Dear Future Homeowner

I sit here with the sudden realization that this dwelling I have been so absolutely fond of for the last 14 years will belong to someone else soon. It is likely that you will still be able to smell fresh paint from the bathroom my realtor insisted I repaint. Please know that I have done the best I can to restore this house to the pristine newness it had when we moved in, but we both know that’s not likely to happen. You will have your own vision for what you want to do – as you should.  Just don’t tell me when you’ve repainted the walls I took days to decide the correct color. Don’t tell me when you rip out the white stock cabinets that I loved precisely because they were white and so very clean. There won’t be any reason to change the flooring but you should know that while it will serve you well for a long time, it came at the horrible cost of a perfect older dog that could not adapt to the slick surface. On the other hand, I’d be okay with you replacing the island counter top in the kitchen but you probably want to know how those two small scorch marks got there. All I can say is don’t buy a waffle iron from a garage sale and then wait to use it until Christmas day.

Fourteen years ago, the day my son’s dad and I drove down into the neighborhood and realized that we could afford a home in this subdivision was a momentous occasion that I will never forget. The advertisement that had drawn us here had an image of two slides – one red and one green and the park itself was gorgeous. My son was three at the time and we were dazzled by the idea that he could play at that park everyday.

 

We were in our late thirties when we bought this house and had felt “behind” when we compared ourselves to the achievements of others. So you can understand that we were absolutely thrilled when the deal closed. Our first meal here was on the back step enjoying the view of the small bit of dirt that we could claim as our own and staring in wonder at the greenbelt. Our lunchtime nature symphony coming from that greenbelt was amazing.

I can remember when we first moved in, the pride I took walking the perimeter of my tiny backyard. I would walk a step or two, bend over and scoop up a slug onto my trowel and flick the slugs over the fence, back to where they had come.  I did not have the heart to kill them but I do remember days when I sent as many as 30 sailing back over the fence. And speaking of the yard, you’ll have no idea of the change it has undergone through the years. When we first moved in, we planted three cherry trees in this tiny space if you can imagine. The mock orange bush that hides the signage for the greenbelt was a gift to my now ex husband as well as the lilac in the corner.  The clematis that you can see from the kitchen sink was a gift from my son to me.

Be careful what you do in the yard because the neighbors to one side, if they like your ideas, will do the exact same thing in their yard. That’s why they don’t have any grass in their front yard. On the other hand, if you do something they perceive as wacky, they will be the first to smudge their entire yard to protect themselves from whatever evil spirits they think you are messing with.

Over the years, my ex and I had several jobs but the one that was the best for me allowed me to work from home when my son was between the ages of 8 and 12. Everyday after school, he would come crashing at a dead run through the front door, heading straight for the bathroom (because he refused to use the bathrooms at school) then get a snack and clamor up the stairs to flop on the floor in my office. We had many conversations about his day and his homework but the conversation I remember most was the one where he realized his dad was human and had some very significant struggles.

Please know that over the years, I have tried to keep up with all the household cleaning and chores but to be honest, if I were to write an autobiography it would be called “My Life with Two Pigs and a Hairball – and only one of those is a four legged friend.”  My son and his dad have no concept of living in an immaculate environment, no matter what example I set.  Frankly, I think they have worn me down and that is why I have so much work to do to in order to get the house ready for you.

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