A House is a House

As I walked the house appraiser around our house for the seventeenth time in about as many years, it was hard to not to notice something.

Our constant refinancing keeps a lot of people in business. It says something when you and the house appraiser know the names of each other’s children and golden retrievers. We need to hide all seed and plant catalogs from me, separate Jim from his tool belt and never mention the word college to Will. The descriptive title of each room in this house is irrelevant to the function the room performs.

Let’s follow the appraiser and me on our appointed rounds. We began with the upstairs and the “bedrooms.” The appraiser knew his way. He had a better map of our home than I do, but politeness dictated that I show him each “bedroom”.

“This is a bedroom.” I noted as I sailed him into a chamber so full of yarn that sheep all over the planet consider the space a repository of some of their finest work.

We pushed onward to another “bedroom” filled with heaping piles of outdoor gear.

I noted yet again, “This is a bedroom.”

As I pushed aside stray hiking boots, I wondered to myself, “Would these Everests of camping gear disguise the fact that we had not finished the baseboard trim since the appraiser’s last visit, technically leaving this an unfinished “bedroom” after twenty years of habitation? And was the owner of this gear, somewhere on a rock face in Joshua Tree National Park, missing that set of chipped blue enamelware on her bed?”

Moving down the hall, we entered another “bedroom” filled with more clothes than an Abercrombie and Fitch.

I hesitated, “This is another bedroom.”

There was many indications that “showroom” was a better word for the space than “bedroom”. Why, only the night before, a friend of Emily’s had stopped by to shop in Emily’s closet for a spring break trip. I called Emily to check out if this was okay with Emily. Not only was this fine with Emily, she actually had things selected for her friend and set aside on certain hangers.

At last we hit a “bedroom” where we could see a bed. Yet a niggling question still came to mind, “How did Will or anyone else could GET to the bed through the collection of sports equipment on the floor?”

I kept to the topic at hand and noted, “This IS a bedroom.”

One last turn and we were in Ben’s childhood “bedroom” now a boutique winery. The yeasty smell of two vats of wine filled our nostrils. I noted a large sign from Ben, written on his way out the door to his spring break golf junket to Alabama, “THIS WINE NEEDS DECANTING NO LATER THAN MARCH 10th.”

Alas, that day had come and gone. Would he note a difference in the bouquet if his wine lackeys Jim and I didn’t get to the decanting until the weekend?

Downstairs the story was eerily similar to upstairs.

The “kitchen table”, it looked like this.


The kitchen counters, they looked like this.


And the living room, it looked like this.


I didn’t have to look far to figure out how the children got the idea to expand the functions of their bedrooms in unusual directions. Those apples didn’t fall far from the tree.

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