You know how some people name their cars? Herbie. Stella. Norman. (People do that, right? It’s not just that I surround myself with weirdos?) Well, anyway, I never did. A car was a car and I never once thought any of mine deserved names. Perhaps “Asshole” when my Jetta wouldn’t start on a particular ninety degree day in 1999, but that was about it. My houses, on the other hand, are an entirely different story. While I may not actually name them, I definitely personify them.
We’ve lived in the sexy, hot young apartment back in the day when we were a “double income, no kids” couple. We lived in the creepy house whose walls actually bled, and we couldn’t move out of fast enough. We lived in the sweet, pretty little house where we welcomed our first child, and we lived in the lame cookie cutter house where we couldn’t have fit in any less.
Currently, we live in a hundred-plus year house which we bought from a couple in their seventies. They raised their children here and stayed, long after the kids grew up and moved out. The boys’ rooms had been transitioned into home offices and sewing rooms, and the jungle gym in the yard was covered in rust and ivy. Family portraits of milestones past lined the walls, but the noise of family had long ago left these halls. It was a peaceful house. Tranquil. Dignified. Peaceful.
Until we came along.
Please don’t let it be them, please don’t let it be them, please don’t let it be them, I could almost hear the house pray as my family toured it weekend after weekend. While others quietly walked around observing, my kids bolted from room to room, deciding which would be theirs and plotting out the very best spots for hiding and seeking. The house practically pushed us out the front door with what seemed to be wind, but I knew better.
Once we excitedly signed the papers, I couldn’t help but feel a pang of guilt — poor house had no idea what was about to hit her.
ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!? She inaudibly screamed as we turned our brand new keys in the door. THOSE people?!
Indeed. Poor house.
What did I do to deserve this? I imagine her sighing as the kids mount the banisters and slide down them. Are you serious?!! She cries as the door slams shut for the hundredth time in a single day. She rolls her eyes at the front yard, littered with cheap plastic toys and balls in every shape and size. She weeps as her graceful hallways are used for games of freeze tag and wrestling and I can almost feel the house vibrating as she shakes her head over the noise and chaos. Her walls are now in dire need of touch-ups, thanks to grubby fingers and her floors are constantly covered in mystery goo. She’s taken a beating, this house.
But, someday, when the noise isn’t quite so loud and the days aren’t quite so chaotic, I imagine her missing it. The noise and craziness is what makes the house a home, much as it drives her crazy. Deep down, I think she loves it.
Or, perhaps I’m just projecting.
That’s a remote possibility.