A few months ago, while visiting our friends Sandy and Bob Underwood (who own The Printing Press in North Charleston), Geoff and I got a tour of their home. It was large and open, but still warm and inviting. I admired it openly, maybe a bit effusively.
"Actually, I love it, too," Sandy said. She acted embarrassed by her confession, like it was somehow wrong to feel such affection for a house. I teased her, saying that at least she had obvious reasons for being fond of her home and that if I said the same about ours, visitors would suggest I visit either a psychiatrist or an eye doctor.
"But I can tell you love your house," Sandy said. "Just the way you talk about it and how proud you seem of how you're fixing it up ... You're every bit as smitten as me."
Sandy mentioned something she'd once read in a book where the writer said that even though she knew many homes were far more elegant than hers, every time she turned down the lane and saw her house, her heart skipped a beat.
That description stuck with me. I feel that way, too.
There are many occasions when, while pulling in or out of our driveway, I'll pause to look at our house. Sometimes I'm just doing a quick assessment of the most-needed to-do's - the section of missing gutter guard, the paint-chipped storm door, the missing fieldstone in the walk - but more often, I'm simply appreciating how cozy it looks, how nice it is to know that it's ours.
Our house suits me, and in a strange sort of way the house kind of is me - it shows its age and needs attention. The gutters sag and the lawn is thinning and there's far more junk in the basement than I'd like, but it's comfortable, softened and quirky. At times it may seem like it's falling apart, but it's the kind of place where no one will ask if they should take off their shoes. It is what it is, and I am what I am.
That doesn't mean I'm not frequently frustrated by my needy abode. I don't like how little time and money and energy I have to work on the house. I don't like that my life is so overly scheduled that to finish what I've started usually requires most of my yearly allotment of vacation days. And I really don't like having to pretend the tub isn't pink.