Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Owning an Old House

I'm taking a little break from stripping the front porch to write about stripping the front porch. Suddenly, it becomes clear to me why people love to write, it is cooler and works different muscles.

The home we live in was built in 1889 and you can tell that immediately. Not because of the quaint architecture but because some part of the house is peeling, at all times. I had no idea what owning an old house meant, I just knew that I was drawn to the energy and sense of history that older homes exude. The minute I walked into our house, my gut told me that we would be here as long as we lived in New England. My husband's gut told him the same thing, because very few people would buy a house this old. So here we are, falling behind more and more each year.
In the beginning years, we did basic work: new heater, new roof, new windows (the old ones were circa early 1900s and they made a very cool rattling sound, before the rain and snow came in). We had the floors redone and put in new sinks in the bathrooms. We had no money or time for aesthetic work so our butterfly wallpaper and yellow toilet are still hanging tough in the downstairs bathroom.
That is the thing with an old house, you are running uphill to keep your house from sliding downhill...did I mention we need some foundation work done? Last summer, it was replacing our old picket fence and this summer, everything needs to be painted. Inside and outside.
Still, we have an acre to play on and I can garden until the cows come home...the state of my garden is a post for another time but we have had a couple of tomatoes and cukes and plenty of herbs. Our pumpkins are the real showstoppers and I put my faith in them. I don't ever sweat it when kids are romping through because the house was made for messiness and clutter and worn-in-ness.
Our realtor told us this house used to be a chapel. I can feel the holiness in trying to keep things going. Each project has it's moments of loss of faith, repentance, and redemption. All we can do is be fully present in the middle of the chaos...and that, my friends, I can do.

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