Notes from the Road, 15

Nothing’s left in that house but me and 15 years’ worth of memories of what used to be. I had propped the windows open with those glass pop bottles to air the place out after the movers left and got my family over to the new house.

I had a whole stash of those things, ranging from Coke and Pepsi from the Hispanic markets, to Clearly Canadian, Calypso Lemonade, and for the smaller windows that wouldn’t stay open, bottles of New York Seltzer.

Since the new house doesn’t have that problem, I left those behind in the windowsills.

The house is now completely dark. I hung out in my old room, sat on the floor next to the original furnace register, long disused after its’ replacement from probably 40 years ago, and still had the burnt-orange paint on it.

It was time for me to reflect and say my goodbyes to the old house.

I felt the cool spring breeze through the weather-beaten screens. The latches on the storm windows had broken off years ago, so I found a way to prop those up too.

The smell from the candles I had running in the house as I cleaned up hung in the air throughout the living room, dining room, and kitchen. The wind is also strong enough I got a whiff of that new wood from the attic from the roof replacement 11 years ago.

I wish there was a way to take that smell and make it into a candle and a reed diffuser. 100-year old Attic and New Plywood. Yeah, that’s what it’ll be.

My old room seems so small compared to my new room, and so different when it’s empty in the middle of the night.

So does the rest of the house. It’s so echoey, and the only illumination within the house is from the one street light visible from the living room windows. The 110-year-old juniper bush and the massive evergreen tree on the property obscured everything else, along with the giant bushes along the front retaining wall and the side of the house, and the Virginia creepers starting to bloom again.

The vines have engulfed the front yard among the bushes, layer upon layer of them. One year, they made it up to the rafters, through the basement walls, and in through my side bedroom window.

Virginia creepers look similar to poison ivy, but they’re thankfully benign.

I remembered feeling like this was a fresh start when we moved here. I was also going through a difficult time in my life, and was right in the middle of a health scare. I wished I had been in a better headspace, and in a better place physically at the time, so I could have been more present during the move at the time.

That move was by choice. This one, sort of yes and sort of no. It was ultimately the city’s decision, but we’d flirted with the idea of moving over the years. I had plans to move, however, so maybe that could’ve played a role in the way I’ve handled the move.

Maybe this is part of why I’m not as sad now as I would have been in the past. However, knowing that staying in that house isn’t worth risking our lives over makes the decision that much easier for me.

My life and my family’s life supersedes any house as far as I’m concerned.

15 years in one place is a damn long time for anyone. Hell, it’s a record these days from what I’ve heard.

I graduated from college in that house, after a long, drawn-out ordeal of part-time classes and night school. I got to pay off most of my student loans while we were there, which is a huge bonus in my book.

I got involved with some communities I ended up leaving, one of which just wasn’t a good fit for me and had outgrown, and the others, well, the less said, the better. None of them ever came over to my house, and for that, I’m forever grateful.

I seldom ever invited people over anyway, so it was moot at the end of the day.

I went through two jobs in that house. The first one I left due to the health scare and its’ lingering aftermath, and the second being a temporary job at a small shop in the neighborhood. Then I moved on to what’s become my day job, and I’ve got no plans to leave it, regardless of what comes of this blog.

The genesis of this blog actually started in that old house. So did a NaNoWriMo story I wrote years back, and haven’t cared about in that same amount of time.

I found a small, cheap spiral notebook from the dollar store, and started writing my story of that house in the few weeks leading up to the move. I added to it when time allowed me. The last time I wrote in it, I had made it 16 pages into the notebook, front and back.

I had plans to fill the whole thing up and leave it at the old house, but honestly, I may just move forward with filling it up, and keep it for sentimental reasons. I wrote about my favorite things to do in that house over the years, like having the windows open and listening to the rain outside during the spring and summer months.

There’s also the memories of coming home late at night to the infomercials on over-the-air TV, turning on my string lights by my bed, and running a candle on my dresser will always remain with me.

Country music on the kitchen radio as I took up meal-prepping things as I moved forward in my weight loss this time around.

Watching events go on in my neighborhood from the front yard, which gave me a great vantage point if I was in a place not obscured by the retaining wall bushes. Those suckers went up at least 8 feet high above the ground, haha.

While I’m glad to be out of that place, and love this new house to bits already, I’ll miss it at least on some level.

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