The secret lives of houses
So, the "for sale" sign went up on a Thursday. Saturday night, our house was sold. Sunday, we went out and picked out our new house.
I didn't want to write about it until it was official. It's official: we closed both deals today. Our heads have been spinning at about 78 rpm for the past month. Bring over your old Al Jolson records.
Understand something: we are the people who routinely spend an hour driving around trying to decide where to spend thirty-five bucks on supper. By extrapolation, this process should have taken us a year. I guess if you include all my hand-wringing leading up to the decision, it sort of did.
I can hardly tell you now, what that was all about. I am so in love with our new house and neighborhood, so excited to be getting a fresh start. I don't know why I have to learn this particular lesson over and over; why letting go of the familiar is so damn hard for me. I hope not to forget it again for a little while.
I wrote back in the fall that I felt this house had been withdrawing its energy from us. Turns out, it was making eyes at someone. Patrick got to meet one of the buyers at the inspection, and heard the story. The couple who bought it have been in love with it for four years. Their agent had shown them a hundred houses, and none would do. Finally, a friend asked, "What is it you're looking for?"
"I'll show you," she said, and took her past our house, her crush, on the very evening the "for sale" sign went up. Patrick said the inspector could have reported blood pouring from the walls, and she would have still wanted this house. Her house.
I am so happy for her, for them, and for us. I wanted someone who would "get" this place the minute they walked in, and they did. I can leave now, knowing it will be loved.
Just in case I didn't get the point that it wasn't all about me after all, the day after our offer was accepted on the new house, we took the kids back over for another look, and saw that the seller was there.
"I think it would be nice for you guys to meet," our agent said. Patrick got out of the car ahead of me, and I stayed behind a moment to unload the boys. When I looked up, Patrick was hugging a strange man.
"Well, that's just inappropriate," I thought.
I started to walk over, slightly embarrassed over my husband's low personal boundaries, and extended my hand.
The man who sold us our new house is one of those old friends who turns up rarely and always unexpectedly in our lives, but with whom we have always had a deep and immediate connection. We had lost track of him years ago. He'd moved to Colorado, but had come home to move his aging mother out of the home his father had built for them in the fifties. She was also having a hard time letting go. He was so happy he'd be able to tell her that a family with children would be moving in, that three boisterous boys would be climbing the trees and slamming the doors, displacing all the old ghosts with young life. We made him promise to bring her to visit us in the summer, and to beg her to bring her photo albums.
As I get older, I get softer and softer toward refrigerator magnet theology. You know, "God never closes a door without opening a window," that sort of thing. I'm thinking of having this one tattooed on my forehead, in a cross-stitch pattern:
God never does works on just one person's problem at a time.
You can see some "before" photos of the new house in the flickr set (link in right sidebar). There's about a month's worth of painting and flooring to be done before we can move in, but the tile in the main bathroom stays. Because if ever a family needed a big dose of pink, it's this one.