Saturday, August 31, 2013

I love California

I love California.  It is beautiful with its hundreds of state parks and beaches, cold coastal waters and tide-pools filled with wildlife, mountains, rivers and lakes.  There are theme parks to explore, slopes to ski, vineyards to visit and so much in between.  But... I am so glad we moved to Iowa.  Sure I miss my friends, family and the wonderful diversity that lies in California.  I wonder if we will ever go back to our favorite patisserie in Pacific Grove or if my mom can send some of my favorite foods that can only be purchased locally at the Davis Food Co-op or Farmer's Market.

Now we have a new life in Iowa that I am falling in love with too.  One of the things that I love the most is our home.  Now this is not the house I would have designed and I wouldn't call it my dream home.  It doesn't have a gourmet kitchen or a hidden passage.  It doesn't have rustic wooden beams across the ceiling or gorgeous hardwood floors.  But it was built by hand by my grandfather.  Literally. 

For more than a decade after moving to the farm, my grandparents and their four children lived in the old farmhouse.  I heard stories about grandpa wrapping the house in plastic each winter to keep the cold winds and snow from creeping in.  I can only vaguely remember the black wood stove in the living room, the steep stairs to the second floor and sitting around the kitchen table eating grilled cheese and tomato soup. 

 I opened a drawer the other day and inside is a file labeled "house plans."  In the file is a hand drawn picture with labels written in pencil.  My grandpa was not an architect or engineer.  He was not a contractor or carpenter.  But he so loved my grandma and wanted to build her this home that didn't have snow creeping in, that he learned how to do it by reading books about plumbing, electrical and everything else. 

When construction began, I remember the fluffy pink insulation was so inviting, but forbidden.  My aunts, uncles, cousins, parents and neighbors were all on deck digging the basement, pouring concrete and framing the house.  There were wires and pipes to install, walls to sheet-rock and paint.  A roof to shingle.

And now it is our turn.  It is our turn to take care of the home built both physically and emotionally by my grandparents.  There's no lack of projects to keep us busy and there are reminders in unexpected drawers.  But that is what I am loving about our move to Iowa.

Future basement

Pouring concrete walls

Everyone pitching in

Grandpa smoothing the concrete.

Look at me helping build the house.

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