Day 23,713: Why This Number Matters.

Because of today’s date, I’m changing what I would have written to something that I hadn’t planned. It’s the 713th day in my 23rd millennium. 713 is a number that means something in my family. It’s the address of my children’s home in North Jersey. It’s where they grew up and thrived.

This may be the year we sell the house. It’s currently being rented to our second set of renters and possibly the home’s next set of owners. Up until now, we’ve kept the house in case we ever wanted or needed to go back home. After six years,little by little, we’ve been making South Jersey home. One by one, we’ve each been coming to terms with the reality that it’s becoming time to truly move on.

Tried and True

I have few regrets in my life, but one is our home at 713 Spring. We sometimes called it Spring’s End, because it was at the end of a cul de sac. We considered making a sign to officially name the house, but we never got around to it. That’s one small regret. The bigger regret is that we never finished the house.

It wasn’t for lack of trying. At Try One we succeeded. We redid two bathrooms — one with a coveted skylight! To this day, I miss those bathrooms. We spent hours in the tile store to get just the right combination of wall and floor tiles and rearranged the plumbing to make them just the way we wanted them.

Try Two was half successful. Instead of redoing the kitchen, which was way too expensive, we just resurfaced the cabinets and afforded a new Corian counter. It was better than what we had before, but we never broke through the wall to create a much grander great room with an open dining room.  When we had family gatherings in the dining room, it was a bit tight, but we managed.

Try Three was a half failure. I wanted sliding glass doors off the family room to provide a better fire escape other than the one we had from the one front door. I got the sliders, but we never completed the steps out to the garden. From then on in, we slightly jumped down to get out into the garden and outside patio.

Try Four was a complete failure. We wanted to build a Louisiana style deck off the back that gave us a full width deck both on the upper and lower floors. It’s also one of the reasons we never finished the steps out to the back because we envisioned a much grander back exit. We got architectural drawings made up, got them approved by the town and vetted contractors. My husband was on the phone with the selected contractor to pick a start date for construction when…

I lost my job. I came home that night and told him to hang up the phone.  He took one look at me and did.  The project was immediately halted never to start again.  I got another job, but it involved us moving to South Jersey. If we sell the house this year or whenever, it will never be the house we thought it could become.

The Home Never Done

There were a few other tries here and there – some more successful than others. One success was creating a larger laundry room where I felt happier doing laundry. One failure was never making a half bath on the bottom floor into a full. One failure was finally finishing the floors to reveal their real wood, but only after we decided to move out and make it into a rental. No one wanted to live with the floor to floor deep green carpeting that we had inherited when we bought the house, never pulled up, and lived with every day we lived there.

It was a house I always wanted to own outright and never did. We remortgaged, took loans against home equity lines of credit, and kept taking money out of to put money back into it. It has appreciated. It is appreciated. It’s the labor of love never completed. It’s our family home. Our 713.

Daily Focus on Gun Safety:  Read this 2012 post on my friend’s blog The Amber of The Moment. He originally wrote it as a letter to the editor of our local paper. It describes his daughter’s intuitive reaction to Sandy Hook, a simple and pure reaction that resonated with him as he heard it .  As a parent, it’s amazing to hear your children’s reactions and realize how they so clearly and correctly see the world; how they are the teachers. It is the power the Parkland students hold today and why their voices are so clear.