I had an experience out of town, 3000 miles from home. I was on work and fun time. When I came back home, the impact from those six days, gave me a new idea. I made a call, then another and then a final. Three interviews. I stayed curious with each person. Decision happened. I began the next action. I walked room by room. I sat. I teared up. I jumped up. I stayed up.
Long nights of preparation. Heavy lifting. Choices happened over and over. Questions asked at the table. Lists made. Calendar enlarged. Team player coming, hoping, for flattering light just before dark. Visuals happened. Print landed. Sign stood tall.
Have you guessed the leap? Yes, I put my house on the market. It sold in 14 days.
My twelve-year home, with room memories of children, husband, parents, in-laws, brother, sister, nephews, cousins, friends, Sophie the cat, work, colleagues, art salons, cooking classes, holidays with decorations, music, and layered tables of food, icing and gravy on the floor, paper ripped, fireplaces warming, sleep overs on sofas and airbeds, deep mourning from death, illness to wellness, constantly surrounded by my changing seasonal seeded garden of organic flowers, herbs, and veggies. A small swimming pool refreshed and once was visited by a mallard duck. Hardwood floors, natural light in every room, and of course, a pink bathtub that neither paint nor towels ever complimented. What can you do with a 50's era of pink? Surrender.
Each season, I would move the furniture. Each season, I would pull in beauty that made the rooms part of nature. A rustic bowl of birch twigs and peppertree branches, glass container of daffodils and lilac, baskets of arugula and spinach with collected beach stones, heirloom and grape tomatoes surrounded by basil, sugar pumpkins on tables. Every day was candle day. Every day was music day. Food was always in the refrigerator no matter how many were home. Cooking was creative and relaxing, satisfying, even for one. No microwave. Yes, French Press for a single black morning cup. Digital camera sat by the French doors on the piano, ready for my 6 am walk in the small garden, morning moist smell, quiet, just me and the birds, and of course, Sophie, following to sip from the side of the pool. I loved the morning anticipation of what I would see and smell in the garden. I had a front-bricked garden. I would go there late afternoon. I never tired of starting my day outside. Then it was work time.
My broker educated me about staging. I didn't think I would because I thought I had a good eye and feel for space and design. Not the same as staging, as I learned, from the stager. I truly appreciate the staging they did for our home. It delayed time to pack. Guess what; packing happens on time because movers show up.
Friday, open house for brokers. Sunday, open house for the public. Private appointments, happened, day or night. Clorox wipes in the yellow container were my go to for fast sparkle, fluffing all pillows became a routine, as well as, lights on, counters cleared. Couldn't hide things in cupboards or the washer like I had for a last minute clean up when unexpected guests dropped by before the days of the house being on the market. Buyers open every thing that will open. I waited for my broker to text me, "green light," which he and I planned in order to signal when I could come back home. My office was at home. Sometimes, I hid in my car, just down the street, close enough to see strangers on my land.
Drum roll.... Can you hear it....Can you feel it? Yes a solid offer. Paperwork was drawn, the to-do list was written, calendar filled; inspection, appraisal, potential buyers visiting, again, with their contractor and broker, my sharing about the neighborhood with them, and them simply being there with their team.
The next day their broker called my broker and mine called me to say, they changed their mind. They had been looking for a year. Their broker was so surprised and the change of plans. Still not sure. WHAT? Shock, disappointment, and of course, rise up again.
Fortunately, we had a backup offer. Think how happy they were when they got that call. Paper work, new couple over with their team. No packing until escrow closes. Inspection, appraisal, you know the list. Meet them. Like them. Gave them a list of restaurants, parks, parades, repair men, gardener, pool guy, my number, extra keys, heater instructions, etc.
Parts of our furniture were piled in the garage, looking like hoarders, as the stagers brought in a different look inside the house. No saying goodbye to staging until escrow closes. I said that before. Living it was trust.
I had two weeks to clean out that garage full of memories from my parents, my daughter's school days, his parents memories, his stuff, mine, documents, books, seasonal items like lounge chairs and folding chairs. I had three pick-ups for donations, including furniture from outside and in, marked with blue tape, meaning, yes take this.
Shredder and then finally, a company to shred it all, days and nights of memories, tears from photos, letters, cards, art, gifts. Laughter from written things my daughter said, "Tooth fairy, please don't take my tooth but leave me something. This is my first one and I want it." Note after note, card after card that she wrote me, "You are the best mom ever." I read those to her on the phone and we laughed. I texted her photos of them. I texted questions like, do you really want to keep those year books? She lived and worked out of town. I had forgotten, over the years, much of what I saved.
Now I was ready to toss it. I had piles of keep, donate, not sure, trash, give to friends. I used lawn bags, see through containers, and boxes. Marked them and put that information in a notebook, in case I needed to find it in storage. Yes, storage.
It was easiest to sort and decide room by room in the house than the garage. Clothes, shoes, bags, kitchen, linens, jewelry, jackets, boots, books, art, oh and umbrellas. Do you have too many? Who needs seven? Bubble wrap and cardboard for the photos and art hanging on walls, as well as mirrors, and flat screen TV. I sold some of my photos, better than storing them. I used carry cases that are file boxes for medical and professional and legal papers that I wanted to take with me. Keep sake photos I took with me as well, in those black carry cases, especially a case for my daughter. I knew she would visit and I didn't want those in storage. I wanted memories to be immediate after the move. Computers and cords, office needs, printer, chair, I wanted that to be with me. Me where?
So I had a pile that went with me, donations, storage items, all labeled and lined up in the rooms. The ones going in our cars were in the front courtyard, in blue IKEA bags, boxes, file carriers, see-through containers like bathroom needs. I packed the trunk of the cars, so they wouldn't accidentally go to storage. Half of the take with bags were lined up by the door, because the trunk in our cars couldn't hold them and we didn't want them visible in the driveway overnight. It was fast and easy to pack it up at 6 am into both our cars. Rolled the bedding and tossed it in the back seat. Packed high and tight. I took my office supplies and work needs. That was my biggest moving concern What if I put something I needed for work, in storage? I packed in my car, memories like photos and candles and a vase. I even picked veggies from the garden and put it in the basket. I brought three plants. Where am I going?
Oh was that a process, harder than we thought it would be because of pricing, location, year lease, and style of the rental. Every weekend I hunted in the city ,(about 45 minutes), as well as, hours on the computer looking at apartments, corporate housing, bungalows, home away from home, VRBO and Craigslist. One Saturday evening, I forced myself to look again at one of the rental services. We were moving in ten days with no place to go. I was tired of looking at rentals, more than tired of packing.
I found a furnished duplex, bottom unit, in a quiet, beautiful, walking, community, not far from the beach with mountains, no smog, and trees. I emailed the host and we connected. "Yes, I will take it and for six months." The duplex has similar to what I left, white sofas, same roses and yellow orchids in bloom, but no pink tub, still from the 50's, so blue tile. I keep finding similarities in the duplex, to where I came from. It has been two weeks. I am smiling. Putting purchasing a house on the back burner to integrate this leap.
Entering the unknown of selling and not having a home to buy, yet, has turned out to be a good thing. Time for meandering to see and explore what matters next? What is on your leap list?
If I can help, email or call, firstname.lastname@example.org, 818-763-0188.
Natalie"It's the possibility of having dreams come true, that makes life interesting."
- Paulo Coelho
Natalie Caine M.A.
Life In Transition, What's Next?
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