This is how I know I'm growing: our house is a very, very, very fine house

This is how I know I'm growing: our house is a very, very, very fine house
Our very, very, very fine backyard.

I went downstairs to the basement last night to work out. As I stepped onto the basement floor I felt the sickening feeling of my foot squishing onto wet carpet. The day before I’d forgotten the sprinkler and left it running for an hour or so. I’m sure that water found its way into a crack and then into our basement.

When I told my husband and he came downstairs to take a look, I said, in all seriousness, “We can’t have nice things.”

To put this into perspective, understand that we had major flooding four years ago, discovered two years ago that our sewer pipes had to be replaced, and last fall began the process of repair. It involved extensive work inside the basement. Our entire backyard was dug up, with a three foot-deep trench stretching from our neighbor’s backyard to the side of our house. We lost all of our grass, a huge section of landscaping, and a chunk of our brick patio.

Many thousands of dollars later, we are putting things back together. My husband painstakingly replaced the bricks and dug up weeds, laid down top soil, planted grass. We’ve replaced some of the landscaping.

Bit by bit, our backyard is looking like a backyard again. We can’t replace the fence this year, and we still have lots of landscaping to do. It will all have to wait while we pay down the debt.

So, forgive me for feeling sorry for myself when I found water in the basement. I thought our efforts had solved all of our water problems. I was hoping that at the end of the summer we could finally put carpet back down on the concrete floor and paint and make it look less like a bomb shelter.

But, this is how I know I’m growing and finding some peace in my life. As I rode my bike furiously in a pity party funk, I pretty quickly thumped myself on the head.

We have so many nice things. We have so much good in our lives. We’ve been lucky and blessed. We live privileged lives.

A few months ago my husband and I were walking the dog. As we approached one house, we smelled a horrible smell and saw dozens of plumbers’ trucks and workers. Our neighbors had raw sewage in their front yard and, judging by the activity, it had flooded their house, too.

I felt myself near tears. I looked at my husband and said, “That could have been us.” If not for the initial flooding and the inspections, we might not have found our sewer problem early enough.

Our neighbor’s house is empty now, most of the insides carted away in huge dumpsters. The house is in foreclosure. They lost everything.

When we first moved to this house, I used to get a little thrill—the kind you get when you have a crush on a boy in 8th grade—every time I pulled into the driveway. It’s the nicest place I’ve ever lived. It’s comfortable and clean, and it has spaces for each of us.

We have gorgeous wood floors, some of them original. There’s a laundry shoot that goes from the upper levels to the basement. There are little built in shelves and wooden shutters on the windows. When I’m being mindful, I still get a thrill when I pull into the driveway.

So, I guess what I’m saying is that we do have nice things. Very nice things. We will deal with this new problem, and we’ll probably live for awhile without carpet in the basement until the problem can be fixed.

To quote Crosby, Stills and Nash, “Our house is a very, very, very fine house with two cats in the yard….” Except our cats are on the bed upstairs basking in the sunshine.

This coffee shop is located in a 19th century pharmacy. It's lovely.

This coffee shop is located in a 19th century pharmacy. It’s lovely.

This is the seventh  blog I’ve written for my coffee shop project, and it is also the last. My summer adventure is over for now. My goal was to explore my community, discover new coffee shops, and blog while I’m doing it. Today I’m at the Bridgeport Coffee House in Bridgeport. It’s very nearly a perfect coffee shop. 

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