Saturday, November 14, 2009

more about packing and moving

I find myself in the unique position to examine a lot of things that make me uncomfortable and a need to take steps to resolve some of these issues. I can admit that this may include the 30 and counting boxes of books that I've accumulated. Why must they be so heavy? Oh, but the joy of the collecting has been such a pleasure. And now I'm paying for it.

I'm making lists, crossing things off. It's gratifying to realize all that we've accomplished but daunting to see what else remains undone. I'm falling to sleep exhausted and waking up at the crack of dawn thinking what next, even on the days I work at work and not at the house. I feel a vague anxiety that the first day of showing the house will come and I'll have forgotten something really important. Didn't wash windows, dirty dishes in the sink, laundry left on the floor, etc.

I'm not surprised I feel this mild panic starting to build -there's so much to do - some easy some hard. Most of what needs doing requires money and time of which I am short. Many things require me asking for help. Anyone who knows me understands I am not a fan of asking for help. I get to practice this everyday now and sometimes more than once. Also practicing humility and patience, other things that challenge me.

Paint bedroom - my beautiful aubergine bedroom with lotus smack dab in the center of the ceiling, this is not neutral enough. While I love the color, there are people who might have a hard time imagining their things in my bordello/harem oasis. It's now a very clean and conservative off-white. Meh.

Clear out the kitchen - urgggggh. I am not looking forward to this. It's currently on my schedule and I'll admit to a certain amount of hesitancy. First I will unload shelf by shelf my glassware and plates. Will I finally get rid of the many chipped or mismatched cups? Happily I am purging my life of tomato sauce jars and plastic tippy cups. How did I acquire so many?

Question for packing up etiquette: Do you wash/dust/clean everything you are packing? I'm not saying I think it's a good idea to pack dirty clothes. I know that much. But kitchen things that went into the cabinet clean, once they come out of the cabinet and into the box, isn't that clean enough? Isn't it safe to say I'll most likely wash them AGAIN before re shelving them once they've reached their final destination? I could drive myself nuts with little quandaries like this. Some of the stuff I have packed was really dusty and begs the question "if it's been so long since you've used this glass, cup, plate, nut chopper and it's now covered in dirt, isn't it time to get rid of it"? Well I did pack most of that stuff, washing before packing. I can honestly say I'll never use that toast divider/holder from England or the egg coddler (didn't wash that one and it was clean but slightly dusty). But there are some things that I just kept because I felt I must.

The above moral dilemma probably causes me to take way longer performing tasks that should take two hours tops. I should have had a minder of sorts that monitors me every step of the way. Someone yelling "toss"! and "throw it away NOW"! and "okay, you can keep it, but wash it first for Christ's sake"! Unfortunately my "minder" also is my dog sitter. Dog and dog sitter test drive a new feather bed while I stand stupefied in my kitchen. OH POOR ME!

Repaint trim in breakfast room that I INSISTED must be raspberry. Sorry, I'm not ready to talk about this yet.

In addition to packing, cleaning and repairing we also get to "stage" the house. This makes my brain ache. I know the purpose for this exercise is to display the house in it's most beautiful glory. The aching brain part happens like this - first you pack away all of your special things and then you go out and buy, hopefully on sale, more "things" to put into your house. My things are too eclectic apparently. I have been told that I must purchase a toilet paper holder. Since I have lived here, 19 years, my toilet paper has been housed neatly and beautifully in an antique basket. A basket that is the perfect size for toilet paper and is perfect in it's functionality. I do not want to stop the sale of my home based on the lack of a toilet paper holder and so, I'll be packing the beautiful basket and purchasing one of those normal holders, maybe one of those "holds 10 rolls" jobs that sits on the floor. Bleck.

Talk to neighbors. The last time I experienced being discussed publicly was when I was pregnant. Ladies would Touch My Belly in Safeway. I have very little in common with most of my current neighbors and while I'm sure they are perfectly nice people - I live my life, they live theirs. When you put your house up for sale, suddenly it's okay to ask you how much you are selling it for. I know that eventually everyone will know, public record and all. However, I don't ask how much you paid for your car, your toupee, your new boobs etc. Do I mind if my friends ask? Heck no. When the people are people would never talk to me in regular life, it sticks in my craw. The other day I was told by the lady across the street how much I will be missed when I move. This woman won't even wave to me when I wave to her as I leave for work. What's that about? My response to her statement of devotion was "really Inez? Are you really going to miss me"? Perhaps that was rude.

Talk to the neighbors part two. The next question after how much is where are you going? You should see the look of consternation when I reply, "no idea". I understand that, I wish I had an idea but question two depends greatly on question one. If I'm able to get a good price for my house, I'll relocate somewhere relatively close. If not, I believe I am bound for Tracy, CA. The only reason question two bothers me is that I am feeling a lot of uncertainty about where we will relocate and am bothered by people I am not close to constantly re stimulating my fear feelings. I must remember that scaring me is probably not why they are asking me these questions.

Talk to the neighbors part three. Lest you think I am completely horrid and uncaring, let me say this about the folks I am surrounded by. My property value has impact on theirs. If I sell low, I devalue their dreams. If I sell high their dreams could remain in tact as far as real estate goes. I just want to sell the house, pay my debts and my agent and move on. They are mostly concerned about property values and will they like the new neighbors. I understand that.

Talk to the neighbors part four. Some of the neighbors have been truly lovely. Shelly asked about fixing the fence and then went ahead and had it done so I didn't have to deal with it. Andrew had our jointly owned dead shrub removed and we'll split the expense of having something to stick in where the dead one was, I had to do nothing to make that happen. It's those little things that help so much when you're packing your house. Everyone has given great recommendations on handymen, gardeners, floor guys etc. Everyone wants to help. That part has been really nice and I am grateful.

I'm starting to see a small light at the end of the tunnel. I've been told we are very close to being ready to show the house. All of our work, and believe me there is much MORE, is starting to resemble a house fit for market. A lovely dwelling nearly suitable for anyone.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sure and Uncertain

My husband and I put our home of 19 years up for sale. It's one of those financial things. Although, to be honest, we haven't been happy here for about 7 years.

The "coming soon" sign is in the front yard and we're racing like mad to get ready for the Realtors to tour and then hopefully the house will appeal to multitudes of excited families that think this place is just perfect.

We loved this house back when we were younger and our daughter was little. Back when my mom lived around the corner and down the block. Back when we felt like we had all the time in the world and our house would be perfect for a family with a kid and a dog and a cat and fish and geckos and a pet rat.

We had lovely neighbors. They would pick up your mail if you were out of town and talk over the fence and ask about your mom and your grandparents. Some of them would totter to your front door any time there was gossip to make sure you were well informed. Some of them were practically like family and you loved living next door. There was a connectedness whether you were weeding yards or refinishing furniture. They could count on you to water the plants or test out baked goods. Your daughter could run over and play and you never worried about her safety in their care.

Neighbors move and sometimes they die. Daughters grow up and go on about their own lives. It's the natural progression of life but sometimes it changes how you feel about where you live. It changed how we felt about our house and our block. I stopped loving the new projects and stopped caring about all of the old ones. The little world out there on my front lawn didn't matter any longer.

The time has come for us to start over in a different neighborhood with a different house. I'm feeling hesitant but mostly happy. There will be lots of new things to know and do and experience. There is some sadness as we pack up our old house. It would have been nice to be happy here a little longer.