The Cross House
Three years ago, as of yesterday, I took possession of the 1894 Cross House.
The house was terrifyingly huge. H U G E.
The house was, too, in terrifying condition. Y I K E S.
So, why in the world did I do something so insane?
Well…ummm…ahhh….love. Love, baby. I was in love.
And three years later?
This love has grown. And it’s not just a sweet kinda love but a crazy passionate all-consuming love.
Previously, I wrote that for my whole existence I had the feeling that I was waiting for something. Seriously. For almost six decades this nagging feeling was always there, kinda tainting everything and instilling in me an omnipresent sense of expectation.
The feeling though vanished after buying the Cross House, and has not reappeared since.
While I knew what I was getting into three years ago, based on long experience, I was massively surprised by one thing: this blog.
The blog began about five months after I closed on the house, and I had no idea of how integral it would become to the process of restoring the house. While today I cannot image my life sans Cross House, nor can I imagine my life sans this blog.
I was told that the blog would attract about 500 views per month. This seemed exciting! But this blog is now experiencing over 90,000 views per month. This seems mind-boggling (mind-bloggingly?). Really, I am breathless.
Over the decades I have restored and renovated many houses and projects. But these have all been somewhat solo adventures experienced by me, or with clients and their families. But via this blog the Cross House feels like a global effort. And I am continually awed by this. People from around the world offer support and advice and, even, criticism. But even with the latter I am thrilled for it means that others, from around the planet, are engaged and interested and passionate about not just the Cross House but about preserving our architectural and historic fabric. This is powerfully nourishing.
I am not alone!
In short, what had always been a kinda lonely endeavor now feels deeply like a community experience.
And I have grown to adore this. And be nourished by this. And to love you.
Before buying the house I worked 24/7 on my vintage lighting business.
HOW was I supposed to insert a massively time-consuming project into an already overloaded life?
Well, three years later I still have no answer.
Sigh. Argh. Moan.
The answer is a tangled mess. The restoration of the Cross House has been forced into a life which had no extra room, meaning that other parts of my life were, by necessity, ejected. In just one example, before buying the house I religiously listed thirty restored lights every month. Basically one a day.
Now? It pains me, powerfully, that I now get, maybe, ten listed a month.
Sigh. Argh. Moan.
And a vacation? WHAT is that????????
Since buying the house my every available penny has been poured into the project, as with a significant bank loan. EEK! A Kansas Trust Heritage Grant, too, was awarded in 2015 (whoee!!!!!!!!), and this was also poured into the house. Last month, the house was awarded a second Heritage Grant! WHOEE!!!!!!!! This will also get poured into the house (mostly to restore the south facade).
All old house owners will viscerally understand the following statement: the Cross House consumes money. And, I will never ever ever ever see a return on my investment and time. Indeed, money worries, even with the two grants, are aging me.
But joy? Oh…my…this has been amply hugely bigly nourished.
So, in short, all the financial worries notwithstanding, and the crushing burden on my time, there has never been a scintilla of doubt that buying the Cross House was the right thing. Indeed, buying the house, and getting my two books published, are the things I am most proud of during my now sixty years on Earth.
And now, now, year four begins!
I A M S O O O O O O O O O O O O E X C I T E D!