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The House on Vesper

We are in Portland ME for a couple of months to help with our granddaughter, Mina. We are renting an apartment in a house from 1870. All the houses near us look the same and are just as old, if not older.

Since living in a really old house was bucket list item #5, I am happy to report, "Check!"

The house on Vesper Street delivers a mix of charm and annoyance.

The wide planks on the floor with dings and dents, with stains and sturdy feel remind me of how many people have walked in this house in the last century and a half. The craftsmanship in the circular corners of the trims on the doors and windows is amazing. The cozy bedroom that fits only a bed and chest of drawers is a far cry from the football field we call our master bedroom back in Virginia, a room that's never warm enough in the winters.

The bay window that actually overlooks a bay locks in the charm with a bow.

We love the walking trail along Casco Bay and lunching at the nearby food trucks. Visiting quaint coffee shops and bakeries top my list of favorite things to do. After all, old homes are definitionally in old cities with quaintness at their core. And who doesn't like walking for a cuppa in a building from the 1800s.

Our apartment redefines old!

There is baseboard heat in each room, thank goodness for that. There's even a fireplace on a thermostat. But the bathroom has a draft like you are standing in a wind tunnel. The cooking range isn't vented and the kitchen counter is wood, which means you can't put anything down lest it damages the look. There is no 3-second rule when you drop something on a 150 year old floor! It goes straight into the trash.The landlady needs to do some serious painting outside. I am positive the garage and the basement have skeletons.

If we were living here, we'd give this place a good overhaul and then it would be super charming. We'd definitely break down the garage and get the basement fully redone.

I thought the motivation for living in an old house is to be a part of history.

Instead, the house on Vesper has reinforced a whole different lesson. It has shown us how little we need to live our daily lives. A bed, towels, a few clothes, one pair of shoes, a wok and a sauce pan, a few spices, and colander and a grater. Ah, and the hair dryer of course, because some things in life are non-negotiable!

In Portland, residents must use city-sanctioned purple trash bags and there are no trash containers to stack bags of trash. People here compost the heck out of everything (including dryer lint!). They recycle in giant bins and throw out one bag of trash per week. This has taken some getting used to but I feel more eco-responsible in the last few weeks than I have ever before.

Living in a house from 1870 has taught me to conserve, live frugally, and reduce our environmental footprint. These are life lessons I will carry with me for the decades to come. I knew there was a reason for the old house experience to be on my bucket list, I just didn't fully understand why.

I have no idea why we have all the stuff in our house in Virginia. When I get back there, it will be time to thin and trim. You betcha! In the meantime, we have to thank Neil for this memorable experience. He picked the house on Vesper because he knew exactly what his parents needed.

Gracias, kiddo!

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