2005/04/02

Our house ...

Yesterday (April 1st) was more than just April Fools' Day. Much more. April 1st, twenty-one years ago, my significant other (now my wife) and I moved into this house. We'd both lived in a series of apartments and other rental property, but this was the first place that either of us had lived in as adults that we were going to eventually own. The impressive brick and stone exterior, the basement, those beautiful hardwood floors, the ten foot ceilings, a multitude of windows, gorgeous molding, the giant pin oak in the front yard, and the pecan tree in the backyard was ours. All ours.

Like any house though, this one wasn't perfect. The living and dining rooms were the most depressing shade of green either of us had ever seen. The stone fireplace had for some reason been painted with white enamel. There was hideous black and white tile in the kitchen and equally hideous pink and black tile in the bath. The garage was falling in. The electrical system was in lousy shape, while the plumbing (both kitchen and bath) was quickly circling the drain. (No pun intended.) And, let's not forget the late 1940's era appliances, especially the one we laughingly referred to as the fridge.

That fridge. From the beginning it was a problem. First, it was extremely small. Secondly, either the freezer didn't adequately keep food frozen, or the whole thing became a large chunk of caked ice. Thirdly, and most importantly, the latch on the door didn't always work. On our first night in the house we had some friends over and I couldn't get the fridge door open. For some reason, the only one who could open the fridge, as it was supposed to open was Cowboy. Since he wasn't going to be a part of the household, I had to find somehing to use to pry the fridge door open. The only thing I could find was my machete'. It worked like a charm --- for awhile.

We'd been in the house about two months when the machete' trick stopped working. I arrived home from work one afternoon and dinner wasn't ready. Not that I ever demanded that it be ready when I arrived. You didn't demand with my S.O. It was just that she'd made a habit of having dinner ready. This was strange. She informed me that she couldn't get the f*#kin' fridge door open. So, I tried. No luck. That door wouldn't budge. Right then and there we decided to go fridge shoping on Saturday. In the meantime, I'd remove the hinges and then lift the door off. S.O. would get out whatever she wanted to prepare for dinner. I'd lift the door back into place and then prop it shut with a two-by-four. That would do until the weekend. It seemed like a good idea at the time. (Famous last words.) Anyway, I removed the hinges, lifted the door off, S.O. collected the food, I lifted the door back into place, and then, dropped it. That wasn't in the plan. My pain was so great that I thought my foot was broken. But did I go to the doctor? We went fridge shoping on Saturday.

Our house came with one feature that most house don't come with. Our house came with a dog. (Or, did the dog come with a house?) Whatever. The previous owner was an older gentleman who'd lived in the house with his (only slightly) younger sister. They both had dogs. His was a Spitz named Judy. The sister's dog was a house slipper. They're called "eagle bait" in Alaska and Canada. I don't remember it's name.

At first, Judy was a problem. When her owner died, the sister (and her dog) moved to an apartment. Judy was left alone. The only human contact she received after the sister left was from whoever would show up to feed and water her. That was it. She wasn't played with, talked to, or petted. Dogs need this kind of attention. If they don't receive it they often turn resentful and wary. Sometimes even hostile. That's what happened to Judy.

Once we'd moved in, Judy would have nothing to do with us. Whenever we'd go to the backyard she'd stand off, barking and snarling at us. We seriously considered giving her away. And would have if not for our daughter, Heather. Heather sat on the back steps for weeks with treats. Heather did this for weeks before we noticed that Judy's personality was changing. She still wouldn't come near us, but the barking and snarling had stopped. I guess Judy had finally realized that we were going to be a part of her territory. Several more weeks and Judy was taking treats from all of us. Judy became an important member of the family. (More about Judy in another post.)

Speaking of family, the S.O. and I weren't the only new members of the household. There was also the kids; Heather and Philip. When we moved in Heather was seventeen and Philip was fourteen. They were raised in this house. (More of them later.)

All this was just to make the point that we love our house. There are a lot of good memories here.

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