Monday, February 18, 2013

Home Sweet Home

There is a welcome gentle rain falling on the windows, and I am going to treat myself to go upstairs to the living room and choose a new book to begin reading.  I recently finished Wuthering Heights and Unbroken, so I get to begin a different book.

After leaving Woodsong shortly after 6 a.m. on Saturday and not reaching back home until a bit after ten last night, home seems very sweet.  Although I loved working outside the house, I used to look forward to being back at Pondside Farm,  As I approached the house in the evening, in my mind, I  called it my “Pleasure Palace.”  I knew that the newspaper, magazines, and books awaited me there.  The same feeling comes when I reach Woodsong, our retirement home.

I was very reluctant to build this new house, a half mile away and leave Pondside Farm.  We had remodeled more than once at Pondside adding more room, and though it was not a luxurious home, it suited me very well.  One remodeling had added a floor-to-ceiling book case in the small entrance foyer. (I had gotten the idea from a magazine photo.) I had a favorite chair in the living room, far enough from the family room that I could not hear the television there. This was especially neat when our teenagers had friends in.  I could occasionally check in on them, but their noise was shut out for the evening.  In addition to our bedroom, there were finally four small bedrooms so all four children had their own.  (Now no one could blame the roommate for a messy room!) 
Except for the major remodeling that lasted one very long  summer living with carpenters and falling plaster, one falling carpenter in fact, and flies coming in torn down openings,  the other smaller remodeling jobs there were Gerald’s.  Frankly, that was one of the reasons he wanted to build a new house.  He was sick and tired of working on that old house with its uneven floors and too many memories of past projects that might need to be repeated as natural aging continued to take place.   (Even with this well-built new house, we found out, he has had plenty of upkeep to attend to, but at least it was a refreshing change from the old house.)

One of the funniest projects over at Pondside, at least afterwards, was what we thought was going to be a rather simple bathroom remodeling.  Of course, all this work was in addition to Gerald’s farming activities. We had invited my family for one evening during our annual (at that time) Martin reunion.  We were very excited that we had relatives all the way from Oregon to Pennsylvania who were going to be able to come. But somehow everything took much longer than planned.  I think it was only the day before our party that the bathroom toilet stool and other building materials were still strung out from the bathroom to the family room and sitting under the wonderful old maple tree outside the family room back door. Gerald and I were both somewhat aghast at what our relatives might think if they arrived Saturday night to see that toilet bowl under the tree.  But Gerald heroically met the challenge, and a nice new bathroom was ready for use with no sign of the previous cluttered yard.  With cousin Barbara’s help, we were ready for guests and we had a good time.

Here at Woodsong every thing is arranged, if possible, for Gerald’s and my convenience and desires.  (That includes enough old couches, in addition to the one less bedroom that Pondside had, in order to handle the influx of grandkids, which we wanted.) Naturally there have been some mistakes we made in our planning, but not enough to matter in terms of enjoying our home. 

Unlike Gerald, I loved old houses.  (I did not have to do all the repair and remodeling work.  He did.)  However, there were two main reasons I was reluctant to move.  The Pondside home held so many memories of our children that I was sentimental about leaving. I did suffer just a mite the first Christmas, which seemed strange in a new house. That year I did not want to look at photos of past Christmases. But this house now has so many memories of its own that I no longer think with regret about the other one. The second reason I did not want to move was an etched-in memory from Gerald’s grad school days at the University of Illinois. Every time we went home for a weekend, we would pass a beautiful farm home that Gerald had heard about in class.  The farmer and wife had built this dream house only to have the husband have a heart attack soon afterwards, and she was a widow there.  Although I was young, this story deeply affected me, and I had a lump in my throat every time we passed it. When we considered building, I had a fear of that happening to us. Finally, Gerald persuaded me by asking me if I thought we were both likely to live five more years, and I honestly did. He then asked if that would make it worth while to make the move, and I agreed it would.  We have lived here over eleven years now, and I am grateful for his persuasion.

Last night after the two days of being a caregiver for our daughter Katherine with progressive MS, I was very tired when I returned home.  So I welcomed being off my feet and leisurely eating my late supper while reading Saturday’s newspaper that Gerald had saved and then glancing through Sunday’s. A final pleasure was a hot bath in my own tub and gong to bed in our very comfortable bed at midnight. I slept until 10:07 this morning and then caught up with a few things in the kitchen to have our lunch ready when Gerald returned from the therapy he is taking for shoulders and neck pain. I had managed to check my email and a do a tiny bit of catch-up on Facebook this morning, and this afternoon I was able to check out more on the University of Georgia’s website and other online sites about the softball team, where our granddaughter Geri Ann has hit a home run in the past four games.  Of course, Gerald had watched the games on Game Tracker and kept me pretty much informed already. 

Now I better quit reminiscing and go upstairs and choose that new book to read before supper time gets here.  I just suggested to Gerald that while he is in town that he go through a drive-in and bring us home a supper instead of my fixing us a light meal.  Not only will that taste better than what I might fix, there will be no clean up and I can read in that book a bit longer!

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