on my rounds—but inside? Genius! Somebody clever needs to knock off this idea for all the house- (and apartment-) proud people who pin their interests and blog their blog-friendly finds on a daily basis. People like me.

My mom gave me this book when I moved from NYC to Texas. She told me she'd bought it at a shop in our small Jersey town back when we moved there in 1970. I guess she planned to use it but never got around to it. Or maybe had the same problem I did—the book is so ding-dang cute, who wants to ruin it? It's got a real Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House vibe, which makes sense considering it was published in 1947, the year after the Blandings book by Eric Hodgins (which I coincidentally just scored at a library sale last weekend), and the year before the fabulous Cary Grant/Myrna Loy movie came out. Written by Helen H. Thurber (with "decorations by" Florence Daly), Our Home also seems kinda rare—I can only find one, on amazon, and it's $60.

So it would suck to use the book and then it turns out your house isn't The One. But how do you know if your house is The One? Back in my NYC days, I moved every year, until I eventually slowed down and moved every other year. Flawed rentals, all of them, it was easy not to get attached. We bought our first house in 1999 and lived in it for five years. That house was good to us, but I didn't exactly have a psychic connection with it. The garden perhaps, but definitely not the semi-detached box covered in powder-blue vinyl that sat in front of the garden. Pleasant as the memories are of the place, it didn't deserve the Our Home treatment.

Now this house, the one I live in now, totally deserves it. I LOVE this house, despite all its flaws (and they are legion, or why else would I be making an appointment with American Leak Detectors?). I've waxed on about it here. Still, it's not perfect, and, with seven years under our belt, are we committed to living here for the long haul? Uhhhh. Various AC repairmen and other contractors have posed this question, especially when we first moved in: Are you going to live here for five years? Ten years? The rest of your life? They were just trying to determine whether I'd be receptive to their suggestion that we replace our old HVAC units with $40,000 worth of new ones. Or should we go solar? Or convert our pool to saltwater? Or go whole hog on the landscaping? Is this the lifer house? That's hard to believe though my kids believe it. And they look to my parents' house, my childhood home, as their example. They've lived there for—yikes!—42 years. My mom totally should've used this scrapbook/journal. Why didn't she?

The lifer house, approximately 42 years ago.

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