“I want to be able to sit outside in the sun in the nude and have complete privacy to do so,” I said to my realtor. She had asked my number one priority in finding a house to purchase.
Henri said, “Guess what. That’s exactly what I wanted!”
“Have you got it?” I asked her.
“Good! I’ll buy your house!” Henri and I have shared many laughs over the years, but I knew she had designed a house that included great features for a single woman. Her easy-to-keep home was built on low maintenance property and contained a booty of beauty and privacy.
Henri said, “I’ll just keep giving you information sheets on listings and you check them out. One will grab you. You’ll hit the driveway and it’ll hit you. I know you.”
I spent weeks driving all over the island oogling houses from various angles. One after the other gave me a sense of foreboding. Then one day in mid July, she called, “You have 10 minutes to get over to this house. It’s going to sell quickly. I’ll meet you there because I know you’ll love it.”
She was right. I knew the house and had always appreciated it. We went over its many features. They suited my lifestyle more than I had not even mentioned to Henri. One of the highlights was the spacious office at the front of the house.
Could I sit outside in the nude? Not unless I wanted to be arrested. I had to give up my secret thrill. All the other features made up for it.
That was eight years ago. This year, I hired a young man to repaint the outside.
I discovered feelings I never anticipated. Suddenly the house is more mine. It was difficult defining the feeling. Joy? Serenity? Fulfillment? Peace? Over a painted house? Am I really that shallow that the outside of my house fills my life with contentment?
It’s been all those feelings. They arise from a sense of fulfilment over this being the first home that I have lived in long enough that it needs painting. I’m no longer a gypsy. I belong in a neighbourhood. I stop and chat with people about things that concern us. I know their habits and they know mine. When something is not usual, we check with that person. When strangers are around, we all notice and are unobtrusively alert.
Painting my house gives a message that says to my neighbours: I care about us. I care that we like to live in peaceful surroundings with our lives as private or as open as we wish. I care that we look after our neighbourhood and the assets that most of us rely upon to provide us security and pleasure. When I look after mine, I contribute to the value of yours.
Who knew a paint job would bring out a deeper sense of belonging?
Who knew the delight in receiving neighbours’ appreciation?
The wheels are truly off my wagon.
My house is not easy to photograph because it’s built on a hill covered with foliage. I don’t mind – Google Map cannot get a decent shot of my house and I’m glad. Here’s a peek:
Speaking of painting wagons –
Lee Marvin painted one many years ago and won my affections.
I identified just a little.