Friday, October 17, 2008

Full Circle

I remember when we first signed the papers for the house 3 years, 9 months ago. We were so excited. We didn’t care that the house was dilapidated, filthy and smelled strongly of pigeon shit. We loved it and couldn’t wait to get our hands on it.

A day or two after signing, I went to the local department store to poke around their hardware department. It tickled me silly to buy a rake and a pair of wellies, and I must have spent a good hour mulling over which canvas gloves to buy. Heavy-duty polythene sacs, dust masks, secateurs, and industrial-strength disinfectants all went into my shopping cart, and when I returned home, my fingers were cramping beneath the weight of all the bags I carried. But I was so thrilled – these products marked the start of a great adventure. Cleaning our house would be our first act of love towards it; the first step toward making the place our own.

Today I found myself in that department store once again. Like last time, I contemplated the best cleaning supplies for the house. But this time, I bought ordinary stuff – rubber gloves. Brooms. Sponges. A dustpan. Mr. Clean (or as it’s called here, Monsieur Propre). Yes, people: the rumors are true. Three years and nine months after buying the place, our house is finally habitable. This weekend we will stay overnight there for the first time.

I must admit, I’m a little nervous. I have only seen the house at night twice. The first time was when we just happened to drive past it in on our way to a local chambre d’hôte. The second time was when a meeting with the workers ran late, and we ended up racing against the sun, like anti-vampires, trying to lock up the house before darkness fell. We didn’t quite make it but we tore out of the village as if zombies were on our tail. The house, with its grimy cobwebs and crumbling walls and missing floors, was just too creepy to be in after dark.

Now, all that’s changed, of course. The walls are all white and gleaming. The new floors smell wonderfully of freshly cut wood. And there’s nary a cobweb to be seen, let alone one black with dirt.

But I’m still the tiniest bit weirded out by staying overnight there. The house has been creepy a lot longer than it’s been nice. I feel oddly shy and apprehensive, as if I’m about to go on a date with an old friend, who used to live out of his car and eat from garbage cans, but has since cleaned up really, really nicely.

What shades of the old house will remain, I wonder? It’ll be so familiar and yet unfamiliar, too. I imagine, like any really old house, it makes lots of weird, creepy, settling noises. But it’ll take us awhile before we know the sounds of the stairs creaking is normal, and not some 19th century ghost coming to reclaim the house, or the village axe murderer creeping upstairs to chop us to bits.


Still, I can’t wait. We’re on the brink of a whole new adventure.

I’ll let ya’ll know how it goes.


Jane Plane said...

Congratulations! The pictures are beautiful, and I can't wait to see more.

I think it's good you're getting the first night out of the way before Halloween...

Anonymous said...

Lo and Tobi,
Enjoy a great bottle of wine or champagne. Congratulations.

Keith, Sharon, Olivia, Nick

and MOMMA!

Lola said...

Jane - Thank you! You're so right about the Halloween imagination is quite overactive! But as it turned out, I had nothing to fear... I'll write about it as soon as I can. We were really happy.

Family - Thanks! We did!