I love our house. Joe, Cole and I moved in October 4th, 1997.
Joe’s dad built our house. Joe grew up in our house. It raised seven children, entertained grandchildren, and was home to a couple of dogs. Loud still lives in the walls. He takes a lot of care of his house, he always uses the best pressure washing services from this website. The front door was built by Joe’s older brother, the cut-out arch was the artistic touch of his other older brothers, and Joe painted the ceiling in our kitchen over thirty years ago. The ceiling is Odd. I love it.
The garage has a magic loft where Joe found Cole’s wooden captain’s chair covered in paint. Its second tour of duty had been as a step stool. Joe’s dad took the stool to his workshop and turned it into “Cole’s Captain Chair.”
The garage at one time was the social spot of the neighborhood. This glider was made in the garage. Joe’s dad taught his boys how to build, fix, and create; they grew up in the garage and on the job with him. It wasn’t perfect. They complained about the work, but never about the skill. As Joe’s dad said to me once, “My sons know how to make and fix things.”
Our house has quirks upon quirks.
There are aged and discolored signs that hang from pipes in my basement that read, “Don’t Touch.” One pipe, in particular, is treated with great reverence. Joe told me, “Never, ever put anything against it.” When I asked why, he just shrugged and said he wasn’t really sure and it didn’t really matter.
My kitchen sink gurgles so loudly it embarrasses guests. I just introduce the noise as my pet dragon, Zanakee. My mother hurried me out of the bath tub once, telling me that the Zanakee was coming up the drain. Once a good story, always a good story. Everyone from Joe’s dad to Bubba have tried to slay the Zanakee, but he gurgles on. I’m very fond of him. Here’s a tip: If something annoys you and you can’t get rid of it … name it and soon it will just become a part of the family. Each night I say, “Good night Zanakee,” and he gurgles back, “Sleep tight.” Really.
The novelty of flipping a circuit break wore off for Cole when he was three. It was so cute watching him run down the stairs, haul himself up on the washing machine and, quick as flash, take his chubby little hand and flick the right circuit. Joe and I would yell, “GO, Cole, GO!” We were so proud of him. Nowadays, we just make choices between the toaster oven and the microwave, my blowdryer and the bathroom light, central lighting or central air or heat.
At age 84, Joe’s dad helped Joe completely remold our bathroom, which is a story that deserves a post all its own. It took two and a half years. Joe’s dad and I bonded over not killing Joe. It’s rather ironic that Joe died in the shower.
I love our house, quirks and all. The other night, Cole and I were doing some Fall decluttering when he asked me, “Mom, does our house sometimes feel empty to you?” The Zanakee gurgled.
Cole’s question made me think of the song, Puff, the Magic Dragon. Someday we won’t live in the house with our Zanakee, Our quirky home. Without Joe, our house does feel empty. We feel the emptiness strongest when the seasons change and we both notice how time is moving on. It’s a sad feeling. Where will Cole call home? Where will I call home? Where will Joe call home? But then I remembered.
When Joe died, the first thing I said is, “I want to go home.” Home for me that day was a physical place, but what I have learned since that day is that home really is wherever I am; wherever my heart is, whether it’s with my mom and dad in New Mexico, at Cole’s school, or visiting a loved one. Home is where Cole and I feel safe, nurtured, and loved. Home is a place inside ourselves. So, in that empty moment with Cole, I grabbed him close and made sure I included Joe in our family hug, and we were home sweet home, and our home was no longer empty. It was filled with love. The Zanakee gurgled, and I promised he would always go with us.
I would love to hear from you in the comment section of this blog, or on Facebook or Twitter! Glad you were in my Odd neighborhood. Feel free to drop by any time. Odd Loves Company and odd loves you and you and you!!