Home: His & Hers

IMG_1890Something that happened forty years ago almost cost me my thirty year marriage last year. I only realized this yesterday. The body holds emotions that the soul and mind don’t divide into time. That’s why when we hear a song that is particularly poignant, we’re right back there at the senior prom.

This happens in many ways and for me it involved men and new houses. I have owned two new houses in my life. Half a lifetime apart. It would never have occurred to me that the husband I bought the first house with would influence how I responded to the husband I bought the second house with…I was married to house guy #1 for only seven years and house guy #2 has been with me for thirty. So, no comparison. Right? Wrong.

Subtle, though, which is why it can be a good exercise and clearing for you if you run into a perplexing problem of unknown origin like I did. I had my beautiful new home. A home I had never aspired to (I always wanted a cute little ranch house). My husband happily organized the appliances, the shiny new deck that caught the sunset perfectly, and picked out a television and the few pieces of furniture he believed we needed, including a king-sized bed.


Meanwhile I shopped in my basement, filling out the house as best I could with things that didn’t really fit. I mentioned I’d like to do a bit of decorating and husband said “Bank’s closed. We just spent a small fortune.”

I didn’t think much of it. I’m not a money person and I was fortunate for all I had. I moved on. Or so I thought. But I kept getting more and more depressed, feeling more and more isolated from my husband, and just in general unhappy. I didn’t connect it to the house. I eventually entered therapy where I found that I lived in an unequal marriage. The money management wasn’t equal. The time-commitment to each other and our home was not equal, and trust was all but gone.

Just like my first marriage. But this husband (which is why he has lasted thirty years) was willing to dig in and do the work. It started, funny enough, with me drawing up a budget to decorate the house, him laying out the budget for me, and us working together to make it all fit. It did and we went from there. I’m still working on some things like painting which men see as pointless in a new house because it’s new. But builders use cheap paint and nails pop and since I’m redecorating there are all those nail holes to fill. Also I want new color.


Since I’ve become an equal in money management, I know what we can afford and I’m not going crazy but I wonder, if, that first time I bought a new house, had he listened to me and bought the ranch instead of the quad-level (I had two children under two years old, but he wasn’t thinking about my needs, although I did stay slim running up and down those stairs), we would have had money (not that I’d have known) to buy curtains for the gorgeous living room patio doors and bay window. We’d have had money for real furniture instead of my worn down bachelorette fuzzy love seat and battered old plaid chair someone gave us.


What I didn’t know then was marriage has to be equal or everyone loses. Don’t give the money duty to your husband. Don’t let him make the “big” decisions to help him feel like a man, don’t do it because it will erode trust and without that you got nothing.

Please Mister Postman

I’ve been waiting patiently. Almost missed my BFN’s (best friend neighbor) birthday surprise. But, just in the nick of time, Mr. Postman came through. I live in a tiny town and everyone except me knows him by name. I think it’s Ron.

Love my dirt road even though Al refuses to wash my car anymore because I can’t help but drive down it. All the bright scarlet maple leaves have blown away after a windy storm, but’s it’s still so pretty.

I can’t get used to the fact that this is my town. And that these are my books. Every dream I’ve ever had and a few I never even considered has come my way. Well, there’s just one more thing. (There always is.) I want to finish and publish the book I’m working on now. It will happen. Just like everything else did, in its own good time.

After the books came, I quickly signed and wrapped a copy of Blue Heaven for BFN Jan. Her birthday was yesterday. We were both in the middle of cooking dinner, but I turned everything off for a sec and ran across the back yard to hand it to her. She took it and felt it and said “Is this your new book?” Jan has been reading my books since they were just manuscripts on typing paper. In fact, she read a few that were so bad I recycled them instead of trying to mend and publish. So of course I gift her my print books, even though she really needs a Kindle! In answer to Jan’s question, I said “You’ll have to open it and find out,” and then flew back across the yard to my own kitchen.

