Happy Birthday House, Home

This weekend my wife, children and I are celebrating our house’s 100th birthday.

Ours is no grand or palatial home, but a humble bungalow we have heard was built for the cherry orchard workers in what used to be the fruit-tree strewn hills of Northeast Portland.

There was the unfortunate 1970s era remodel, which added a bedroom at the back as well as a build-out of the attic space into two more rooms. Based on evidence and stories from neighbors, including a random visitor who used to live in the house as a child, the remodel was needed to accommodate the many children who once lived here.

My wife and I have lived her for fifteen years, and we are grateful for the home and for those who lived within these walls before we did. Thank you, house. Happy birthday.

Updates and Upgrades

The house I share with my wife and two children will be one hundred years old next year.

We’ve done our best to update, improve and maintain our home—a luxury in an American city where housing prices are escalating quarterly, I admit, and a benefit we’re happy to acknowledge even as the weight of ownership bears down us from time to time—but the eye, as they say, does not lie:

It is a ramshackle bungalow that went through an unfortunate 1970s-era remodel.

The project this season, beyond the typical amazing work my wife does with the landscaping, is to re-side the upper unit, place new windows, re-do the gutter system, replace the front door, touch up paint.

Nothing flashy or even exciting.

It is exciting to us, though. Fundamental improvements—foundational upgrades—make our house much more of a home, and this work supports our contention that if we take care of our house, it will take care of us.

In fact a lot of my work, be it creative, spiritual, professional, familial, has been in this same space the past two or three years. Hard labor, lots of heavy lifting. Nothing flashy, nothing exciting. Nothing that is going to upend or revolutionize. But important. Necessary and essential.

The house reflects that, I suppose. As above, so below. Within, without. All of that.