I love design and decorating- I have ever since I laid parquet floors in my dollhouse kitchen. And every home we’ve had- I’ve worked really hard- a little too hard arguably, to make it both functional, beautiful, and homey.
But then somehow I’d always feel disappointed- there’d always be a new list of things to “buy” to complete the vision I had. But the list never ended. I never felt done or satisfied. But mostly, each of our homes felt “makeshift.” This was the best word I could use to describe them. The little apartment on the fourth floor of the brownstone in Brooklyn, charming though it was, had no real door separating our space from the owner of the house- it was over 100 years old, the tile in the center of the bathroom floor was missing, there was a strange little sliding door in between the bedroom door and living room, and a pantry in the kitchen with just boards on the floor. I tried to work with all this- putting a large bath mat on the floor, seeing that loud creaking sliding door as quaint, and covering up the pantry floor with another utility rug, but still – it felt forced. Not to mention the giant water bugs (ie. roaches) and mice we dealt with. I felt it most when we visited some other friends’ new condos in Virginia and admired their new wood floors, newly painted walls, and stainless steel kitchens. It was similar thing in Bay Ridge. We had no closet in our bedroom- it was in the entryway by the door. So we’d have to go there to get our clothes in the morning. The floor was slanted in our bedroom, and I could hear our upstairs neighbor take a piss and flush. Here there were similar things. The popcorn ceilings from the 80’s when this building was built, not exactly going with my modern decor, the sliding glass doors to the balcony that also serve as our only windows- all on one wall- and requiring all of the strength in my body to open, and the dark kitchen with a strange lamp the owner hung too low.
All of these things can be easily chalked up to old NYC apartments, bad aesthetics, or just poor taste, but after all of my efforts to make each of these places a “real” home, even though they were only temporary, I realized that they would always be “makeshift houses.” I even started to write a song by the same title last year at some point. I can’t put my finger on it, but these “places” can only do so much for the home-longing in my heart.
I read Audrey her new favorite book before her nap, Corduroy- a favorite of mine when I was growing up- and when Lisa brings the little teddy bear home from the department store and shows him her room for the first time he says, “This must be home…I know I’ve always wanted a home!”
All I am doing here is dusting off the department store shelf where I wait to be purchased, and taken home to someplace familiar. I’m a vagabond in a makeshift house.