Sunday Post 47: Putting the House Back Together Again

Posted by Danny

In 1994, we purchased our dream house here in Raleigh.  It was built in 1955 and needed some updates.  But it had character – a high priority for us. 

It was also about triple the size of our first house , a 900 square footer.  That house had one bathroom and the ceiling slanted down behind the toilet.  If I peed standing up, I had to lean backward or I’d bump my head.  I can’t count how many mornings I woke up with facial bruising.

We settled in our house after ripping up the carpet, replacing the kitchen floor and painting every wall.  Although it could have used more work, that’s all we could afford at the time.  And we elated with our purchase.

About four years later, we were ready to update the original structure and added a bathroom, laundry room and renovated the kitchen.  Boy, were we happy!  We now had the perfect house for a growing family.

But…two  years later, we added a large front porch that wrapped around the side of the house – our outdoor haven.  Was that all?

Nah.  In 2007, we added an addition on the back with a family room, master suite and an outdoor fireplace on the new back deck.  Our vision of a dream house had expanded.

After living in our home for several years in its completed state, we grew accustom to the space and the amenities it brought.  The 2,500 square foot, 1955 home, with chopped up rooms, was merely a pleasant memory.  It served it’s purpose then, but it wouldn’t do now.

Marriage is sort of like that.  At one point in life, I was comfortable by myself.  I liked me and wasn’t reliant on any one person for my happiness.  As I fell in love with Lisa, our lives became intertwined – our identities were built on our connection to each other.  We were one.

Now I’m trying to figure out how to become comfortable with the life that used to be enough.  It’s like a hurricane came through and blew off the back addition and our grand front porch, leaving the original  structure to live in.  But not only is the structure now too small, the hurricane blew the roof off, ripped a hole in the kitchen floor and left debris all over the yard.

It’s going to take a lot of work to get the house back in order.  It’s painful to figure out how to be comfortable back in a house that’s 1,000 square feet smaller.  And I really liked the front porch!  It made the house quaint and cozy.  It was my favorite place to hang out.

I think I’ve patched the roof.  Now I’ve got to clean up the debris so I can begin to get comfortable again in a house that used to be enough.

Leave a comment


  1. Mom

     /  December 11, 2011

    Wow! What a good ananogy. That says it all. And you HAVE begun the restoration and even made some progress. Good job. You can do this even when you think you can’t.

  2. Susan Disher

     /  December 11, 2011

    I find myself on really quiet days…often before dawn…gathering my courage bring up an emotion or memory…my “debris”… from the deeps in my heart where I have pushed it down…for safe keeping and protection…turning it over…examining…remembering…hurting…but accepting…it has been six years and I sometimes think that surely I must have reached the bottom of the barrel but always there is another…takes a lot of emotional energy and is always done with great fear to face the whatever…and with the coming of the daylight I often find release…not always I am afraid to say but more often than not…and I am able to face the day…my husband and I had friends over last night whose 28 year old daughter died in November of liver disease…Bob told them that after all this time he has come to see the hole in his heart differently…as something protected and healing but always there…as a constant reminder that our son existed and was and loved and we will never forget…peace to you

    • Danny Tanner

       /  December 11, 2011

      I think you are right. I am not far enough along but feel that the hole may never, ever heal. Someone told me today that he wrote a song entitled “I have a hole in my heart that’s the shape of you.” That can’t be refilled totally – But hopefully, there is a way to fill some of it.

  3. Great analogy…so accurate…your writing is very picturesque. Have always pictured a wrecking ball smashing into glass vase. Susan…I’m so sorry for your loss.

  4. Bettie

     /  December 11, 2011

    Bruce…your writing is so poignant and vivid…I can see all that you describe in my mind’s eye, as my English lit professor used to say…I continue to think about you and pray for you as you heal and bring your life and your family to a place of “new normal”. Thank you for sharing your heart with us all. Love, Bettie

  5. Helen LaVere

     /  December 11, 2011

    Thank you for this Sunday morning gift.


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