30 Years

my house realtor photo
The realtor’s photo of my house.

It’s hard to believe, but 30 years ago on Monday, October 19, I signed the closing papers on my mortgage for this house, got the keys, drove here and opened the my front door for the first time.

Above is the photo the realtor had taken for the information package, a real photo print glued onto a piece of paper with the details typed below using a typewriter. It’s funny to see my spruce looking so young and green and barely taller than the house, the rhododendron barely more than a sprout, and even the maple tree before it went into its final spread. I almost couldn’t believe I’d gone and done it, but on that warm and sunny October day I stood on the porch and looked around at “my” trees and was happy I had. You can read more about my choosing this house in this essay on Today.

At that point I’d been visiting the house for several weeks, completing a list of fixups required on my little carpenter’s special by the FHA, which secured my mortgage, repainting peeling paint and a few other things, and in the process also measuring all the rooms, windows, doorways, planning paints and updates and where I’d put my furniture. I brought Kublai over with me so he could explore the house while I worked, and if there was a way a cat could get out, he’d find it before I moved in and could fix that before the other five cats moved in. But I had the feeling he’d be safe because apparently there was no such portal as he walked the floors and sat on the windowsills and rubbed his scent on all the doorways.

I didn’t move in right away so that I could take a couple of weeks to prepare things in the house for me and the cats after work and on the weekends, and also move a carload or two of boxes in my little red Ford Escort so that moving day two weeks after my closing would entail mostly furniture.

The past week as the leaves begin to seriously turn color in my back yard and the temperatures have dropped for the first frosty mornings, I’ve been moving things out of my basement into my tent in the back yard to prepare for the new furnace. It reminds me so much of those early days in the nearly empty basement as a totally different group of cats wandered around played and watched me. As I waterproof the walls it reminds me of working on the first projects, improving my own home instead of a rented space.

I hadn’t intended to stay here this long, but to update and sell it after about 10 years for a bigger place farther away from a tight neighborhood like this. But here I am, and it’s paid for, has been for four years. I’ve spent half my life here, and this house has seen nearly all my years of rescuing cats. So I’ll continue reminiscing as I work on the basement walls.

I think it’s kind of ironic that this year has been my year for such renewal in both physical and emotional space as I’ve spent days on end working on my house and my yard, as well as my business and art and my own rehab from my hip surgery, and on the anniversary of my closing someone is coming to measure for a furnace to replace the 37-year-0ld furnace that I looked at when I moved in and hoped it would last a good long time. It lasted longer than I’d hoped, and even though I need some financial assistance to get it, it’s still a good feeling that this little old house has been able to shelter me and a lot of cats all these years.

I hope to be back to regularly posting this week. I know I’ll still have a few busy times, but the all-day work days on the house this year along with concentrated work projects have come to an end for the time being. I’m glad for the time to slow down a little, sit down and spend my days more creatively again, and enjoy my kitties who are complaining about my activities getting them all tired out. And all of us are more than ready for the furnace!

Below is the first cat photo I took in this house—a year after I’d moved in, can you believe it took that long? Kublai is being the star of a photo shoot. Never mind the subject was my artwork and not him. One of the things that are so reminiscent is the very things and the space in this photo: that’s the back corner of the basement with its newly waterproofed walls, exactly where I’ve been working the past few days. The tabletop is the top from an old 1950’s office desk, one of those solid steel tanks, that I had covered with that particular tattersall check contact paper. I couldn’t fit the desk into the house, and I couldn’t find anyone to take it, so I took it apart for scrap but built a base for the top to use in the corner of the basement. It not only served as a photo area, but later and for decades served as a plant nursery in spring, and a geranium nursery in winter. On Saturday I carried it out to the back yard to a new scrap metal heap. I still have the memories.

Kublai, my lighting director.
Kublai, my lighting director.

Read more Essays on The Creative Cat.

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AfterDinnerNap-Etsy~~~

Feline Artwork from Portraits of Animals

portrait of black cat on floor
Are You Looking At Me? pastel, 17″ x 22″, 2005 © B.E. Kazmarski

This is the guy who started it all–and nearly the last one to have his portrait done! He fostered every stray kitten and cat I ever brought into my home, and shepherded me through the ups and downs of the fifteen years he was with me. Click here to read more.


Copyright

All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


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Bernadette

From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, factual articles and fictional stories, "The Creative Cat" offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

12 thoughts on “30 Years

  • October 20, 2020 at 4:29 am
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    Fine length of time to spend in a house that harbours you and the cats so well.

    Reply
    • October 21, 2020 at 1:06 pm
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      Yes, half my life! Funny to think of it that way, but it’s home.

      Reply
  • October 19, 2020 at 8:05 pm
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    That looks like a nice place. Glad you stayed and it is paid for.

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    • October 21, 2020 at 1:06 pm
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      I have a lot of memories here, and even though it’s too small for all the things I do for business it’s still a nice place and it’s paid for. 🙂

      Reply
  • October 19, 2020 at 3:42 pm
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    Yay, the first time in months that I’m able to comment on the same day that you posted!!!
    Congrats on the 30 years; the idea of having our mortgage paid off is one of the major reasons I’m still working full-time.
    Then again, when we moved in, it was ‘temporary’. That was in 1993…ahem!

    Reply
    • October 21, 2020 at 1:05 pm
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      Glad the commenting is working, at least for now! Sounds like you’re right behind me in anniversaries. I’m hoping I’ll be able to make some major renovations here soon so if I do decided to sell and move I’ll have more to work with and leave behind a nicer house. I always wanted a big old farmhouse in the middle of five acres, but even just a little more space, and on a hill top, would be nice.

      Reply
  • October 19, 2020 at 10:07 am
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    I’ve always enjoyed the “back” { the garden } it’s nice to see the front. you have a cute house !!
    and talk about a hill !! I bet the sidewalk and street are fun { NOT !!!! } in the winter 🙂 ♥♥

    Reply
    • October 21, 2020 at 1:02 pm
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      Tabbies, until spring 2018 there were two large maples that nearly covered the front of my house completely. This open front is totally new for me! I always thought my house looked like a little cottage and I kind of dressed it up that way. And when I start to hear cars spinning their wheels, I know the hill is freezing and it’s a good idea to stay home. Just glad I have a driveway!

      Reply
  • October 19, 2020 at 6:27 am
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    What an awesome story! I look forward to seeing the pictures when I get on my laptop.

    Reply
    • October 21, 2020 at 1:00 pm
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      Thanks, Tracy! Nothing too exciting, but the cats are cute!

      Reply
  • October 19, 2020 at 3:06 am
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    Congratulations on the 30-year milestone! And wow, what a good run the furnace had!

    Reply
    • October 21, 2020 at 12:59 pm
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      Anita, I am totally grateful for that–many was the morning I held my breath until I heard the pilot light and the blower start up.

      Reply

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