Saturday, September 04, 2010

our cheeks are starting to hurt

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 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.


  1. Last paragraph very sad but it brought you and Charlie to Heaven on Earth.

    I'm so glad you can "See the bones" of the house. So many people cannot visulize in that fashion.

    About 10 years ago Larry and I were looking at houses on Orcas Island in Washington State. Like yours it was out of date and a fixer upper. We walked through the house saying oh, we could knock out that wall so the kitchen isn't hidden from the family area, we could replace these sliders with french doors and build a deck out here, etc, etc. We were ready to put in a bid when we heard that a family that had just moved to to Island and wanted to get into the house before school started.

    Considering the circumstances we declined to put in a bid. But I always wonder what they did to the house. They were there the same time we were and I could hear them say "where are they getting those ideas?"

    Last put not least what a lovely thing you did for the old gentleman's daughter. I'm sure you touched her heart and she now knows that her childhood home is once again filled with running, laughing children and will be well loved.

  2. What a great post to read, Amazing Family. Happiness abounds in your new home and it is clear that the place was meant to be yours, especially about those dates being the same week-serendipitous.

    The creek will be huge in the kids' lives and it will become a forever memory. Really happy for your family, blessed you are and rightly so.

  3. Yay! Things are finally falling together for you after the trial of your faith. God never said there wouldn't be bumps along the way. I hope you and your family enjoy your new home, job, school and neighborhood. :D


  4. Some things are just meant to be. I have followed you for a while and I am truly happy that you and your family finally feel like you belong there.

  5. I'm smiling for you, too! Good luck in your beautiful new home!

  6. In no time at all you will be deeply rooted in your new community. Congrats and best wishes in your new home.


  7. So happy for you and your family that you are finally getting a place to land and get on with your life. Good luck!!!

  8. Jennifer PM9/6/10, 8:55 AM

    Hurray!!!!!! Congratulations! What a wonderful moment for everyone. It makes me look forward to our closing in two weeks. We're only moving a few blocks, but it's somewhere I think we'll raise our growing family in. Happy Labor Day!

  9. I am so happy for you guys. It sounds like a great place!!!

  10. I'm so glad you are finally getting settled! Can't wait to see all the pictures.

  11. I'm SO happy for you! After all the angst and frustration, you've finally "landed" into a home. Amazing how things just work on in the end, eh?

  12. It sounds like you've found Mayberry R.F.D.!

  13. So happy for you all that you are finally getting to settle in. I see lots of good memories in the making here! Congrats on your new home and new chapter of your lives!

  14. THAT is just absolutely wonderful! I am SO HAPPY that you're happy! :) :) :) :)

    I love bringing fresh baked goodies to people. We have an apartment building across the street from our house and I watch people moving in and rush over with fresh jam, or bread or muffins! I love it. (My husband thinks I'm crazy and that I just need an excuse to bake!)

  15. THAT is just absolutely wonderful! I am SO HAPPY that you're happy! :) :) :) :)

    I love bringing fresh baked goodies to people. We have an apartment building across the street from our house and I watch people moving in and rush over with fresh jam, or bread or muffins! I love it. (My husband thinks I'm crazy and that I just need an excuse to bake!)

  16. I can feel your excitement and isn't it lovely that you know it is YOUR house and meant to be? I felt that way when we moved in here too.

  17. So very very happy for all of you. Seriously!!

  18. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Fantastic! This brings a smile to my face. Thank you.

  20. Amanda in MS9/6/10, 4:19 PM

    Oooh a haunted house... how spooky! Seriously though, it's great to hear that you guys love the house. Makes it all worth it in the end, huh? What on earth do you have in 471 boxes?! Enjoy having a place to call home and getting the kids settled.

  21. Jen, *I* am grinning from ear to ear... I am SO VERY HAPPY for you all! This was definitely meant to be. Blessings on your new home and the life you will share in it.

  22. Loved reading this post! I am so happy for you and your family!

  23. Awwwww Jen, this one made me cry. I went through this when my beloved grandmother passed away. I had so many wonderful childhood memories in her home that it literally felt like someone ripped my heart out when we sold it. Don't be surprised (or creeped out)if you see a car (or two) sitting in front your house, just staring at it. I STILL do that, 12 years later. How FABULOUS about all of the new neighbors, WHEEEEEEEE! Very happy and excited for this new chapter for you and your family, enjoy every second!!

  24. WE. LOVE. IT. HERE.

    This makes me happy. :-)

  25. I am so happy to hear that things have turned around for you and your family. It sounds like you found a great house in a wonderful neighborhood. Enjoy your new home!!!

  26.'s nice that you can feel peace amidst the chaos. :)

  27. I am so excited for you and your family. I have the chills :) Our family moved into our "house in the woods" 3 years ago and WE LOVE IT. Granted, it's less than 2 acres and it's not really the woods, but that's what our kids call it. And we have the creek, ticks, mice, snakes and all of the other wonderful things that come with it. And I'm not being sarcastic. I think you're going to love it there - sounds like the PERFECT place for you and your family! It all fell into place ... everything happened at a certain time, and for a reason. Can't wait to see pics!

  28. My exact same experiences on how wonderful and cordial our neighbors and the folks in VA were to us. I'm so happy you experienced that!

  29. Here are some great instructions on painting wood panelling that you might find useful.