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By Friday, July 26, 2013 , , ,

our home :: paper cut, 2012
I dream and dream big.  About homes with country cute kitchens, deep and wide apron front skins, warm windows and cool counters.  About homes with rich hardwood floors and walls that are not a hundred different shades of white.  About homes with yards for barbecuing, chicken raising, and vegetable garden planting.

Chapter 1, the little house next to the park with orange shaggy carpet.  I was a little kid with a strong need to put everything in my mouth.  I know exactly what that carpet tasted like and the dark wood kitchen table with slightly tacky varnish.  The third bedroom was always cool and musky.  In there, we'd put the 'When Rock Was Young' record on and we'd sit with our backs against the door locking out our little sister.  After baths we'd get wrapped in big towels and dressed in front of the double-sided wall heater.  The good side - the one that didn't face the front windows - was always fought over.  On summer nights when we were put to bed before the sun had set I would watch the backyard willow tree reflected in the glass of a picture frame on the wall.

Then we moved.  To a bigger house with a bigger yard that came with a puppy.  To the house my parents still live in today.  And when we go back to visit my body still knows where to step to avoid the creaky wood floor in the hallway.  First a room shared with my sister where dolls and stuffed animals and books filled the built-ins that ringed windows that opened on to the front porch.  A second room all my own and walls I covered with pictures of friends and windows that also opened to the front porch.  Sleeping in on the weekends in the winter was always cut short by the forced air heat turning on, bringing the temperature in my room up to sauna levels.  I would relax in the hammock under the apple trees, play shoot out in the drive way, and pull my bike out of the garage to ride to school and swimming.

And then I went away to school.  There was the dorm room shared with many popcorn, Disney movie roomie bonding nights.  It was a cold, red brick cell with a door we decorated and of course the bathroom shared with 20 other girls.  The morning after my parents dropped me off - last goodbyes already said - I woke up to my mom tapping our ground floor window.  Something about a sweatshirt that was forgotten.  Two floors up lived the guy who would become my boyfriend and then my husband.  We'd meet in the stairwell and walk to 'late night' at VG's.  He, that guy who's now my husband, could pack away a surprising number of chicken nuggets.

The next year it was brand new apartments built right on campus.  The epitome of builder basic white on white, but at least they were brand new and clean.  And a private bedroom after all those months sharing in the dorms was very exciting.  We moved off campus to a cute Victorian apartment and then to a still cute but not as nice old Craftsman by the railroad tracks.  But not that either of those places are that strongly imprinted on my memory.  Instead, I spent most of my time in the drafty four bedroom, one bath place where Lukas lived with three other guys.  That place had a big squishy couch and a kitchen separated from the seldom used dinning area by a pass-through glass fronted cabinet.

To a summer spent on my cousins' floor after graduation.  Eating all their fruit and riding my bike through morning fog to the coffee shop.  And then on to L.A. with a roommate who would pretend she had a nose job by sticking a clothespin up her nose.  The ground floor apartment with eight square feet of kitchen space and the sunlight that came in through the bay window in front on quite weekend mornings.  

Finally an apartment all my own - just my name on the lease for a place walking distance to the train station.  That first night there I bought myself an Ikea couch just so that I wouldn't have to sleep on the floor.  And the next morning I walked to work hearing sounds of 'I'm Your's' coming from the car dealership.  That place where we learned we really didn't want to have neighbors living above us - like ones who play drumming video games or walk around in stilettos {it would have been more interesting had that been the same person, but it wasn't}.  So, when the lease was up we were ready for something new.

When we found it I wanted to rush to put in our application just to make sure we got it - the place with big, white shuttered windows.  And now each day I come back to this little long and skinny pea green house.  I don't notice the outlets that have never worked nor the high traffic carpet that has a propensity for gathering clumps of fur that the cat thinks are the perfect supplement to his diet.  We've filled into every space - a pantry that's severely disorganized and laundry in a perpetual state of needing to be folded.  The fuzz ball eating cat that loves to be chased back and forth across the house in the mornings and to take naps in the big window or sunny spots.

This is home.  But still that doesn't keep me from dreaming big about that perfect, to-our-taste little house that's out there.  A place that's all our own.  A place that we'll fill with home, just like we've done here.  We're not waiting for that perfect place that will make everything better.  Because when things are so awesome already... imagine how much more awesome they can be!

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