I have been thinking about drafts lately and that thinking brought me back to one of my earliest memories. We lived in an upstairs apartment near the highest point of a street on a (rare) hill in Elgin. I think my parents were having a party in this memory and I remember someone, possibly my mother, saying there was a draft in the living room. 3 or 4-year-old me heard “giraffe in the living room” and was disappointed that I could not see this giraffe my mother spoke of.
We’ve lived at our Bethesda house for more than 28 years. It’s an older home (built in 1947 or so) with mostly original windows on the main and second floors. For the first 13 or so years in this house we only had valences on the windows in the living and dining rooms. Each room has a large picture window plus up to 4 sash windows, so besides sort of living in a fishbowl at night, those rooms were also drafty and chilly in the winter.
Sometime in 2006 we installed honeycomb-style pull-down blinds on all the windows on the main and second floors of our house. It made a considerable difference in the temperatures of all the rooms in the house, especially the living room and dining room (and back room in our kitchen area that had two walls of windows). Winters were much more comfortable because of these shades.
A couple of years ago we bought new living room furniture. One piece was a beautiful leather “cloud” chair that sits next to the fireplace. It is exquisitely comfortable, has a light and plug nearby, yet I find myself drawn to the end of the sofa instead. I realized that the reason for that is because the chair is sitting in the coldest spot in the living room. The cold air from upstairs flows down the steps and into either the living room or the dining room. The cold air from the window behind the chair flows past the chair, into the kitchen. So even with the window shades, there is still that draft.
I searched online for a solution (I wanted pocket doors, but that was not practical) and found recommendations for curtains hung from expansion rods in the doorways (we have two into the living room). I bought some and installed them about a week ago. They are not haute couture by any means, but they do the job — very well!
The living room used to be several degrees cooler than the dining room (where the thermostat lives), but is now several degrees warmer.
When I realized that the curtains were working I proclaimed to no one in particular, “No more drafts in the living room!” Then I noticed the giraffe that Dean brought back from South Africa on one of his trips and amended my proclamation: “Only one giraffe in the living room.”
I always make resolutions — usually privately — and never actually accomplish anything. One year I was going to learn Danish. Nope, didn’t happen. (nope, skete ikke). One year I was going to stop procrastinating. Again, nope, didn’t happen). Exercise? Nope.
This year I’m doing something different. I simply want to learn a new thing each month. New things like how to parallel park, how to make gnocchi, and more about our personal finances. I also want to take this year to finally organize the house — declutter, I suppose — by tackling a different part of the house each month. This month it is the basement since we are halfway there anyway with the remodel.
I don’t know how many times I wrote that address on letters and packages nor how many times getting a letter or package from that address made me very happy. Hundreds probably. I do know, however, that I’ll never write it on a letter again nor will I ever receive a letter from that address. (Although, in all honesty, it has been years since I did send a letter to 17 Airedale Drive.)
You see, it has been sold, or I’m fairly certain it has been sold. Yes, a Google search confirms it has been sold. I suspected as much when I received Jeremy’s Christmas letter this year and saw that Pat, his mother, moved into his house after a 6 month stay in a hospital.
Jeremy and his family lived at 17 Airedale Drive when I first met them. 17 Airedale Drive was where I stayed during my visits to England between 1974 and 1979. I have a lot of wonderful memories of that house with its beautiful rose garden in front and the front door with the stained glass window. I remember sharing Jeremy’s room with Sue and, on another visit sleeping in the tiny bedroom in front. I remember the kitchen with the tiny pass-through door to the dining room and the front lounge area with the comfy furniture. I remember the back garden where I had my first bread, cheese and wine meal.
So today I found myself Googling 17 Airedale Drive to see if it had been sold and saw that Google Street View was implemented along Airedale Drive. I’d been waiting for this — it was not in place when I wrote my entry about Google Street View in my neighborhood. I wanted to see what 17 Airedale Drive looked like now.
I sort of wish I hadn’t though. Jack’s roses are gone. A side addition was built — probably to expand the kitchen. But perhaps that was there in 2002 when we visited Pat. The back garden looks nice though — but the mural Jeremy painted on the garage doors is gone.
So someone else is living at 17 Airedale Drive. Someone is making their own memories in that house. Do they, I wonder, ever stop and think about the memories already made there? Probably not. And that’s okay.