years ago i bought a house. a cottage really, two small bedrooms, a tiny bath and an area that could be construed as a kitchen and a living room. this cottage was set on a third of an acre in a neighborhood of other cottages just like it, near a fresh water pond. i spent a winter remodeling and we moved in, the four of us, the next april. with no furniture other than beds, we proceeded to make ourselves at home.
we arrived, after dark, in a rainstorm. the three were hustled in first. at six, three and one, they were over tired and cranky from the half hour ride. i had just taken them from “home”, my mother-in-laws place, where we’d been living for nearly a year. i got the various groceries and the last of the bed clothes and kitchenware in. i fired up some macaroni and cheese and hot dogs, and set the three up at a child’s sized plastic picnic table. as they ate, i got laundry together, filled the tub and quickly put sheets and blankets on mattresses strewn about the living room floor.
declaring dinner over, i whisked the girls away to the tub, and left the boy at table with some cars and transformers. he used them to knock paper cups and plates onto the floor while i chipped mac and cheese off the girls. emerging from the tiny bath wrapped in towels, the girls were red and shiny and loud. after i jammed them into pajamas, i ran the tub for the boy and went to work getting the dinner mess picked up and the television going. as 9 pm came into view i had the three laying down in the living room in front of the television. The Tracey Ullman Show played on Fox. this would be the beginning of my love/hate relationship with The Simpson’s.
with the three settled, i started the washer, mopped up the tiny bath, laid out clothes and peeled potatoes for supper the next day. i put together snack for the boy and i began to unpack. i filled cabinets with plates and pots and pans. i filled drawers with flatware and utensils. i made a shopping list. i measured for curtains, vaccumed my bedrooms and put bed frames together. i switched my laundry. around midnight, i crammed onto one of the mattresses and slept.
we four, still live here, 20 years later. we are all much bigger and i think we outgrew this house about a year after we moved in. since we’ve been here we’ve buried loved ones, human and otherwise, gone to school, had a zillion mac and cheese dinners and laughed and cried. we’ve procured furniture and used it up and tossed it out. all manner of things, animals and people have come through here. we’ve had new washers, dryers, water heaters and wells. we’ve made a ton of messes and cleaned up only half of them. we almost never made a bed. although it’s tiny, and we don’t have traditional furniture, i’m happy here. this is the first and only place i’ve ever felt at home.