When my son was in third grade, he was in a play called the Big Orange Splot. It was, I believe a previously unperformed play. The story was about people in one neighborhood where everyone was to maintain their home to look exactly like everyone else’s right down to color. One day a big orange splot falls out of the sky onto someone’s roof. The reaction of the neighborhood was immediate. This would not be tolerated. The person whose house had the big orange splot decided that he liked it and intended to keep it. Chaos ensued. A line that came out of the play has been with me ever since, “My house is me and I am it and it is all my dreams.” I hadn’t thought about this line for a while until this week when we were in an area that might have to evacuate due to fire. It reminded me about my feeling of home.
As I looked around the house at everything and started to consider what I might need to take should we have to evacuate, I was filled with grief. What if what I bring is all that we have left? As a person who tends to, what we call Spiral in my family and worry about all the worst case scenarios, I lost control. I was weepy as I video scanned the interiors of my house in case we needed to use this for insurance purposes. I could barely think about this possibility.
This house was purchased with hope that we could get back on our feet and return to the place my husband and I began when we were first married. The house is a project. We have put so much love and energy into it. With so many things it needs, it has been a slow process. If you don’t have the money, you have to use time. Ever so slowly, my vision for the house is materializing. Unfortunately, we have to spend large chunks of money on very unglamourous projects such as a new septic system. Expensive and nothing shows. Not that you don’t have to maintain the infrastructure, but it sure would have been nice to spend the money on a new kitchen floor or cabinets. No one said ever” My what a lovely septic system you have!”
My fears about the fire have been allayed, but we are still in the midst of a series of horrifying heat spells. September and October are typically warm months, but with global warming, we are experiencing record setting temperatures everyday. The worry of fire always there. Now, I better understand the line from the play, I love this house probably more than the other houses we have lived in because we are free to craft a different life for ourselves. We are a work in progress…..In the context of the play, I also consider that it is not just about me, but also appreciating each others desire to define how they want to live.