"Where We Love Is Home"
Danso worried about Rosita's first family,
especially after Faramundo pulled up stakes
and went back to their old place. Danso
wasn't sure what he might do to help, but
he wished that he could do something.
As it turned out, Hannah had
already thought of that, and
made suitable arrangements.
"There's a house coming open on
the next block if you want it," she said
one afternoon, looking at Amada.
"That's ... a lovely thought, Hannah,
but I could never afford a whole house,
especially not now with ... everything,"
Amada said sadly. "We'd been saving up,
but things didn't work out that way."
"SPOON will cover it," Hannah said.
"You're sticking by your daughter,
and you're helping with my kids too.
There's a fund for these situations.
You can't live in a hotel forever."
"It's just so hard since Faramundo ... left,
and I don't know what to do," Amada said.
"I suppose it couldn't hurt to go look."
Danso winced. That abandonment had
badly shaken a family already distressed
by Rosita's disappearance and reappearance.
Hannah's proposal gave him an idea, though.
"We can help you move in, if you decide to,
and throw a housewarming," Danso offered.
"That's very kind of you," said Amada.
So Hannah made arrangements with SPOON
and the realtor handling the house, and then
they all trundled down the block to see it,
past one side street and on the opposite side
of the main street, second in from the corner.
Shrubs and side gardens surrounded
the cheerful yellow house with its single garage.
Two big windows flanked the little red door on the porch,
and a skylight overlooked the vaulted entryway.
On the left lay the living room, and on the right
another room that could be a bedroom or a study,
and the other two bedrooms and bathrooms beyond.
Straight ahead, the great room opened up into
space for family and kitchen and dining.
A sliding glass door let out onto the patio in
the back yard, with a patch of green grass and
more gardens. Danso could see how this block
left its yards unfenced to make a shared space
kind of like a park, with a variety of trees for fruit
and shade, all tucked neatly behind the house.
It wasn't very big or fancy, and it wasn't brand new.
It had a cozy, lived-in look and it was comfortable
for a young family wanting to put down roots.
You could sort people into different rooms if
they needed some time alone, or all gather in
the great room to hang out where it would
be easy to keep an eye on the kids.
When Amada started sniffling
and the realtor looked helpless and
Hannah took over comforting Amada,
Danso clapped his hands to collect
the children and said, "Hey, let's go
explore the back yard. I bet there's
room for swingset or a sandbox."
It was no trouble to keep them occupied,
with Rosita in her carrier and Nathaniel
balanced on Danso's hip while Lakia
scrambled over the cherry tree and
Hadyn examined the raised beds.
Eduardo, Fernán, and Gil debated
what playthings could fit where.
Danso knew that Amada might fret
over the cost of the equipment, but he
also knew Aidan, and if the man could
build a greenhouse, then he should be
able to cobble up a swingset or the like.
It was a bit of a squeeze when they
crammed two whole families into
one little house, so having space
to spill out into the yard would help.
Maybe they could even add a bit
of a workshop to the garage. If
the two homes had different things
to do, then that avoided trying to fit
everything in one house and yard.
Danso was not surprised when Amada
decided to move into the yellow house.
It didn't take long to settle the details,
and then Danso rustled up Noah and
some other friends from highschool
to help the Durantes move in.
A week later they held the housewarming.
Aidan spent the day building a swingset
with enthusiastic help from the children.
One end consisted of a tower with a slide
and a sandbox underneath the playhouse.
The side beam held two regular swings,
a two-person rocker swing, and on the end,
a bucket swing safe enough for the babies.
It was compact enough to fit in the yard,
yet big enough for all of them to share
at the same time as long as they took care
not to get in each other's way while playing.
Inside the house, preparations for
supper were already well underway.
The kitchen wrapped around one corner
of the great room, with the stove and oven
in an island dividing it from the family room.
That made it easy to pack in a lot of people
working on different projects at the same time.
Amada made pozole de frijole, a bean soup
with hominy, pinto beans, and diced tomatoes in
broth flavored with ancho chilis, garlic, and oregano.
There were soft tortillas and crunchy taco shells
which could be filled with spicy ground beef
or milder lime chicken, then topped with cheese
and the vegetables that Danso and Hadyn
had diced. Eduardo made pico de gallo.
Hannah baked Mississippi mud brownies,
the chocolate base piled high with chopped pecans
and miniature marshmallows. Lakia and Fernán
helped by fetching and measuring ingredients.
Everyone enjoyed the chance to share
favorite recipes from their families.
Once everything had been prepared,
they quickly cleaned up the kitchen
and then laid out a buffet all along
the outer angle of the kitchen island.
That way everyone could just walk down
the line to get a bowl of soup, as many
tacos as they wanted, and a brownie.
Amada and Hannah had even collaborated
on a batch of pureed Mexican chicken so that
Rosita could have something new to eat.
As they all sat around the dining table,
Hannah said, "I'm glad that we could
help you find a new home to live in,
after you had to give up the old one."
"Where we live isn't home,"
Amada said softly.
"Where we love is home."
* * *
"Where we love is home -- home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts."
-- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
Recovering from a breakup takes time and support. Follow the steps to find happiness again.
Choosing a house and a neighborhood will require careful attention. In this case, they're going about it backwards from the usual method, not looking at multiple houses, but instead trying to gauge whether a single option would suit their needs. There are tips for moving.
This is Amada's new house.
Making a house into a home means using various methods to customize the space to your personality and weave yourself into the local community.
There are pictures and plans available for the swingset that Aidan builds. Although meant as a weekend project for one person with occasional help, it could easily be completed in a day by an experienced handyman with lots of help.
Suburban permaculture makes use of slightly different zone patterns than rural permaculture does. Hollow blocks offer one method of creating villages. This can consist of residential houses or a mix of building types.
Yardsharing allows people to combine space in ways that promote neighborhood happiness. This is one way that Terramagne encourages mixed neighborhoods; Hannah's block has traditional fenced yards and Amada's block is a yardshare, so people can travel back and forth to explore both styles. Pocket neighborhoods have their own design styles and community dynamics.
Housewarming parties help welcome people into a neighborhood. Know how to host one.
Pozole de Frijole is a traditional Latin comfort food. A taco bar makes it easy to serve many people. Mississippi Mud Brownies are classic Southern comfort food. Baby food depends on the child's age, but it is a good idea to introduce diverse tastes early, such as this Mexican Chicken.