When Life Moves Beyond Decorating With Office Chairs

Posted on August 24, 2010


Right after #2 Son graduated from college in Virginia, he moved to Charleston, SC.  He moved into a rental property where two friends lived.  About a month later, he called Life in the Boomer Lane and said he’d come to the conclusion that paying rent was a waste of money, and he decided to buy the house he had been renting. Shortly thereafter, he did so, armed with almost no money and an unlimited supply of pluck and creativity.  On his own, he negotiated a favorable purchase price and terms with the seller.  In just two months, he became a homeowner.

The original two (or three) friends moved out.  Because #2S needed people to live with him to cover the mortgage payments, several other friends moved in, along with their collections of electronic equipment and large dogs.  The decorating scheme became a giant TV, an odd assortment of discarded furniture, empty beer bottles, Frisbees, and sports equipment.  The dining set consisted of an old table and four or five mismatched rolling office chairs, all in various stages of disrepair.

Over the next five years, as #2S was able to carry a greater portion of the monthly mortgage, the number of roommates and dogs dwindled down, along with most (but not all) of the assorted paraphernalia they had brought with them.  Micah renovated the bathrooms, created a new room above the garage, installed a new kitchen floor.  The rolling office chairs remained.

Things stayed pretty much at that level until the last roommate left and #2S’s girlfriend, Janelle, rented out her townhouse and moved in with Micah.  Janelle is an artist.  She has strong feelings about her space.  Her surroundings are as much an artistic statement as her canvases. Janelle has now been there for a little over a month.

Now Husband and LBL visited them this past weekend.  They stayed with Micah and Janelle.   The house is spotless.  A lot of the furniture is Janelle’s.  There are new granite countertops in the kitchen.  The master bedroom is painted and decorated.  There is art all over the walls, a combination of Janelle’s work and paintings Micah got in New Orleans (like the house, purchased with little money and a lot of creative negotiating).  The back porch has been re-screened, power washed and filled with Janelle’s rattan furniture.  A large Buddha sits in the corner.  It is serene.

Janelle and Micah did almost all the work themselves.  After they finished, they had a big garage sale to get rid of all the old, unwanted stuff.  I can guess which house contributed most of the “stuff.”  They are both really proud of what they’ve done in such a short time.  Janelle’s vision, combined with Micah’s expertise in executing it, turned a guy’s place into a home for both of them.

I count the following milestones thus far in my son’s life: his first day of kindergarten, high school graduation, college graduation, the purchase of his first home.  And now, this latest: the sight of real chairs around his dining table.