Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Our House in the Middle of Our Street

Note to my house guests:

Please look around quickly and take in the details. My house is clean, mostly clean.  In five minutes, we may find crayon on that gleaming floor or smell a ripe diaper instead of Pine sol and bleach. But for the moment, my house is mostly clean.

Thanks to you I finished painting the hallway. Well, almost finished. I pulled off the tape and realized I have a few touch ups to do. How about that color? Pecan is much brighter than Denim!

We mowed the lawn, and I planted a few flowers. I bought a lovely, colorful pot of blooms for the front steps. Two days later, they’re still lovely, but not quite as colorful. Every time Ainsley walks past the pot, she plucks a red blossom to give to me. I consoled myself that there was one large, red blossom still intact. As I walked to the van this morning, I saw Kolbe giving it to Ainsley.  Argh! But how mad can you get when your ten-year-old gives his two-year-old sister flowers?

I’ve scrubbed both toilets not once but twice. Lots of boys here, you know. The sparkling porcelain may not completely obscure the fact that the bathroom we were renovating the last two times you visited is . . .  still being renovated. On the bright side, the floor is finished!  Finishing the floor required addressing some plumbing issues which required removing two bushes and a tree and, well, you get the idea. And yes, we could have outsourced the whole job, but then we would have missed the sight of John and his Dad in their matching headlamps spelunking through the crawl space under the house. Tim and Kolbe have spent a whole lot of Saturdays under the house hanging with their Dad, learning how to push through. That you can’t outsource.

Oh, yeah . . . please do not pull back the shower curtain. That’s where I’m hiding all the stuff that’s headed for the community swap on Saturday. Feel free to take anything you want.

Look at the molding in the dining room! I painted it just for you. I erased the scrawl Ainsley left on the door jamb, but John begged me to leave his signature intact, and so I did.

As you can see I’ve redecorated the babies’ room. As for the odor in there, well, despite encasing both mattresses in plastic, we had a leaky accident the other day. I blotted; I scrubbed; I Febreezed. I had two fans running to dry everything out. I finally just flipped the mattress. It still retains that “eau de toddler boy.”  Sorry about that. That’s why I’m putting you on the bottom bunk.

Just for you, I dusted the living room for the first time in eons and even bleached the cushion covers on the ugly couch. Sadly the arm rests are not removable. They could stand a stiff encounter with some bleach as well. The thing about the ugly couch is this: I’m a much nicer mother because my kids have a place to make forts, enjoy milkshakes and a movie, recuperate from stomach problems. The ugly couch serves a useful purpose. I’ll understand if you pull up a chair.

Then there’s the good couch. Not looking quite so good these days. And the nice chairs? Please ignore the frayed fabric. They’re on the To Do List, really they are.

As for the study, well, we don’t call it the den of iniquity for nothing. That room has a door. We keep it closed.

Our house in the middle of our street.

 As I’ve said before, we live in the living room, we dine in the dining room, we do all the usual things and then some in the bathroom. Martha Stewart won’t be coming by for a photo shoot anytime soon.   

We’ve made two decisions that make our house in the middle of our street a little different than most. First, we joined Alleluia Community and moved into a converted duplex in what was once a drug and crime infested neighborhood. Today it is filled with joggers and kids on bikes. It is not a gated development or a leafy suburb with well- appointed lawns. There is loveliness, to be sure, and there’s a deeper beauty if you look closely and notice the smiles and the waves, the people going into and out of each other’s homes. The love and commitment we share make this neighborhood one of a kind.

Second, we added two babies in our mid to late forties (I was mid; Dave was late). What can I say about that? I’ll take the smelly mattress if it comes with the brown-eyed rapscallion we call John.  I’ll touch up the molding and the door jambs if I get to keep the blond-haired, blue-eyed sweetie who  likes to run around the house yelling, “Happy! Happy!”

As I browsed my photo archives, I came across the one pictured right. A friend of mine has adopted a healthy adage when it comes to her house. “Can you see it on a speeding horse,” she asks herself. Translation: Don’t sweat the small stuff. When you get on your hands and knees, when you’re bleaching and scrubbing and painting, every last flaw is glaring. But when you step back, add a little filter, dim the lights, the whole looks better than the sum of the parts.

Welcome to our house.


Rachel said...

It's beautiful Kel! and you invite people in so freely, which makes it even better.

Tammy G said...

Thanks for writing that because it is so true--bless you and your family.

Kelly said...

Thanks, Rach! That means a lot to me.

Thanks for visiting, Tammy G. Blessings to you, too.