Friday, December 21, 2007

This Old House (The Body Edition)

I spent much of the day yesterday on a train to New York (because obviously the only thing more sane than moving three days before Christmas and becoming displaced for three weeks is squeezing in a last minute business trip the day before said move, but it was well worth it. When have I ever been known to do things in any sort of logical, tempered manner, anyway?)

I was wading through some research for a project I’m working on, but despite how interesting I found Kleinman’s theory of sociosomatic illness (and I really did), I couldn’t string together two coherent sentences on it. For one, my body was achy and tired from packing boxes, stacking them, and packing some more. My brain was whirring with logistical details—movers, lat minute requests from our buyers, Christmas gifts that needed purchasing—that kept creeping into my highlighting and note-taking routine.

But more than anything, the New England coastline makes for a pleasant distraction. The only thing I found more enjoyable than looking at the icy waves and scenic vistas was looking at all the different types of homes that dotted the shoreline.

True, I have moving on the brain, but I have always been fairly obsessed with old houses. This train ride gave me plenty of chances to feed my fervor. Really, is it surprising that the structurally defective girl likes houses with wonky hardwood floors, sloping corners, and squeaky joists? No sparkling new boxy Neo-Colonials with their pristine, virgin floors and sensible open floor plans for me. If there aren’t systematic idiosyncrasies—or what I prefer to consider charm--I’m not interested.

Part of this is situational. I grew up spending the summers on Cape Cod in a neighborhood where most of the houses were grand rambling affairs, circa the 1700 and 1800s. Most of the places I’ve lived in the city have been old—in Boston, this comes with the territory—with crooked angles, oddly shaped windows, and steep staircases.

One of my goals in life is to someday own a house with a turret. As long as the turret is accompanied by a creaky old front porch for Scrabble playing, my husband is on board with this. But besides the geographical aspect, I think I just have a more finely attuned appreciation for large-scale quirkiness.

My middle fingers have broken so many times that sometimes they just get stuck in the bent position and it is impossible to wrench them straight again. When I am fading, apparently my left eye doesn’t open as much as my right one, a bizarre little factoid my husband uses to gauge my energy level. I routinely get high fevers for no obvious reason. I can predict changes in the weather by the thickness of my lung secretions, and I’ve been known to grow bacteria not normally found, oh, say, in North America.

And when it’s humid out, my curly hair actually grows more horizontal by the minute (I have witnesses), just like a real, live Chia pet. Good times.

I’d like to say that like the old houses I adore I have good bones; however, we all know that would be an outrageous lie. But like an antique Cape coming out of a long, stormy winter, I like to keep things…interesting.

Thank goodness my husband likes long-term maintenance projects.

And turrets.


In all of the holiday madness, don’t forget to swing by Medgadget to cast nominations for the annual Medical Blog Awards.


Andrea said...

This made me laugh out loud. I likewise have a thing for turrets!

Never That Easy said...

Houses with creaky porches and turrets are so much more... interesting than newfangled boxes that people try to live in.

No turrets for me, though: no access... maybe one with a lift?


chronic chick said...

I know all too well about living with a chronic illness, Living with lupus.

Girl, Dislocated said...

Humidity is going to be a huge factor in my decision where to live. No, I don't have a medical reason to avoid humidity, but I have curly hair and hate the Chia pet look! That's important, right?

Terry at Counting Sheep said...

Charming post, turrets and all!

Merry Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm....I've always yearned for one of those classic New England widow's walks - and I write about couples & illness. Never made that connection before.

For those unfamiliar with the term - a widow's walk is a railed rooftop platform on a house originally designed so the wives of sailors could look out over the sea and watch for their spouse to return.

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