Our journey in life occasionally takes us places we’ve never been but think we might want to go, only to bring us back to a place of comfort and security where everything is familiar and reminding us that, even though we were glad to visit that new place, situation or scenario, there is a place we consider home. It's not so much a physical place as it is a set of circumstances and being surrounded by the people and things that make us feel a "sense of place." And it is there where we thrive and feel most alive. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t try new things – on the contrary. It’s only in trying new things that we expand beyond our narrow little worlds to experience something that will broaden our horizons in ways we never thought possible. And in that process we learn just a little bit more about the person we are and the person we want to become. I returned to visit a fellow camper recently and she invited me in to see her travel-trailer. She commented as we walked in that she knew I hated RVs but maybe I’d like to see hers anyway. I responded very explicitly that I did not hate RVs and that I did not hate camping. It simply was not for me at this time in my life to live in an RV full-time. I even have fond memories of the little place we called home for nine weeks. But, no, I would not want to go back there just yet. Maybe one day...
The next leg of our journey actually brings me back to one of those familiar places. The search for a rental has been difficult to say the least. Just as in the housing market, the rental market has turned and it’s a vicious cycle trying to find a place to rent and not get beat out by someone who happened to slip in with their deposit check literally five minutes before you brought yours…for the very same apartment! Another contender bit the dust! The housing industry has found itself in a precarious situation with an usually-low inventory. And I’ve never in my years seen a time where so many rental properties have such long waiting lists! The good side of this is that I see contractors picking up where they left off in 2008 – starting to build again. And as much as I love to see the economy perking up, it definitely puts people who need housing in a competitive race, not to mention those of us who are looking for an under-market diamond-in-the-rough to renovate. I know of situations where people have gotten well past their asking price as buyers have entered a bidding war of wills. It has flipped from a buyer’s market to a seller’s market. But God’s timing has a way of reminding you that he surely is in control of the universe. Through a very odd set of circumstances and auspicious timing, we landed back upon a familiar apartment building where we’ve actually lived three other times (all different units) while searching for our next reno. I had thought I didn’t want to move here again (it has a million and two steps) but, now that we’re back, I’m feeling very peaceful with the familiarity of it all. Did I mention that it’s an old, old building that was a hotel in this small mill town many years ago? I’m not talking 1980’s-old, I’m talking early 20th century. And even though, yes, old buildings have their quirky pleasures – high ceilings, intricate moldings, large rooms, and huge original windows with sashes large enough to sit on – they also have their quirky dis-pleasures. Like the tiny and not-so-tiny holes in the walls where mice can get in and you don’t even know the hole is there till the mouse finds it first and makes his unwelcome presence known. Once before when we lived here, a bird got caught in the wall. I listened to it fluttering for a couple of days not knowing what it was until maintenance checked it out, only to find the bird had given up its battle to be freed. I felt so bad. I don’t have the same affection for little furry gray critters, however. The deader the better in my opinion. Old buildings have squeaky, uneven floors, and are not the best for energy efficiency. But, alas, this is home for now, quirks and all. And anywhere we live I truly try to make it home. I love sitting in the window imagining what cotton-mill executive might’ve looked down on the busy street below through the very same window so many years ago. Oh, if these walls could talk, the tales they would tell. And, yes, one of my first orders of business after moving in was finding a cushion that could turn that window seat into a true dreaming place.
Our plans have also taken a sharp turn as to the house-renovating we’ve done the last 10 years or so. After much searching (over 100 houses and counting), we have decided to try our hand at building. This is a new endeavor for us, and is yet another change that is bringing us to unfamiliar places and probably somewhere down the road will threaten to drive us once and for all completely out of our minds! But somehow we’ll get through it, we’ll learn new things, experience fresh adventures, stretch ourselves just a little bit further. And eventually we hope to enjoy the fruits of our labor as we attempt to put our very own personal mark upon a brick-and-mortar edifice (well, maybe more like a cottage), one that we’ve labored over and birthed from the ground up. I look forward to putting my design skills to work over my very own baby. Will you follow us on this journey? I hope so… It’s gonna be hard work, challenging, but hopefully fun and rewarding as well.
Hubby made the comment the other day about building something that will stand the test of time and outlive the hands that built it. Interesting to think that something made from brick and stone (and a million other things) could outlive the person who birthed its vision. But then I think of the person who designed and built this old building I’m living in now, how it still a hundred years later is the shelter that protects so many people day to day, month to month and year to year as they rest, work, and make life happen here. And I think to myself...that person would be really proud to know his building continues to provide for the needs of people.
I think he’d be really, really proud.
Window seats...are good for so many beautiful things...
Posted by CC
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