Moving and moving on

The house we’ve lived, loved & laughed in for the past 12 years has been painted, polished and staged with pots of fresh orchids. It’s almost unrecognizable. Gone is the clutter and 12 years of stuffed animals. Gone are the nicks in the drywall from countless hockey games in our foyer. Gone is the carpet with the red wine stain from that “adult toy” party and the blue Children’s Advil stain when my youngest son just couldn’t keep it down. In addition to new carpeting, we painted the house inside and out, and thanks to some pesky woodpeckers, replaced the roof. After just 4 frenetic weeks, we put our beloved family home on the market and crossed our fingers that it would sell. The market is slowing everyone warned us, hurry up so you don’t get caught holding two houses.

Our hard work paid off. We received an excellent offer the day we listed. But as relieved as we were to receive the offer, it was like finally deciding to have a family, getting pregnant on the first try and then being utterly overwhelmed at the irreversibility of that decision.

It’s a bit late now I realize, but I’m not ready to move. We’ve conceived and raised 3 kids here. Their heights are marked on a doorframe, which is now painted over in Benjamin Moore Satin Latex in Oxford White, but if I close my eyes I can still see each of them on their birthdays trying to stand as tall as possible while I marked the wall behind them with a Sharpie. Even Sharpies aren’t permanent after all. The dents in the drywall from wayward slap-shots have been filled in and painted. “The house looks new, you’d never know that 3 boys lived here!” my friends say, and my throat tightens.

I’m not ready to move. We’ve hosted innumerable birthdays, thanksgivings, wedding and baby showers and all kinds of celebrations here. Will Santa know where to find us?

The modern house we bought came fully furnished (the sellers are divorcing and wanted to take nothing), so my traditional furniture had to go. I’ve been selling it on Craigslist for 10-20 cents on the dollar to young families and people starting over. This will make the move easier, my friends assure me, but my house now resembles a bowling alley, with nary a chair, couch, or coffee table to stub a toe on. We eat sitting picnic-style on the hardwood floor surrounded by moving boxes marked, “Kitchen – Cookbooks” or “Rec Room – Games.” The house is nearly empty and still I’m not ready.

I’ve got 13 more days to get ready to transplant 12 years of roots. I think I’d better pack the kleenex last.

Love Lucie

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Home Sweet Porn

My husband loves to surf the real estate listings late at night. Call it his porn, if you will. At least once a week (for as long as I’ve known him), Stan surfs for beautiful homes out of our price range for “research” purposes, for when we finally build our dream house. He used to drag me to Open Houses of places he had no intention of buying, so he could look at an AGA cooker up close, and assess for himself the difference between Pennsylvania Bluestone versus Italian Travertine tiles in a real-life application.

Me, on the other hand, I am inertia personified. I’m like an oak tree, strong, sturdy with a deep and fibrous root system. When we moved into this house from Calgary, I told my husband that I will be leaving it in a pine box. I love my beautiful sun-drenched craftsman house, with its 180 degree ocean view, spanning from Mt. Baker to Texada Island. Each of our three sons have lived their entire lives in this house – their heights etched in indelible ink on their bedroom door frames at every birthday. So when Stan takes me to look at other houses for “research purposes”, I feel insincere at best, and sometimes downright grouchy. As such, he’s been going to Open Houses solo for the last 5-7 years.

A few weeks ago I was going through the daily deluge of flyers, coupons and other direct mail pieces courtesy of Canada Post, when I came across a real estate brochure and noticed a modern house (his favourite) situated on a lovely cul-de-sac that our friends used to live on, so I pointed the house out to Stan. Imagine my surprise when he invited me to go view the house with him!

But I was curious, so I went along. And it sure was a beauty. On the golf course for Stan! With a writing nook for me! A gaming room with a door to keep the sound in! A pool table and a pool! It was a grown-up haven for our growing-up boys and their ensuing entourage, and Stan and I simply loved clean, modern look. But it was still out of our price range, so we thanked the realtor for his time and went home.

Two days later, the price dropped by 20%. Apparently the owners were divorcing and eager to move on with their lives, but we took this as a sign that even the universe supported this move, so we snapped it up.

Now onto culling twelve years of handmade birthday gifts, university textbooks, Webkinz stuffies, Pokemon cards, Beyblades, clothes, throw pillows, half-empty perfume bottles and I begin to wonder if it was the house I loved, or its lack of clutter?

Garage sale notices appearing here soon!

Love Lucie