I love those old homes with their built-in cupboards and cabinets, the arched doorways and separate rooms. I love the old wood floors and the nostalgia of knowing that families from the old days lived there. Women baked bread daily as a routine and didn’t blog about it because there was no internet, for one, and it was normal. Children played all day without the assistance of iPads. People walked to the store or post office. Neighbors leaned on the fence to gossip.
We live in an older neighborhood. We have an old house. I love this house. It has a soul. When we tried to sell it recently…well, we tried twice, once last year and once this year, this house would have none of it. Not one taker despite how charming this little house. Then we decided to keep her. I named her Henrietta which means “home ruler”. And she is, she is the one who decides what is going to be happening here. I sensed she was not ok with us getting rid of her so we decided to keep Henrietta in the family and rent her. After all, everyone in the family has chores.
I was going to try out a property management company but kept hearing not so positive rumors. Bali and I decided yesterday to try our hand at renting ourselves. I did the research and printed up formal applications that released information so I could screen and do background checks such as rental history and work history. I posted an ad on Craigslist by noon, right before our family lunch. By 7:00 pm we had our tenant and were celebrating with blackberry pie (pie is my new thing).
I had two applicants within an hour and some phone calls. Both parties were likeable and very much like us. But the second person won Henrietta and my heart. We knew the minute he left he was the man for us. He is in the construction field and I assumed he would be rough and unsuited for my sweet girl but he was a man with an old fashioned soul. He said he lived in a cookie-cutter suburbia and felt like he was dying there. He loved the colors and charm of the house. He loved the house immediately. I totally understood him. My husband and I looked at a house in the suburbs when we were still searching for our new home. Bali liked the house and I hated the neighborhood. I said, “If we move here I swear I’ll start drinking vodka every day! I’ll die here!”
I truly feel that I’ve been reincarnated from a very old-time and I still haven’t adjusted to this modern world or life. I try to escape into a bubble of old fashioned and Victorian as much as possible. Not that I don’t absolutely love some of the modern…just in small doses, like the washing machine and Star Wars movies.
Henrietta is 79 years old and a sturdy, pretty cottage. We are moving to an elder that is 119 years old. Arthur. He is sturdy, grounded, a protector and provider. We will thrive in his care. I intend to live out my life there on his porch.
Now that I have my old lady and my old man, I feel complete.
Do houses have souls? Yes, they do. They have spirits perhaps. I don’t know. But I do feel like they choose us. Some homes are our destiny. Even the bad ones. Perhaps they just need love and revival or you need to learn a lesson. Like attracts like so when you wind up in a certain house you only have yourself to look at when you wonder why you are there.
These are the only homes I’ve ever owned and both were my very last choice. They were the last house on the market that we could afford after being outbid, losing or canceling the other houses. But they turned out to be “the one”. Henrietta has been the house ruler in every way. We have lived here happily, safely, never a leak, not one thing broke down…no problems. We have lived blissfully in her arms. She took good care of us and I hope she takes care of this next family. She is mine and I will keep her forever. I can feel her contentment with this decision. You may think me silly, but I remember the first time I put her on the market things started breaking down and I kept breaking dishes in the sink or on the counter. I felt her anger and it unsettled me a bit. This time on the market she behaved but didn’t attract one buyer.
So, I thought, “I wonder how she’ll react to being rented.” Obviously, that went over well and she was pleasant and agreeable. Got us a tenant within a couple hours. Good job, Henrietta.
Arthur had a buyer when I first saw him. I drove by and that night it was a pending sale. It lasted 10 days. Long enough for us to get into a short sale mess with a straw bale house down the road. I went to explore Arthur while dating the straw bale house and I wanted him. My husband took some convincing. He didn’t like across the street but I didn’t care. There were trees to hide the complex.
When the straw bale house didn’t work out I begged Bali to consider Arthur and he was a kind companion and let me have my choice. We will be moving in as you read this blog. Now Bali is happy. He sees what a treasure this old man is and how we will have such a great life in this new town.
We will plant trees, roses, flowers, berries, and till up a huge kitchen garden. There is a quarter acre and it is a gardener’s dream. Bali will be taking 3 days off a week. He will work 4 long days and enjoy a long weekend to focus on building a shed and turning our little town plot into a productive and lovely, living yard.
I will paint each room over time as I get a feel of what color each room should be. One day we will replace the carpet with real wood floors. The old wood floors are no longer there. I will can and preserve what we grow and cook and bake like crazy. I may even learn to sew.
I can’t wait to drink my creamy coffee in the living room and crochet a new afghan for the couch. I learned a new trick from a subscriber for making thick afghans easily with my simple stitch. You crochet three strands of yarn at once with a Q hook?
I can’t wait for the foster babies that will be loved and safe in our old home.
And novel writing. I’m eager to see if this house inspires my fictional mind. I wrote a lot of homemaking books while living under Henrietta’s roof but fiction didn’t come so easy. Perhaps living under Arthur’s roof will be more creative.
I am eager to set up all the bird feeders and start attracting my finches.
It’s almost legal to get up and start working. Today is Monday and we are doing a walkthrough. By the time you read this, it will be Saturday and we will be loading a truck and heading to the hills.
Tell me, does your home have a personality? Have you named your house as well or am I the only nut that does this?