I had to pop up to Knoxville today to take care of a couple of things.
Since I was in the area, I thought I’d stop by my parents’ house – or whatever I should call it. Not my mom’s since she died in 2001, nor my dad’s since he died last year, and not even mine since I sold it in April. So – the house that used to be ours, then. Some other people’s house, now.
I was curious because I knew the couple to whom I had sold it was planning on a big renovation. On hearing what they were thinking about doing, I eventually concluded that they really were just after the lot – it’s got a great view of the Smokies.
Which gave me the confidence I needed to say “no” to their amazingly long list (considering the planned renovation) of repair requests.
So I decided to go by – it would be a challenge to be subtle about it, since the house sits atop a hill and you can barely actually see the house unless you barrel on up the driveway – and I didn’t want to do that.
Solution? The neighbor’s driveway, of course. She spends most of her time in Nashville, anyway, and has for years.
First glimpse? Not too radical yet. The columns that lined the rather narrow and not incredibly useable front porch have been taken down.
But then I stepped quickly up to the kitchen door, told the workman who I was, and that I would just be a minute in satisfying my curiosity – and…whoa.
Yeah, that used to be the kitchen on the left. There was a pantry and then wall right in front here, then a great room, and then waaay on the other side – where the opposite windows are? A bedroom on the left and a bathroom where that middle window is. Looks like they took out the bedroom on the right as well – I can see glimpse of a window over there. A total redo.
Well, it’s their house now, isn’t it? I live in an 80-year old house that’s been changed here and there, and that’s what we do: we make the house into our home.
But it was still a little startling, and just one more reminder of how these things we construct around us, that give us comfort, that express something about us, have their limits.
Just like we do.
And that as precious as they are, these homes? They are really not home.