A very, very, very fine house

jimmyPsychologists are fond of saying, “Every child gets his own parents.” In other words, siblings can have vastly different experiences, perspectives and memories of the same parents. I think something similar goes on with houses and the people who share them.

How else to explain the fact that the knob that tends to spin in your hand when you go to open the front door absolutely exasperates one spouse and goes virtually unnoticed by the other? Or why the oversized, built-in, decades-broken, stainless steel freezer in the basement looks like a cool period piece to some family members and a massive piece of junk to others?  Or exactly how a knotty pine paneled room looks cozy to one sibling and gives another the heebie-jeebies?

It’s not only a difference in individual taste and tolerance but also a difference in the ever-changing individual. Remember how the loose newel on the banister post irritated Jimmy Stewart until he encountered Clarence the angel and realized It’s a Wonderful Life, and suddenly that wonky post top represented everything imperfectly perfect in this world and he loved it?

Sometimes I long for those Jimmy Stewart post-angel-encounter eyes. I want to view the cracks in the plaster walls, the paint drips on the floor, and the bites in the woodwork where a dog, bored with its collection of plastic bones, chew toys and stuffed bears, decided to teeth on the kitchen shelf, as charming and full of character.

Other times, I think that’s just a romanticized version of giving up.

Do you have a perpetually loose newel post in your life? Do you curse it or embrace it? Do you get out the glue gun or call in the big guns?

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