I just found out today. All this time, over two years now of living here, I thought my house was just a normal house made of walls and bricks and electrical-type wires, but no. My house has personalities, quirks, and moods. My house is a person.
The front entry is that guy at work who has a million projects going simultaneously, and he always knows precisely where everything is and what is going on, even if it seems like chaos. There are shoes hopelessly strewn about, crying out for their wayward mates who have hidden in the closet. There are teetering stacks of Tall’s school papers mixed with Short’s library books. Mail lounges on the table with its friends, Unnecessary Catalogs. Yet somehow, when pressed, I can find exactly what I need (permission slip for the field trip, dry cleaning receipt, coupon for toothpaste) in under two minutes, tops.
I walk into my living room, and I see a very disheveled Aunt Charlene, trying hard to be stylish, but really just a mess. There is the ornate Oriental rug (if you could see it underneath all the LEGOs and Pokémon cards), the leather couch (please try to ignore the strange stains from grape juice or, more likely, wine), the “distressed” wood coffee table from Pottery Barn (it was not marketed as such), and the cute glass lamp with the red shade from Target. The cheapest thing in the room somehow has the most longevity and looks the best (the lamp), just like Aunt Charlene wears the retro-hip tortoiseshell glasses she bought for 10 bucks at a garage sale (and then had them refitted with her own prescription).
My kitchen is that pushy salesgirl from the high-end kitchen store, the one who convinces you that you need everything they sell for your fantasy world of IF. The slow-cooker is great IF you are the type of person to plan in advance and have all the ingredients all chopped up and ready to go before you leave for work; the Cuisinart food processor is a must-have IF you make your own bread from scratch daily; the egg poacher pan is divine IF you cook up Eggs Benedict every weekend. (The bridge to IF is a shaky one.) Unfortunately, I whisper to the pushy salesgirl, I do not plan ahead like that when it comes to food. She doesn’t hear me. I end up buying everything she suggests.
The dining room is my very elegant great-grandmother. Perfection. The chandelier sparkles, the hardwood floors are pristine, the table is empty (save for a crystal bowl of apples), there is no clutter. Great-grandmother winks at me and says, “Good job! At least one room in your house looks like it should.”
The bathroom is that scary guy who works at the Chevron station. Say no more.
The boys’ bedroom is that fun teenager who works part-time at the toy store. Cars, trucks, and airplane patterns on the sheets, cranberry red paint with cotton-ball white wainscoting on the walls, white wooden shelves filled to capacity with books, a comfy red pinstriped chair, a snuggly navy quilt with white stars, cute baby photos sitting on the antique dresser, two big windows that look out at the yard. Who wouldn’t want to be in this room?
The study is that nice neighbor who says hi to you at the bus stop. You have never had a conversation longer than three minutes, and it usually involves the weather. The study is all function: book shelves, computer, printer, a small storage closet. The study says “I am just what you think I am, and just what I am supposed to be.”
The basement is that girl you went to high school with. The super-smart one you sat behind in Algebra class. You always wanted to give her a make-over: to tell her that green was not her color, to recommend (nicely) that she might look better with bangs, to mention that a little eyeliner goes a long way. She was full of potential, you could see it.
The garage is that cousin you only see at weddings and funerals. Remote. Not talkative. Seems nice, but could be a serial killer.
The back patio is your college roommate. All fun. There are soccer balls, baseball bats, basketball net, Frisbees, scooters, and golf clubs, all waiting to be picked up and used daily, sometimes more often than that. There are a few pieces of metal lawn furniture for lazy/ tired parents to watch the fun from a comfortable distance. And like your college roommate, the patio has its moods depending on the weather. “Yeah, it’s snowing out. I’m not going to class today. I think I’ll sleep for 15 hours straight.”
My cat drifts around room to room to room. At least I know that when I'm out running errands, she’s never lonely.