The home as a hobby

my cottage 

I wonder.  Can you fall hopelessly in love with a house?

Looking back over my relationships with men, I’ve come to the conclusion that the most uncomplicated love of my life is the affair I’m having with a  very imperfect cottage that sits on a cluttered corner in downtown Starkville.

 kitchen renovation, vets day 001 Below you can see how crooked the walls are above cabinets

Yet I fell in love more than 40 years ago when I spotted a “For Sale by Owner” sign in the yard.  The cottage wasn’t particularly attractive but it called my name.  Before dark, I had proposed my quirky union with a house, and it was accepted. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t move in for another 20 years. 

In addition to most of the men in my life, that was a big mistake!

The house was rented out, and we moved to The Big Easy instead.  When my wandering years ended and I returned to my roots, I finally moved into the home which was considerably more dilapidated than I had realized.

I discovered the entire house didn’t include a single right angle. I figure it was probably ordered from a Sears catalog and who whoever put it together had a serious drinking problem.  Whenever I put a pen on a table – it rolls south and plummets to the floor.

It also bleeds, and I’m thinking of offering a tours at Halloween.  No joke.  When I hammer a nail in the wall, this sticky reddish brown stuff oozes down the wall to the floor in some rooms.  Someone speculated that the heart pine construction might be releasing sap when punctured. 

I prefer to tell folks that it bleeds.  It’s a great way to get rid of company that overstays their welcome.

One of my favorite pastimes is perusing used book stores for volumes on homes and housekeeping published during the turn of the last century.  I’m fascinated to learn how our great-grandparents were living during the period when my little abode was still shiny and new.

A Google search popped up Arnold Bennett, a British novelist who penned a little commentary on “How to Live on 24-Hours a day.”  I got a copy and was surprised to learn that life at the turn of the last century was just as difficult as it is today. 

Among jewels gleaned from Among Bennett’s essays was a wise recommendation to make the perfection of your home a hobby rather than drudgery. 

Well, for Pete’s sake, that’s what I’ve been trying to do for the past 12 years, but perfection eludes me! But that’s okay.  I can’t imagine living in a perfect home with a perfect garden in a perfect world.  What would I do with my time?

I fear that my home is a reflection of myself.  A little shabby in some areas, and way over the top in others.  And just like a man, it can infuriate me to the point of madness. 

Each night, when I lie down, I look up at the spider web that has been attached to the ceiling for going on six years.  I don’t know why I don’t get a ladder and clean it off, but hey, a spider needs a home too!

5 thoughts on “The home as a hobby

  1. You didn’t fall in love with a house….you fell in love with a HOME(there is a big difference.). And if walls could talk, you would probably hear every day something like…”Thank you , Emily, for loving me and taking care of me- especially in my senior years!” What a charming hobby you have! Besides, I just read(in WebMD) that having an engaging hobby is one of the 18 ways to live a long and productive life!!!
    p.s. Who needs faux spider webs this time of year when you can have the real thing,,,,besides they attract house wrens( when on the outside, of course) which are so much fun to have and watch…another engaging hobby! If you are not careful, you are going to live to be a 100!! Have fun and good luck with that!

  2. In my life, moving around the world with 3M Company, I have purchased at least 6 homes…maybe a few more. I no longer count., but I know that there is nothing rational about buying a home. It’s like finding a partner. Be damned and be darned, once you find it, you are stuck and nothing can change your mind.

    Yes, I have always had love affairs with my homes. I remember the first house I left in 1964 in Royal Oak, Michigan. I still remember the street name …Loveland….After the movers picked up my belongings and all was quite and empty, I sat in the middle of the living room floor and cried.

    Now tell me….what is rational about a 26 year old man crying about leaving a house ?

    The last house I sold in 2005 was almost as bad… I was to old to get up off the floor…so no floor sitting and crying for me but I was homesick for months !


    Chet McLemore

  3. I love your charming HOME. It is such a welcoming place, wonder why. could it be the owner and those wonderful cooking smells.

    There is a house in West Point that I want so badly. It is on the corner to the left, past the nursing home going toward the Church. I love the cottage look.

  4. I love that house too Judy – I think it’s the one my classmate Bucky Kellogg lived in until recently when they built a new house. Stay tuned, may show up on the market again. I love all those old homes on Main, and there are several on the market.

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