I’ve heard people say that, about where they live, and I guess for some it is just four walls. To be clear, mine is just a rectangle with a bright silver roof, plywood siding, painted sheetrock walls…nothing “special” by most people’s standards…but I know what this rectangle means to me. Four years ago today I got a building permit and three years ago today I got my certificate of occupancy. Exactly one year, of working here every morning before work and every night after work, doing whatever needed to be done that I did not sub out.
I bought a big fat Sharpie marker and wrote myself loving notes and blessings during construction…on the sheathing, on the sub-floor, on the joists, on the rafters…I designed the plot plan, I pounded nails, I wired a few outlets, I installed walnut floorboards, I learned how to do custom trim, hung doors, drilled hole after hole after hole to run speaker wire, and stained all 84 boards that became my siding and hundreds of feet of pine and cedar boards that became my trim and fascia…there are too many tasks to name when you write about building a house from scratch. Some nights it was just hours of sweeping nails and sawdust. Some nights it was music blasting while caulking baseboards. Some days I realized that I had used more power tools that day than most women ever use in their lifetime. Day after day and night after night I watched as my vision came to life.
I drew my own plans and watched in awe and amazement as each day what I saw in my mind’s eye over those moths of planning came to fruition. A few things did not go well, and I did have one big sob fest when I walked into the house one day after work and found all my switches and outlets were standard and not modern. It all got changed the next day, but not before big stupid sobbing tears from frustration…funny how something so “petty” to some was such an “issue” for me…and then one day I realized I was done. My dad and my mom and my friend and I had worked countless hours together along with all the subcontractors I hired and the morning came when I got my phone call that my C.O. was ready.
It is “just a house” sure, but it was truly a labor of love to bring an acre of woods into a place to call my home. It is now so filled with laughter, and music, and love that I can hardly believe this is my life. I have had to move furniture to make temporary room for drums, and the two beds upstairs in my loft are now inadequate now that I have three little girls in my life, and I have had to reorganize drawers and closets to make room for two where I just assumed only one would ever be…but my “plan” was to make a home for myself not just a house to live in, and I still get a little giddy when I go up my driveway, that I get to live here. It may be just a rectangle with a roof, but it is truly where my heart is. I still have dreams of being able to afford to travel and see the world, but I am comforted to know that even if I never get to go anywhere again, I have a place that I love that I call home.