April 19, 2016
Dear 109 Brian,
You were my 13th home. Lucky thirteen. Finding you was easy; your pet friendly advertisement and 1800 square footage drew Alex and myself in immediately. Although, I won’t lie, when we first caught sight of you, the terrible condition of your yard intimidated us. Your gutters had trees growing in them, no grass was visible beneath inches of oak leaves, and no light reached your walls.
You were an ill-cared for house. Nobody had shown you much attention in the last few years, which was a shame because one look at you and I knew you were built with grand plans in mind. When you were in your prime, you were a beautiful place. That fact was obvious to me from the start.
Inside, the neglect continued. There were chips in your kitchen floor and along your hall walls, poor paint jobs along your corners, and then there was that unsightly water stain in the laundry room that we won’t concentrate on.
You’d been lived in, that’s for sure.
But you had such a unique design that I knew at once you were the house for me. Other folks couldn’t get past the cosmetic problems you faced, but that was their loss. In the end, those imperfections gave me one heck of a rent rate, so I appreciated them while I had to work around them.
My father and Alex built you a beautiful railing for your back deck a week after we moved in. It added such a fresh look to your backyard that Landon and I couldn’t stay away from that part of the house. I wish I had a dollar for every time Landon’s tiny little feet stepped on those back stairs…
I spent the spring raking and mulching and bagging the disaster that was your lawns. It saddened me to see all the trash the previous renters had left behind, and I felt immense satisfaction in bringing forth your bright green grass. I could almost hear your sigh of relief when those patches found the sunlight.
Flowers began blooming. Dry spots began sprouting grass patches. The look of the place became cheery and lively and settled.
Your neighbors weren’t so ashamed to be next to you anymore. The chickens came over to your fence line and let Landon and I say good morning to them, the owners of the other places ran off snakes for us, offered us their riding mower, and complimented our decency.
You were a good house, 109 Brian.
A great house.
Some rough moments went down within your walls. Our poor puppy dog got sick, Landon broke his leg on your floor, Alex had to return from some tough work assignments, I was on that awful gestational diabetes diet but despite the struggles, you did what a home is meant to do. You provided stability and comfort. Our pictures on your walls, our lamps lighting up darkened rooms, your familiar hallways and doorjams all made us feel safe and protected from the world. My son might’ve had an injury, but at least he was able to recover and learn to cope with the challenges of a cast in a place he felt comfortable.
Some great moments went down, too. You welcomed our little girl, Evie, inside and kept her toasty warm during the winter. You put up a multitude of guests in your guest room and hosted dozens of playdates and dinners. The kids were hurricanes but you were the eye of the storm.
Goodbye, Living Room, where Alex and I had television marathons of Supernatural and Once Upon a Time. Where, for 6 months or so, I would sit and write Disney trip reports on the new couch we bought. You held up Landon’s first fort, witnessed Evie’s first roll, and ate so many lightbulbs my wallet cried.
Goodbye, Florida Room. Also known as Landon’s Playroom. Also known as the Home Gym. You transformed into whatever we needed you to be, and you were without a doubt the nicest feature.
Goodbye, Master Bedroom. You were big and beautiful, but your fan was all aesthetics and no functionality. A bad ceiling fan in Florida is a rough hand, but at least you spoiled me rotten by having a remote dimmer. It’s going to stink to have to actually get up out of my bed and turn off the lights.
Goodbye, Master Bath. I adored your double sinks and garden tub. Oh, I got so spoiled by you. But, I’m sorry to say I will NOT miss your crazy carpet. Your owners did you such a dis-service, 109 Brian, by burdening you with that awful addition.
Goodbye, Orange Kitchen. Your spacious counter tops and wide work spaces made my life so much easier. And your very…loud color ensured I had a conversation piece with guests.
And goodbye spectacular organization add ons. You were amazing. Easily, the best closet I’ve ever used. There were so many little things that this Type A person couldn’t help but love. The hooks all around the kitchen sink for mugs and hand towels, the small cabinet on the end of the counter for pizza pans, the metal shelving in the kid’s closet, the cabinet in the guest bath, etc etc.
You spoiled me, 109 Brian.
I’ve lived in some nice places over the years, but I have to say, you were one of my favorites. You had everything I wanted at that point in my life. A yard for my son to play in, a bathroom connected to my bedroom, nice neighbors that brought me fresh eggs and said hello everyday, and a friend that lived 3 streets down. My kid got to go on walks with his buds, I was able to have impromptu play dates, and I always had a closer option for borrowing something if I ran out of said item.
109 Brian, you were great. You were 20 minutes from my family and the first road coming into town, making Alex’s commute from work a million times easier.
The two of us talked several times about all the things we’d repair and/or improve if we owned you. We could have seen how we’d adapt it and make it our own place, and it’s probably for the best that the owners weren’t intending to sell you, because we would have seriously considered buying.
I’m going to miss parking my car in your driveway and shutting off your porch light every night, but like all the houses before, time will make you fade away to something of a snapshot in my mind. I’ll take my favorite parts of you and add them to the growing list of features I believe will make a perfect home. (You can sit on a shelf between that gorgeous bay window I used to read on in high school and the gas stove in the kitchen.)
And perhaps one day there will come a time when Alex and I can build our own home, and I can take all your little highlights and put them together like a jigsaw until I create a dream home. Perhaps one day I won’t have to write a goodbye letter to my house. Perhaps one day there will be permanence.
Today’s not that day. So, again, goodbye 109 Brian.