“I can see the outside from the inside,” I repeated to my husband. “Not through the window.”
This sentence summarizes what homeownership means to me. You hand over an arm and a leg for a gorgeous, 1940’s home with original hardwood floors, wall to wall windows, and a square footage that could eat your apartment almost four times for dinner.
On Labor Day, I walked in blissfully to surmise the property that would now be MY estate. My domain to host fabulous events, to create a hearth and sense of family, and to clean in a pretty polka-dotted apron. Here I would feed all the forest animals that came out of the naturally landscaped brush of the backyard, and coo at the hummingbirds while perfectly watering my newly-planted flowers. We would have all of our friends over to tailgate, and walk breezily to the TCU games. It was just so homey.
But once stripped of it’s contents (the owners tried to sell me of them, but $2,500 for a couch left me in an awkward stupor), it looked like it had housed many a soccer team. Chips, dents, bad touch-ups, a fireplace unswept for over 20 years, linoleum with cracks, faucets that didn’t produce heat, etc. And an all black room with orange curtains. I was in hell…in my own home.
Then the water heater busted. Then the air conditioner. Then the dryer didn’t connect to a gas outlet, or the washer to a rusty pipe. Then there weren’t three-prong plugs to plug in say, a computer…or a television. Then I called AT&T to find out there is not high-speed internet wiring in my neck of the woods, only DSL. Oh, and I need a dish because we don’t get reception on this street. Then I ripped up the carpet to find said gaping hole to the outdoors, where water damage had chewed through the 2×4’s and insulation right into the master bedroom.
Then God sent me a painter gone design aficionado. A man of 57, he quit cocaine at the ripe age of fifty. He has fabulous veneers and starts every country slurl with, “now let me just tell you something.” He has opinions about a lot more than the paint. “See this tile right here?” he asks. “I can rip this up and replace it for $300.” He beams, knowing he’s cutting me quite the deal.
When I was at work this week, I received a text from him. “U want shades?” I didn’t know what he was talking about. “You mean, like blinds?” I ask. “Yes.” He says. “Why?” I ask, confused why the painter has any interest in my window dressings. “They r ugly.” He says. When I came home, the window coverings were gone.
My charming estate now has zero flooring, and contractors are everywhere. I’ve left them fruit snacks in an effort to thank them for the long project ahead. Heavens knows I can’t lose that painter. And what screams goodwill more than childhood snacks?