Archive for the ‘L’Engle’ Category

Our Chronos House

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007


Well, August 20 is fast approaching, and nobody has bought our house yet, so I drove up and down every street in the school district last Saturday carefully investigated the neighborhood where our daughter’s future school is, looked at some houses, panicked and took the first adequate thing I could find and applied to rent a townhouse near school.  We passed the credit check. (Whew!  Given the amount we’re spending on our abandoned Chicago house, that was no sure thing.)  So, we’ll sign the lease this week and take possession in August.

It’s boring, beige with berber carpet and mauve countertops, but it’s newish, clean, has three bedrooms, includes all appliances (including washer and dryer), takes pets, and will be a good placeholder. (Currently rented by college students, we should be able to move in early August. Hoping to be in before family reunion.) It has a wee deck on the back, but I couldn’t check it out because the sliding patio door was broken. The tempered glass had been shattered. The lease agent said he thought a lawn mower had done it. I gather by flinging something into it — at first I had a vision of someone hauling the lawnmower up onto the wee deck and ramming the door.  A few pictures follow.  (I took them with the lease agent watching, so I didn’t do a very good job.  The bedroom pictures, not shown, are totally uninformative.)

Anyway, by a chronos house, I refer to a house that we keep in ordinary time. My L’Engle books are still in Chicago, but she explains about chronos time and kairos time. I haven’t found just the right explanation, but this one is close. I think I have a book (maybe not by L’Engle or maybe one in which she has a single essay), where she explains that chronos time is the ordinary time in the liturgical calendar (after the big holidays) where you just put one foot in front of the other, tick tocking time away.  (Don’s cousin in law, Betty, would remind me at this point not to be wishing my life away, waiting for the next big event.)  For instance, after Pentecost, where the altar cloths are green for months on end and time is measured as so many Sundays after Pentecost (in contrast to Advent or Lent or even Eastertide where you’re leading up to a big day).  In contrast, kairos is time is time out of time, like the big Christian days and the preparation leading up to them (Advent and Christmas, Lent and Easter, Eastertide and Pentecost).

Hmmm. Wikipedia explains that ordinary time refers to the ordinal numbers used to count how many Sundays after the last big festival day, and not to the ordinariness of it at all. In any event, this is an ordinary house that doesn’t really seem to be particularly special (except for reminding me of my North Howe townhouse), but it does get us into the neighborhood, and we don’t have to keep it when the lease is up. And, if we sell our Chicago house, then we should be able to afford the right something, the kairos something, in the neighborhood, even with rent.

I’m hoping to go back with a tape measure (maybe not this one, but the Stanley jousting ad still cracks me up) in the next week, and figure out what furniture can go in the chronos house, and what will have to go in storage. Each bedroom has a built-in desk and reasonable closet, and the kitchen has a nice size pantry. (A bigger kitchen than several of the houses I considered buying or renting this week. More on those another day.)

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