What's Different About This Picture? Changes a Year Have Brought.

santa2The gracefully curved stairway is familiar. I know it is the one we took Michael's prom pictures on, the one we  thought Laury might one day descend on her wedding day. I recognize the foyer light fixture whose bottom curl you can just see at the top center of the photo. I described it many, many years ago in a holiday newsletter. I think "Early Long Grove Bordello Style" was the phrase I used back then. And that glass paneled door in the lower right of the picture leading to the basement--I recall the mess I made scraping the plastic coating off of its window panes.

There is nothing unusual about seeing a brightly wrapped present in someones hands on the staircase. But  up until this year the wrapping paper would have been Hannukah blue and white. The wreath on the wall is a first. And most significantly of all, no Santa has ever walked down those steps before.

I have been OK with our decision to move. After all, I instigated it! But the new reality this picture demonstrates really brings it home to me.

I suppose the most important thing is that the house is still filled with smiling, joyful, people enjoying the holiday season. We are happy that a young family, with sons who love the nieghborhood, live in the home (and we thank the new owners for permission to use the picture.) But like the seven pound chocolate bar that mysteriously appeared in the lab yesterday, it is bittersweet.

As for new house construction, we ARE in the homestretch. For a variety of reasons, Barb and I have selected a move-in date of of January 17th (three weeks and counting down), and are holding Ham and Jeff's feet to the fire to get us there. Despite their screams of agony over their burning toes, they promise it will happen, even if it means giving a subcontractor or two the flaming boot.

The work progresses daily--and nightly, thanks to our all hours tile guy. But much like creating government legislation, we don't always want to see how the sausage is being made. We have a mailbox, we have top loading washers and dryers, we just don't have all our lights and cabinets. And still no front walk or front porch flooring--the new subcontractors need to start bringing the bluestone.

With all that in mind, I fearlessly predict that next winter there will be two celebrations--Yuletide in our former home, and the Festival of Lights in our lovely new one.

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