Sunday, July 11, 2010

The house that wasn't quite as abandoned as we thought

Today we were in Connecticut for a family party: A surprise for my great-uncle who turned 90. He was thrilled. It was a mostly fun party.

Towards the end, however, I was desperate to get out of there. I can only handle so much humanity before I need to excuse myself. We went down in my sister's car so as to be responsible citizens of the world - and also not to arrive by ourselves to a party where most of the people are just this side of strangers. For this reason, we ended up being there longer than we would have been otherwise. This is the price we pay for trying to do right by the earth.

(Aside: Doesn't it feel so silly to carpool to a party when billions upon billions of gallons of oil are pouring into the gulf? Are the couple pounds of CO2 we're saving by driving together making even a tiny difference? I hope so.)

Once we hit the open road, Tesia thought it would be a fine idea for us to take a drive by the old homestead, where we lived until 1987. I was 12 and Tesia was 10 when we moved to Springfield. I generally don't drive by the house because every time I have, I end up crying and carrying on. Not in a nostalgic way, but in a pitiful and sad way. It's totally fucked up and so I try to avoid it.

That said, I did drive Scott by the old house a year or so ago. He had driven me by his old houses when we were in his growing-up areas and I thought maybe seeing my house might be a good step. When we got there, it looked terrible - yard completely overgrown and a mess. We thought the house was abandoned. Even with the Count there, I cried a tiny bit for my growing-up times.

Today, when Tesia suggested we do a drive-by, I was actually interested. I wanted to see how much further dilapidated the house had gotten.

Holy crap. It was way worse. I said to Tesia, "I think I want to peek in the back yard." She admitted she wanted to as well. Scott offered to pretend to be our real estate agent. Because it's important to have a cover when you're scoping out an abandoned house.

So we got out of the car and decided to just play it cool. We whispered to avoid drawing attention to ourselves. We got out to the backyard and the patio my parents had installed themselves was still there, but it was a mess. The little retaining wall had caved in and the pavers had spilled out and over. There were weeds so giant they were pushing some of the pavers up and over.

I started to tell my niece about how Grandma and Pop had built this patio all by themselves. It used to be really nice. Blahblahblah. I start thinking that I wanted to climb up the back stairs and peek into the windows when Scott suddenly stopped and pointed up.


"That air conditioner is running." Zoinks!

"Holy shit, let's get out of here!" I whisper-shouted as my niece and I took off for the car.

Scott and Tesia were laughing so hard they couldn't move.

When we were all back in the car, we couldn't stop laughing. Tesia, in particular, was pretty much beside herself. And I didn't cry one bit.

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