Another thing happened the same day the books came. I got an email from a fellow DWW member who invited any of us interested to take part in a book fair. So, I had bought these books pictured above as gifts for family and friends and now I am taking them to a book fair. Better get a new order in soon. And those of you who won my 11th Blog Birthday package, I will get the books out to you Monday. Better send my mom one, too. After I find the page with the consummation scene and warn her not to read it:)


New house doesn’t quite feel like home yet. An internet connection would help. So would window shades:) But aside from the material organization, I’ve yet to make an emotional connection to this new place. Maybe because I’m not unpacked and remain undecorated. Maybe because my shoulders ache, my back hurts, and there’s a weird pain in my foot that is shooting upward toward the knee.

Which reminds me that I am close to a lovely yoga studio. I need to get back to class. After I rest the various overworked muscles. And finish unpacking. Then start writing again; I am counting today’s blog as a first step. Had to come out to a bookstore to post an entry. And I’m not the coffee shop type of writer.

I lived in one place for 25 years and didn’t give the move much thought. Well, other than “I can’t wait and I know I will love it!” But 25 years brings another sort of problem to moving house. It’s like packing for vacation. But instead of hunting through a few suitcases, I’m hunting through a bunch of rooms that equal 100 suitcases. Add to that short term memory loss (no big deal, it happens to most people as they get older) and unpacking becomes a challenge.

Then there’s the part about remembering to be fully clothed at all times (windows!) and to shut doors where applicable (windows!) Yes, the new place has lots of windows and I love that about it. I will love it even more when the window shop calls to say my order’s come in and when will they be able to install?

Meanwhile, I had to drive by the old place today. We’d forgotten to give the new owner one of the garage door openers, so I popped it in his mailbox. I felt nothing for the house I had loved for so long. I was actually happy that I did not own the mailbox bombed by bird shit.

I don’t love my old place anymore. I don’t love my new place yet. But I still have my internet home, and that feels just right:)


This past weekend, I decided to move all the furniture in my writing room so that my cosy chair would face the window and I could see the trees changing colors. I’ve got a view of three trees: one yellow, one still green, and one turned a deep red. All that autumn color is a gorgeous sight.

After the chair was in its new spot, I needed to find a place for my desk and computer cart. A bunch of experiments later, I have a nice newly arranged writing room. What is it about moving furniture around that produces a sense of energy, of new possibility?

The best part about this latest furniture move is I only had to reposition one picture. Also, the hook that holds my robe was right over my laptop, so that had to go, too. I put a photo there instead, one of my favorites from my friend Debbie’s portfolio. She did both my book covers and I’ve got a lot of her work hanging around the house.

Hanging the photo taken on a hilltop in Maui, facing out to the ocean, I flashed on the first picture I ever hung in the first home I ever lived in on my own. I was really young, still a teenager, and I’d been rootless for years, bouncing from a handful of relatives to endless party crash pads, and one memorable summer, an abandoned car in my friend Scott’s cornfield.

Somehow I had come out of those experiences, which included a lot of travel by thumb across the country, whole and intact. And, with the help of my parents, I had finally found a home all my own. It was my dad’s place, really. He and mom were back together for the zillionth time, and they said I could live in the house rent free my senior year of high school if I kept my grades up, my friends, out, and paid the utility bills.

I, who’d traveled ultralight for so long, now had a telephone. And a telephone bill. The feeling of moving into that place was one of finally coming home after a long, tiring journey. My mom had saved a box of my things, and that first day alone in that first home of my own, I went though it, and that’s when I found the picture. An old friend of the family, a Chinesse man named Yet Foo Wong, had given me the decorative Asian landscape. It was in a beautiful wood frame and had all the traditional Asian art themes, flowering trees, flowing water, a bridge.

I looked around my new four walls and found the perfect place to hang that picture. My dad had equipped me with a toolbox of the essentials: hammer, nails, screwdriver. In no time, I had the picture hung. I sat on the sofa looking at it. In that moment, the house began to feel less like an exile and more like a place to call my own.