Monday, January 14, 2008

My house

I spent the weekend trying to recover from the fact that I am never home. You know, the 22 loads of laundry that has not been done, the fact that no one in the family shops or cleans out the science projects in the fridge. But this project is always very interesting. A Scandinavian friend told me I live in Villa Villakula, the house of Pippi Longstocking.

But actually,I live in Mildred, the Magic House.

All houses have personalities. My house is a bona fide Character.

As Magic Houses go, Mildred is getting on in years, and her mind is not what it used to be. She can be a bit, um, scattered. You ask her for something, she will always deliver –but it will turn up although you are never quite sure where. Say that you want a fabulous hat to wear to the Ballet . It shows up inside of the freezer. You want a new novel to read at bedtime and Mildred will leave it for you in the oven. Mildred is full of surprises, that’s for sure.

Mildred has absolutely EVERYTHING you could ever want and many things you’ll never use. For example I have never found a use for the top half of the meat grinder that showed up in the basement. And then there is the dead 1960 Cadillac with 4 flat tires in the garage. And the vintage paper holiday decorations. And the Time Life everything you ever wanted to know about anything in 1978 books. Book, oh Mildred just loves books—she stashes them everywhere. We use them as doorstops and coffee tables and they just keep appearing. You cannot hide from them, every room in the house has at least 20 books in it, even the closets.

Mildred is overly generous, like a Jewish Grandma who considers it her mission on earth to overstuff you with noodle kugel. If one of a thing is good, then 12 might be better. Mildred’s taste tends towards the eccentric—many of the things she delivers have feathers, sparkles, glitter and huge fake jewels. She is also quite fond of the odd assorted bit of hardware that is essential for the operation of some unnamed mechanical contraption.

There are folks who prefer the clean lines of a more modern house, and whose houses look styled and from the pages of a magazine. That’s NOT my Mildred, but I have grown to love a house who along with stuffed animals collects dust bunnies and drops plaster on important dinner guests. Mildred is tolerant towards children, mice and the squirrels who chew upon her, can handle over 50 people for parties with her open porch smile and her bizarre layout out of little rooms. Mildred sings in the wind and hunkers down in a storm. My bathroom would not back up and I could stay organized in a younger house, or in a house whose previous owners had believed in rehabilitation or at least new kitchens and baths, but my life would not be as interesting or full of surprises without Mildred

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