A free day at home sounds dreamy

MONDAY, AUG. 11, 2008

I’m a little homesick.

I shouldn’t be. I haven’t been anywhere for months. Other than a weekend or two out of town last winter, I’ve been right here. I go to sleep in my own bed and wake up to make breakfast, feed the pets, back out of the garage and head to work. The next day, I do it all over again.

I ought to be anxious to be anywhere but in my house.

The problem is, I’ve been so busy, I haven’t stopped to simply enjoy being home.

Everyone wants a place to come home to. And home means different things to different people. Some want a big playhouse, packed with the latest high-definition toys. Some want a showplace, designed to wring envy out of anyone who walks through the door. Others don’t care what is around them as long as the roof keeps them dry and the door locks.

I guess I’m somewhere in between.

I am, in spite of the fact that I don’t like to miss a party, something of a homebody. I like being in the rooms I painted in soft colors, furnished with sturdy chairs and a welcoming sofa and made uniquely mine by hanging favorite paintings and photographs on the wall. The rooms where I put vases filled with tulips and peonies and roses on the table when they are in season. Rooms with shelves filled with books I have read or want to read.

But I’ve been so busy I haven’t been a good housekeeper. And it’s beginning to show. No fresh flowers. Rooms are still waiting to be painted. The study is full of papers waiting to be sorted and filed. The kitchen still needs a facelift.

My relationship with my house is a bit like a faltering marriage. We need to spend a little time together and reconnect. I need to take an afternoon to sit in on the slightly saggy, chintz-covered chaise lounge in my living room, a piece I shoved into the back of my little car and brought home with me from a country antique sale. Or sprawl on the sofa with a cat on my chest. Or drink tea at the kitchen table while I look at the newspaper.

I’m so lonely for a little house time, I even daydream about polishing the furniture and cleaning out closets. But lately, there hasn’t been a lot of time to simply enjoy being at home.

I’m just about to leave on vacation. I’ll drive across several states until I reach a little town on the coast; a place I love more than anything. I’ll pack a stack of books to read and I’ll watch movies and play games with my kids. I’ll relax and catch up on my sleep and screen calls. I’ll make myself at home in a stranger’s house. But, right now, what I would really like to do is nest.

I don’t want to go on vacation. I want to go home.

Cheryl-Anne Millsap can be reached at cherylannemillsap@gmail.com


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