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1802 Domicile Redux

Home.

It’s a riveting concept.

The place where you keep all your things, feed your family and try to establish some sort of orderly routine lest you all fall into the lava pit of chaos where no one gets out alive.

It’s base, if you’re touching it, you’re safe.

Volcanic tantrums, meaningless fights, hilarity, love and hate all  took place  within the brick confines of its walls and you complained endlessly about its shortcomings- but it was where you lived.

So I suppose this is the half assed, semi enthusiastic long overdue love letter to the hundred year old city house with the shitty plumbing, scalding radiators and crumbling foundation.

Three weeks ago, when I walked out of you for the last time it hit me like a gut punch from Manny Pacquiao in his ferocious prime- the tiny people we raised there, the dogs that came and went, the absolute mischief and delight we caused and witnessed, the loud fights,the drunk guys on our porch catching a nap, the bold magnificently unrepentant rats, the hugs, the bedtimes, the recreation of a Santa Claus that came in the front door- because this is the CITY motherfucker. A guy could get SHOT just sliding down your chimney unannounced! These new owners wouldn’t be seeing this history and it needed to go somewhere…

Great things happened at 1802, an infinite variety  of gestures grand and small, growing pains and lots of juice stains on the carpet.  And there it is, the irony of all ironies- the woman who hated that house from day one gets the most crippling phantom pains once it’s gone.  The best surprises, of course, are the ones you don’t see coming- and that house managed to get a stranglehold on me while I was busy doing other things.  It started as a hazy idea, rough around the edges and out of focus, but then in sharpened, came together, righted itself and made it clear. You may like other houses, shit, you may love them and all their splendor, but you will never grow up, out and over a place like me with my uneven floors, my classic woodwork and bad overhead dim lighting.  So own it Duffy, you’ll always have a little love for 1802, no matter how hard you try to fight it.

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Filed under 1802 strikes again, city people become country people, don't say I told you so, home, I don't miss the rats, moving

The Place Where You Live

Second stage house renovation.

Second stage house renovation.

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the places I’ve been and the cities I’ve called home. It’s like an odd glimpse into someones past and perhaps even a murky look at the map of their future.
I was born in Stony Point, New York a blink and you’ll miss it type place about 30 minutes upstate on the Palisades Parkway. Way back in the day it was rustic and peaceful.I had the privilege (although I didn’t know it at the time) of spending my youth trudging around our vast acreage getting lost and forgetting the time. I remember a pond, ancient horse stables built into the hill with stone, several cherry trees, an apple tree and berry bushes that grew wild down the rock walls that lined our property. My kids are children of the city. Being raised in the concrete jungle gives you a real appreciation for vast green spaces and outdoor hijinks. I miss that place more than anyone can ever know.
Like most of my friends, I moved from my idyllic childhood on to college (mine was on Long Island, blech!) and then out into the big bad world. Ready or not, I made a move to the deep south.

Stony Point Lighthouse, I should have appreciated you more!

Stony Point Lighthouse, I should have appreciated you more!

 

Annies' Snack Shack. Friday nights after school. Sadly they demolished her a few years ago. Sniff.

Annies' Snack Shack. Friday nights after school. Sadly they demolished her a few years ago. Sniff.

Georgia, here I come.

My First Neighborhood!

My First Neighborhood!

Atlanta Georgia was as far from everything else I had  previously known as humanly possible. I was affectionately known as “the Yankee”, but mostly found my self confounded by the southern culture and mindset. My favorite employer (at sand blasting job shop no less!) kept a massive handgun in his desk drawer and called his beloved wife “Duke”. At the time  I lived in what is probably the BEST place for youth to congregate and have fun- the world renowned Virginia Highlands. We rented a dirt cheap apartment  in the North High Ridge complex on the corner of North and N. Highland. Our little slice of the world was an enormous two bedroom place with open spaces and great charm. Sadly, it burnt down a few years ago in a massive five alarm fire that made the papers.

Miss you. You were perhaps the best apartment building EVER.

Miss you. You were perhaps the best apartment building EVER.

 I remember spending hours lounging around reading Creative Loafing, listening to good music, walking through town and trying to find my boyfriend (now husband) at Limerick Junction.  We  also made the occasional trip to Athens, Georgia for band practice and lots of drinking.

The Georgia Theatre Rocked. Well, before it burnt down. Do you see a pattern here?

The Georgia Theatre Rocked. Well, before it burnt down. Do you see a pattern here?

Sadly, I left Georgia before I had taken advantage of all it had to offer and I ended up in……………………Annapolis, Maryland.

This boat did NOT catch on fire and burn. Thank goodness.

This boat did NOT catch on fire and burn. Thank goodness.

Crabs. Yum.

Crabs. Yum.

I kept my mother’s newly purchased condominium occupied while she worked in New York and paid  the occasional visit to my boyfriend (still the same one)  in Alexandria Virginia.

 Next, the District.

Hello there majestic monument.

Hello there majestic monument.

My love hate relationship with Washington all started in Columbia Heights, on the corner of 16th Street and Columbia Road. It was great to be able to walk so many places but equally unnerving were the number of bat shit crazy people you had to maneuver your way through to get there. Park Plaza had a pool, spacious units and an undetermined number of cats and dogs living there. Good times, until I had my first daughter and then quickly became pregnant with my second. We were running out of room.

This photo makes it look so tranquil. Usually there are people screaming and ambulances whizzing by.

This photo makes it look so tranquil. Usually there are people screaming and ambulances whizzing by.

 

 Currently, I reside on a quiet tree lined street in Historic Mount Pleasant.  Initially, I was not sold on the idea that purchasing a fixer upper, gutting it and essentially rebuilding it would yield positive results, but my very handy husband did a wonderful job. There are still plenty of complaints about the lack of space (it’s a long skinny row house with virtually no yard), rat problems, little to no parking, crime and erratic sanitation pick up but we’ve managed okay for nine years.

Mount Pleasant.

Mount Pleasant.

These are my neighbors flowers, but clearly I'd love to have a thumb this green.

These are my neighbors flowers, but clearly I'd love to have a thumb this green.

The Zoo is right down the street, sadly this animal clock never has the correct time.

The Zoo is right down the street, sadly this animal clock never has the correct time.

Again, a neighbor who has me coveting his flower growing abilities. I am ashamed to show the barren landscape I call a front yard.

Again, a neighbor who has me coveting his flower growing abilities. I am ashamed to show the barren landscape I call a front yard.

Thank you for the warm welcome.

Thank you for the warm welcome.

So, I suppose we are here to stay for a while with our three kids and two pain in the ass dogs. This walk down memory lane has left me spent and feeling like I need a shower.

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Filed under Atlanta, hometowns, New York, places you've lived, Stony Point, Washington