Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Openings and Closings

The date has arrived... thirty years ago today my dad bought the farmhouse and land in rural Hillsborough, and today Matt and I are the co-owners of our first house in downtown Durham. My dad asked me to take a moment today and think about what my house and landscape have meant to me growing up, but I don't even have to try; I think about it all the time. I had 50 acres to tromp around on, thick grass to lie down in, woods to run full speed through and a big pond to swim in. I think of my home as a big, gentle friend who I love almost as much as I love anything. It has undoubtedly made me who I am.

And as much as I love the farm, I also grew up with more of a taste in my mouth for the urban landscape. Durham is not Boston, and it's certainly not New York (which honestly I'm glad for; I'm a little tired of Boston and I don't think I have the energy right now for New York), but it is still a city; the house on Mallard is a mere three blocks from the downtown loop. There will still be noises to deal with (instead of the braying of donkeys I grew up with), traffic to fight (though I plan to stay out of a car as much as possible), and also the wonderful benefits like walkable amenities, interesting people around all the time, businesses that will come and go, opportunities for fun and cul-cha.

Last night Matt and I sent my parents out to dinner at Tosca as a thank you for making the purchase with us, and therefore making it possible, and together we split a bottle of champagne and toasted our good fortune, which is really what it feels like. (I can feel the house's damp foundation mockingly laughing at us, just waiting for us to see what's in store.)

Today we've been deluged with emails from Durhamites welcoming us to the hood. Many of them, I'm almost shy to say, I already "knew" by reading their blogs or hearing of their music or their involvement in things. It felt great.

Here's another post from a Durham blogger whose writing I really like. It bothers some people that being "green" is "trendy" now, particularly those who've believed that living environmentally consciously is just the right thing to do for years. But I love it. I say, who cares about the motives - can you imagine how great it would be if folks who previously sat in their cars in traffic to go five miles home would start biking home instead, even if only for the trendiness factor? Especially if it actually makes a difference to the earth? More marketing, I say. Let 'em all scramble to put out their "green issues" and hire "conservation consultants" so they can boast about it in their annual review. This is all a little off-topic from the aforementioned post, but it's what it made me think about.

We missed the neighborhood house tour, and I'm struggling to find time to arrange repairs and other work from my post 700+ miles away, but it's only two months now. My feet are itching to move.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Another Response

...from one of my daily-read blogs, Endangered Durham.

The closing is tentatively set for May 28th, a date that happens to fall exactly 30 years after the day my father closed on the purchase of our farm and house. Some celebration will be in order.

The Cleveland-Holloway home tour was this past weekend and I feel like stamping my foot that we had to miss it. I'll post some pictures my mom took soon. I am still trying to make the most of my last two months in Boston, but itching to get started on this new chapter in Durham.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Distress the Wood, Make it Shout!

Lately Matt and I have been having these little two-person dance parties to Thao's song, "Bag of Hammers" in front of our huge window over Mass. Ave. for our neighbors and everyone else to see. We don't care - we're unbelievably happy these days and can't help but shake it. In two months we'll be shaking it on our new (to us) hardwood floors beneath their layers of dirty carpeting, ignoring all the work before us to break it down together in the oppressive and wonderful North Carolina heat.

This is intended to be our new digs in cyberspace to showcase our progress as we go. There's the house itself to dress up all spiffy, a neighborhood to explore and try and understand, a venture away from the lives we've come to know in Boston for the last several years. It's a way to collect the things we're reading about Cleveland-Holloway in particular, and things like gentrification (uh-oh.... it's the 'g' word!) in general. Expect lots of pretty (and not so pretty) pictures and occasional wordy ramblings. For our friends who we'll be leaving behind, I hope this will be a way to stay close to us in some sense, as I feel closer to people I see infrequently by watching their lives unfold in pictures and words. Not a replacement; just a supplement.

A few items right up front: My flickr set of the house photos from a few weeks ago when I went down to visit (read the comments for some of my grand plans); Wednesdays insightful Indy article about Cleveland-Holloway's precarious balance on the cusp of something new, and Bull City Rising's eloquent response.