House/Home Pt. 1: Landing

April 25, 2014

I was raised in Ohio, lived in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for two years, and moved to Minnesota in 2000 for college. In 2004, I worked in the UK for 7 months, briefly returned to Michigan, then landed in Minneapolis in the Fall of 2005. I've been here ever since. I've lived in ten Twin Cities homes-- three of them with Ben. Whether in Uptown or Caerphilly, Wales, I've prided myself on making a home.

Frequent moving has its perks. Namely: I usually avoid accumulating shit (and I've strongly encouraged my partner in this direction). Stuff feels like 'stuff', and I don't shrug to get rid of glasses when I realize we haven't used them, or that sweater I was given as a gift that still stays in the back of my closet. I like knowing what I have, and using what I have.

We moved from a duplex that we rented from family. The perk of that was permission to make lots of changes: removing the cabinets, painting, putting in a wall shelf or two. The space was larger that we needed, but perfect for cramming people in for Small Arts or brunch parties. It was damn charming: blue and red walls, loads of sunlight, with a spiral staircase! We totally had that moment after we put the offer on our house where we looked around and reconsidered. It wasn't until we packed our stuff into boxes that we decided it wasn't that amazing after all. You know what's amazing? This strange little life. Sure, we've collected some cute shabby-chic (I just learned this was a thing) furniture over the years, and Ben likes to put up twinkle lights everywhere and paint walls bright colors. But...want to make a great home? Do great things in it. Have nice people over for brunch; plant something in your yard; bring people together for some art; cook eggs and enjoy them over coffee with your husband's hilarious, sarcasm-filled story; put your buddies' prints on the wall; get rid of the shit you don't need, and buy some of the stuff you love.

the end of the night....
the next day...
Mad King Thomas came to our home with a performance about home. They started off with a powerpoint about definitions of home, and then landed on 'home' as being about family and history. We spent the night learning about their three histories. 25 people, split into three groups, ran around our house. There was a death scene in our bed, a puzzle put together at our kitchen table, and a dance I learned in our living room, taught by DVD. At the end we ate cake in the kitchen and toasted with champagne. That day marked seven weeks of living in the house, but we hadn't had more than a handful of people over to see the space. The boxes were unpacked, and half the house painted (Ben finished my office chalkboard wall a few hours before the performance), but that night was the first time the place felt like home. Decked in streamers, balloons and wine glasses, the house never looked better. Our cats are Mad King Thomas' most loyal fans.

In the coming weeks I will write about paint colors, and maybe even that time Ben spent hours changing a light fixture. In the coming years I will tell you about the too-steep staircase, the empty lot next door that we pretend is ours, and the weird basement door. Buying a house doesn't make us grownups (I have much more grownup friends that rent), but it does force me to think twice (three times) about moving, and makes me want to know that pack of children that live on our block a little better. I've haven't made it to the two-year mark in a house since 1998. That's a while, folks. When I get itchy for a move I'm going to take a vacation, plant a tree, or get a haircut. Maybe all three. It's not about the house: it's about the life built in the house. It's pretty nice to land and focus on the life.

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