We picked up the keys to our new home at 4:30 on Friday afternoon.
But before we did that, we had to do a final walk-through.
When we pulled up to the driveway, to meet with our realtor, the heirs were still at the house, cleaning out the last few items. It made me a little uncomfortable that they were still here, especially when I could see that they were visibly frustrated with our realtor. They actually told her that they weren't finished packing up, they still had a lot of work left to do, it was very rude that we had arrived, and could we please leave?
And well, unfortunately, we couldn't.
Because we were supposed to be at the Escrow office by 4:00 PM, and it was 3:25 and our moving truck was scheduled to arrive at 8:00 the next morning and they must have missed the memo that clearly indicated we were closing at 3 PM on Friday afternoon?
September. Third. 2010?
And why did they wait until the very last minute to clear everything out?
Actually. I think I know...
While the man that lived in this house, and died in this house, was in his mid-90's and had been ill for quite some time, his family was and is devastated by his passing.
I'm sure that this house - which he had occupied, as the original owner, for the past 50 years, is a repository of memories of the man, and the life that he lived. His children - the heirs of his estate - grew up in this house. So it's my opinion that although they obviously realized that they'd SOLD the house and new people would be MOVING IN, and it was time to close this chapter of their lives, they were unable to do it.
Until. We showed up with a car full of children that promptly began climbing trees and racing around the yard yelling, "We're HOME! We're HOME! Yippee!! Yippee!!"
When I saw the daughter crying, I had to fight back tears. Not because I was in any way concerned by the fact that our strict schedule was derailing! before! my! very! eyes!, but because my heart truly ached for her loss.
Not only did she spend the better part of her life in this house, her mother died in this house 25 years ago. Her father died in this house four months ago. And now, as she dug out a small boulder from beneath a tree in the front yard that had some type of family significance, and carried it to her car, I'm sure she was thinking she might never be in this house, again.
So our arrival on the scene was probably much like ripping off a band-aid that's been on so long it's adhered itself to the miniscule hairs that are directly connected to your most sensitive nerve endings. It's shocking, painful and tear provoking.
Because our moving truck wasn't scheduled to arrive until the following morning, after we met at the Escrow office to sign all of the closing documents, I walked with her out to the elevator and offered that if she would like to go back to the house and spend some quiet time, alone, she was more than welcome to do that. I told her that I think closure is very important and I didn't want for her to feel in any way rushed saying goodbye.
She declined. But was tearfully very appreciative, nonetheless.
I just can't shake from my mind that the man that lived here was the original owner and had been here for 50 years. You simply don't see that anymore. Or if you do, it's rare. But apparently, not in this neighborhood...
The woman that lived in the house next door, lived there for 45-years, before she passed away a few years ago (also in her home). The couple that lived in the house across the street, lived there for 50 years, before moving in to a retirement home, 18 months ago. The woman who lives on the end of the street has been in her house for over 50 years. And so it is with a few other elderly couples that live within our neighborhood and have been here for the better part of a half-century.
I can feel it already that this neighborhood has a warm way of pulling you in.
Because in the 36 hours that we've been living here, numerous neighbors have stopped by to say hello and tell us, "Welcome!" We've had neighbors bring us fresh bread, chocolate chip cookies, and muffins. We've had neighbors stop by to tell us about the closest recreation center and where to sign the kids up for Swim Team. And as one of our neighbors watched our children scale a large tree in our front yard, they told us that if - God Forbid - we need the emergency room, which one is the closest and the fastest way to get there.
(That was followed by me yelling, "THAT'S HIGH ENOUGH, KIDS! GET DOWN!!)
People who are out walking their dogs, have meandered up our driveway to say hello and recommend the best take-out Chinese and Mexican food restaurants. Children have swung by on their bicycles, scooters, and roller skates to introduce themselves to our children and tell them how awesome school is, and aren't they EXCITED?!
The neighborhood that we lived in, in California, was wonderful, too. But we only knew a handful of people, even though we lived there for 13 years and went to all the neighborly functions. We knew our next door neighbors, and the neighbors that lived behind us, diagonally. But the people directly across the street and caddy-corner? We had no idea what their names were and I couldn't point them out if I saw them in the grocery store.
It's different here.
And we love it.
I cannot emphasize that enough.
WE. LOVE. IT. HERE.
We love the house, the neighborhood, the lot.
In so far as the house: the bathrooms are small. The closets are small. The kitchen is very outdated and the windows will eventually need to be replaced. That goes for the furnace and air conditioner, too. The driveway will eventually need to be repaved. The yard is crying for landscaping and there are a handful of trees that will need to be removed and/or significantly pruned. We need to replace the carpeting in the basement and do a substantial amount of painting, both inside and out. But we love projects and we can see incredible potential because the "bones" of this house are so incredible. At the moment, our plan is to live here for a while, and slowly tackle one thing at a time once the money tree we planted in our backyard begins to yield a crop.
(Pictures to follow once I can find the box with my USB cables to upload pictures. It's in one of the 471 boxes that arrived from California, yesterday, and has not yet been discovered in any of the 325 we've unpacked thus far.)
From what I have heard, the man that lived here, died the same week that I lost my pregnancy. And in some odd way, that makes me feel even more cosmically sentimental about this space. It just feels like this house was meant to be for our family and that's a really good feeling.
We honestly can't stop smiling.