The house of 8

On the eighth day of the eighth month of the eighth year of the current millennium, I put $8,000 down to purchase my first home, located in a town with eight letters in the name on a street with eight letters in the name, and the address numerals of which add up to—you guessed it—8.

Numerology is said to be a pseudoscience right up there with palmistry, astrology, and phrenology. So I’m sure all those 8s surrounding my house are merely coincidence. Right? Well, no matter. If the Chinese considered 08/08/08 a sufficiently auspicious date upon which to open the Beijing Summer Olympics, that’s good enough for me.

I’ve always felt that my house and I have a special connection, just as I believe that houses have, in a sense, souls. They can be damaged or restored by the presence of the people who reside within them, and some houses can damage or restore their occupants as well.

One of my family members visited a coastal town in Oregon on vacation several years ago and absolutely fell in love with a somewhat dilapidated white mansion on a hill, a structure so grand and so gothic that you would just expect it to be haunted. Unable to resist the siren song of this genteel structure in dire need of extensive repair and partial reconstruction, my relative bought it and spent the next several years doing all she could to love that house and make it love her in return. But despite all her time, treasure and labor, the house resisted at first, then seemed to actively fight her. Every project completed revealed another to be done, contractors were shady, costs exceeded budgets, expenses mounted incessantly. Finally she admitted defeat and relinquished the house, saying at the end that she felt it was actively trying to punish her for having tried to save it.

I had that cautionary tale in mind when I went searching for my own house to buy, the caution being to not let my emotions override my common sense. If a house would cost more to repair to a habitable state than it would to purchase, that’s obviously no bargain. Which is not to say that I did not allow myself to look at a few near-teardowns and dream big dreams of saving them and lovingly restoring them to their former glory. But either my good sense or my good luck won in the end, and I fell in love with a perfectly maintained and structurally sound house that needed nothing done to it right away except all new windows (fortunately, it has only five windows altogether, so this was not a big job).

Besides being single-level and low-maintenance, the other stellar feature of my house is that it is filled with natural light all day long. Even with only five windows, light simply pours in and through the rooms. I am sensitive to seasonal changes in natural light, so the fact that my house only gets brighter in the winter because it faces south is a blessing beyond price. And since the first moment I saw it, I knew that this house was perfect for me and that we would be very happy together. I was not wrong.

This is the first picture I took in my house after I moved in, and there’s just something about the composition of it that captures perfectly everything I love about where I live.

The number 8 signifies, according to some sources, achievement, security and success. I found all those things when I moved to my house of 8 (also known as La Casita Bonita). Owning a home has stabilized my life far beyond providing me and my dogs with shelter. In a space to call my own—my refuge, my castle, my nest, my domain—I am most fully myself, and I like who that is. This house has been so good to me.


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