Friday, March 25, 2011

Home and the Heart

Some little known things about me and my complicated relationship to our two houses:

1358 Summit
- Is the house I grew up in. My parents bought it in the mid-1960s (1965?) from a man named Jesse Brown, who was an early flipper. When they bought it — for $20,000! — he had "improved" everything with coats of viscous green paint.
- It was built in 1916 for a couple to retire in, thus is less extravagant than you would expect it to be.
- My room for much of my childhood was the maid's room, done in psychedelic pink and orange with a mirrored wall. It was so small I had to have an extra short bed, and beads instead of a door to my closet. It's why I'm so short.
- My mother took off all the doorknobs to paint the doors when I was around 4. Over the years they never got put on (nor did the doors really get painted), and to this day you have to wander around with a doorknob on a shank to get in and out of rooms.
- The addition was put on when I was in high school, and the pool when I went to college. Thanks, mom.

627 Ashland
- Was purchased as a HUD house for $58,000 in 1993. Sadly, I've refinanced since then.
- Was built in 1886 by Sarah T. Chapin, whose occupation was listed as "widow." It was the first home she actually owned, having gotten the money to build the house from land speculation. She lived here with her two daughters, with her son living about a block away. There's a ton of information about the family at the MHS, and our friend Walt (who we first met when they lived down the block) turns out to be a relation.
- We're slowly getting to finish the renovation work throughout. Most of it is sweat equity, though the roof and furnace that we put in last year (and the windows the winter before) were done by contractors.
- The intricate gingerbread on the front porch had all been hidden under a rotting wood enclosure.

Some general house things about living with me:
- I hate fluorescent lights. Loathe them. It may be the only thing I agree with the GOP on. Though I understand energy savings I really don't think I can live with this, and am breathlessly hoping for an alternative, soon.
- I tend to have NPR on in every room of the house, and just float through the radio waves.
- I'm picky about cleaning, and far prefer the rag and bucket method of cleaning everything. Which often means it doesn't get done. I'm also kind of nutty about separating the recycling.
- I've recently realized I am a very good painter, much like realizing I was a good writer in college.
- I let magazines stack up so I can go through them to pull articles, then stack up the articles and never read them again.
- The bulk of our house seems to be devoted to books.

See why I'm in this perpetual 2-house dilemma?

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