For the past few years I’ve celebrated my birthday on this blog with a special post.
When I turned 35, I shared 35 Songs That Meant Something To Me On My 35th Birthday.
When I turned 36, I shared 36 Photos of Places That Meant Something To Me On My 36th Birthday.
And last year I vowed to make 37 Donations In Honor Of My 37th Birthday. (It wound up taking me a year, but I did make all the donations – even though I haven’t gotten around to updating the post completely yet)
Since my parents recently sold their house in Maryland and are about to move to California, I thought this would be a good time to share some of the memories I have of the house that they’ve lived in for the past 20+ years and the house that I’ve basically called home since I was in 8th grade.
1. I remember how cool it seemed to have a laundry chute when we first moved in.
2. I remember when my high school friends threw me a surprise birthday party and hid in our basement. However, I also remember that one of my friends had accidentally spoiled the surprise earlier that day in school and so I tortured my friends and parents by basically refusing to go into the basement for a while and delaying the “surprise.”
3. I remember the driveway basketball basket, which is probably the single basket that I’ve taken the most shots on in my life.
4. I remember spending summer nights playing basketball in that driveway, lit only by the light from our open garage and playing to a soundtrack of Tone Loc, A Tribe Called Quest, and other assorted early 90s hip hop tunes played on an old boombox.
5. I remember falling in love with music while laying on my bed and listening to my first CDs on my first stereo.
6. After I moved to California, I remember coming home to visit and finding that “my room” was a little less mine and a little more my parents with each visit.
7. I remember cutting the lawn – quickly and poorly.
8. I remember sleeping on the basement floor with my brother when family came to visit and took up all the beds.
9. I also remember not sleeping on the basement floor because it was impossible to fall asleep due to my brother’s snoring.
10. I remember the kitchen in which my Mom whipped up too many amazing meals to count. (But you can read about some of them for yourself here.)
11. I remember racing my brother to the bathroom to be the first to shower – and the last to get hot water in their shower.
12. I remember looking out my bedroom window on school mornings when snow was predicted to see if I was actually going to get a day off school or get busted for not doing my homework due to an assumption that I would get the day off school.
13. I remember the one time I cooked dinner for my grandfather at that house and shared a steak and beer with him – just the two of us.
14. I remember the football field, baseball diamond, and soccer field that was also known as our backyard.
15. I remember the kitchen pantry that never had any food I could just grab and eat, but was stocked with enough Iron Chef-esque ingredients that my Mom could make me anything I wanted.
16. I remember pulling out of the driveway to move to California 15 years ago.
17. I remember the basement ping pong table where I got really good at the game, but never quite good enough to be definitively better (or worse) than my Dad.
18. I remember the random exercise equipment that always appeared in the basement but don’t remember ever seeing anybody (including myself) actually use it.
19. I remember my bedroom floor that was home to more of my clothes than my bedroom closet was.
20. I remember the neon pink flamingo clock I had in my room and thinking it was cool. I don’t remember why.
21. I remember the fireplace that seemed like an unnecessary hassle to use, but enjoying it every time it was on.
22. I remember fighting over the thermostat, being too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter.
23. I remember the garden that my Mom spent hours and hours working on in order to defend her Best Garden title (which she did) despite the fact that her sons were slightly less enthusiastic about it than she was.
24. I remember the laundry room in which laundry was constantly being done 24/7.
25. I remember the open layout of the TV room/dining area/kitchen which may have looked nice but was the single worst sound environment ever created – you couldn’t hear the TV over the conversations and you couldn’t hear the conversations over the TV somehow.
26. I remember the tech support services I wound up providing to the computers in the basement.
27. I remember hanging out on “the streets” of our neighborhood on late summer nights.
28. I remember the sound a tennis ball would make when it hit the garage door we were using as a baseball backstop.
29. I remember my Dad backing me down on the basketball court and banking in fade away jump shots against me – always from the uphill side of the court.
30. I remember spending 5 minutes in my room before emerging and declaring that my homework was done.
31. I remember the bulletin board in my room that had a mixture of cut-up CD boxes (back when CDs actually were sold in long cardboard boxes) and assorted inspirational magazine cutouts like this one.
32. I remember having this poster on the back of the door in my room and my Mom somehow being ok with it.
33. I remember launching a baseball card business whose entire potential clientele consisted of people in the neighborhood whose mailboxes I could put a flyer in. I don’t remember ever making a sale from those flyers.
34. I remember coming home to visit and being asked if I wanted a beer only to go down to basement refrigerator and have to decide how many decades ago the beers in there had been bought.
35. I remember being home for Thanksgiving dinner every year but one since we moved into it.
36. I remember a couple of my good friends (who were a lot more interested in being productive than I was and eventually went on to become doctors) being let into my bedroom regularly to wake me up on summer “mornings” (Noon-ish) by my Mom. I remember not being happy about it.
37. I remember still not being sure which light switch controlled which light even after 20 years of living in the house.
38. I remember it being a pretty great house to grow up in.