I love my crappy little house. 

I love this home as well as anyone can love any innate object.  It was a foreclosure and my parents bought it for me. 

Some people move in with their parents after a divorce or crises.  I just rent from mine.

Between you and me, the real reason we are in this house, is out of grandparental fear.  The thought that I would move their grandchildren into a trailer park (which would also house some sort of fat slobby child molester) was the motivation of this purchase.  If it weren’t for these girls I would be sleeping at a shelter or under a bridge (ok I could move into my office and just take showers at the Y) but I really know my parents bought this home for the girls.  They feel sorry for them because these neat human beings were involved in a messy nasty divorce.  My court file at the local courthouse is going on volume III.

Like all mothers my kids are the most beautiful, exciting and wonderful people ever.  They deserve this token of their grand parental affection.  I am deeply humbled and thankful to be renting from my parents.  It is not something I asked for.  It was a gift to me out of my apparent failure to maintain our previous standard of living. 

So I am so content with my hot cup of coffee, my rental agreement and my crappy little house.

This home is a four bedroom & two bath fix-it-upper.  I love the imperfections because I am set to scrub, paint, tile and floor over dirt and uneven floor boards. I am amazed at what the Lowe’s store manager (Dave) has done for me.  I am amazed at what paint, tile, varnish and what a few new wall plates, ceiling fixtures, books and family photographs will do. 

The kitchen walls are so nasty and I was tired of looking at them.  I had no more money for paint.  So on this night while eating dinner I decided we should write on our walls.  It was an, “Ok kids write quotes that inspire you.  I want real quotes, I want substance, I want the walls to speak to us.” 

That moment I decided I was going to be a mom that let us all write on our ugly kitchen walls.

It was, “Really?  We can write on our walls for real?”  It was better than wine this intoxicating moment.

So I write phrases like:  Risk is the price of opportunity; the road is always better than the inn (Cervantes), the cruelest lies are often the ones told in silence, When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless and intelligence cannot be applied (Herophilus), the elevator to sucess is broken you must take the stairs…

They write phrases like: With great power comes great responsibility (spider man); I love you to the moon and back (Sam McBratney); and E = Mc2 (Einstein), what lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us (Ralph Waldo Emerson)….

We make this home our own.  In a sad sense I know my children don’t bring many friends over like they use to. When we lived in our 3,000 sq. ft. palace they would have slumber parties that ranged in the twenties.  Imagine twenty teenaged girls.  I was MJ making pancakes in the kitchen the next morning watching six boxes of tony the tiger get swallowed whole.  Now they can only bring over a friend or two.  Just not the same kind of room nor same kind of decor.  But I see that these friendships are more solid and real.  I mean they would only bring someone over that really cared for them and wouldn’t judge them on this house.  These real friends also write on our walls. 

This house set us out to painting and pulling out carpets together.  The girls kicked it in gear and not a complaint.  They all picked out their room colors.  I am determined that they get to decide what to hang on their walls.  They get to decide their flooring.  In this home freedom is lavished.  No restrictions.  Creativity, knowledge and hard work are expected.  Compliance, control, horrible harsh words, anger, hate and limited choices went out with the rolled up bad carpet.  Be kind and good.  Be who you are and if you are not sure who you are set sail and find yourself.  This is what I want to teach these human beings that are in my care.  I want them to become life long learners.  I want them to express themselves.  I want them to grow and be free.    I want them to find themselves for them.  I am afraid to mold them into what I want.  No more putting people in glass jars with only breathing holes and no more crates and cages.   No one trying to define me.  I am set out that no one is going to try to define them.

I have decided that our house of estrogen will have a front yard full of flowers.  I now have control over and I can spend money however I want.  If I want to be irresponsible with it—it’s mine— I am that free spirit.  I choose family, I choose exotic vacations and I choose flowers that attract butterflies.  I am not my credit score.  Trite, simple minded, flippant and so very female brained?  Yes, it’s me living life with a soul.  It’s about our own road on that indivdual journey.  You and I both know that we all end up in that cold dusty ground and we can’t take anything here with us. 

My Katie likes candles.  So we go to IKEA and buy tea lights in bulk.  We hang tea light lanterns from the branches of the front yard tree.  We eat dinner on a pick nick table in the front and the whole lovely tacky neighborhood can witness our family cena full of flowers, wine bottles, and tea lanterns.   

I choose to fill my room full of books.  I choose to have a messy room in which I don’t hang up my clothes and I don’t make my bed.  I drink tea and I drink wine and at times I have eaten my dinner in bed when I come home from the office at 9 p.m..  I write in my journals and light up 10 tea lights.  I am surrounded by art and photographs of my memory treasures.  I am happy and I am safe.  I don’t have to please anyone but myself and the girls.  They are so easy to please and all I need to do is love them.  They are like plants that only need fresh soil and water.

We choose to use positive and nice words in this home.  We choose banter and teasing but everyone knows the jabs are an exercise in wit and fun.  The words in this home, while at times can sharpen, usually are soft, fluffy, and safe to land on.  Honey, sweetheart, I love you’s, you make me proud– all resonate.  I constantly tell them how amazing and wonderful they are.  I am proud to protect these human beings.

In days I feel less successful due to my monetary set backs I say silent “thank yous” to that heat and hot water gods.  I wrap myself up in my down comforter and I try to calculate how much I have to save for my next home improvement project and when it is I will next see blue Lowe’s Dave.  I know tomorrow is more money and another project and with that thought I smile.

This crappy house is a gift.  I am in a better place here.  We are set on making this ours and making it even better.