Monday, August 14, 2006

My wife and I are looking at houses. We would like an older wooden house, up on piers, with hardwood floors, an attic fan, original tile bathrooms. It's more of a "feel" that we are looking for. I don't know if I can describe it, but I will know it when I feel it. I wanted to be out in the country, so I could have a whole pack of bad little dogs, but my wife thinks that we need to be in the city, where there is easy access to a hospital. Since this will probably be the last house we ever live in, I guess that I agree with her. I'm 9 years older than her, so I can see her concern. I mean, I've got hips that are just waiting to be broken. Anyway, these are pictures from a bizarre house that we toured. These photographs will make more sense after you read the whole post. The photograph above was taken in what we called the "grand ballroom", looking back into the "unknown use room" at the top of the steps. There are steps and handrailings, which would afford you a grand entrance. The curtains to the right of the "unknown use room" cover a tiny window to the bathroom with the tub in it. The handrailings to the left of the photograph are the steps up to the kitchen. The steps up to the master bathroom are off to the right and cannot be seen in this photograph, but are visible in the photograph at the bottom of this post. Anyway, as I said, my wife and I are looking at houses. We don’t plan on moving next week, but we are looking at doing something in the next few years. I have been reluctant to look at houses, because if we find THE perfect house, and we are not able to move right now, I will be upset. I just figure that there’s no point in looking until you are serious about buying. But it is fun to look at houses, I suppose, especially when you get to tour the strange and unusual. And during the search for a house, I actually learned something about my wife that I didn’t know. We have been together for five years, married for four of those five years. We have many things in common, such as religious views, work ethic and our love of animals. We are both hard core skeptics and liberal democrats. We are both only children, with older parents who are all now deceased. We like the same kinds of music and the same movies. There are a few differences, though. Just enough to make things interesting. I thought that I knew most of our differences, but we discovered a new one when we went house-looking. This house was interesting from the outside. It had a kind of “hidden garden” in the back yard, a greenhouse, from the outside we could see that it had two chimneys. It had a carport and a garage, plenty of parking room, and a place to sit and watch the hummingbirds. So my wife called the realtor so that we could see the interior of the house. This realtor had never been inside the house, so we got her honest attempt to put a positive spin on it. She was saying that it had a "lot of potential". I’ll just say it point blank. This was one of the most bizarre houses I have ever seen, outside of some of the ones in my dreams. In the dining room, there was a curtain in the middle of the wall. There, behind the curtain were the remains of a window. The sill was still there, and the frame, but there was a piece of paneling covering up the actual hole where the window had been. On the other side of the nonexistent window was the glassed in porch. Obviously, when they glassed in the porch, they covered the window up, but why didn’t they do it correctly? Who knows? In the bathroom with the bathtub in it (there were two other bathrooms, but neither had a tub in it), there was a window, covered by a curtain. When you pulled the curtain aside to look out of the window, there was another curtain on the other side of the window. And when you exited the bathroom, there was another room that we weren’t really sure about, I'll call it the "unkown use room". Then came the "grand ballroom" room. This room was huge! It was much lower than the rest of the house, and you could access it from the kitchen, master bedroom or room of unknown use. There were steps and handrails going down to this room at all three access points. I felt like the music should be playing and I should be dressed in a beautiful gown, making my entrance into the ballroom, to adoring applause. It was not a square room. The far wall, which had a fireplace, was at a 30 degree angle to the rest of the room. The master bedroom windows looked out on the "grand ballroom", as well as the tiny bathroom window, which was covered by the gigantic curtain. It was just plain bizarre. The real estate agent (who, by the way showed no surprise or shock when I was introduced as my wife’s partner, give her 2 points for that) was pretty apologetic about the entire house, and she understood that we weren't really ready to gut the entire house in order to make it livable. She said that she would keep her eyes out for something that we would like, then we left. We had a few more errands to run, and for a few minutes, we discussed the strangeness of the house, how the real estate agent was very nice, that sort of stuff. We were driving around, running our errands, and I started talking about the house again. My wife said, “Why are we still talking about that house?” I was speechless for a moment or two. “Because it was strange,” was all I could think to respond. Why were we still talking about that house? What kind of question was that? Isn’t it obvious why we were still talking about that house? My wife explained her line of thought. “Well, we aren’t going to buy it, we saw it and didn’t like it, so why keep talking about it?” I had never heard something so crazy in my entire life! What do you mean, why keep talking about it? It was strange, it was bizarre, it was so interesting, and a good source of speculation about WHY the people who had lived there had done the things that they had done to this house. Obviously they had added the grand ballroom on, but why had they not taken the windows out of the master bedroom? You don't see too many windows looking into another room of your house. Why had they built in seating in the grand ballroom? What did they use the "unknown use room" for? There was already a dining room, so surely they didn't have two dining rooms. Why did they put a HUGE curtain in the "grand ballroom" to cover up a tiny window in the bathroom with the tub? Why didn't they just take that window out also? Why had they even added the "grand ballroom" on? What did they do in there? The whole house perplexed me. And I wanted to talk about it. I couldn't comprehend someone NOT wanting to talk about something as bizarre as that house! But, that's where we stood. Any anyone who has ever tried to talk about something with someone that doesn't want to talk about it knows who is going to win that one! You can want to talk all you want, but if the other person doesn't want to talk, theres not going to be much talking going on. So, reluctantly, I let it go. But, she has lapsed once or twice, and we have had a few mini conversations about the house. During one of these mini conversations, we actually came up with a use for the "grand ballroom". We decided that we could make that a gay and lesbian meeting place. Not a bar, mind you, just a place to meet and talk. And the "unknown use room" could be a stage, where all the drag kings and drag queens could make their grand entrance, sing a couple of numbers, then float down those steps to their adoring audience. You know, maybe the house wasn't that bad after all. That would be a lot of fun, to provide Shreveport with a queer "coffee house" of sorts. But with all of those steps to get up and down, I up my chances for a broken hip. You know, now that I think about it, drag kings or not, I don't think that this is the house for us.
This photograph was taken from the far wall of the "grand ballroom". You can see the huge curtain that covers the tiny bathroom window, the built in seating on that wall, and the steps leading up to the master bedroom. The windows of the master bedroom look out over the "grand ballroom" Notice the ugly gold indoor/outdoor carpeting (covering a concrete floor with no pad underneath). The possible stage with its railings is seen to the left of the huge curtain covering the tiny bathroom window.


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