“I hear there are people who actually enjoy moving. Sounds like a disease to me – they must be unstable. Though it does have it’s poetry, I’ll allow that. When an old dwelling starts looking desolate, a mixture of regret and anxiety comes over us and we feel like we are leaving a safe harbor for the rolling sea. As for the new place, it looks on us with alien eyes, it has nothing to say to us, it is cold.” ~~ Jan Neruda in Prague Tales
One year ago today we moved into our house. We were so proud. So happy. We both loved our year spent in the apartment at Spring Chase when I first moved to Georgia but there was nothing compared to the joy of moving into our house. We spent months searching. Months and months and months; I can say “months” a few more times but I think you get it. We knew what we were looking for, what we wanted, our vision, and we just couldn’t find it. But we didn’t give up. We went to see the worst possible houses that could ever exist. We went through the most vile of abodes that one could stomach. We toured houses far out-of-town that would have jacked up our gas/car bills every month. We went through it all. And then we found the place we wanted to call home.
Zach, it was finally worth the wait. Through the months we spent searching and the number of horrible houses we went into all we wanted was a place we had a vision of. One we would walk into and see “our home”. One that we were willing to undertake the necessary repairs just to make it ours. I had begun to give up hope but then something great happened. We discovered this place. Countless hours online researching, numerous conversations with unhelpful landlords, an unfathomable amount of time spent in the car driving around town seeking out any signs advertising houses we might be interested in. Our actions may have appeared that we were desperate to get out of the apartment, but that wasn’t the case. We loved the apartment. I still love that apartment. But we were ready for a house, a yard, a driveway…. our own space.
As soon as we saw this place, we knew. It didn’t matter that it had been shut up for six months and needed a lot of work. The damages, the mold, the stains could have defeated anyone else before even starting the renovation process. But we saw the future. We saw the goal. We saw something in it that we didn’t see in anything other house we went through. We saw the home that was lurking behind the gruesome shadows of this broken-down house. We were willing to work for it. We wanted it.
Zach, you know exactly why I say it was the hottest day that ever was. It was excruciating. We repetitively cursed the stupidity of moving in the month of May in south Georgia. The heat was overwhelming, sickening, disgusting, brutal. But we somehow managed to quickly pack up the apartment and get ready for May 21st, 2011; moving day.
I’m not going to begin to describe the BS drama with U-Haul here because this was the second time we had experienced such a brutal conflict with this company, but I don’t want to go on a rampage or describe your utter frustration when I am trying to write about the joy of our moving day. It wouldn’t fit together. Maybe another day. Zach, that move was such a hassle, a battle. But once we finally had everything unloaded and thrown inside the house at the end of an excruciating day, we were so relieved to be home. Our home. It didn’t matter how many obstacles had stood in our way, how many roadblocks we had encountered, how much there was to unpack or organize. It didn’t matter that all we could manage was a fitted sheet thrown on top of the mattress on the floor for our first sleep in the house. All that mattered was that we were home.
Zach, the month of May in 2011 brought heat with such intensity it was hard to go outside without being drenched in sweat let alone slaving inside without any A/C. You just couldn’t rationalize having the air blowing around dust onto freshly painted walls. I agreed but I am fairly certain we both lost about 10 pounds that weekend and the following one just from the amount we sweated. We spent one weekend cleaning the house that had somehow been locked up and empty for six months (still not understood why because the house, backyard, and neighborhood are amazing!), moving, unpacking, and organizing. We had our work cut out for us.
That second weekend we both know that we did much more to this house than we should have considering we are just renting. But it was our vision and we wanted to get it done. We painted every single room in the sweltering heat. There were electrical outlets that needed to be rewired, baseboards to be repaired and repainted in the excruciating humidity, carpets to be cleaned, light fixtures to be replaced, bathroom tiles to be glued down, faucets to be replaced, window screens to be repaired. I could keep going. The list is actually endless. It was an extremely overwhelming task but it was ours and although it was the hottest moving day that ever was, it was ours; our vision and our home. I would never dream to have been anywhere else.
Zach, I can’t believe it has been one year already. I cannot believe that the absolute pride we felt moving into this house has vanished. It no longer means as much. Am I still proud of our house? Our renovations? The amount of work, time, and money we put into it? Can I see the worth regardless of the sweat and heat? Of course. I am insanely proud of our home. We did good. We were a great team. We turned this house into something it could have never been otherwise. But now what does all that mean? It doesn’t mean as much.
This is our home. It always will be. This house screams your existence because you are meant to be here and because every surface, appliance, fixture, and electrical outlet has your touch. Everything about this house still stands in this great condition because of you. I was only your “sous chef” of the house renovation world. We did it all. I just desperately wish you were still here to enjoy and love it with me. This home is so empty without you.
“A house is made of walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams.”
~~ Christian Morganstern