Huntress of the Lens


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Our house is a very, very, very fine house.

My strange way of moving amuses even me. I have lived in four different houses on this street, with addresses ranging from 1014 to 1037. This house is across the street and four down from the one I started in during the era I was conceiving Molly. She will be 17 in four days, just for time reference. She was conceived to one of the Guns N Roses songs, although I couldn't tell you which.

I've been in this house the longest, we moved in here when she was freshly three years-old. It's technically a two bedroom house, because for some reason the back bedroom is only up to code for an office. My upstairs studio was only rafters and pink itchy insulation when I moved in, I paid a tweaker named Jan to convert it into a real room. He re-framed it into the existing frame, and double insulated every wall and the ceiling. It's a cool room, I've lived in it twice before it became my art studio.

The odd truth is that I have lived in every bedroom of this house at least twice, more than that in some cases. It's moving, but not really moving. I really like the room we're in now, it has a fairly large closet with a lock on its door, I have a love of locks and pass-codes and combinations. It has a window that overlooks the almost quarter-acre back yard and is large enough to arrange it in two entirely different ways. We have had it both ways a few times.

The front bedroom has the hollow-wooden-drum of the staircase to the attic in its closet. This makes for a very strange and sound-amplifying place to store your clothes, and one of the bars is only suited for very short garments, it is so low to the ground.

The back room, the one with the doorway to the yard and the basement is not very large, but has windows across the whole back wall (Old school windows that actually drop down into the wall, not lift up, all painted shut) and a half-bath that I love when I'm living in there since I can keep my bathroom things in one place on shelves instead of in plastic caddies with handles that I have to take in and out of the shower every day. For some reason it really bothers me to think of someone washing with my bar of soap, and I have a life-long fear that someone will pee on my toothbrush. Those things need to be kept separate for safety's sake.

The door to the back yard shifts with the house every year. There is a dead-bolt that slides easily during one season, but misses by a quarter-inch in either direction during other quadrants of the calendar. Every door in this house either sticks or slams easily at some point during the year.

Every time I live in one of the rooms I think it's my favorite, but we're moving into the one at the back of the house at least for the summer. We're the ones with the dogs that want to come in and out incessantly, and we don't want to share a sink and toilet with anyone, other people can be so gross.

Since Michael moved in here July four years ago many improvements have been made. The bathroom floor got squishy and every shower was an episode of "Will this cast-iron tub fall into the basement today or another time?" I paid a combination of 6,000.00 cash and traded tattoos to have the sub-floor replaced and the tub re-installed. Michael brought us a working dishwasher and over-the-stove microwave that actually worked for more than storage. I replaced the refrigerator. My Big Daddy bought me a new stove when I discovered one Thanksgiving morning that the oven had ceased to function.

"Why don't you call the property management company?" I'm often asked. I'll tell you why: I have been renting this house for fourteen years at a rate that seemed high in 1996 but has only been raised seventy-five dollars since then. I do not want them to remember that I'm even here. You can't rent a studio apartment in Napa for the price I pay for this whole old house where I've raised my children and gone through so many major phases of my life. I want to stay here, it's my home.
I have so many pictures of first days of school taken on this front porch. Stories about how things have moved all by themselves. Memories of how I've felt surrounded by family and alternately completely alone in the world right here under this same roof. This has been my home for a long time, and I like to move around in it.

We're going to move our bedroom to the back again, so our dogs can come in and out at will, and hopefully we'll be able to score a salvaged security screen door that locks to get us through the hot season. This means that we have to completely clean the room Paul just vacated so that LM can move into it, and then we can have a month to move out of our current room and into the back room.

I am already tired from all of this, but I know how rejuvenated I feel when I have a new room even if it's not in a new house.

A property-value assessor is coming today to determine just what this property is worth. There is a newly-hatched idea with pin-feathers that are still wet that we may be able to buy this house, and that the current owner may even carry the paper on the mortgage. I have lived for 14 years on a 30 day time-clock that ticks away, always with the possibility of an eviction explosion when the big hand comes around to the zero.

The owner assures me that this property is not for sale, and if it were I would have first crack at trying to make it mine. I used to have a pile of secret savings toward a down-payment on this or something else, but that was consumed by the petulant, hungry monster that was the failing economy of 2008-2010. There is enough money left to buy a really fantastic hand-gun to play Russian Roulette with if we're asked to leave this property. I'd play with six rounds in the chamber and go first though, if the game was on. Forgive me, I have just spent the last few hours with the most negative person on the planet.

Of course this is not true, but you've found me in a moment of hopeless optimism. I just want this guy in and out of here again, I don't enjoy strangers in my house.

The thought of cleaning my closet is akin to the task of moving a pile of sand from here to there with a pair of tweezers, and that is ahead of me next. Based on results I do not need a day to rest from my normally busy life, because I won't be having one.

This is my story, and I'm sticking with it.

1 comment:

  1. Aww, you are moving into my favorite room of the house! Except that bathroom scares me, it makes noises at night. Although I do love the room you are moving out of. It is a peaceful room and you can climb in and out of the window into the back yard if you dont want to wake anyone up using the extremely loud front door that only works half of the year. I dont like the front room and never wanted to live there. It didnt matter who lived in it, it was always cluttered and had chaotic energy. I love the attic but it gets hot and cold and the stairs creek. I always wondered what it would be like to make a room in the basement but Molly swears there is monsters in there. Each room has so much character, I wonder why we never named them? I love your house and the good and bad memories it holds. That house has so many stories to tell.


The fish can fly, the dogs and cats dance together and all the flowers are edible.