As of today, we have been in our house exactly 20 years. It’s the longest we have ever lived anyplace, including both our childhoods. We’ve done a lot to the place, put in double-paned windows and new siding, remodeled the kitchen (which was original to the house!), and revamped a lot of the plumbing, not to mention the usual paint-and-paper cheapie remodels of all the rooms.
Twenty years. It’s hard to believe. Our daughter was 11 and our son was 7 when we moved here. Now she is 31 and expecting her second child, and he is 27 and just yesterday, passed his practical test for his Transportation license, which means he can now haul freight and passengers with a diesel locomotive. The last hurdle is another 200 hours on a steam engine; then he will be licensed to do the same thing with steam, which is important on a tourist railroad (New Hope and Ivyland is both tourist and short-line freight). He’s extremely nervous. That’s a good thing, it will keep him from doing anything stupid.
In other news, yesterday I went to the hospital for an intake interview prior to having a hysterectomy. Why do hospitals treat their patients like a product?!?! The machinery kicks into gear and churns out yards and yards of labels with your name on them, reams and reams of forms asking the most phenomenally personal questions (“What in life makes you happy?” “What is important to you in life?” The answers to both would be enough to get me committed!). The thing that got me the most, I think, was being told that when I went to the hospital on Wednesday (the surgery is Friday), a red label would be attached to my wrist that isn’t supposed to come off until I leave the hospital — oh, and “don’t get it wet.” That’s two days of walking around in public with the Scarlet Letter!! Not to mention two days of wearing plastic to shower and wash dishes?! “That’s not gonna happen,” I said firmly, and she changed the date of my lab test (it’s to identify my blood type) to Thursday. “Don’t get it wet”?!?! I will come home, snip that puppy off, go about my business, and reattach it with tape on Friday morning. “Don’t get it wet,” give me a break!!!
And I look back over the past 20 years and so help me — and I never thought I’d say this — I want my old life back. It had its drawbacks, believe me — for one thing, my son’s 12 years in school were unmitigated misery — but the four of us were happy together, and healthy, my husband wasn’t commuting six hours a day to and from work, and we had our own house, our very own house, something that had seemed so unreachable back in the days of 18% interest.