Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Homeward bound

The question I have is: how long have you lived where you live now? Did you live your childhood in one place?

The question started forming because Husband Jeff's parents recently sold the house they had lived in for 40 years.

Ok, I can type that sentence, but I can hardly imagine it, let alone believe it. 40 years! Who does the same of anything for 40 years? Jeff and I were talking recently...Yeah, you heard that. We went away for the weekend! Alone! Together! So we were, you know, talking. To each other. And no one interrupted us to ask for a snack or tell us about their poop or demand that we sing "All God's Critters Got a Place In the Choir" for the seventeenth time today.

As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted by my own train of thought, we were talking recently about how that whole childhood in one house thing made his neuroses different than mine. He's afraid of wrecking the house, which I'm not at all afraid of ("if we break it, who cares? we'll just move!"). I'm more afraid that our neighbors all know something we dont know and that they're all talking about how we dont know it.

Anyway, since 1968, the places I remember, in the order in which I remember them are:

the seminary apartment
the Taylor's Falls motel
the green house with the orange door
the Hardy's house
that house by the river
the Iron River house
the parsonage
the Ashland house
1425 Woodland
the 3rd Avenue house

and then I turned 21 and I was kind of on my own and it was the usual parade of roommates, dives and duplexes (and, really briefly, co-owning a fixer upper which is a whole other story) until I moved to Seattle seven years ago. My parents, incidentally, got divorced right about then and they've gone to opposite extremes regarding the house thing. My mom and her husband have pretty much made a third job between them out of renovating the farm they live on - they're nesters now. My dad, on the other hand, has kept on changing houses every year or two.

Oh, but this is about me (and really, what isn't?).

So then Jeff and I lived at 6700 (although in two apartments) for 6 years. But that never felt permanent because it was so tiny and anyway I was in school and we looked over the parking lot of a big grocery store and the building manager was dealing crack out of the office. Anyway, we're renting a great house, as of a year ago, which really is just about perfect for us - if I give you all the details (fenced in yard! huge windows! charming fireplace! totally and completely wheelchair accessible!) it's impossible not to sound like a disability rights real estate agent, so I wont give all the details. But it's pretty great.

We've been here a year and we just signed another year lease, because buying a house just seems ecomonically (as well as, you know, given our limited interest and ability in home repair and upkeep projects) a bad idea.

Still, I was surprised that I DID feel jealous when I got a message from my friend today saying that she and her husband are buying a new house. I think I turned out pretty good overall, and all that moving had its advantages, not the least of which is that I can REALLY pack a box of books. However. Somewhere deep in there is that feeling that because we have this kid now, that means settling down and settling down means BUYING A HOUSE. Maybe because of our deep conviction that our landlords (who are expecting a kid of their own in the spring) are going to want THIS house back, this house doesnt seem like our final destination either. (Does anyone RENT the same house for 40 years?)

Where is this rambling all going?
I think it's something about roots and where you put them down, and how.
And if you even need to.

So that's where it came from. The question, I mean. Did you live in the same place for your whole childhood? What difference did it make? Let me know.

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