There's no place like HOME

Allow me to introduce you to our new roommates.

Also known as my mom and stepdad. They recently sold their house outside of MoTown (or Missouri Valley, Iowa for those not in the know ;) and needed a place to crash while their new one is being built. At least we hope they were serious when they showed us those blueprints. It should be an amazing exciting interesting 4-6 month (no more than 9 or we will all go insane) adventure.

All kidding aside, when they were moving out of the old house earlier this month, I found myself reminiscing the good times I had in Melody Oaks, the rural, gravel road subdivision I came to call home for the past 20 years (good God, I've gotten old).

When my mom and I became Iowegians in the 90s, I was a city girl in a foreign land. I even imported water from my dad's house because I couldn't stand the taste of well water. I was a Catholic schoolgirl going to public school for the first time, riding the bus, wearing street clothes and just attempting to make my way as a newbie to pretty much everything in general. (Doncha just want to hug that girl? I do.)

Though it was a rough start, I can say for certain that the move changed my life for the better.
2026/2027 Oak Drive (We moved across the street. It's kind of a long story, but not really) is where I:

-met my best friend to this day. Love you, Bub!

-spent many hours watching people make it (or more likely not make it) up this hill in the snow

-flipped out over a mouse in the house
-played HOURS of basketball in the driveway, while listening to Jock Jams if you must know
-took pictures with my prom dates
-got in two car accidents (one was mine, the other was Bub's -- yes, both occurred within our subdivision)
-opened a roller rink in the basement (CB's place Foreva!)
-got caught eating cheeseballs in the neighbor's hottub and was promptly sent home
-called my friend Cari for answers to math homework and to talk about boys
-stayed up late writing my graduation speech in this room:

-held my graduation party in the rain
-filmed our hilarious fake talk shows and died laughing in the process
-came home to do my laundry from college
-read the paper on the sun porch on Sunday mornings

-brought my future husband home to meet my family
-watch Rob break a chair and fall on his face in the pool room

-sent Faith Janna to spend the night many times
-witnessed the playroom underneath the steps bring her copious amounts of joy

Home wasn't just special to me, but to my daughter, who spent many overnights at Grammy and Papa's, going for wagon rides in the early mornings (damnit, now I'm crying) and taking baths in the jacuzzi tub at night.

No matter that I've aged and started a family and moved into a house of my own, this has always been home. The landline phone number has remained HOME in my phone since I moved away in 2001. It's crazy to think that I won't be going back there, making the 40 minute trek north from CB, driving up that Godblessit hill and rounding the corner into the driveway.

I struggled with this nostalgia when we moved from our first house into our current one and was able to get over it pretty quickly (having a baby was a nice distraction), but this is different. I feel like I'm leaving my childhood behind. I won't have those reminders of some of the best times in my life every time I visit anymore. Call me sentimental, but I'll really miss that. And the stars. The stars in the middle of the night when you live in the country are INDESCRIBABLE! So many! So bright! Howie especially enjoyed them, as evidenced by his multiple bathroom trips circa 3 a.m., but I digress.

On one of the last nights my mom and Steve lived there, we ordered a couple pizzas and my other parents, neighbors Tim and Cindy (Tim is the one who kicked me out of the hottub for those keeping score at home) brought over some beers.

It was good to say goodbye, and slightly depressing to see the house so empty. I have to remind myself it's not the house that's made of memories. Memories make the home and home is where your mom is. Guess I'm right at home after all...

Little Pink Houses

Ever since Faith was old enough to know her colors, pink has been the favorite. Hence her room:

(Okay, let's get real.)

Anyway, I'm delaying getting to the point of the story (which I like to call a lead-in, but Rob likes to call "annoying").

Every day on the way to daycare, I drive by a pink house. Every day, I point out the pink house to Faith. Every day, my three-year-old daughter delights in seeing a real, pink house. Seriously, every day. Her enthusiasm for a house that's simply painted a unique color makes my day. If I forget to remind her to look out the window, we're both sad. This is something she looks forward to and the joy it brings her is both sweet and fleeting, which is why I felt the need to blog about it now, before she's over it and it's just another house we pass on the street.  It's the little things, ya know.

I decided awhile ago (before Gabby was born, actually) that I wanted to send a thank you to the owner of the pink house. It can't be easy keeping your house pink. I mean, the neighbors probably don't love it and then there's the stigma - who owns a pink house? The fact that the shade of siding has brought happiness to our family for two-plus years is something the owner should know. So I decided to write a thank you note. Of course it was a pink one.

I finally got the nerve to drop it off today. After I told Faith we'd do it earlier this week, I chickened out. Because her darn memory capacity is expanding she called me on it. I didn't want a preschooler holding it over my head for the rest of my life, so on the way to daycare this morning I pulled into the pink house's driveway and dropped it in the mailbox up against the house. (I then proceeded to run like hell to avoid a potentially awkward conversation, but that's neither here nor there.) 

Maybe whoever reads it will think I'm crazy. (I am.) Maybe they'll find the card weird. (It kind of is.) Or maybe, just maybe, it will bring a smile to someone's face, just like the pink house has done for Faith and her mom.

*And because you can't read a story like this without a little JCM getting stuck in your head....
Oh but ain't that America for you and me
Ain't that America somethin' to see baby
Ain't that America home of the free (
yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah)
Little pink houses for you and me