There are two things to know when reading this post: 1) my grandson sees ghosts (all of you who have been reading this blog regularly already know about that, several times over, probably!) and 2) after living here for the past 21 years, Jim and I are finally doing some needed renovations to our house.
Okay, let's take it from the second statement. Our house was built in 1960 or so, and is very tired in some places. We have done a little here and there to update it. We took out all the carpet and put in hardwood everywhere in 2006. We have changed window treatments. We converted a bedroom into an office. We replaced the front door after suffering a break-in. We even had the entire kitchen remodeled last year -- so long to scarred formica counters and scary linoleum flooring! This year, we are going to enclose the screened-in porch to make a new office, and give the current office to our grandson as his very own bedroom.
Renovating the porch and making it into more living space has entailed hiring a contractor, getting a building permit, and then setting up really frightening things like "demolition" and "excavation." I leave that to Jim, the engineer, and our contractor, who seems amazingly excited about the job, bless his heart.
But the other day while I was cooking dinner, my grandson slid into the kitchen in his stocking feet on our nice, new floors and said to me, "Who used to live here?" And the conversation went like this:
Me: Do you mean who used to live in this house before we did?
Me: A very nice couple (and I gave him names). They moved to the East Coast when we bought the house from them.
Grandson: (nodding) They're dead.
Me: What did you say?
Grandson: They're dead.
Me: How do you know that?
Grandson: (sly smile) I just do.
As a matter of fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the previous owners had gone on to their rest. They were retired and elderly when we bought this house and they were going back to where they had originally started out. Jim also told me, when I related this peculiar exchange to him, that the wife had cancer when we met her. I didn't know that. It just hit me as a little strange that a seven-year old boy, whose current obsessions are Minecraft, dinosaurs, and Legos, would be interested in who owned our house before we did.
So perhaps all that they say about renovations stirring things up is true. Or perhaps they just dropped by to see what we've done with the old place, and my grandson ran into them. They would have all liked each other: the man was very grandfatherly, and his wife was a retired teacher and had once decorated our utility room with cheerful little mushroom stickers.
I hope they like what we're doing with their place. Since my grandson didn't seem particularly alarmed by them -didn't come running to me the way he did once upon a time when "the big boy was coming"- I'm going to assume that they approve. They had loved this house when they were here. And now that we're here, we love it, too.