Friday, January 9, 2009

Home Sweet Home

So, I was noticing last night that I use my house completely differently now that I am divorced than I did when I was married. Anyone who reads this blog probably knows my story - my ex-husband and I bought this house when we were married. We separated and I moved out and he was supposed to take over the house, per our agreement. For various reasons that didn't end up happening and when the dust cleared and the divorce was settled, I ended up with the house. Paying for it is the whole reason I started this blog.

Back when I was married, I would say the majority of my time was spent in three areas of the house - my office, one of the dining areas, or in the room I now refer to as the library. My office was located up in the attic and was my place to "get away." My computer was there, along with my art supplies and favorite books. It was my own little haven. "Dining areas" refers to three different places - the front and back porches and the dining room. In good weather we always ate outside. I would say that a lot of my time with my ex was spent in one of these spots, having long talks over meals. The room that I call the library (we called it something else then) had a couch and tv and was the general room for watching movies and so forth. I now call it the library for two reasons: 1) it has great big bookshelves loaded with books in it and 2) I have always wanted to live in a house with a library.

Having moved out of the house for a year and then moved back in, I now use the house in other ways than I did before. I actually have stretched out and use a lot more of the house than I did previously. That strikes me as strange. Going from a 400 sq. foot apartment to a 2300 sq. foot house, one might think that I would stick to just one or two rooms, but that hasn't been the case at all.

To start with, I don't use the dining area as much. Oh, I still love to eat outside, but I don't have furniture on the front porch anymore, that went to my ex. I still have a set for the back porch, but that only works in the summer! It is a bit nippy to be eating out there now, not to mention I hate getting snow in my food. I find that I occasionally eat in the dining room, but mostly I eat at the counter bar in the kitchen, something I never did when married. It isn't because I have the world's ugliest dining room table, because frankly, what it lacks in aesthetics it more than makes up for in comfort. These chairs may be painful to look at but they sure are comfy! (And I can't complain at all - it was free!) Yet for some reason, I just gravitate to the kitchen more often than not. Maybe because kitchens always feel homey?

Then there is the front room of the house - the formal living room, if you will. It has beautiful furniture and is a nice room, but in the past it was pretty much only used for company. Now I find it is one of my favorite rooms for reading, talking on the phone and even taking naps. It's a chilly room, as it is one of the few rooms with original windows from the 1800s, but I've put a few afghans around. In the old days I would only use the room when I thought to myself "Gee, I should use that room more." but now every time I am on the phone for more than a few minutes I find myself gravitating there, to curl up on the couch with an afghan over my legs and to idly watch the snow fall.

The library is still a favorite room of mine. My favorite reading chair is there, along with my reading lamp and, of course, all the books! But it isn't the only place I read. Sometimes I find myself in the front room, other times up in the bedroom.

In the past I never kept books in the bedroom since my ex had an issue with it. It had to do with feng shui; he felt that it distracted from sleep. I never noticed that being a problem for me, so now in the bedroom I have a small bookshelf with many of my spiritual books on it. I also have a couple beautiful photo books on my nightstand and a novel (or two) tucked underneath it. The last couple of weeks when I haven't been feeling well I've been going up to the bedroom, lighting a few candles and snuggling in the covers reading. It's been wonderful and very peaceful.

The attic, where my office used to be, is empty. While is a great space, being up in the eaves, it gets mighty cold in the winter and mighty hot in the summer. One of my plans for 2009 is to clean up this room and make it into a great storage/work space. It needs some love: mainly some plaster patching, some old carpet pulled up, and the floor repainted. I am also considering keeping my eye out at the discount warehouse for a cabinet or two I could install. Basically I want to make this into a functional room for either an office or storage.

Not using this space means I don't have an office area of my own yet. I have my computer tucked away into the spare bedroom, but that area needs a lot of help. Tons of help, actually. I tend to keep my house pretty tidy, but this room is where all the miscellaneous "stuff" gets tossed. One of my goals this weekend is to start working on it. What I would like to do is clean it out completely and make it into an area that will be both my office and a spare bedroom should I have company. I also want to keep it open in case I should have to take on a roommate for awhile. A lot of the "junk" in the room is eBay stuff. Since I have started setting up a space in the basement for eBaying, I want to sort through everything and get it downstairs. Another goal for 2009 is selling 3 eBay items per week, so these two goals can work together.

In the basement presently I have my book selling area. Again, I hardly used the basement before I was married. Now I spend a lot of time down there organizing books to be sold. I also have my workshop down there for home improvement projects and soon all my craft supplies are also going down there, just so that everything is in one spot. It will be great when I can easily lay my hands on anything I need for a project, be it glitter or a jig saw.

It occurs to me as I think about all this, that I am using my house more completely, more fully. I am actually getting more value out of my home than I did before. I am sure the change has to do in part with the divorce, but also in how I view the space. When my ex and I were together he paid predominately for the house and I paid for the cabin. Now that I am paying for the house, it feels more like mine. I think there is something in feeling like you own something when you pay for it. Also, way back then my ex had hired the services of a house cleaner. While it was nice, I find that now that I am doing all the cleaning and repairs myself, I feel more connected to the house. I see things that I never noticed before, I am learning its personality and quirks. In the past I felt like a stranger living on a set, now I feel like I am home.

Photo by: Riot Jane

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