Stroll (Quasi Pledge Break)

I want to walk you home
Please let me walk you home
I want to walk you home
Please let me walk you home*

This post marks the three-quarter mark. We're in the home-stretch and heading home. If you're still awake, please consider pledging? After all, there are a lot of families who don't have homes of their own which they can walk to. The pledge links are in my sidebar, and on my Blogathon Info Page

Speaking of walking, I'm listening to Fats Domino on Napster. The last time I heard this song was in 1991, at my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary. I danced with my grandfather for the last time, at that party.

When I was a little girl, I used to walk up and demand that he “dance me,” which meant, basically, that I would put my bare feet on his work-shoes, and he'd waltz around the dining room. Then my grandmother would come in, and ask him to dance with her, and they'd hum. It was sweet.

My grandfather, by the way, once gave me a toy toolbox, with my very own hammer. When I was little, I played with erector sets and tinker toys, as much as with dolls, so you could say I have a natural affinity for my charity Habitat for Humanity – Women Build .

sky blue

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If youâ™re lucky to be one of the few
To find somebody who can tolerate you
Then I shouldnâ™t have to tell you again
Just pack your bags and get yourself on a plane
If you need her, you should be there
Go home
If you need her, you should be there
Go home*

The thing about marriage is this. You don't have to embrace each other's quirks, you just have to tolerate them. I like a properly set table, and sheets that are nicely turned down, and towels that match. Fuzzy prefers that dirty dishes never be stacked, and grumps at me for leaving the pool pump on. But we love each other, so we tolerate the odd behaviors.

I think this tolerance goes a long way toward making a house into a homey, comfortable space, and not a showpiece where people are afraid to slouch.

*”Go Home,” Barenaked Ladies

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This Old Farm

this old farm

Summer 1995
Somwhere between Fargo, ND, and Moorhead, MN

I only remember one room of the cabin, but it's possible there were more. It was steps from the lake, and had no indoor plumbing at all. I had my period and wasn't inclined to use an outhouse when I hadn't been prepared for the presence of an outhouse, so Fuzzy drove me all the way back out to town so I could use the restroom.

I'd never experienced deep-fried fish before, except in the form of fish sticks, and those aren't real fish, right? But this was freshly-caught trout and there they were, breading it. Fuzzy told me, later, he'd never had fish any other way. Actually, if I pretended it wasn't fish they were breading, it wasn't bad.

(I love fish, just…unadulterated.)

His grandmother was sweet, funny, kind.
The boat ride was nice.
I really have no taste for places that lack modern conveniences. I mean, even beaches have real bathrooms, even if you do have to pay to use them.

Summer 1997
A farm outside Minot, ND.

Another reunion of Fuzzy's family, and I'm much more prepared this time. (Translation: I use the bathroom at the convenience store before we leave paved roads.) I arrive expecting a rustic cabin, but instead it was a fully fledged farmhouse. We met one of his cousins as we pulled into the driveway, “Everyone's in the main barn,” I was told.

Cautiously, I followed Fuzzy through the grass, trying not to flinch about all the crickets our feet crunched, and we peeked into the barn, finding the ultimate juxtaposition of then and now.

In one corner his aunt was teaching the little kids to make rope.
In the opposite corner – a power bar had eight laptops plugged into it, as the family 'elders' completed the geneology.

Itâ™s the sweetest thing I know of,
just spending time with you
Itâ™s the little things that make a house a home
Like a fire softly burninâ™ supper on the stove
The light in your eyes that makes me warm

Hey itâ™s good to be back home again
Sometimes this old farm feels like a long-lost friend
Yes â™nâ™ hey, itâ™s good to be back home again*

“Back Home Again,” John Denver

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Behind the Blue Door

Under stars chilled by the winter
Under an August moon burning above
You'd be so nice
You'd be paradise, to come home to and love*

She had warm dark eyes and hair the color of bitter chocolate, and when she spoke it was like silk wrapped itself around his body.

Her hands were small, the nails tapering into perfect ovals, and she wore no polish, but they glowed from being buffed, he noticed. Sitting in the cafe, across the table from her, all he could think was that he wanted those hands to hold him, to stroke him, to tease and coax and work whatever magic their delicate dextrosity could conjure.

Magic. She was magic.
When she gave him that come-hither glance, he had no choice but to follow her lead, follow her car, follow her into the house with the blue door.

His last thought, before pleasure pushed him beyond consciousness, was that he thought blue doors were meant to keep the witches out.

blue door

*”You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To,” Cole Porter

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Eagle’s Nest (Redux)

My mother was a tailor
She sewed my new bluejeans
My father was a gamblin' man
Down in New Orleans

It wasn't in New Orleans, but on a cliff in New Jersey, that overlooked the back side of New York Harbor, and there was no gambling and I'm not a boy…but it did face east, and my mother did sew all my clothes, then.

