08 November 2009

"Home" is a Tricky Concept

Our current state of transition, between our condo of nine years and our new home where we're pretty sure we're going to want to live forever, is working out pretty well, all things considered, but things get kind of confusing at times.

Our neighbors/landlords/friends are at the tail end of remodeling a house they bought earlier this year. They will soon be moving away from the house next door to our temporary house, leaving the street where they've lived for 15+ years. They're starting to think about their landscaping plans at the new house, and they're removing a lot of plants to make room for more lawn for their oh-so-energetic little boys. This morning we went to their new place to unearth some of their monkey grass to plant at our new place. So, in summary, we followed our temporary neighbor from our temporary house and his short-timer house to his house-to-be to get some plants for our house-to-be. Whew. (We didn't finish, though, because it's been raining all afternoon.)

At one point in this crazy journey, we had four houses. For about a week, we had already bought the new house/lot but hadn't yet sold our condo, the lease on our temporary place had begun, and we were designing a house that was becoming very real, if only in our imagination. All of these houses are within two miles of each other. It became very confusing. "The house" was no longer a useful term, and "home" meant different things, too. We decided to assign nicknames. All of them are in North Central Austin, but the condo, being the most central, became "the city house." The temporary house, being waaay north (two miles) of where we had lived for so long, was "the ski chalet" (never mind that it was approaching 100 degrees when we thought up the nickname). The new house, between the two, became known as "the lot" (or sometimes we referred to it simply by the street name), and only context cues revealed whether we meant the existing structure or the house to be built.

Now we only have two houses -- really just one, since the other one was torn down, but two addresses -- so there's less room for confusion, but we like to refer to our empty lot as "the house" (by which we mean "the house" -- the important one, the one into which we're putting our hearts and souls, not to mention our money for the foreseeable future). But we still call the house where we're currently living "the house," too, 'cause that's where we sleep and keep our stuff. As the house nears completion, "home" will probably get confusing again -- until the moving is over, clarity sets in, and home becomes synonymous with wonderful.

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