Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ties That Bind

I love hanging out and reading some of the HouseBlogs.net contributors. I don't have nearly as much time to do it as I'd like. There are so many. I'm slooooowly updating my blog roll, too, and I'm find tons that I am enjoying, so have patience.

One thing I really love is when some of you write about connections to the original owners of your homes (or in some case the previous owners who only lived there for 40 or 50 years). As much as I b*tch about this place, you can't put that kind of time, money, and effort into something without creating some kind of a bond. By contrast, our house isn't that old really. "Born" circa 1940, it's not quite 70 yet.

Even so, it's comparatively old for my neighborhood. Only one house across the street existed when This D*mn House and the one next door was built. The couples who originally had the two adjacent homes bought the lot dividing the two properties and split ownership so that no one could build between them. (God bless them for that. Good neighbors, but still nice to have a little breathing room. Wish that had happened on the other side as well.)

I had an odd connection to the original owner. One day, a few years after we'd moved in, a lady came and knocked on the door and asked if she could visit -- and if she could bring her parents. They had built the house and she thought they'd love to see the changes. They were in town and visiting relatives and mom agreed to welcome all of them the next day. When I got in from work, our guests were still on-site.

As it turned out, it was the first home of the man who was once the publisher of the local paper and his wife -- the paper where I was, at that time, employed. Talk about coincidence. It was a really nice evening with that family. The original owners seemed pleased with all the updating we'd done, which was nothing then compared to now. I wish I'd thought to ask them if they had some pictures from when they first built it. Of course, I was in my early 20s and could have cared less. I think they have since died but I may try to look up their daughter. You don't know 'til you try, right?

One thing they did for us: They brought the "bill of sale" for the house, itemizing all the materials and the estimated labor and finance charges. It's hilarious. I think the grand total was something like $3,000. I went looking for it as we have it framed and had it on the wall. But then I remembered that the glass got broken so I wasn't sure where it was.

The mother says it's "wrapped up downstairs someplace" awaiting replacement glass. So I'll apologize for no picture. The warehouse that is the family room right now isn't something I'm prepared to brave. I'll share it another time.