I am over Charming

I feel lucky to own my home, don’t get me wrong. I am a middle class housewife. My husband still tells me I’m cute and provides nicely. Gratitude stifles me daily. But being a homeowner at the middle income, two- car, two kid, one income level- it sort of sucks away any hopes of having a real hobby. I remind myself daily- I could get up earlier and then, my nose is cold protruding from the covers and the coffee doesn’t brew until 8:00 and I know, living in Seattle what really good coffee tastes like so, I want to delay the joy a little longer, so I close my eyes again and dream I’m far, far away, somewhere they consider Dunkin Donuts good coffee.
Let it be known, I am a kind wife –I never make honey-do lists. There is a list in my head-however of things; improvements, that if completed, would be the frosting on the cake of daily living. That list, however, does not have this month’s new priority on it. Locate ant hole. Yes ants. My neighbor calls them sugar ants and says she has them too, as if this should make me feel better. I haven’t a care if they have an affinity for sugar or rare steaks, In true Seattle form, they weren’t invited in. This is not a new tale. We’ve had other specious incestuous in my lovely 40’s ranch style home, where I have lived for nearly fifteen years. We have had wasps, ladybugs, rats (in the garage, and dead in the walls) and now ants… what will find it’s way through the imperfections of my walls next? I could have hours of fun with an infrared device. The perfectionist in me is excited to be ripping out some bathroom walls this month. Making the second bathroom less hideous so they’ll use it, plucking out the delicate pedestal, nicest feature and replacing it with a more useful sink space. The one I wash my face in nightly seems to be waiting for me to insert more quarters before the water gets warm. New water heaters aren’t fun to pick out like tile. I do find some joy in knowing a new home owner would miss out on the excitement of tear downs. There’s something cool about needing plastic eyewear and a rubber coated sledge hammer to improve things. I should really make sure this jives with my monthly calling to seek and destroy. Yanking out pink octagon tiles with a tom girls’ fervor has never seemed so appealing.
The GOOD about 1940’s homes are the sturdy “less is more,” minimalist qualities. What old homes remind me of is how much I know about modern day amenities. I know a garbage disposal only as a frivolous extra. I daydream about high efficiency appliances….cause we extroverted types that have become more introverted by living in a city where dog walkers avoid eye-contact- we daydream about heated floors and backyard saunas made from cedar from our own trees. We also revel in that we are experienced handymen-cause we’ve replaced a thing or two. Yes -True- home owners of overly “charming” homes are clearly more skilled. I sit, doing my weekly meditation, pondering this life, my household projects, just as my husband instructed me –with my New Yorker in hand just long enough to leave a ring around my ass. Homeowners meditate this way, really. We have learned to be thrifty, and innovative. Mostly we need remodel money, so meditation classes in Green Lake are out. We sit perched on our Toto’s…okay, okay, I live in Seattle I am also one of those non-jaywalker types -whose hopeless honesty burdens me to point where I must confess, it isn’t really a Toto. I have a high literacy rate too, I use the library, I cut coupons, I have scoured lots of books on lots of subjects and know that the Toto is the Range Rover of toilets. I flush an American Standard…. I aspire for gas ranges, real stone brickwork, soaker tubs, French doors that open to patios we’ll use only 10 weeks out of the year. Yes we Seattle folks know bitter, not better, bitter. We know appreciation. We know the extra reward the sun brings. It sheds light on things that once baffled us. Like how lovely it is to keep busy with Home projects. How lucky we are to have to clean water, albeit cold, coming from our faucets. How exterminators are one quick phone call away and our critters are manageable and not taking to the streets. Realizing that charming means old brings me comfort. The phrase “starter home” in today’s trying times, may just mean “count your blessings” forever home. Hmmm perhaps now that I have identified the problem with my house, I can make friends with it?

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