After the longest escrow I've ever lived through and the rent back from hell (involving at least one fake lawyer letter, not ours), Michael and I are free to start paying a mortgage and rent until the construction ends sometime in September and we move in. Demo of the kitchen and upper floor begins, with hope, Wednesday, assuming that the Oakland department of whatever it is issues the permits. We had permit round number one yesterday, and Michael was back at the drawing board last night, sketching out whatever it is architects (even non-practicing ones) can sketch.
Meanwhile, I have hot dates, three of them, all at once tomorrow at ten: garage door fellow, carpet fellow, hardwood floor fellow. I am a remodeling slut.
As I walked around in my new house yesterday with a friend, I realized that houses aren't much without the stuff that people cram into them. Even though I wasn't keen about the previous owners' furnishings, the house looked rather dismal empty. There were all the patches on the walls from their family photos in the office. the patches where the Chinese prints had been. In the kitchen, they left one of the largest house plants I've ever seen, tucked up on a weird wall niche, all dangling vines and gigantic leaves (I'm scared to touch it, to be honest. I think I'll let the contractor toss it). The rugs looked dingy and smelled like dog and the lava rock fireplace was front and center without the furniture around it.
I'm thrilled to own this house, but we need to make it ours, erase the past lives still in it. When Michael and I walked through, we found the oddest assortment of leftover things: a key chain from the graduating middle school class of 1968, a strange, fake 100 dollar bill, a framed photograph of a plant. They left mirrors and rug remnants and a plastic bag full of plastic bags. Not to mention a barrel of compost. It all needs to go. We need to paint and floor and remodel and clean it up, so when we put our furniture in it, it's our life, our house.
Tomorrow night, a few friends are coming over to sit with me on the dingy, dog-smelling rug and drink champagne and eat cheese and crackers. We will turn on the lights and laugh, and it will be the first party in this first house Michael and I own together. There won't be any furniture in it, but this will be the first step of making this house our home.
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org