• Jeni Kelsch

Happy Birthday House!


Today we celebrate the one-year anniversary of our new house. In the past, we always lived in old houses, even historic homes. A brand-new house is the most amazing thing to me. It has no history, which is a little sad, so you have to hurry up and infuse it with some proof of a life well lived. We went right to work.


First, my children refused to clean the upstairs bathroom until the toilet had a permanent ring around the bowel and I’d seen cleaner sinks in the public restrooms at the gas station. Then they moved on to the bedroom, they brought the dog with them. She immediately threw up on the carpet, boom, history in the making. I myself added my own mark, or several, setting my coffee cup down on the wooden countertop to make a ring, or two, or six. I can’t be held responsible, I hadn’t had my coffee yet. My husband’s only desire for the new house was lighting, lots of lighting, in odd places, in color. We just got it finished and my kitchen can now glow in varying colors and intensities. It can cycle through a rainbow of colors across the backsplash. Unfortunately, all of them shine equally well on the dirty dishes piled in the sink, but I still think they are cool.

The house has some pretty fantastic features. My husband, being an architect, thought through it all. It has great attic storage. The cats discovered the attic is inaccessible in some areas to humans but completely accessible to cats. They can climb inside the ceiling and then slide up and down like it’s a slip n’ slide, scraping their little claws as they go like nails on a chalkboard. We also boast three bedrooms in our new house, two are small. We have no basement. We have five children, two are in college. We believe in their success.


The house has many other features I only dreamed about. For example, my husband made it possible for me to take a bath without looking at the underside of a toilet. It’s how I know he loves me. He also designed the house with a great back porch that overlooks the farm. The chickens think it’s a wonderful place to hang out in the morning and poop. Probably not what the architect envisioned. I feel sorry for my husband sometimes that the house is looking so rough so quickly. Last night, I went around trying to clean the dirt off the trim around the doors. Unfortunately, painting the trim was my job and I didn’t finish. Dirt doesn’t come off of primer very well, I think that’s why you are supposed to paint it. At least the trim looks better than the doors, it was my job to paint them too.

Currently, the house doesn’t photograph well. Our beautiful house sits on a giant plain of dirt. The land had been logged by the previous owners and was a barren wasteland when we purchased it. I am convinced we can bring it back, the weeds are growing along the edges now. In just a few years I bet we can have weeds everywhere. It is my dream. Until that day, I will fondly remember my kids making sandcastles in the bottom of the yard, running up and down hills of dirt and finding balls of clay they called dinosaur eggs lying around the property.


Already this house is overflowing with scuffs, smells, and laundry marking the history of our days here. I will always remember that we started with a clean slate and try to be grateful for the layers of dirt, grime, and life we’ve added. It’s beautiful.

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