Home Sweet Home

My co-worker and fellow blogger shared this article with me in which the columnist challenged people, in the new year and the new decade, to look at a few things through fresh eyes. The writer listed 52 suggestions, one for every week of the year. This week’s topic is Your House.

We built our house  3 1/2 years ago. Before that we had moved six times in six years. We were ready to put down roots, find the community that would be “home” for longer than a year or two, and settle in to the place where our kids would go to school and grow up. We loved the area where we were living at the time, in a quiet, older neighborhood just minutes from restaurants, shops, movies and Target. To build in that area was out of our price range — we learned the meaning of the words “slope development” — and the things in our price range were either too small or needed a lot of work.

The location we chose doesn’t have several of the things we liked about living in the old area. For starters it wasn’t in town, which meant access to restaurants, shops, movies and Target was not as easy as it had been before. We essentially live in “the country” as they call it down south, so the commutes to work are a little longer.

But there are several things we gained by choosing the area that we did. One — my parents live two streets over. That wasn’t necessarily intentional, although we knew it when we made our choice. That has worked out to be a blessing to all of us, I believe. Mom and dad are close enough that the kids see them several times a week, and if either mom or I need eggs or brown sugar or some other ingredient in the middle of baking we can help each other out.

We’re not as close as we used to be to the brand name, fancier restaurants, but there are several locally owned, down-home-cooking restaurants that serve original-recipe barbeque, fried foods and homemade pies.

We’re away from the city lights so it gets dark enough we can see the stars nearly every night.

The sense of community seems greater to me in a rural area — the fire department is all volunteer so they come around once a year for fund drives and have community days at the firehouse. The schools have old-timey carnivals and everyone gathers at the high school for Friday night football. You see your neighbors at the corner store and go to the drive-in for coney dogs and ice cream. I guess you can do all those same things in the city but those things seem more like country living to me.

Another benefit to building out here was it allowed us to get more house for our dollar. Each of the boys have their own, good-sized bedrooms. The whole house is quite roomy so we can spread out a little. It’s not huge by any means but we’re blessed to have all the room we have.

The one pet peeve about my house is keeping it clean. I constantly feel like there’s stuff to be picked up, put away, thrown away, cleared out. There’s always toys to step over, dirty laundry piling up, dishes to wash load in the dishwasher, mail to go through, etc. I’m horrible at creating clutter because I either don’t have time to put stuff away right then or I don’t know where to put it. I love the phrase “every thing in it’s place and a place for every thing” but I’m not so good at implementing it. I try. I’m trying even harder this year, so there’s hope.

Our house is the place where we sleep, where we keep our stuff, where we sometimes eat. But bigger than that, our house is what brought us to the place we call home. Because home is more than just the physical building. It’s the neighbors, my parents two streets over, the school, the homemade barbecue down the road. Our house is the place we sit while we’re at home.

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