Kids, it occurs to me that, since I’ve come back from my self-imposed blogging hiatus, I have not shared the details of my recent move. Seems like that would be an important topic to blog about, seeing as how I used the move as an excuse to put off my return to blogging. Even though, I’m pretty sure, I moved after I started blogging again…
I don’t know, I’ll have to check my calendar.
But does it really matter? It’s in the past. But… don’t all my personal stories take place in the past? Ugh… this is making my head hurt.
So I moved. I went from living in a little duplex on the outskirts of town to living in a little Green House on the outskirts of town.
Now, it’s likely that anyone who has ever moved before will tell you that moving is a pain in the butt. It’s true. I’ve moved dozens of times in my adult life and, every single time, it has been a pain in the butt.
For a long time, every time I moved, I got rid of things. That way, next time I inevitably have to move, I’ll have less to pack up and relocate. This time, I let my love of buying books that I will never have time to read get the better of me. So many boxes full of so many books. And boxes full of so many books are not exactly light. I should probably redact the statement that moving is a pain in the butt. It’s a pain in the back.
And I didn’t have to move far this time. Which is good, I suppose. It’s better than having to move across town or to a different town… or state. I hope I don’t have to do that again.
But as much as I could complain about moving, I really shouldn’t. Because I went from living in a place where I paid rent to living in a place where I don’t. And there is a lot that one can put up with when one is living somewhere for free.
I feel an explanation is in order. Because many of you are probably thinking that I’ve hit the jackpot and wondering how this no rent situation came to be. To help you understand this, we look to the past…
A few years ago, the church I work for began the process of looking for land on which we can build our own building. See, since 2003, Northstar Church has met in the local middle school. That’s a long time. After all this time, we’ve reached a point where we believe that God is leading us to have our own place. As one who has worked with the set up/tear down team week after week for several years, I can go on and on about how great it will be to have our own, permanent location.
The church found a 10-acre plot of land. On the front corner of that land, right next to the road, is a little Green House. I’d passed by it many times before we purchased the land and, therefore, the house. Every time I noticed it, I thought, Man, that place has GOT to be condemned. And then we owned it. And our youth minister moved in. Along with another friend on staff. And another guy from the church.
That’s right, this little green house, that looked, from the outside, like it should be condemned, was now home to three people.
A couple years have gone by. One of those guys moved away. One of those guys got married. And the other is about to start a whirlwind adventure overseas. And since it looked like I needed a new place to live, the little Green House was offered to me.
Here’s the deal: since I’m on staff with the church, they’re graciously allowing me to live here rent-free. That’s the offer that was given to previous staff members who lived here. Non-staff tenants pay a minimal monthly rent. And there are two other guys from the church here with me, but they’re not on staff. The way it was explained to me is this: the Green House is meant to be a blessing for staff in need. And, a blessing it is.
You may be asking what it’s like on the inside. After all, I wasn’t exactly giving the place a glowing recommendation based on its outward appearance. You’ll recall I said it looked like it should be condemned. The inside isn’t a whole lot better…
The bathroom is a little scary. The shower has no knobs on the faucet and the hot water is the only one that can be turned on by hand. If we want cold water, we need to use vice grips. Good thing I like hot showers. Water pressure isn’t great. Good thing I like long showers. Oh, and it’s well water with no filter. So it’s also hard water. That’s a thing, right?
There are three human males living here. But there are other things, too. Mostly insects and spiders. There’s usually a pretty solid trail of ants on the kitchen counter leading from one place to another. And I’ve learned that killing an ant is like cutting one of the heads off a hydra. Two more come back in its place and they’re meaner than before. There’s evidence of mice, but I’ve yet to see one. The evidence is that a bag of bread was eaten into. That’s a bag of bread that got thrown away.
You can’t get around having mice in this house, though. There’s a 10-acre field behind us. I’m sure there are tons of mice just looking for a cozy little Green House to warm up in once winter comes. And winter is coming.
There is a lot of brush between us and the field. Like, it’s grown up a lot. You would need heavy equipment to clear it all away. I sure wouldn’t want to try and do it by hand. Because I have no doubt there are all manner of snakes living in there. And skunks. And rabbits. Definitely rabbits. Creepy little buggers…
The Green House has a basement. But we’ve been told never to go down there if we value our lives. I’m not sure what that means is down there. I can only assume there’s a demon clown waiting to pounce the moment someone foolishly descends the stairs.
The walls have no insulation. So it’s pointless to run the central air and/or heat that we have in the house. We all have window unit air conditioners that keep our rooms cool. I’m in the attic. So if I open my bedroom door and step out to go down the stairs, there’s about a 40 degree spike in the temperature.
Look, the clown thing was probably an exaggeration. The temperature in the attic is definitely not an exaggeration.
One last little bonus I’ve discovered… I think the Green House is haunted. This past Sunday, I accidentally left without my keys. Of course, I locked the back door behind me as I walked out. So I texted my roommates to see if one of them was awake and could let me in. After a few minutes, one of them did.
I ran up to my room to grab my keys. I went to open my door (remember, I keep the door closed to hold in as much cold air as possible) and the knob wouldn’t turn. It was locked. Now, I close that door every time I leave the room. But I have never locked it. Why would I ever lock it. And there’s no way I could accidentally lock it. It’s got the little twisty thing on the knob that you have to turn to lock it. I would have had to make a conscious effort to lock that door before I closed it.
No… I think the Ghost of the Green House locked me out of my bedroom. The story I have in my head is that he or she is a friendly ghost. Just slightly mischievous. Seeing that I had locked myself out of my car and the house, the ghost probably thought it would be hilarious to lock me out of the bedroom, too.
Yeah, really funny.
Thankfully, the door is one of those that you can just twist the lock with your fingernail to get it to open back up. So it wasn’t a huge deal. That’s why I think it’s just a friendly little ghost. I think I’ll call him Casper. Unless the walls start bleeding. Then I’m pretty sure I’ll know he doesn’t like the name Casper.
I know… it sounds a lot like complaining. I don’t mean for it to. I only mean to exaggerate my circumstances in a humorous manner. Believe it or not, I actually like it here. And I’ll keep liking it here for as long as I’m allowed to live here. I mean, eventually we’re going to start building on the land and this thing is gonna have to go.
But, like I said before, the rent is free. I am super grateful for these walls and roof that I get to occupy for nothing. If I were paying the kind of rent that one usually has to pay for a three bedroom house in this town, I’d be in constant contact with the rental agency making sure we had new knobs in our shower. There’s an awful lot I’m willing to put up with for free.