Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Dear Jacob,

Dear Jacob, 

That's the only name by which I know you from the endless dotted lines we've signed and forms we've completed together, though we've barely met. Buying a house is tough stuff, huh? Looking in every closet, inspecting every step and giving the lender every single request, short of a blood sample. 

As we briefly shook hands in the yard on the day of our closing, you immediately asked what you needed to know about my old - your new - home. Truth be told, I had a tennis ball lodged in my throat that very moment. I couldn't think of much to say, but I've since thought of a thing or two:

You've probably already learned that the toilet paper dispenser doesn't stay in place. It was like that when I bought the house, and like that when I left six years later. Creatures learn to adapt. Never found a way to fix it well. I have confidence that a young man like you will figure it out. 

You can thank my old pup Dixie for the marks on the inside of your basement door, and also the missing carpet. When she was very small I'd leave her in the basement - Doggie Dungeon - as I went to work. She made it quite clear that a pup with such spirit didn't belong in a basement all day. Considering her visible - destructive - statement, Momma agreed to Doggie Daycare and everyday I'd drop her off at the farm before work. Dixie was a great dog

The the south bedroom closet walls are filled with hand-written thoughts from a young gal. Not me. They were there when I arrived and I never had the guts to paint over them; she was quite the philosopher. Not a grate spellur, butt who am I two juge? Afteral, all we nead is luve. 

The original wood floors are possibly my favorite part of your house. They're scraped and dented and perfect. They've seen a lot of traction; they tell a lot of stories. You will - however - need socks in winter. I was twenty-seven on February 25, 2012 when a man from Kansas showed up on my - your - Maple Street doorstep because of a white lie my older brother told. He was wearing a beige Polo pullover, a navy ball cap, square toe Anderson Beans and starched jeans. He cleared his throat and shook my hand. Within a month, he and I were two-stepping across those hardwood floors and looking into the eyes of the rest of our lives. Yikes. I married him the next year. Your floors are scraped and dented and perfect. But trust me, one washing with Murphy Oil Soap and they look brand new again. It works wonders, effortlessly. Murphy Oil Soap - buy stock in it. 

Jacob, there are some beautiful, old trees in your yard. They're tall and huge and bold. They'll sway with the breeze and creak with the wind....loudly. Don't be afraid. They'll also drop a ton of sticks; don't forget to pick those up. Under those trees I hosted a baby shower to welcome my niece who is now 5, threw a wedding prep party for our nuptials, and in the end - organized a garage sale. Those old trees are a great source of shade and history nestled in a tiny town. Embrace them...without being a tree hugger, please.

The folks who owned the house before me planted a lot - A LOT - of hosta around the house. If you agree, I'll be back in the early spring to transport my own starts to our home. It will be good for them to be thinned out, anyhow. 

The rest are in your couch cushions. 

The Greens Fork Family Diner - a short walk from your front porch - is really fantastic. I've never had a bad meal there and I eat...a lot. NOTE: Last time I visited they only accepted cash. 

I left very little in your house, Jacob, but each item was intentional. Assuming you've moved your toothbrush into the new house, you've already found this quick read in your medicine cabinet. I hope you'll read it and live by it. You can read the full story behind that little sheet of paper here

Tuesday morning is trash day. And if you set out your trash past 4:45 AM Tuesday, it's too late. Trust me. Set it out the night before. Trust me. The trash man is too busy to stop and back up for your trash once you've missed him for the week, and crying does nothing. Trust me. In order for your trash to be picked up by the trash man, it must be sitting in the middle of the street - unavoidable - and not on the sidewalk. Trust me. The trash man on your route reminds me a lot of the Soup Nazi in Seinfeld. Except, you don't have to wait one year. He'll be back next week. 

No trash pick up for you!

You won the neighbor lottery - I'm serious. Good, hard working, All-American people. A 1/2 cup of sugar or a weekend of making sure no one burns your home to the ground - you're surrounded by really nice folks who will help when needed. I hope you'll get to know them. 

Jacob, have you ever stepped on a lego? It's like this unexpected shock through the body that wakes you up and raises your blood pressure. Or, makes you want to throw up. The day you moved in was the same day I stepped on this little beauty on the hardwood floor of your dining room. Hurt like hell  a lego. 

I have no idea where I got the lapel pin or what significance it held in my previous life, but I thought it was a pretty solid sign: Time for me to go and you to arrive. 

Jacob, I hope you love your home as much as I did. It is such a solid, well-built house with unmatched character. Homes aren't made today the way that your's is built. Take care of her. 

When I moved in, I tucked $100 into an undisclosed wall to ensure none of those walls would ever talk. 

If you were wise, you'd do the same this week. 

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