Day 1: There is a gaping hole in our front yard with a broken sprinkler pipe jutting out if it in two directions. It was left there by the oil tank removal company. Because it is there, there is now a five by three foot section of our driveway that is cracked and slowly sinking into said hole.
Day 2: My husband enters the house for the first time and steps into water. There is a hole in our roof and snow is melting through our attic and into the garage. Discouraged, my poor unsuspecting guy goes down to the basement where he is greeted by...more water. The water heater is leaking.
Day 3: A large crack in our kids’ bedroom ceiling is looking larger now that all the distracting furnishings from the previous owner are gone. Wow. It’s kind of huge. It runs through most of the ceiling and down the wall.
Day 4: My two-year-old daughter gleefully jiggles the iron railing on our back deck. The rust crumbles a little more and I grab her, terrified that her pulling and pushing will be the force that finally snaps it in half.
Day 5: Good news! The plumber can fix the water heater. Well, actually, he can replace it. It is as old as the hills. Or close to as old as the hills. I don’t want to exaggerate here. By the way, the plumber says, your toilet is leaking. Cool. Cool, cool, cool.
This was about the time that Jim shares a theory with me. It came from his dad’s coworker.
A house always rejects its new owners.
I like it. It sounds romantic and eery. Like something Daphne du Maurier might have written about in one of her books. I imagine the house choosing to give us a hard time. Wondering who the heck these two kids think they are, moving in and ripping out perfectly good smelly carpet. Painting that mint green woodwork white. The nerve. This generation doesn’t know how to make a house shine.
I imagine the bad attitude our house clearly has developed over several decades of life, and then I realize that this whole concept is incredibly creepy. Still…
This house is fighting us. For real. It has been hard to see the beauty that was clearly there when we chose it, for all the repairs. I walk in now in a kind of defensive hunch. I need to be prepared for a falling beam or collapsing staircase or any variety of epic housing calamity.
But in spite of the fight, I struggle to see what we saw that first day with the realtor. The big, beautiful bay window that sucks buckets of sunshine into our living room. The wood floors that we were sure had been hiding safely under all that perfectly good smelly carpet. The breakfast nook that has more windows than walls. The brook and waterfall we can see from our yard. Yes, I remind myself, there are reasons to love this house. There are a lot of reasons.
Day 10: That border in the bedroom? The one that seemed like no big deal?
Jim and my dad spent four hours working on it and just barely got four feet of it off the wall. Luckily, this is preparing them for the wallpaper in the bathroom. And, folks, the previous owner papered the ceiling and everything in there. Ha. This house is totally rejecting us.
Bring it, house. Bring it.