Who loves ya, baby?

Several years ago, having lived in a studio apartment since 1976, I began thinking about a house. Or maybe I should say dreaming about a house, because the experience had that quality--nothing real, nothing solid--just a kind of wistful longing. After all, I'd grown up in a house--a brick Cape Cod with a full basement, kitchen, dining room, living room with a fireplace, three bedrooms, one bath and a screened porch on the second floor. On New Year's Day of whatever year it was, at a friends' annual open house party, I remarked, "I've been thinking about a house," much in the same way I might have said, "I've been thinking about going on a safari." My friend responded, "Do you know how much work a house is? You can't even take care of an apartment, let alone a house. You're too old for a house." And so it went on, throughout the day.

Riding on the train back to Manhattan that night, I was stunned that someone I'd thought of as non-judgmental had such a low opinion of me. But there was another, quieter part of me that thought, "I'll show her."

At some point I read an article about geothermal heating and cooling, and thought that if I was going to do something like that, it might be easier to install it first and then build a house as opposed to fitting it in with an existing house. And that's when my journey really began. That's when I started to think about building a home.

Kojak's trademark line came to mind the other day--"Who loves ya, baby?" Because when I announced that I'd bought land, I got some very different responses.

My mother, on the surface, appeared to be supportive, though, as I might have expected, she was focusing on everything that could go wrong. And even as she was telling me, "You're smart; I'm sure you know what you're doing," what I heard was, "Are you sure you know what you're doing?" Over dinner, my neighbor told me how many times his uncle's basement had been flooded by a nearby stream. "I'm not going to have a basement," I said, but he was already talking about the dangers of pine trees. "Pine trees are very flammable; they go up like a torch. I'd cut them down and plant maple trees instead."

But my friends were very excited for me. Lisa wrote that if I had pines I'd have owls.


Who loves ya, baby? The ones who encourage you to realize your dreams--no matter how old you are.