House/Home

The walkway from the sidewalk is broken and uneven. I’m sure it had a smooth and straight border at some point long ago. The wall along the patio in the front yard leans out quite noticeably. It looks like a strong and determined push might just send it over.

I made a conscious effort to make part of my front lawn a drought tolerant and California native plant garden. The weeds and Bermuda grass laugh at this and carry out their spiteful revenge without mercy.

The doorbell is a buzz rather than a chime. It sounds like it should be in the front office lobby of a factory.

Since before we purchased the house, the huge window facing the street has a small hole in it made by what looks like a pellet from a BB gun.

The kitchen needs to be redone. The cabinets don’t close and they’re made of wood frames with glass fronts that are just as scared as I am of the next big earthquake. The sink faucet is as old as the green backsplash that surrounds it. The sink itself is a greener green. The utensil drawers slide on the wood frames that support them; when they’re used, they sprinkle a slight amount of powdered wood onto the pots and pans in the cabinets beneath them.

There’s only one bathroom.

The backyard initially had no lawn or garden. It faces south which means it gets blasted by the sun all day long. There are no sprinklers and the grass doesn’t stand a chance against the summer heat. There are places in the yard where the soil is not soil but whatever the stage between dirt and rock is. I’ve dropped more swear words than sweat back there.

The garage doors need to be replaced. Remains of a past era, the two doors are made of long wood slats that might, or might not, slide sideways to open. I don’t dare attempt to find out. There’s openings between the slats where the wind, dust, sun, and rain find their way in.

The concrete in the furthest part of the backyard is broken here, gone there, and uneven everywhere. When it rains, there’s pools that last for days.

This house. This old house.


The front patio is large and welcoming. It has a sizable overhang and faces north so it has great shade the entire day. In the early evenings on warm summer days, it’s a little pleasure of mine to have a cool drink by the leaning wall.

Come Spring time, the seeds of the California Poppies have sprouted and their bright orange is in full bloom. You could see it from a block away. The other native plants too are alive with color and clamoring for the attention of hummingbirds, moths, and butterflies. They consistently grab the attention of passers-by as well.

The light enters the breakfast nook, making it bright and inviting. Peace is having a cup of coffee there in the morning and watching the world pass by.

There is no carpeting in any of the rooms. They have the wooden floors the color of milk chocolate, the kitchen floor is the color of dark chocolate. I look forward to walking barefoot on their cool surface.

There’s central heating and air conditioning.

The ceilings of most of the rooms in the house are not at a right angle. The walls curve as they approach the ceiling, leaving no right angles and no lines. It’s pleasing to the eye.

The living room has no light fixtures on the ceiling. Instead, three of the four walls each have a pair of sconces that are all connected to a dimmer, allowing us to adjust the light just right. During the holidays, we string white lights around the room and the adjoining dining room. The warm glow of this entire space is the image of the holiday season for me.

Large parts of the city were orange orchards 100 years ago. If you drive through the neighborhood, there are still plenty of orange trees left from that time; you can even make out where the orchard lines were if there are enough orange trees on a block. One of these trees is in our backyard. On hot days, there’s no better spot on the property than to be sitting in it’s shade at about 3 o’clock when the ocean breeze begins to come in.

When it’s cold, dark, or raining outside, the house is warm, dry, and with an inviting glow.

Our home. Our new home.

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