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  • Writer's pictureBill Stauffer

Gratitude Friday 2/23/24 – Home is Where the Heart Is

“How often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.” ― William C. Faulkner

 

I have been bouncing around a fair amount in recent weeks. Those who know me well know that I like to keep moving. If I am in one place for too long, I get antsy. Even in between trips, it is no big deal for me to get up while the world is sleeping to drive an hour north to watch the sun come up over the upper Delaware River. One of things that I started to see in active addiction many years ago is that I went no where and did nothing. In early recovery, I had the opportunity to do some volunteer work in France in early recovery. I had no money, but I saved up my wages from my humble job at Taco Bell to get the plane ticket, which is all I needed to pay for. I learned that life in recovery opened the door of possibility wide open. Recovery opened up my life in ways I had given up hope on.  

 

I find myself eager to get on the road or jump on a plane, but truth be told, I then yearn to return home. Recently, I started thinking about our home, the place Julie and I have lived in for over 25 years. It is the place both of us have spent the longest spans of our lives. It is likely that we will never live in a place for as long as this home.

 

It is a good abode. Over 100 years old with a lot of quirks and character.  It has changed a lot since we bought it some planned and other things out or shear necessity. During one rough patch, the boiler died at a bad time and so we scrounged up the dollars to get a new one.

 

A few years later, right before Christmas, Santa decided we needed a new oil tank. I am not even mentioning the new roof, more than a fair share of the plumbing and most of the old wiring. Despite all of the challenges of paying for all of these things, in some ways I am glad to take care of the house which has protected us from the elements and kept us comfortable over the years. I see our role in many ways as custodial and hope that future owners, whenever we move on, also pay it forward.

 

We have mostly kept the house true to the era it was built. There was a horrid 70s remodel of the main bathroom that when we could manage to rehab it, we redid in subway tile and period fixtures. The first-floor bathroom was much the same. When we moved in Julie said it was designed with a bus station squaller motif. It had this weird foam drop ceiling and it was such a small room, when you shut the door, the ceiling tiles would lift up and deposit old dust and old mouse droppings on you. It was quite an experience. For the record, we fixed that too.

 

The house has its own idiosyncrasies, the front door lock tumblers are older than I am. I know exactly how to open the front door. It takes the right amount of pressure when turning the key and twisting the doorknob. I could not explain how to do it to anyone else. After 25 years it is just muscle memory. Actually, a lot of doors in the house operate like that, and some change from season to season with the changing humidity. While this is not something you have to deal with if you buy new construction, you could not build a house as well as this one in our era unless you spared no expense.

 

There are dog scratches on some surfaces from dog family who have come and gone. We can look at the evidence that this was their safe place as well as ours and lived all of their lives with us in this special place. These are things I would think twice before painting over, even though I have painted most surfaces in the house at least once. I don’t want to erase their marks from our lives.

 

So while I love to travel, my heart sings when I turn the key to that front door and Julie and the dogs are happy to see me. And the next morning I wake up, get my coffee and fire up my computer in my home office and start the day. Home is a special place, and I am grateful to have one. I am grateful for the smile and the hug and all the wagging tails as I cross the threshold.

 

This will probably not be the final place where we live. As we start talking about the future, we can imagine a different place. Nothing grand, but modest and perhaps out of the city. We have no formal plans, but I think we have a sense that we may consider another place to be at some point in the coming years. Neither of us are in a particular hurry for that though as we are comfortable. Julie has her studio on the third floor, and we have room for guests. It suffices to say that in those early recovery days as I saved my pennies to go to France, I would have a home that was safe and felt right. Ours checks those boxes and I am grateful for it. I am grateful that through my journey in recovery, I found a home.

 

What are you grateful for today?  

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Hi, thanks for stopping by!

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Stay well,

Bill

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