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As a human, one of the true great pleasures is easing into a warm bed on a cold night. As a dog, one of the true great pleasures is a belly rub.

Tonight I forgot to turn on my new electric blanket. When I remembered, I saw that my side of the bed had been inhabited, as usual, by a warm furry dog. She had rucked up my covers so my electric blanket had no hope of warming up the cold sheets on my side of the bed. I stood a moment trying to figure out what to do with a 50 pound dog who weights 200 when she wants to stay on the bed. I realized I could just log-roll her, snag my covers from underneath and pet her belly. I got what I wanted and she got what she wanted. I got double pleasure because I got to pet a warm doggie belly which must rank right up there with electric blankets.

I usually stay up after the rest of the family has gone to bed and do things like write. When I was a new wife 36 years ago, I lept out of bed at the very moment of dawn to cook a hearty breakfast for my beloved. After a couple of weeks we knew something had to change. We had expected to need to adapt but something was dreadfully wrong with the mornings and the evenings. We finally figured out that we each needed some alone time and it worked out neatly what my spouse is a morning person and I am an evening person. For 36 years I go to bed later and he gets up earlier. We both have some time when the house is ours. When we had children in the house all bets were off but most days we managed to find a few spare moments.

One of the nice things about being up when someone else is sleeping is listening to the noises of gentle snoring, covers being ruffled and the small sighs and intakes of breath that are the comforting sounds of sleep.

The rebuild of our house is not going so well so my ability to join my dog and my spouse in the gentle parts of the night has been disturbed.  We are on somewhere close to the right track but woefully behind schedule, more than a month behind where we had hoped to be. Of course in the winter that can slip into spring at the blink of an eye. Every moment that we even talk about the house once more is a moment that has no 2 x 4s and no nails.

At this point we don’t expect much. A stick or two of lumber a bit of subfloor and a scratch of roof and I would rush right over with my sleeping bad. We used to have several 100 ft construction extension cords so I could have taken my new warm electric blanket but those cords burned so I will be satisfied with taking the summer sleeping bags we have and one of our two down comforters. We have had so many blessed moments with houses. Each has been unique and each had a place in our hearts. Here are little stories of a few of them.

Moka Efti. When he was first in graduate school my now spouse lived in this terrible little shack in a pile of vegetation in an area that had transferred from little farm homes to a commercial buildings The rent was good and the inter surprisingly nice. It was in that house that I was introduced to the mysteries of coffee from beans. We wrote about the story in https://building1home.com/2012/10/11/a-cup-of-coffee/

shabby little run down house

This is “Moka Efti” which is now a commercial spot. I looked up, today, the meaning of the name and was surprised to find that it is an Italian coffee.

The termite house: I don’t know what to call this house where we first lived together. It was a pleasing back-half of a duplex made from concrete block and painted pale blue if I remember correctly. We did not live there long but it was the location of our first living with each other. The landlady paid for paint for us and we painted the interior a lovely blue. I made curtains. She got us a room air conditioner too. We had worked hard to fix it up but my mom was less than forthcoming with her acceptance of the location. I finally got her to come for a cup of coffee and was feeling just giddy. I came outside to usher her down our walkway to the back of the duplex, opened the screen door for her to come in and it fell off in my hands. The termites had eaten it completely. She came in for coffee anyway.

Our First Railroad House was here in Pocatello. We lived there when I was an undergraduate. It was like all railroad houses. Door opens into living room, turn left you find a bedroom, turn left you find a second bedroom. You now have covered the first three sides of a square. Directly on the right is a bathroom, you continue to the end of the box-line and emerge in the kitchen meeting yourself back in the living room having transcribed a perfect square.

I wrote about the next three houses in “A Real House” https://building1home.com/2012/08/26/30231475815/

The house that Jack Built We have written about this house before. It was the one with the bathroom for the hall. It was a railroad house. The only way to somewhere else was through the kitchen or the bathroom or the bedroom. The remodelers decided that through the bathroom was best. I must say I concurred since there was no bedroom because it had been remodeled away some years ago and the kitchen had a heating unit in the wall.

The Ozark Mountain House This was the house that only had water when it rained. The road washed out when it rained. We bought the house knowing full well what we had done but it was special. It was special because there were beautiful clear streams and fish and crawdad swimming around. It was a little garden of Eden without running water which I suppose is pretty much the way the original garden must have been.

The House that I Build: We had a photo that burned showing our first dinner party at the house I built. We piled up rolls of insulation (covered of course) and put plywood on the top. I did not have a table cloth so we made a decorative arrangement with our construction bandanas (which we had washed). I don’t remember what we ate but I do remember that it was cold so we ate upstairs (up the ladder) where the roof was the ceiling and the walls were enclosed.

The Mink Creek House This is our house that burned. It is the story of the whole blog. We moved into that house expecting it to be another stopping point in a line of houses where we lived from Alaska to Florida to New England. It was not. After 8 years we decided we actually lived there and did some modest but appreciated remodels. Aftet 10 years we decided we really did live there and did a major remodel.

In Spring of 2012 I was in love with my Mink Creek house and my gardens that were finally receiving my attention and were coming forth. Then the hot and scary time came. My flowers began to die the birds went silent and the ground was parched. Within the week my house had died and we are here, looking for a home.

Tonight is is difficult but welcomed memory that each of our houses had sorrows, they had tears, and they had laughter and funny stories. We will hold fast to that knowledge as we await stick or two of lumber and a bit of subfloor and scratch of roof. I am thinking of getting a couple of hundred feet of construction extension cords so I can take my electric blanket.