Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A return to follow-ups

Alright, number four and six from that list back in September. Four was how eye-opening the opinion of a 7 year old can be, and six had to do with how other people view our house based on that same 7 year old's opinion.

Around Street Fair time in early September, my sister Karin brought her kids to visit us for the first time. It was great to see all of them again, and we spent a couple days together. The second day they all came to our house for a little r&r. Isaac is 7 years old and asked to ride with me to our house. As we pulled in the driveway he let out a little gasp and asked, "Is this your house? Is this where you live?" I assured him it was and he replied, "It's really junky."

Wow. Of course my sister was embarrassed and I was laughing, but Isaac wasn't lying. Kids that age don't lie about stuff like that. They say to our faces what we as adults have learned to keep to ourselves, or worse yet, say behind people's back. And his opinion was that our house was ugly. Karin tried to explain to him that not everyone's house would look the same as his. (They live in a newer housing development in Columbus, Ohio. While each house has it's own unique character, they are surrounded by hundreds of very similar cookie-cutter houses.) So, compared to where he lived, our house (and property) was junky. The paint is peeling, the siding is loose, the roof is slate, my old VW is in the driveway, there are stacks of firewood everywhere, the lawn wasn't cut, and on and on. He was simply stating our house was not as nice as the ones he was used to seeing. And he wasn't wrong for saying it.

As I mentioned, we all know kids will say the things that we adults will only think (or gossip) about. So my house is junky. I get that. Ell and I have chosen to live a certain way that's not always pretty. There will always be wood laying in our yard. The house will always look old and worn out. There will always be a menagerie of chairs and seats on the porch. A garden will always be center stage in the landscaping. And those things aren't always pretty. They aren't neat or well kept. Ell would like it to be a little nicer looking, but she's not willing to sacrifice our lifestyle for the alternative. So that's how it is. But Isaac's remarks got me thinking. Does everybody we entertain think our house is junky?

To be honest, I thought our house was junky the first time I saw it too. When we pulled in the driveway with our realtor, the view from the outside was bad. But when we went inside, I fell in love with the charm of the logs. The same thing that happens with everybody who comes inside our house. They love it. It'd beautiful and rustic all at the same time. Ell's decorating style is exciting and bizarre. People want to touch the logs and lounge on the couches. Every single person that spends more than an hour in our home says the same thing, "I feel so comfortable here. It's so comfy." I like that. Ell likes that. It means our house is inviting and friendly and warm. What it doesn't mean is the outside is any of those things. The outside is still ugly.

So my thoughts that day drifted to what people must think when they pull into our driveway and get their first view of the house. Appalachian hicks probably comes to mind. Rednecks maybe? Slobs? Possibly. I've never cared too much what people think, and this doesn't change that. But it did make me ponder. From the mouth of a 7 year old............


Blogger Kimmy said...

I don't remember much about the outside of your house, cause I think it was dark when we arrived, but I love the inside. Very nice, and yes very comfortable.

The outside of our house certainly wouldn't win any beauty contests, but I like to think the inside is charming & comfortable as well.

7:37 PM  
Blogger 3rd string's finest said...

Sam, I love your house. I love watching movies in it. I love sitting at the table talking with you after a long hike. I love chillin with friends and playing games. I love throwing-up in your front lawn. I love sitting by the fire outside. I love sitting by the fire inside. I love smoking our pipes around the table. I love making lunch there before we go camping. I love making explicit images on the table with carmels. I love/hate the basement. Sam, I straight-up love your house. Later.

2:22 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

I'm with Evan... except for the throwing up part.

3:35 PM  
Blogger Brad B... said...

sam... i would have to say that your house is probably one of my favorite places in the world to hang out... i dont think it matters if it is your first or hundredth time there, it feels like home... in fact... just reading this makes me want to come on over there and take a nap on that big couch and curl up with one of you hundred or so cats...

5:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've seen outhouses that look better. You should definetly move or something.

8:09 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

You're right Evan, I mean Anonymous, the place should be torn down.

But seriously, thank you all for your kind words. I didn't intentionally mean to write a post to get compliments, but I'm glad so many people like our place. The main reason for my writing was just how wide-open the words of a child can be. So honest and so real. If it wasn't for manners and feelings and all that jazz, it would be so revealing and refreshing if adults could be as honest as 7 year olds. I know we are told to be loving and compassionate and brutal honesty could be just that, brutal. But it does make you think, "What if?"

1:12 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I personally think that it is a pretty junky house. I mean I absolutely love the interior, but even that seems to get to me sometimes. Honestly it would just take money to improve on things if you were only doing that for cosmetic reasons, but if you really don't care then its not a big dealio.I guess that I have lived in a log house all of my life and I think that I am ready for a good old-fashioned house with real straight walls and corners and colors other than brown. Thats the only thing that gets to me sometimes.

4:34 PM  
Blogger 3rd string's finest said...

Sam, I know I post anonymously sometimes. That outhouse one wasn't mine. I thought you knew me better, Sam. I don't blame you, I have been gone for four days shy of a year.

8:43 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

As clever as it was, I was sure that was you.

Man, I can't wait to see you.

8:48 AM  
Blogger Zoooma said...

As a stranger, pulling into your driveway, seeing that old VW, and seeing everything just how you described it, I would think that this is part of America that I really like!

Cookie cutter suburban sprawldivisions where there was farmland or trees, they make me so sour. I long for real homes, not... not that other stuff where everything is so prim and proper with neatly manicured lawns, all edges straight, so shiny and sterile. Is that better somehow?

The exponential growth of neighborhoods like that is part of what's preventing me from moving back the Lower 48. No, I don't have to live in such a place... but I don't even want to see them! Developers see trees and they think, "We'll bulldoze 'em all 'cause what a great place for 100 home$ that all almost look the $ame." I don't get it.

Your home sounds like a home! Junky? No. It's got real American character.

10:13 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

Thank you, Chris. (I think that's your name.) Coming from you the thought of my house as "Real American" is perfect. It would be nice if everyone could see it that way. Thanks for the thoughts.

10:52 AM  

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