Thirteen years ago, I bought a two-family house.
It was a move prompted by a growing affection for the Somerville, Massachusetts neighborhood that I’d discovered with the woman I lived with then. After working for myself for years, it had almost suddenly seemed possible to buy a house. But the more I imaged a future, the more it seemed clear that it would not be with her. When we broke up, I thought, “I’ll never do that again.” The two-family would be my home. Whoever I loved could live somewhere else. Nearby. Naive? Sure. But the heart wants what the heart wants, and it’s messed up.
That house (39WhR) is in a residential neighborhood near a couple of squares that support restaurants, small shops, delis, and hair cutting places. It’s the kind of arrangement that community planners strive to achieve. I described the 1920s wood-frame to friends as a fixer upper that hadn’t been ruined by improvements. I would spend the next 12 years fixing many things and making improvements. Sorry if I have ruined it for you.
The first summer in the house, I met ButterGirl. She offered me some ivy for my barren yard. And chocolate chip cookies. That was twelve years ago.
39WhR has taught me a great deal about DIY, projects, and making improvements. But it is small, simple, and full of old, standard systems. It’s easy to understand. So it’s easy to make good choices. It probably doesn’t prepare ButtterGirl and me for 12MHR. But we love the new place. Naive? Sure. But you know what the heart wants.