Breathing space in small corners

It’s wonderful.

I’ve never felt this way about a house before. Comfort. Nest. Nourish. Place. Those words come to mind.

There are doves in the back yard. Last night after dinner, the kid looked out the window at the slanting sunlight and cried, “It’s the magic hour!” In seconds, she’d pulled on her coat. I could watch her running across the grass from my kitchen window. Finally.

This morning, I cried. In a blink, over the growling of the coffee grinder, I went from sleep-bleary to weeping. Everything felt like a mess. Boxes. Dirty dishes in the beautiful, new sink. I have no idea where my saucepans are.

Those old, mean words, my harsh companions: always, never, why, won’t.

So I took a walk through the rooms and looked around. The key to this phase, I think, is making breathing space in small corners. Then let the breathing space grow. Give it time. Box by box. Switch plate by washer hookup by shelf bracket.





Vintage remnants

There are still a few mid-century relics popping up across the house. Amazing what you find when you’re on your hands and knees, scrubbing baseboard. These little mysteries hadn’t registered with me — until my sweet sister-in-law was crawling along, sponge in hand, right down at their level and she called me over to see.

Make a guess?

1965 portable phone jackHere are the guts of it, for the engineering geeks:

1965 portable phone jack interior

You do know I have major sleuthing tendencies with a side of research nerd, correct? I couldn’t resist a late-night google hunt. Guess what I found?

Fedtro portable telephone outlet Fedtro portable telephone outlet back

The 1964 Fedtro Portable Telephone Outlet. Make any phone portable! Use your one phone … in EVERY ROOM! No bathtub interruptions!

So … telephones used to be hard-wired into the wall. You couldn’t unplug them. This kit essentially let you wire a plug at the end of your phone cord, and install receptacle outlets anywhere in your house.

Fellow writers — how ’bout that benefit-driven copy, ‘eh? Oh, the effusive and bygone era of the exclamation mark. Fabulous!

(I found the photos of the mint-condition kits at Etsy store TomLaurus.)

By the way, I didn’t end there. I got super geeky and looked up some history on Fedtro. ¬†Among other electronics, they made TV tube testers, transistor radio parts, and the Powerhouse Control-O-Matic Deluxe Battery Charger — “Wonderful! Just plug in and charge!”

Have you ever lived in an old house? What’s the best piece of history you’ve found?

Too tired for full sentences

Painting. More painting. Baseboards. Dryer vent. New breakers. The one-chance, don’t-mess-it-up, IKEA-is-three-hours-away drilling of cabinet faces for handles. (Not pictured: Major garage clean out. Debris sort and load. DIY installation of custom countertop supports. Scrubbing. I don’t even know what else.)

The people who are making this possible. Family that shows up with hammers and brushes and ladles and love. Boundless gratitude.