The comforts of home

They don’t come without toil, good tools and acceptance

We’ve lived a good portion of our lives in our no-particular-style brick and wood house.

When we first saw it, after slogging through lots of others, my wife took one step past the front door, surveyed what little she could see from that vantage point and blurted: “This is the one we have to buy.”

She said that right in front of the Realtor. So much for negotiating.

My parents helped us move in one hot Memorial Day weekend. Everything we owned fit into a couple of cars and a minivan. Everything.

Once we had things organized, two of the house’s six rooms remained empty. The place seemed so large, I wondered why we would ever need to fill it up.

We brought our first son home from the hospital and set him in a bassinet next to our bed. We moved him to the crib we assembled in one of the empty rooms when his younger brother came home 18 months later.

Pretty soon, we didn’t have any empty rooms.

The white and wood-grained refrigerator that greeted us when we bought the house still chills yogurt, juice and frozen dinners, but it now holds court in our office after my wife decided 10 years ago the kitchen needed a redo and the house an add-on. Our new stainless steel appliances aren’t new anymore, but we still use that word to describe them.

The door to the water-heater closet beneath the stairway has an individualist streak. I can open it by firmly pushing down on the knob while leaning slightly against the frame and quickly pulling outward. My wife can never get the door open, although I’ve never understood why — it almost always works for me the third or fourth time.

There is no cracked grout in the tile floor my dad and I installed one weekend in what was a pretty dicey laundry room at the time. Neither one of us knew how to do tile work. After squishing gray grout between the first couple of tiles, I thought the color looked too faint, so I put some additional grout in one spot and waited. I was wrong. I still see that two-inch double-dark-gray spot in the middle of the room every day when I walk to and from the garage.

I can say with certainty you need to be slender to shimmy around the crawl space under the floorboards. You can’t even roll over under there. I spent several early weekends crawling through that dirt, waiting to face down a varmint as I rocked back and forth stringing speaker wire where it’s no longer needed. WiFi and Bluetooth probably were invented by someone else who didn’t want to get back into a crawl space.

A door on our kitchen cabinet sticks every morning when I pull it open to retrieve a juice glass. Every morning, I tell myself to pick up a new spacer pad at the hardware store. Every day I forget. And tomorrow morning, that cabinet door is going to stick again.

With the market for single-family homes hotter than a mouth full of Tabasco these days, I’ve been wondering if it’s time to pack up half our stuff, downsize, pocket some cash and see what else is out there.

There will be other options available in terms of houses. It’s hard to imagine any other place as “home,” though.

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