It takes me at least a year to learn how to live in a new home. I have to unpack a reasonable number of my possessions, weather a full round of the seasons, travel and come back to the home, and do some entertaining. Being chronically ill added a few items to the list: see how I feel about the home after a spell of being sick, and check out my friends and family for willingness to come to me when I can't come to them. This learning process includes the neighborhood, as I must familiarize myself with the local services and establishments and make new paths for shopping and entertainment.
I'm not very far into the first year of this home. I'm 85% unpacked, and quite happy with the space for my crafting. My yarn storage/display works great, with shelves in the family room and my bedroom. I have wonderful areas to sit and knit-my room, the back porch, the family room, even the front stairs. When I am outside, I can glance up and enjoy the view of the hills east of the city. Oddly enough, it looks back towards my last suburban home. I have no nostalgia in that view-just enjoyment and a feeling that I left at the right time.
Entertaining sounds very formal. What I really mean is this: can my friends and family be comfortable coming to this place? It's nice to be close enough for my sisters to drop in, and 10 miles nearer for friends who formerly had to calculate the distance and time into their visits. But there is also the welcome factor. I love my home to be a peaceful haven where people can grab a coffee or a cookie, sink into a comfortable chair, and talk, knit, laugh, watch television, or just vegetate. I was raised in a home with plastic slip covers on the furniture in a living room that children didn't invade. People called before they came, and they didn't put their feet on the furniture. I was determined that-whatever my circumstances-I'd have a comfortable, plastic-free place to sit and visit. I would welcome visitors and their children, and appointments wouldn't necessarily be required.
Case in point-yesterday. I hosted knitting group. Eight of us managed to eat, drink, talk, knit and even have an impromptu lesson in my family room/dining/kitchen space. We pulled in one chair from my bedroom (a wonderful find from Target.com), put a few folding tables to use (including one stained with Dayna's paints), and still had elbow room. One friend who is a regular visitor gave 60-second home tours. I got to share the art that I love. No one judged for the messy bedrooms and not yet organized craft room.
My friends surprised me yesterday. They brought wonderful food and home items, declaring that it was also house warming. They lingered. They picked up after themselves. They included my daughter. It reminded me why they are considered my friends, and not just people from a knitting meeting.