We called it the Eagle's Nest. I remember it as huge, but I was only four when we left it, and small for my age, and everything was huge. I remember it as being somewhere between cadet blue and driftwood grey. I remember the call of seagulls, the keening of foghorns, the roar of the surf far below.

I remember sand and tar, a gravel parking lot, and a bathroom with black-eyed susan's on the window sill. I used to confuse the flower and my mother. Maybe I still do.

I remember the pewter quail, which are mine now, and the red button box, which I don't think is mine, even though it's in my house. Maybe the quail aren't, either, really.

I remember parson's tables and playfulness, sunshine and sand candles. (Yes, candles, not castles.)

Mostly, I remember that when she wasn't at work, I had my mother's undivided attention.

What bliss that was!

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Eagle’s Nest.

My mother was a tailor
She sewed my new bluejeans
My father was a gamblin' man
Down in New Orleans

It wasn't in New Orleans, but New Jersey, but it faced east, and it's midnight, and I've just had to reset my blog to the default template so please just…cut me some slack. :)

This is a placeholder. More in a minute.

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More Housekeeping

I've been told that something is wrong with my blog, and the front page (and apparently ONLY the front page) is NOT working in Internet Explorer.

I'm not certain as to WHY.

Anyone who uses wordpress who might be able to shed some light on this is invited to please contact me.

SUKI – I don't want to get kicked out of the thon for an IE error, please?

I AM posting.

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Starter Homes


I've been either in or around the mortgage industry for more than half my life, and the thing that I hate most is when a young couple really wants a house and there's just no way they can afford it. You'd think that with all the programs that exist – zero-down-payment, no-doc, even no-credit-score – that this wouldn't happen, but it does, and while it's not usually my job to tell the borrower, it's often my job to tell the loan officer, who will have to tell the borrower. Sometimes, this industry is brutal that way.

But then there are the amazing stories, where that young couple trying to buy their first home cashes in the coke cans and the ragu bottles, and sells back their vacation time, and is so close, that one of us gets on the phone and asks their parents to just increase the gift for closing costs, a little bit, and they do.

That rush, that sense of selling some a lifestyle, a HOME, not just a house – that is why we continue to do our jobs.

Just sayin'.

Small two bedroom starter
Needs a little fixing
A great big yard for kids and pets to play
This one won't last too long
It's close to schools and churches
Owner leaving town
You better hurry down today*

“Small Two Bedroom Starter,” Reba McEntire

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Might Have Beens

A home
Four walls, a roof, and some windows
Just a place to run when my working day is through
They say home is where the heart is
If the exception proves the rule I guess that's true
Not a night goes by I don't dream of wandering
Through the home that might have been
And I listened to my pride
When my heart cried out for you
Now everyday I wake again in a house that might have been
A home
A home *

It was the flower carvings on the door that drew her to the place, even though she knew it was beyond their means. Still they bought it, and for a while they were happy, and then the strain of keeping up with the bills took it's toll. He was working two jobs, never home, and she was still in school, studying, working or sleeping, usually on a schedule opposite from his.

She noticed when he began to drift, felt it when he became detached, but she loved him, so she gave up a chance to study abroad doing an international affairs internship, and stayed home, working her nothing job so she could finish the year, and meet her half of the mortgage.

It was the flower carvings on the door that had drawn her to the place, but by the end, she saw withered weeds when she came home, and an empty house that was bleak and lonely, instead of filled with love.

carved flowers

*”Home,” Dixie Chicks

This bit of flash fiction was inspired by a song suggested by E.

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Cats and Dogs

Our house, is a very, very, very fine house.
With two cats in the yard,
Life used to be so hard,
Now everything is easy 'cause of you.*

Once upon a time, Fuzzy and I lived in a funky apartment that had been carved out of a rambling old house. It had hardwood floors, and a built in hutch, but no dishwasher, and while it did have two showers, there was no bathtub.

We did, however, have cats, for a while. This was before I knew that, like my mother, I am highly allergic to cats. I can visit with them, but I can't live with them, which is too bad, because I like them, really.

(Cleo is glaring at me, so I have to state that I like dogs better than cats, which is true, actually.)

To me, a home isn't really a home unless there are pets. Cuddly pets. Pets with personalities and quirks, and waggly tails. There's something magical about having a furry four-foot meet you at the door, something soothing about having them come offer cuddles or puppy-kisses when you're in a foul mood.

I knew where this entry was going, really, when I began it.
No, really.

Le sigh.

*”Our House,” Crosby, Stills & Nash

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