Thursday, 14 May 2009

Tenacious B and the house of destiny.

She said I don't know if I've ever been good enough.
Had we had an inspection before buying this house, I think I still would have wanted it. With it's old furnace, old gas water heater, old appliances, leaky windows, crumbling garage, the ominously-bulging pipe in the basement and questionable roof we might have been steered away.

I think the leaded glass windows and expansive oak floors and the sheer quantity of woodwork, unpainted and glorious would have kept me anyway. Having miles of tiny closetless Victorian rooms and dusty corners under weirdly-placed (and sometimes hidden) windows would have kept me. Three-season porches all over the place would have kept me. Skeleton keys keep me. The huge elm trees shading the property keep me. Rooms inside rooms and a master staircase and that ancient clawfoot tub with the now-thin enamel interior and striking black exterior keep me.

The potential keeps me.

Memories keep me.

This was my first house ever. First one. We got to make the decisions and I bit off so much more than I could chew it's been running down the corners of my mouth and pooling in my apron on my lap for years. We got to pick colors and change things and make it ours. Make it mine. I've spent just about every minute of my life in this house for the past three years and I've grown to like it. It's warm. It's beautiful. When we moved here Ruth was six years old. She hardly remembers anything before this house. Henry was four years old and does not recall a thing. This house freed me from the prison of the previous place, and it's been open doors and sunshine and dusty corners and keeping up with cobwebs and paint chips and wayward branches and shovelling snow ever since.

I never thought in a million years that I would be content here, in a place that snows in May, in a place that sees temperatures of -58 Celsius but the schools don't close. In a place where certain people have stared at me for standing out like a sore thumb with my Scandinavian coloring, a place where people are united by the cold and by the need to help each other when the water comes to lick at our heels and Jack Frost takes over for so long I believe everyone who lives here has two moods, grateful when it's warm and dry and resolute when it isn't.

I have spent my life building character, and this experience has only enriched that endeavour. By far I think it forced me to be a grownup when that seventeen-year-old immature teenage girl would much prefer to run to her room and slam the door, turning the music up so loud she drowns out her own ridiculous emo-misery until she chooses to face the world again. Grown-up Bridget doesn't get that choice, she doesn't have that escape anymore.

Thankfully Bridget the grown-up has an open-mind and does pretty well with adventure. She can make something from nothing and keep comfort and routine when the rug gets yanked out from under her feet. Every year the children get a little bit older and things seem to become just a little bit easier. That's a comfort you can't buy with your paper dollars and your marble-cold good sense. Bridget isn't that pulled together, but she'll tie her windblown-blonde back into a ponytail, pack her carpet bag with all her worldly goods, lick her finger and hold it up to see which way the wind is blowing and head due west anyway.

The circus is closing up and heading to warmer climes. Odds are there will not be another full year here for this little clown and her carny friends. I'm turning this snow globe over and over in my hands and I think I'm either going to pack it carefully in a box with newspapers to protect or perhaps I'll just bring it up over my head and smash it on the goddamned floor.
Oh but don't bowl me over
Just wait a minute,
well it kinda fell apart,
things get so crazy.