The absurdity of my current dwelling is only made more comical when I looked back at a journal entry from 1994. Jeff and I were living in a tiny classic Cape-style home with two daughters under the age of seven. It sat squarely between the road and a quiet stretch of woods; our first house. There was only one full bath and it was on the first floor. The three tiny bedrooms and half-bath on the second floor were obviously added after the original family outgrew the first floor.
I was juggling contract work and contemplating my next career move, Jeff was a year or so into the job he still holds today, selling software. On February 4th I awoke to more snow and no heat. The day started with a visit from the furnace repair company, followed by the local electrical utility showing up to make a slight adjustment to the water heater. It all looked good by noon. The insurance adjuster showed up on time to check the leaks and damage to the roof.
The phone rang. The swirl of life around me froze. Jeff’s best friend died in a car accident that morning. I shuttled the kids to a neighbor’s house and was sitting amid buckets, as water poured through the track lighting in the kitchen. Jeff walked into this dismal scene totally unaware of the news.
Later that evening, the pediatrician called. He was still baffled by Hanni’s condition. If she was suffering from nephritis, it was sub-clinical and they needed more tests for kidney functions. The heartache of a sick child wears heavier on you than anything else in life. We watched everything she ate, collected urine and brought her weekly for blood tests. Not having answers was debilitating.
The next morning the water heater quit. Seems that free “little adjustment” caused an electrical short. Lex fell down the stairs and though only bruised, it was a trauma. Jeff was trying to get to the airport to attend the funeral.
It was a warm and crazy home, just old enough that everything we did for home repair, merely masked the scars. The floors were strewn with Barbie’s and My Little Ponys. Two rescued Labrador Retrievers lounged in the short supply of clear space. Little Mermaid placemats graced the kitchen table, and we served dinner in two shifts to accommodate kids’ schedules and our need for adult time at the end of the day.
All this crammed into a dwelling half the size of my current empty nest. Now my footsteps echo in the halls. The memories of a home long ago crowd the corners of silent rooms. Oddly enough, both of these homes are red.