Home, Sweet Council Home

A few days ago, someone made the unfortunate blunder of referring to our home on Scarlet Crescent as “that dingy little house.”

I’ve been stewing about it all week.

It’s funny, because don’t most of us pick our homes apart, wishing this room was bigger or that appliance was newer or these walls looked fresher? We are our own worst critics, but secretly, we hope that others see our homes a just a bit nicer than they really are. I guess that’s not the case when it comes to our house.

window in an unfinished bathroom

Well… I guess there are a couple of doors I close when I know company is coming . And our shower wall is held together with packing tape. Our garden is completely wild. There are still a few large holes in the bathroom door from the time I had to bust Frank out with the blunt side of an axe. We had to rip up the ancient carpet in some parts of the house, leaving a grungy plywood exposed simply because we can’t afford new carpet or flooring at the moment. Often, when we begin home improvement projects, we find that there are much bigger issues like damp problems or crumbling plaster that makes simple DIY impossible. So in our attempts to fix things up, they often look worse because we have to leave them half-finished until the cash comes in.

There certainly are parts of this house that are not to my liking. I might even call them dingy. But still, I feel a certain sense of loyalty to our home because it’s where we live right now. It’s the house where Frank’s grandparents used to live, where he used to come after school for a big bowl of stew, where many neighbourhood parties were held late into the night. This is the house I stayed in when I came to visit Frank for Christmas all those years ago (and believe me, it was actually a lot worse then!! Haha!). These are the rooms I rested in when I was pregnant, and this is the only house our little Evelyn has ever known. I don’t think she minds so much.

stove of many wonders

If I’m honest… I’ve had to coach myself into appreciating our teeny, temperamental stove, our miniature fridge, our washing machine that takes hours to spin and our dryer that is held together with various bits from around the house.  I curse our toilets that occasionally get backed up, and I bemoan the lack of proper insulation and weather-proof doors when it gets cold out.  I’d be lying if I said we don’t dream of having a fresh new home somewhere else, some day when the world stops eating up our cash faster than we can make it. We love to watch home shows and fantasize about what kind of house we’ll live in one day and how we’ll do it up.

Irish-sized fridge

But in the meantime, we have put a lot of ourselves into this place – we can’t help it! – slowly, sporadically, and not always the way we’d like.  I often fight with myself when I’m feeling a bit too pround to invite people over because I might be embarrassed about what they’ll think.  Then, I’m reminded that some of my best memories have been spent in people’s homes that were simple, dated, maybe a bit shabby, but always warm and welcoming. The difference in these homes was the importance placed on hospitality and sharing what you had, no matter how humble.  So I take a deep breath, and cheerfully ask people down to our place for brunch, or dinner, or coffee. And it’s OK.

Besides, we must be doing something right if we can sleep comfortably in our beds at night, and if I can pull a few nice cakes and roasts out of that oven, and if we have enough room in the fridge for a bottle of bubbly on special occasions

We’re not living a glamorous life. But we’re living.


5 thoughts on “Home, Sweet Council Home

  1. Claire

    You find value where you should in life and I like that quality in you so much. Some of the best memories Regan and I have are from places that weren’t what others defined as nice. His house on Cary street in Richmond, VA had a soggy floor in the bathroom, zero furniture but for a bed, one chair and a television, and many other sub par details. But our memories of that place are all good. The care we put into it. The time we spent there. All of it is good.

  2. Bonnie

    I’ve always marveled at your ability to take a dingy little apartment or house and make it something special…you fill it with unique, artistic, homey touches. Whenever I visit someone’s house who is an artist like you two I don’t really notice the shabby parts; it seems to play into the whole. We are trying to learn this ourselves going from the 4 bedroom in suburbia to the tiny 2 bedroom townhouse, and honestly, I think we’re happier with the coziness and the quirks! (if I turn on the stove and the bedroom closet light at the same time the power goes out!).xx

  3. A rather fashionable acquaintance of mine made a comment on Twitter the other day about my man’s dressing habits. Even though I am subtly updating a few things and have successfully got him away from tapered jeans, I still felt like punching a bitch.
    That to say, I feel your pain.

  4. This is totally how I feel about my house. Now if we only had the money to re-do the bathroom and the time to get the floor redone in the living room. (sigh)

  5. Beth

    right there with you, sista. that mixture of longing and pride and stifled frustrastion because what’s there to do about it anyway? you just do your best and put on the tea kettle and snacks. 🙂

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