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The Nut House

My friend Hannah invited my sons and I to her house for dinner on Sunday night. We tried to get together a few times in the months prior but we finally got our acts together this week. She has a son around my son’s age and we have lots to talk about. I promised to bring ice cream cones.
GPS is very helpful but it doesn’t tell you what to look for, landmarks, etc. Doesn’t tell you what color a house is or that there may be a giant pot hole after the speed bump that you didn’t see coming. Maybe part of it is the user, but every time I drive to a place I’ve never been to, I inevitably make a u-turn. After I navigated my way around the roundabout, we passed five or six houses with fences and front yards. As the GPS narrator was saying, “Your destination is on your right”, we were parking in front of a brown house with a friendly yellow door. A sign hung next to the door which read, “The Nut House”. I figured this was it. It takes me a while to park close enough to the curb. After we parked and made our way up the sidewalk and stairs, I could hear Hannah laughing in the backyard. For some reason I am terrified that I’ll go to the wrong house by accident and the owners will be angry with me for doing so. But upon hearing the mirth from the backyard, I knew we were where we were supposed to be. I knocked, forgetting our hostess’s instructions to just try the door or let ourselves in to the gate. Hannah came round the side of the house, smiling, still wearing her apron from cooking dinner. She pulled the rock that was keeping the gate shut to the side and let us into her backyard. She introduced herself to the boys and we went around the house. Hannah has a few plants that are beginning to grow through and over and around the chain link fence. I love that look. As we made our way to the backyard, I noticed plants growing all over the place. Hannah has a nice patio off the sliding glass door of her home.
There are a few chairs that she inherited from a friend and a round patio table with chairs.
Seated outside were her husband and a friend of hers and lastly her son, who we were told was anxiously awaiting the arrival of my sons so that they could play together. Introductions were made and we guests were led into the house.
Our hostess showed the boys where the bathroom is and they pretty much stayed outside playing for the rest of the night, save for when it was dinnertime. I loved her concrete floors; I have dreamed about such floors for my own home. The walls are white and house plants climbed up the walls and toward the ceiling. Family photos line one wall and the rest are graced with beloved original artwork from very talented friends and relatives. Each one had a story. I loved them all. I have prints up in my home and one or two originals. Maybe it’s time to jump back on the bandwagon.
Hannah’s kitchen and living room have exposed beams at the ceiling and lucky her there’s a skylight in the kitchen where more plants grow and perch. I love a good exposed beam. I’ve thought several times about adding beams to my own ceilings. All of Hannah’s floors are tile, that I noticed, except for the concrete floors mentioned. I also want to tile my own house, as I have a sincere hatred for carpeting. She made me a drink — a white rum and orange juice; delicious — and pulled out marinated chicken to saute while we caught up. As dinner was baking, we took a little tour around the backyard.
Stretching out behind the house is Hannah’s long backyard. Three steps take you up to the yard. There is a playset with a slide and monkey bars for little boy hands and feet off to the right and to the left is a fenced-in garden. She pointed out a relic from her and her husband’s past; a slice of a tree stump that her husband brought home from work and sealed. It served as a backdrop for their wedding and is now an icon of love and commitment on display over the food that they grow. I loved that as Hannah showed us around the yard, she mentioned little plans that she had for the plants that went awry. As we made our way toward the back of the yard, she showed me a table under their mesquite tree where they play dominoes together as a family sometimes. She shared dreams of an outdoor bar. We passed an area off to the side which is her son’s personal play area. There were cinder blocks and sticks and dirt and planks of wood laying around. I shared that I played with the exact same things as a kid: reebar (sp), dirt, wood, and rocks. Yeah I had toys but I remember the tamarack trees and tile samples and searching for horned toads in the weeds more than anything else. It’s a great backyard for a little boy.
Dinner was delicious. She topped the chicken with avocado, cheese, and tomatoes. She also made a great salad with strawberries, feta cheese, and almond pieces. Oh and don’t forget corn on the cob. For dessert she made a cake with orange cream frosting which my sons devoured.
After dinner we sat around the table socializing for a couple hours till we got too cold and one of my sons fell asleep. Hannah’s son lent us a jacket for my oldest and Hannah grabbed a blanket for my youngest. He eventually fell asleep and yes it was hell getting them into the car.
When I left her house that night I left a place that felt a little like home to me. And I would be happy to go back. I left a place that I’d want my home to be like.