Sunday, November 21, 2010

Day one thousand and forty . . . Home again.

I'm watching the game while Jodi sits in front of a roaring fire she built.

This kind of thing is pretty standard these days. It's something we did a lot of this last year, too.
It's comfortable here like a home should be.

Today we spent drinking coffee and shopping for Jodi's relatives who we'll be seeing on Thanksgiving. We bought some chocolate and browsed through a couple of baby stores, as we're both at an age where shopping for other people's children has become the norm. I had heard legend that this was a possibility someday and I'm glad I have lived this long to see it come to pass.

We ran back and forth hurriedly over the patio a couple of times in and out the threshold--racing the setting sun--to grab a movie to return and a hat one of us forgot. I held the door for her and then she for me. I looked longingly at the patio set that will have to find a place to spend the rest of this frigid New England winter. We turned the outside lights on at five o'clock.

These are things that we did because we live here together in this house.

And it was two years ago today that I signed the papers to make it officially mine.

Two years ago I was given a set of keys and a hug from my realtor.

Two years ago my friends Paul and John helped me move my meager possessions in through the doorway.

Two years ago I met my neighbors who have all grown--children, pets, and adults alike--as have I. We've experienced ups and downs and everything in between. We know a lot of details of these experiences because we share such a small slice of this little village--this four house street--but there is, I'm sure, just as much that we don't know. And this is the way I would expect it.

I've had parties. I've had band rehearsals. I've lost twenty pounds. I've shaved my face and liked it for the first time in my life and kept it that way for over a year. I've had first dates. I've had second dates. I've cooked my first ever Valentine's Day dinner. I've fallen in love. I've had arguments. I've cried. I've consoled. I've asked for forgiveness. I've been given what I've asked for. I've slept too late. I've gotten up too early. I've departed to and returned from some exotic places that span half of the globe or more. I've had emotional meetings with friends. I've experienced massive lengths of time between contact with people I'm close to. I've wrapped baby shower gifts. I've sent condolence cards. I've had two amazingly different Christmases. I've had two completely and utterly contrasting New Year's Eves. I've had alarm sensors installed in every door and window because of an rapid rise in burglaries. I've helped my girlfriend move in. I've found closets filled with things that aren't mine and just stood there smiling. I've had the basement redone. I've had the yard landscaped. I've written some of my favorite journal entries. I've let weeks at a time go by between posts. I've waited nervously for my love to return from long trips. And countless times over the last two years we've driven home to this house late at night and walked through the door and collapsed on the couch and thanked the gods above that we made it back alive.

Two years.

I've lived in this little blue house for two years.

And it's been two years of happiness that I could have never predicted because owning a home is something I never thought I'd enjoy. I'd heard so much from so many people about the perils of becoming a homeowner. And I had been so content just paying my monthly rent and calling the landlord when something broke. It's a tough kind of thing to wave goodbye to.

I'm not going to jinx myself here and say that I'm a lucky kind of guy. I've had good things happen. I've made a lot of good things happen and I've taken some chances that have paid off.

In fact, just the other day I got a call from the barber around the corner who's in charge of the Florence month-long raffle they hold every November. He called to tell me that I won the Thursday drawing last week and that I can come in and pick up my $50 gift certificate to the café down the street--the place where Jodi and I had our first date. And when he told me the news I just gushed like a little kid. I told Mr. Flynn, the barber, that he was presently talking to the happiest guy in town. He could have told me that I had just won a gift certificate to the kids store and that would have been fine (there's always a baby shower around the corner these days). Or I could have won the case of Spanish wine from Doyle's Package Store and would have figured out something to do with it. But it wasn't either of those two prizes, and it wasn't any of the other eighteen it could have been since the first of the month.

And these kind of things make me believe that something good is going on here in this house. Every night I turn the light off on my bedside table and kiss my girlfriend goodnight no matter if it's midnight or 2:30 am. And every day I wake up and I smile and kiss her again. I say a little something or other to myself to the effect of "well, we made it through another night," and then I go downstairs and grind some coffee beans and fill up the carafe and wait to fill my cup, take a sip, and start the next day in my life.

Good things are so wonderful when they're happening, they have a way of numbing a person.

They have an addictive quality.

But they do have a downside, though: they eventually get interrupted by the bad things.

I'm not expecting bad news anytime soon. I haven't had that unfortunate problem in a good long while. I lived through that time in my life so I could get to this part of it all. And as much as it's easy to live in the past and wallow in misery it was never my family's strong suit, and thankfully I never saw it as an attractive state of mind.

I simply needed to write today to document the way I feel while this house is in full swing with me inside it.

It is excitedly alive with the sounds of football in front of me, the fire in the hearth, and the jeans in the clothes dryer clicking and clanking.

The vacuum cleaner is put away and resting until the next time I put her through the paces.

The thin plastic on the windows in the three season room is courageously holding back the coldest of the mid-November air while the furnace runs a quick mile on its own treadmill.

The Patriots just got scored, a flag is down and my girlfriend wondering what the hell I'm doing on my computer.

But I'll wait until the end of this last quarter to tell her--to read her what I wrote while we sat here together ten feet apart in the house that has been my home for the last two years (and one I've shared with her for almost as long).

Then we'll go to dinner and have a toast to us, to this, to me, to her, and to this house that somehow contains all the things we love.

Thanks so much for reading.

Have a great Thanksgiving--it's really more than just one word.


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