Tag Archive: home


Since coming home, we’ve all been busy unpacking, finding documents, getting documents, licenses, registering to vote, etc.  During this busy time, whenever I start to feel a bit stressed, I am able to step out onto the back porch (if home), or look out the window while driving, at some of the most beautiful horizons I’ve ever known.  It is a constant reminder of why we came back even as the temperatures quickly slide to near-freezing.  

In particular, I’ve missed the sound of wind in the trees.  How I love that sound; a song that brings the spirit of the woods to life.  And while in Elk Rapids the other day, I went on a search for wind-chimes – something I’ve missed since selling our house and packing up our old set.  After a number of stores failed to carry the larger style chime, I walked into a newer novelty store in town that looked hopeful.  The woman who greeted me was new to the store and told me she hadn’t seen any chimes, but motioned over to a side door with a sign overhead that read, “Bargin Basement” and said, “You may find them down there.”

I thanked the clerk and began walking down the steep stairs.  The basement was long and narrow and not terribly well-lit.  I stood at the bottom of the stair surveying the numerous articles sent to the seasonal discount bins to wait out the long winters replaced by fluffy white sweaters with sparkly letters spelling out “Elk Rapids, MI.”  The thought had just crossed my mind that I might not easily find a set of wind-chimes amongst so much stuff, when suddenly I heard the sound of chimes coming from one corner of the room.  

As I walked toward the sound, I was startled to find a set of smaller chimes swinging wildly on their own. The clerk began walking down the stairs and I met her at the bottom, “Are you doing that?”  I asked.

She saw the chimes swinging wildly.  “No,” she answered and held her hands out around the swinging pendant to see whether unseen breezes might be at fault.  “No wind,” she confirmed.  We both stared dumfounded and assumed it must be some shift in the building or movement from the nearby street, but secretly I hoped for something more mysterious.  

Today, as I sat wrapped up in a blanket beneath my new set of chimes with little wind to move the heavy pendant, I couldn’t help but move them just a little as I had just stopped the girls from doing moments earlier.  As they made their music, I watched leaves flickering in the forest and and smelled the faint scent of cedar on the air mingling with the rich, earthy swamp smells.  I pushed the pendant again.  

As the sound flattened to inaudible tones, another sound took over.  It began as a hushed low rumble and moved through the swamp in a swarm of leaf-flapping fury until it touched the pendant and spun it along each bold note so they sang in unison.  I actually *giggled* with delight.  What I pixy I’ve become returning to Michigan.

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For the last several months, we’ve been looking at house after house.  We even made an offer on one house.  After firing our agent for other reasons, we sought out the help of some great agents, but at this point, I was beginning to get the feeling I really didn’t want to commit in the long-term to Charlotte.  With all of the pressure on us to buy in a “buyer’s market,” I was certain this was the way to go for us, but every time we approached a house, I found my stomach did somersaults.  It just didn’t feel right – and no matter how cool the house, it wasn’t home.  

So, now we’re on a rental hunt, but are taking it much less seriously and are committed only to the near-term: one year; maybe 18 months.  At that point we may reassess or buy something up north and continue renting down here.  We’ll save that really good, rock-bottom deal for another family who truly wishes to call the Carolinas “home.”

The house currently under our consideration was built in 1950, though many of the fixtures are remanent of a 1940s style.  I love the door handles and the bathroom tile.  The hardwood floors are in great shape as is much of the original plaster.  There are two fireplaces original to the home and a beautiful, delicate banister descending into a foyer flanked on two sides with two small, inset closets.  

While Erick looks at this house and sees work (I believe he calls it the monstrosity), I (in all my sophistication and love of older homes) recognize the value inherent in preserving a piece of history for future generations to enjoy.  The other day, we were discussing the possibility of getting this home on the historic registry.  Erick scoffed.  After some research this morning into asbestos and lead-paint contamination (oh, the joys of home-ownership), I discovered by chance an article on George W. Bush.  At first I thought someone was trying to uncover the root of his ignorance – perchance caused by exposure to environmental hazards in his youth, but that would only explain Jrs. generation, so I read further.  

Okay that last part is harsh and I owe my discovery to President Bush, or at least his fame or infamy.  You see, Bush’s childhood home was built in 1950 and is now one of the first being considered for a federal history project.  While my own 1950s “monstrosity” may not carry with it the weight of a current president, this declaration of presumed historic relevance sets a precedent for future restoration projects and subsequent tax breaks for home-owners.

Our second child celebrates her 6th birthday today!  She was born at home – a very fast delivery and has surprised us often with her tenacious approach to life.  With such a peaceful birth, we expected a quiet child, but our little Offy-offess is bold, curious, and pushes the envelope at every turn.  As we grew to know this boisterous child, we were equally surprised to see a most delicate and tender side to her as she approached people who were sad or bandaged a boo-boo on her older sister’s knee.

While still in MI, I would take the girls out after a hard rain and we would collect worms in buckets (saving them from the road) to transplant into the garden beds.  Po-po, the older of all three had devised a system where she pointed to the worm and Wolfy would retrieve it carefully for the buckets.  I didn’t know for some time that the Po had never even touched a nematode!  

Wolfy likes to take charge and she knows when she is needed.  She wasn’t worried about her sister’s fear of worms; she was genuinely concerned for the outstretched earth worms flattening themselves out over the long expanse of asphalt.  For Wolfy, it was a true rescue mission.  

And so today Erick will bake a Sponge-Bob square cake and we’ll make dinner and celebrate another journey around the sun with our wee-beeb and wolfiest one.

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