To be perfectly honest, whenever I have dreamed in the not-so-distant past about my "dream" home, it was usually a breezy, spotless, contemporary-with-personality, brand-new house.
Phill and I went on a date tonight, a really fun date. We ate at this really great little place in the historic part of town, and walked around for a bit. (Something about acquainting myself with the historic part of any town makes me love it so much and cling to it like a baby. Main Street in Cedar City still pulls me.) Then we got in the car and drove around, going into the higher-up areas of town, both higher-up in altitude and higher-up in price. As we drove around and pointed out the homes that caught our eye and poo-poo'd the ones that we didn't care for, I realized that what I want has changed every so subtly over the last couple of years.
The house we are in is airy and clean and spacious. Its architecture is well-thought-out and the home itself is welcoming. The only thing is this: Our backyard is a sliver. A little appendix, an aborted after-thought in comparison. No green grass graces its ground. The staining red dust of St.George is next to the concrete ten-foot-high wall. The porch is cozy and nice, although to sit on it would mean a view of: grey concrete wall. I understand what the thinking was. Big lots here are hard to come by, and people want more house and less yard, it seems, if they have to make the choice. I am grateful for this house; let there be no mistake about that. It serves us well.
But if we're talking about my dream home, and we are, then let me illustrate how that vision has changed. I would be alright with a house built in the eighties, provided it had no asbestos, faulty foundation, termites, extensive water damage, or any of those other gigantic red flags. And I would be okay if there was blue-gingham-waddling-ducks wallpaper bordering the walls. Or emerald green carpet. Or faux-wood linoleum, or even a pink toilet.
As long as it had a backyard with grass and a fence and perhaps some mature trees.
And then we could have a picnic table, and a swingset, and we could sit out at the picnic table and eat pasta salad and drink lemonade while the babies climb our trees or swing on the swingset or run around chasing each other with the hose. And on Saturdays, long drawn-out Saturdays, we could mow the lawn and pull weeds and plant spearmint and the kids could play with the worms we dig up. We would work hard and play hard and be safe and secure in our backyard.
Then we would go inside, wash up, bathe our sweeties, put them to bed, and then go sit out on the porch swing and watch the sun set, because it is my dream house, and even if it has emerald-green carpet inside, the front of the house has a porch. And because we would be living so vibrantly in this woefully outdated home of ours, with its mature backyard, our home would have the comfortable, inviting feel of being lived-in.
What a dream, I say.
When I imagine with even more ambition, it's an old Victorian with enough windows to make the inside bright. The hilarious thing about that--it would cost lots to have a house like that. So in a way, my vision isn't much less expensive. I'm just willing to pay more for different things now, I suppose. Gimme some grass stains.
Interesting to note: When I was 11, 12, and 13 we lived on 732 Squire Street in Colorado Springs, CO. The house was (split-entry?) white with cheery red trim, two huge trees in the front yard, a side garden, and a HUGE backyard. The backyard hosted a crab-apple tree, a willow tree (which later had to go), and some other sort of tree. We did have a swingset. We did have a paved area where we could bounce tennis balls or pretend to play basketball or stand out in our nightgowns at night and sing My Fair Lady songs as if the concrete was our stage. And in the big tree there was a treehouse, from which I spied on my neighbors and imagined all kinds of dramatic happenings in our neighborhood. The iside of the house had weird grey carpet and black-with-pink-flowers wallpaper border. In the bathroom were tobacco stains on the ceiling, and the carpet downstairs was orange shag. When we had to cut down some limbs of the tree to make the treehouse fit, the entire basement where Abby and I slept was infested with earwigs in incredible amounts. I would wake up in the morning with twenty or so dead ones in my sheets. And still--if ever I live in Colorado again and that home is for sale (actually I checked once when living here, and it WAS for sale and it KILLED me to see that it was only $150,000), I will buy it. Earwigs aside. I miss it that much.