Where The Heart Is . . .

After my nostalgic post of two days ago, I got to feeling a tad bit guilty … kind of like Jerry Seinfeld when his best friends discover he’s been holding out on them in some underhanded way. In an effort at full disclosure, this post presents the rest of the story.

I remember the first time I drove by the house pictured in my other post. Before moving to Arkansas, we’d come to town to find a house, relying on a realtor to show us what was available. When we drove by the house (on our way to another place), I’d noticed a fohome sweet homer-sale sign in the yard. I remember thinking the place looked so homey, so inviting, but those were the very factors that made me believe it would be way above our price range. It was only after we’d looked at numerous other places and checked them off our lists that I happened to mention this house to the realtor. (No internet back then, a hit-and-miss MLS … how did people ever manage to buy or sell?!)

Soon enough, we discovered this house was in our price range … precisely because it was a fixer-upper. In retrospect, I think our first impression did it. The “curb appeal” effectively won our hearts. During our first inspection, both my husband and I definitely wore our rose-colored glasses. By the time we entered the home, we were more than willing to look past the imperfections, and there were many.

Because we were young, we believed we could do anything, even renovate a house! Have I ever mentioned how naive we were?! (This was in the days before Armando Montelongo and Property Brothers made renovations look almost effortless, so we can’t blame our fools-rush-in impulse on a television show.) Our plan was to gradually apply the necessary fixes over time and as funds allowed. Getting settled, becoming familiar with the house would come first. Then we’d work on improving it.

Things rarely turn out that way, do they?

The renovation kicked into high gear when an unexpected plumbing issue presented itself two days after we’d moved in! When all was said and done, what money we’d set aside for furnishings and decorating was spent instead on the unforeseen installation of new plumbing and sewage lines inside and outside the house. (Water lines in the slab had failed and sewer lines had been punctured by tree roots.)

If you’ve watched any of the home improvement shows, you’re familiar with the scenario: dopey homeowners get involved in a renovation and soon find the task of remodeling far more complex than expected. In those days, Bob Vila (he didn’t have gray hair back then) and This Old House were our only point of reference; Vila and his crew would work on the major tasks while the dopey homeowner scraped off wallpaper or layers of paint. Dopey homeowners wonder why they ever thought any of it was a good idea. Yep, we were those dopey homeowners.

During that period of tedious wallpaper removal, scraping, sanding and applying all manner of home improvements, the poem below began to form itself in my brain. I suppose completing the poem helped me regain some perspective, and when I think of our remodeling stint, I have a powerful reminder of something I never wish to do again!

The nostalgia I felt after my recent drive-by view of the house needs to be balanced by this poem. I wouldn’t want to create the impression it was a perfect place. We did love that house and it was a good place, a place where we shared many beautiful memories and occasional heartaches. Our Home and the cherished memories … those are what will live in our hearts.

old house, this old house, antique, depreciation, poetry, light verse, poem
Poem: This Old House


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