The home as a hobby
I wonder,Â can you fall hopelessly in love with a house?
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Looking back over my relationships with men, Iâ€™ve come to the conclusion that the most uncomplicated love of my life isÂ the affair Iâ€™m having with aÂ very imperfectÂ cottage that sits on a cluttered corner in downtown Starkville.
I fell in love more than 40 years ago when I spotted a â€śFor Sale by Ownerâ€ťÂ sign in the yard.Â The cottageÂ wasnâ€™t particularly attractive, but it called my name.Â Before dark, I hadÂ proposed my quirky unionÂ with a house,Â and it was accepted.Â Unfortunately, I wouldnâ€™t move in for another 20 years.Â
In addition to most of the men in my life, that was a big mistake.
The house was rented out, and we moved to The Big Easy instead.Â When my wandering years ended and I returned to my roots, I finally moved into the home which was considerably more dilapidated than I had realized.
I discovered the entire house didnâ€™t include a single right angle. I figure it was probably ordered from a Sears catalog and whoever put it together had a serious drinking problem.Â Whenever I put a pen on a table â€“ it rolls south and plummets to the floor.
It also bleeds, and Iâ€™m thinking of offeringÂ tours at Halloween.Â No joke.Â When I hammer a nail in the wall, this sticky reddish brown stuffÂ oozes down the wall to the floor in some rooms.Â Someone speculated that the heart pine construction might be releasing sap when punctured.Â Â
I prefer to tell folks that it bleeds.Â Itâ€™s aÂ great way to get rid ofÂ company that overstays their welcome.Â
One of myÂ favoriteÂ pastimesÂ is perusing used book stores for volumes on homes and housekeepingÂ published during the turn of the last century. Iâ€™m fascinated to learnÂ how our great-grandparents were living during the period when my littleÂ abode wasÂ still shiny and new.
A Google search popped up Arnold Bennett, a British novelist who penned a littleÂ commentary onÂ â€śHow to Live on 24-Hours a day.â€ťÂ I got a copy andÂ was surprised to learn that lifeÂ at the turn of the last century was justÂ as difficult as it is today. Â
Among jewels gleaned from Bennettâ€™s work was a wise recommendation to make the perfection of your home a hobby rather than drudgery.Â
Well, for Peteâ€™s sake, thatâ€™s what Iâ€™ve been trying to do for the past 12 years, but perfection eludes me! But thatâ€™s okay.Â I canâ€™t imagine living in a perfect home with a perfect garden in a perfect world.Â What wouldÂ I do withÂ my time?
I fear that my home is a reflection of myself.Â A little shabby in some areas, and way over the top in others. And just like a man, it can infuriate me to the point of madness.Â
Each night, when I lie down, I look up at the spider web which has been attached to the ceiling for going on six years.Â I donâ€™t know why I donâ€™t get a ladder and clean it off, but hey, a spider needs a home too!
Emily Jones is a retired journalist who edits a website for bouncing baby boomers facing retirement.Â She welcomes comments at www.deludeddiva.com.