Many of the houses in the fire affected area were not spring chicks. Because of their age, few meet current building and aesthetic codes required for setbacks, angles of driveways, steepness of slopes, locations of wells and septic tanks or even how a house should look. There are a myriad of things that are very different than they were.
Rebuilding is a challenge because one is faced with the question of building your house back the way it was, which can greatly simplify both insurance and regulatory issues, or fixing all those things you hated about your house. The more you fix, the less it is the house you had and the more it is now something else which is a whole new kettle of fish.
I fixed many of the things I hated about my house in 2010. We did a major home renovation project and I had a heyday fixing those things that drove us crazy. Of course, the fact that you either had to climb up a long set of steep outdoor stairs or wriggle around the car into a 3 x 3 hall, make a 90 degree turn and then go up another set of stairs did not drive us crazy. That was our house. We had full informed consent. That hall was 3 x 3 when we bought the house and the steep stairs outside were there for all to see before and after we owned the house.
The fact that you had to get down on your hands and knees and reposition the top rack of the dishwasher every time you opened the door, well, that drove us crazy. I don’t know how long “praying over the dishes” went on, but I suspect it was a lot longer in reality than it was in our perception. We had a visitor who caught my spouse and me on our hands and knees after dinner trying to get the rack back into position so we could at least close the door. Suddenly what we just did in our house hit us as bizarre.
I guess that putting up with things like the praying dishwasher routine speaks to why I want my house back. If it is what I am used to it is just right for me.
There is a joke about dogs and routine: “Do it once it is a habit, do it twice it a rule.” I am a dog. I don’t like change.
Small and large, I miss things. I miss my hairbrush. I bought a new one about 15 years ago. It took me 10 years to break it in and now it is gone. I miss my built-in closet organizer that dumped my sweaters backwards burying them in the the back of the closet if you touched it just so. I miss knowing where to put my hand to find something like a spoon in a drawer.
I want my house back, which is too bad, really. We all have those things in lives; things that we count ourselves as dogs about. Dogs don’t like change, I am a dog. I cannot have my house back. I will have to get another hairbrush and see if I can get it broken in within the next 10 years. If I cannot get it broken in within 10 years I may not have enough hair left to even need it so I suppose it does not truly matter.
In the long run it is about how we live in a world that changes from moment to moment. I know that how ever we build our house back, it will be different. I know that I will have to change. That is OK. Learning to live with change means I will change too. Once I change, I can be a dog again. If I change once it is a habit, if I change twice it is a rule.