Yesterday I sold my home and moved out. I know, what’s the big deal, right? People do that all the time.
But this was different. I am not “people”, I am me, and to me this is important.
For one thing, I lived in this house 14 years, longer than I have lived in any house, ever. But there is more.
This was my first wife’s dream house. Everything she ever wanted. A 200-year-old farmhouse out in the middle of the country. Living in this house gave her a happiness she could have found no other way.
When she died, I needed this house. I wrapped it around me like a giant comforter, retreating into it’s immense depths, taking consolation from the echoes that she left behind.
I learned to live alone in this house, just me and my cat Frank and my dog Shaggydog and this giant house. We got through the storm of life changes together.
I spent a lot of time fixing up this old house, and a lot of money. More money than I should have spent. More than I would be able to ever recover by selling, this is not the kind of house you “flip”. This is the kind of house where you make a home and raise your family.
My oldest son got married in this house, right after I finished with most of the fixing up. She (the house) looked lovely too, all done up for the wedding, a grand dame with shining woodwork and floors made of history.
I had so many giant bonfires here. The neighbors would come over, there would be spirits and camaraderie, and good times.
The last great bonfire
I met my Gamer Girl while I was living in this house, and somehow persuaded her to move across the country and join me here. A whole new set of memories and life changes, so good, so shared, me, my (soon to be) new wife and this giant old house.
When we first decided to put the house on the market, it was bittersweet for me, I think for obvious reasons. I love this old house. But I don’t love where it is, and I have a whole life to live. One by one, my children have all moved back to Denver. I am the last hold out on the East Coast, just me and my Gamer Girl, holding down the fort except the fort no longer guards anything.
Deciding to sell the house is not at all the same as actually selling it. When we first chose to sell, we were told not to be in a hurry, rural houses sell slowly. But still, two years? Because that is how long it took. Two years.
We actually sold the house four times. People would make a good offer, we’d take it, and somewhere in the process the buyers would just go away. One couple had financing problems. Another seemed to expect a turnkey home with zero maintenance (and why would anyone expect a 200-year-old home to have zero maintenance?). Another couple just ghosted on us, we really have no idea why they backed out.
By the fourth time we accepted an offer, we’d became almost superstitious, afraid to do anything that might jinx the deal. We didn’t tell anyone, not my work, not my family, no one. Telling people in the past had led to nothing but heartache.
We could tell our DDO friends because they had nothing at stake, but not family. This time it would be our secret until the actual closing.
Which finally happened. Two years of selling ended yesterday. I refused to believe anything until I had the actual check in my hands, but now I do. It is real. We are moving. In fact, we have moved. For the next couple of weeks we’re living in an extended stay hotel in Raleigh while I serve notice at my job.
Doesn’t that sound cosmopolitan? “We live in a hotel”. Just like movie stars, even if the hotel is not quite the Beverly Hills Hotel. Last night we walked to dinner. Imagine that. In our old house, there was nothing in walking distance, and really not very much within nearby driving range. It was 45 minutes to the nearest good restaurant, each way. But not now, now we walk to dinner.
I had to say goodbye to a lot of things over the weekend. Things that I love, a lot. But that is okay, because I realized that I am ready. I really am, ready for whatever is next.
As hard as it was to say goodbye, it was that much the better telling my Dad that I was coming home. He was as excited as I knew he would be. My kids too. Everyone knows now, and everyone was as happy as I’d imagined.
Us too. I am ready. We are ready.
🙂 😀 🙂