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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

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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.

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Blogger The bean-mom said...

Amazing story.

I've been reading for a few months now, just delurking to say... wow. Congrats, and so happy to hear that all turned out well with the house sale and house buying!

10:44 PM  
Blogger said...

That's awesome! Good luck in your new home!

11:04 PM  
Blogger Geoff Meeker said...

Wow... the house looks palatial. And all that wood! Loads of character.

I can see that you are overjoyed. Are the kids excited too?

5:33 AM  
Blogger Kyran said...

Geoff, the new house is actually smaller than the old one, but we think the layout will feel more spacious. It's going to be fun to furnish in mid-century style. I've given my flea-market obsessed sister-in-law instructions to snatch up anything that looks like it belongs in the Jetsons.

6:16 AM  
Blogger Kyran said...

and yes, the kids are excited. More about that to come.

6:17 AM  
Blogger michelle said...

What a GREAT story. It is amazing how these things come together the way they are supposed to. When we were looking for our new house last year, the one we found had been on the market for a YEAR...waiting for us...

8:46 AM  
Blogger Jen K-C said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:06 AM  
Blogger cce said...

Our first house was mid-century modern...there's a lot of good memories wrapped up in that period of architecture for me.
I love that all this came together for you so simple and neat and fitting, like a well worked plot line Congrats.

9:07 AM  
Blogger Jen K-C said...

Congratulations! Change is a good thing, the house looks like it has loads of character,I especially love the pink bathroom.


9:10 AM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

Congratulations! It sounds like everything worked out the way it was meant to - buying and selling a house is never that easy! The house looks like it will be fabulous for y'all and the kids, and I can't wait to drop by for a visit the next time we make it to town!

10:33 AM  
Blogger Hannah said...

That's beyond incredible. Having been through the buying / selling thing myself I have never heard of the pieces falling into place quite like that.


10:37 AM  
Blogger Carmen said...

What exciting news! Even though change can be stressful, a change like this one can give you a burst of energy and new life...What fun you all will have getting to know your new home and making it your own. Looking forward to seeing the "after" pictures too!
p.s. Will the boys have to change schools?

1:19 PM  
Blogger Erika said...

Woo hoo. How exciting. A new house to have your way with. Congratulations! Enjoy the smell of fresh paint and when they are installed, enjoy the tiles no one else's feet have ever walked on before.

1:55 PM  
Blogger Julianne said...

I live for stories like this. It's nice to know that fate has a sense of humor and a sense of purpose.

Congrats on selling your house so quickly and finding the perfect home for you and your family.

5:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow--congratulations on selling/buying and seemingly clicking into the Universe. Seriously. Amazing story.

6:01 PM  
Blogger Jeanne said...

I loved reading this post. Some things are just meant to be!

7:17 PM  
Blogger jennifer h said...

That is an incredible story. Your new house looks like it has a lot of soul. (I like older houses, always.)

Best of luck with your move, and I'm glad that things worked out so well for you and the other family.

8:49 PM  
Blogger Mary_Laurie said...

So, I'm sitting in a luncheon that is just ending and my phone rings. Usually it just vibrates, go figure. On the line is my ex-husband who is going on and on about this web site. I'm supposed to look at it right away. The address is repeated several times, so I finally write it down. There are no clues about content other than I'll find it interesting. Okay, Okay.

Driving to my next stop, the dentist, I decide to pull it up on my phone. The type is incredibly small. Traffic is busy. I get the gest of it, but nothing more. Charles is not answering the phone for clarification. Alas, have to wait to get back on the computer.

On the drive back to work, there's time to ponder. For some reason, the name Patrick comes to mind so it must have been part of the content. A scenerio develops in my mind, but who knows.

Then I read it again in the evening - full screen, large print. Hmmm. Still questions remain. I check out the photos, and sure enough when the last one appears, the faces are familiar. What a wonderful surprise.

So good to see you and the family. It's been a long time. Tell Pat hello. MLaurie

8:50 PM  
Blogger Kyran said...


Already did. I love that you stopped by. I wonder if when we met so casually all those years ago, the web was already being spun.

Please come back anytime.

And to answer Carmen, yes, the boys will attend a neighborhood public school. Big shift there. I've got a separate update in the works about how their part in this, but holy crap, I have to go pack!

8:10 AM  
Blogger Jessica @ A Bushel and a Peck said...

So exciting! I love new houses...we just moved less than a year ago and its still fun. And just so you know, my Nana always said "New House, New Baby." I am due in July...just throwing that out there! ;)

8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kyran, congratulations on your house! It looks wonderful. It will be satsifying to make it your own. I love your blog--I think you are the best writer out there. I loved your poem, Jars of Clay. And you write things about motherhood that are beautiful and resonant--that post about being the props person and not the auteur of your kids childhoods come to mind. I'm a Canadian living in the US (Wyoming, no less) and I find your meditations in that area interesting too. I hope that literary agent finds you soon--I would buy anything you published.

10:35 AM  
Blogger pj said...


I'm the person who introduced herself to you in Baker Park last week (the one who has been lurking on your blog for a long while).

I've been friends with Charles and Mary for many years and I think I met you long ago at a party at their house. I saw Charles sometime in February while he was working on cleaning up his Mom's house and mentioned your blog. Amazing that your family ended up buying his Mom's house.

There was a door in the house leading into the kitchen that had height marks penciled in for Charles' son Benjamin. Did Charles take the door or did your family inherit the door of history? Enjoy the house.

1:53 PM  
Blogger LetterB said...

Beautiful story. Beautifully written. And that would be a lovely tattoo. Though maybe best to put off getting it until you have met the new neighbors.

10:17 PM  
Blogger Kyran said...

pj, it just gets more and more far out! I'm so glad you said hello at the park.

I hope Charles got a photograph of the door. It's quite a biography. I'll take a snapshot for him just in case.

10:46 PM  
Blogger Schmutzie said...

I can't even express how perfect this all is. You have made my heart swell today.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Kate The Great said...

Fascinating. I love it when that happens, and it doesn't happen often. We find old friends, we see them on the street, we accidentally call them (true; I had lots of phone numbers in my long-term memory and dialed the wrong one) we stare at them in a store in another city.

Yes, it's amazing when it happens. But with something a big as a house? Wow. Now that's... that's just phenomenal.

5:55 PM  
Blogger GIRL'S GONE CHILD said...

That is AWESOME, Kyran. Congratulations on the new home and the new tenants in your yesterday. Beautiful story. I LOVE when life does that.

11:50 AM  
Blogger Gypsy at Heart said...

That photo of you standing in that room made my eyes water. I've said goodbye to the walls of a home I've loved too and can understand somewhat how painful it is. I feel very happy for you and your family though to know that your old space has transitioned into good hands. Congratulations also on your new home. May you find great happiness and constant shelter in it.

9:29 PM  

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