I’d never owned a house. I was, until I met Karen, a gypsy of sorts. I moved and moved all up and down the valley, over to the beach, down to Southern Oregon, and back to the valley. When a person moves so much they tend to pare down. Meaning I also didn’t have much in the way of stuff. Some books and music, of course, and same old boxes of papers and some memorabilia from childhood, but otherwise not much. What I owned fit into a small Uhaul.
My life was, to a certain point, about movement, change, experience. The places I lived were weigh stations and spots to put my head at night, places to keep my CD’s and my stereo. They were not home.
Then she walked in. She walked in and some months later we bought a house. We owned a house. It was my first one. More than that though, we made a life there. The house was home for me, really, from the moment I stood on the front deck that hot summer day, wind moving through the trees, peace… quiet. I can’t explain that feeling, though I’m sure many reading this have had it. It felt right. Puzzle pieces moving, click, into place. The sound of that wind in the trees, a bit like the sound of the ocean, eyes closed listening, and instantly a house suddenly became a home.
We moved each of our things in, things that had been separate but were then combined. Things which had been mine and hers, but were then ours. We bought furniture together to fill the rooms and pots and pans and silverware to fill the kitchen. We bought art, oh how we love our art, and TV’s, cool bookends, and shampoo. We worked on the yard, planting flowers we chose, and putting up hanging baskets. We got wind chimes and hand blown glass hummingbird feeders, had decks, a paved driveway, and fences put in. Karen built tables and things in the shop, I took photo after photo after photo of the flowers in the yard. I trimmed trees, she weeded, I worked on the Japanese Garden, she mowed. We hauled in loads of topsoil, spread a bit of bark dust, and moved tons of rainbow rock. We lived.
Karen and I both got sick in the house, but we also recovered there. We added on a master bathroom and painted some of the rooms. Mom got married there, we threw big and small get togethers, we brought home both our babies, Weston and Riley, who loved it and called it there own, relishing the use of their doggie door and playing Chuckie in the yard. We sat in the hot tub at night, stars all around, and listened to the deer walking on the hillside. We even had a mountain lion living at the house for a time.
In our house we laughed, and danced, and cried, and hugged, and sometimes yelled. In our house we ate, watched TV, played cards, got snowed in, had visits from mostly everyone we love, watched the deer, and tasted good wine. In our house we loved each other.
A house is just a house, until suddenly it becomes a home. We poured our lives and love and heart and our souls into it and it gave back in kind. It is a reflection of the life being lived in it and ours was beautiful. That house, our first house, was not just a house to us, it was our home. A home we both loved… and love still.