Saturday, November 23, 2013

Almost There.

 We are getting very close to being able to move into the new house. When we started the project the contractor said he could have us in by Thanksgiving. The house units actually arrived ahead of schedule, and had us optimistic that we might be in even sooner than that.

The camper has been working fine for us, up until the temps dropped below freezing. We've had an crazy cold Nov. with temps dropping down into the teens at night.  The camper is heated with a propane furnace, and we have an electric space heater. We do not run the propane furnace at night, but have plenty of blankets to keep us warm.  However, any time the temperature dips below freezing, our water pipes freeze, then burst. So that's been a challenge. Without water the camper toilet doesn't function, and well...yeah.

So as you can imagine, we are getting increasingly eager to move into the house. The exterior of the house is finished, but the inside still has a lot of work that needs to be finished.  Thanksgiving is coming up quick, and we were told last week that there is no way we'll be in by Thanksgiving.  So we are trying to prepare for another 2-3 weeks in the camper. The weather is supposed to be cold, and it's going to get crappy this week. i admit my patience is beginning to run thin.  Everything about this year has been challenging, and although we have gotten through and we make it work that doesn't mean it's easy. The colder it gets outside, the more brittle i feel inside. It's as if i am very close to cracking.

It's a strange feeling to see this house sitting where our old house was. It looks too big, too nice, too new and out of place. It is beautiful- that's what everyone keeps telling me. At yet, it seems so...plain, so square, so ordinary.  i've even had folks tell me how lucky i am to get to build such a beautiful house. When i think of all that i lost in order to get this beautiful house, i fail to see luck playing any part in it. Whether well meaning, or said with a hint of envy i'm not sure, but i do know that those comments sting a little. 

Our old house, was like a patchwork of pieces all put together. It had started as an old hunting cabin, and then rooms had been added on over and over until it was a mess of opposing roof lines, and a complete lack of symmetry. It had character, and carried with it hints about the folks who had lived here before us.  The living room wall was still sided in the wood siding from the original hunting cabin. The loft had rough handmade steps that didn't follow any of the safety codes required today. The kitchen had a decorative wooden post with the face of an old man carved in it, and thick grape vines wrapped around it from the floor to the ceiling. There was also a weathered barn wood beam across the ceiling where i would hang herbs to dry.  We had a wooden frame where we wrote the date and height of the kids through the years. The new house is new and shiny...and empty.  

It's getting close though. A few more weeks and we should be able to move in. Even though it is just across the yard, the thought of moving again terrifies me.  The camper has been our home for 6 months.  We've been in 4 'temporary' homes since the house fire. Each time we left one we were overwhelmed by a mixture of emotion. Excitement, sadness, uncertainty and a sense of loss.  Although we were excited to move back to our property, saying goodbye to the rental house and our kind neighbors there was still very hard.  Transitioning from the camper to the new house will bring similar feelings. More change, more adjusting and even a bit of sadness. For 6 months this camper has been our home, so walking away from it isn't going to be matter how 'beautiful' the new house may be. 

We've been hoping to be in the new house by Thanksgiving, but there is no way that we will. There were no workers here on Thursday or Friday, and next week i believe they have off for the holiday.  So we are in the camper a few more weeks at least.  Our thanksgiving meal will be simple, but we will be here all together. a constant reminder of how lucky we truly are. 

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.  ~Anatole France


  1. I know what you mean about new house. I've lived in old ones my whole life. Our new house built six years ago was something I thought would be easier to keep clean, but I slowly came to realise how I missed all those quirky bits previous owners thought would look good on the home.

    I've been slowly developing the idea, that even though I live in a new house, it's probably time I do the "owner" thing and put my own mark on it. Time to put in some old beams for asthetic reasons, not because the house actually needs it. I love dangling things I can hang stuff from and bizarre nooks and crannies. It's too perfect in this new house.

    But you will have that to look forward too. You can hang old ladders from your ceiling, using chains and hang your herbs off that. Take some of those old things from the cabin which you find extremely useful, and place it in the new house. Who says you have to live in a completely new house? Make it your own.

    Whatever craft activities your kids have been up to, frame it and place it on their new bedroom walls to remind them where they've been. New houses are made by tradespeople, but homes are made by their owners.

    I hope you can weather these last few weeks. Maybe use a compost toilet (bucket and sawdust) and empty it into a deep hole when it's full. We had to do this when we lost electricity for 6 days, as we need the pump to flush the toilets. It worked a treat and we didn't have to stress about using the loo any more. Good luck with it. :)

  2. Thanks so much for your comment Chris. We are actually planning to talk to the contractor about putting a beam in the kitchen so i can hang my herbs.
    i've always been such a believer in recycling and re-purposing, that it feels like we are going backwards by building a new house, and purchasing new things. i've definitely been struggling with that a bit.