August 2, 2010
In the fall of 2004 I decided I needed a house. I don’t know why. A 23 year-old has no business, no business, owning a house, but I wanted one.
I found a house I just loved. It was a white three bedroom farm house just down the street from where I was renting. It had a big lot, fruit trees, a shed and was totally remodeled…I just knew that was my new house. I called the agent selling the house and made an appointment to go look at it. For some reason, that I have forgotten, he talked me out of it and the hunt went on. I ended up ditching that agent before too long, he kept trying to sell me houses out in the country even though I wanted to live in Logan.
Three months later I called a realtor named Jette Youngblood; I remember her as a customer at the dry cleaners. She reminded me of my oldest sister Laurel. She dressed impeccably, everything she owned was dry clean only, she drove the cleanest car, and always looked like she was on her way to the most important meeting ever. The other reason I remembered her was she was funny, funny, funny, just like Laurel. When I called her she wasn’t taking new business and she referred me to an agent in her company, Holli. Holli was just like Jette, only with an awesome smokers voice. I still can hear each voicemail she left me “Hey Jeff, it’s Holli,” read that in the most gravelly voice you can. She drove a, then new, Chrysler 300. In 2004 that was the car to have and we got stares everywhere we went. It was black outside, black leather inside and had big chrome rims. We looked at probably 20 houses, but I kept coming back to two.
The first was a little farm house on the west side of Logan and the other was a little red brick house on the Logan River. The farm house was nicer, had a real garage and needed less work. The little red house had character, which Holli reminded me means it needs work, but it was so different.
The red brick house was tucked back in the trees and had a yard that suffered from years of neglect. The inside was stuck in 1961, 1988, and 1999 it was schizophrenic time warp. Horrible wood paneling painted beige, rose colored carpets and had a pink-brown-powder blue bathroom that was straight out of 1961. I lived about three blocks from this house and would run by it everyday just to peek in the windows, I wanted to be in this house all the time. I would climb over the railing to the deck and look in the big picture windows that over looked the river. I would walk through the trashy front yard to look in the new french doors…this house was terrible, just terrible, but I could see the potential in it, and it sounds crazy but it felt like home before it was mine.
Months passed and after eight offers and counter offers the house was mine. My first house and I was 23. Again, a 23 year-old has no business owning a house, but I did, and it was, and has been, a source of pride all these years.
I started out filling it with people, people I loved. Mikey, Brad, John, Kamille, Joey, Robert, “Sauerkraut,” Katie Jo, and Cameron have all called this house home at one time or another. I have fond memories of playing in the river, building “bedrooms” in the basement, late night movies, playing games with friends, talking until the sun came up, eating dinner on the deck and just enjoying every minute of life that this house provided. I have been happy, lonely, sick, in love, heart broken, drunk, stoned, confused and found, all in this home.
I still remember the first day I moved in, I was lying on a mattress on my bedroom floor and opened the windows to hear the sound of the river. I stared at the ceiling fan above me for hours just taking it all in. It was so peaceful, so scary and so exciting.
Moving was easy, I had almost nothing. I moved from my apartment in my Ford Focus. I had a mattress, a dining room table and chairs and one leather chair in the living room. No decorations, no furniture, no household appliances, no tools to work in the yard with…nothing. Slowly I accumulated things…a friend had an old water bed, a friend had an old living room set, a friend had an old couch…my little house was coming together. My mom and sisters came over to give me tips on how to decorate the house, we picked out paint, decor and other items for this sad little home and slowly it started to take shape.
I was determined to have a yard for Buddy…so I planted grass by seed, built a nice wood fence, planted all kind of flowers: day lilies, hostas, primrose, pansies, pin cushion, coreopsis, petunias, columbine, Asiatic lilies, daisies, ornamental iris’s, and about 20 other varieties of flowers. This little yard really took off. I moved load after load of dirt to level the gardens, I used brick to make a border for the new terraced flower garden, I even tied a rope to the back of the Focus to pull a fence upright…and don’t get me started on the trees…oh the trees. Load after load after load of branches were taken to the dump…I shut off the power to half of the Island when I cut a tree down and it landed on the power lines and blew one of the main transformers.
Oh, and there have been floods! A foster dog flooded the basement by eating a water line to the toilet, a careless roommate over-filled the clothes washer flooding the basement, a roommate tried to “fix” the sink flooding the kitchen, and I flooded the basement “bedroom” when a carpet cleaner I rented decided to explode.
My home hasn’t only been for humans, I have always had an open door policy for animals too. Buddy and Whitey love this house. They have a yard to play in, a doggie door to let them in and out whenever they want and tons of friends to keep them company. Whitey has a river he can play in and recently has gotten brave and started to run across the bridge to play on the other side. Whitey sleeps in the neighbors big willow trees and on their carport. Buddy runs and runs and runs all day trying to catch the Magpies that steal his poop. I have raised chickens in the bathroom, ducks in the back yard, have had fish, finches and three foster dogs (Ellie, Snoop and Beavis.) My old roommate John came with two cats Oreo and Tinkerbell.
I filled the carport with cars and toys. A Ford Focus, a Ford Mustang, a Mitsubishi Montero, a 1971 Mercury Monterey, a Chevy Blazer, a Mazda Miata, one motorcycle, one four wheeler and two jet skiis…and these are only the cars and toys I have owned.
I have laughed, cried, made life changing decisions, made life changing mistakes, and become the adult I am today in this house…and it’s officially for sale.
My heart is breaking each time I meet with my realtor. She is nice, and she is doing her job well, but how can I put a price on this house? How can I leave just when it’s getting good? No one else will know how to open Buddy’s treat drawer just right so it wont squeak. No one will be able to skip that one squeaky spot in the hall so they wont wake up their roommates like I can. No one will ever make as fond memories as I have in this house.
Oh, I am so sad. My sweet little yard with my personal spot on the river will belong to someone else. I just hope who ever buys my little spot will know how much this house meant to one boy, one boy who may never forgive himself for giving it up.