I moved to the country about three years ago. I was working through post-natal anxiety and maybe mistakenly thought that the fresh air would rattle my brain back to whatever normal is. (Normal is relative and over-rated)
We first moved in with my family. My father wanted to be like The Waltons. But The Waltons is TV. Old TV. (And I love my Dad, but I’ve learned that I also love reliable internet connections and family time that doesn’t involve being dragged backwards down hills in my chair.)
We were four generations in one house, hoping to build a bigger house.
My husband and I shared a room with our daughter and this worked. Until all three of us got the same flu, and two of us ended up fighting like we’d never fought before (or since, I’m thinking.)
Two weeks later, we started looking for a place of our own, and a month later we signed the papers.
We panic-bought a house. This house.
As soon as I came into this place, I felt like it was ours.
I imagined my kid playing in her room, and sharing it at some point.
I would share the home office with my husband and actually write as much as I used to.
Maybe I’d do some coffee shop writing. I’d blog about home renovation and converting the loft.
This would be the house where our new friends would hang out and our old friends would visit.
We’d go back to the city once a month, and that would be enough.
But really, I write in the kitchen on a table crowded with books and paints and comics. My daughter has more friends than I do, and most of the the friends I have cannot travel two, or six, or eight hours to sleep on our living room couch.
Coffeeshops are inaccessible or closed, or both.
The house is falling apart. We’ve put new piping behind the stove and bought a new dishwasher and washing machine. We’ve blown fuses. And the lights have popped, too.
When we bought this house, my mother, calling from 4,000 miles away said, ‘You don’t own a house, a house owns you.’
Our very particular mother-daughter relationship is usually best conducted over the phone. However. That time, I have to say, You were right, Ma.
And so, we are probably, maybe, definitely moving back to the city. Not to step back, but to move on.
In related news, I’m always Googling writing tips and the one that keeps coming back is Learn to close the door.
In fact, I was recently included in a list of productivity tips. Yes, me. I laughed, too. At about number three I said …find a door and close it.
Well. I’m a hypocrite. Or something. Because I write in the kitchen. Where there is no door.
The kid goes off to school and the husband comes back and changes a lightbulb. Yes, really. In the kitchen.
‘Do you have to do that now?’
‘Take a break.’
I hear every noise. Every squeak and rustle. The refrigerator is running.
My husband leaves the kitchen as loudly as humanly possible. Today, there was a fart.
‘Must you fart in my office? Do I fart in your office?’
He opens the window and goes down the hall. To his office. But not before he sets a coffee beside my laptop.
Maybe this kitchen writing isn’t so bad.
But still, never panic-buy a house.
And our next one, when we find it, will have a writing room for me.
A version of this piece originally appeared on Medium, but has been expanded on today.
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