But as archaic as blogging might seem these days, it is still my favorite form of social media. It is still the outlet that gives me the most pleasure, writing-wise. And I am determined to keep this blog of mine up and running, as long as there is even one reader out there who cares to stop by. (And I know there will always be at least one: hi, my better half!)
If you've come here before, you probably know that after 26 years of living--and raising five boys--in our NH home, my husband and I have been thinking about selling it and moving closer to some of our kids and grandkids. We have three sons who have settled in VA with their wives, two in one city and another one just a couple of hours away from them. They have been not-so-subtly hinting for a while now (there might have even been a power point presentation created for us, complete with heart-tugging photos and declarations of love; but I digress) that they would sure like it if we moved close-by--and reminding us that if we did so, we could see 3/5 of our children and 1/2 of our grandchildren on a regular basis without having to get on an airplane. It does make sense: it would cut our travels down considerably, if we didn't need to fly to see the VA gang; and it would make it so that our other two sons (one in WI, the other currently stationed in Germany) could see more of their family members when they come home to visit dear old mom and dad.
We went back and forth on this, even though it did seem to be the logical next step once all of our boys grew up and it was obvious that they wouldn't be returning to settle in New England. We were constantly traveling to see all of them and were hardly ever home anymore anyway, we rationalized, and they were only able to get home on rare occasions. What was the point of keeping this big house for the two of us? However, one stumbling block has been that we are mightily attached to the cozy white Colonial that we thought might be our "forever home" and into which we have put so much blood, sweat, and DIY tears over the years. Intellectually, we know that this house doesn't fit our lives that well anymore; but emotionally--well, that's a different story.
Stuff like this.
Away with you, ratty old carpets, broken Adirondack chairs,
and crusty, mildewy baseball gloves!
So much junk! (But I admit to being a little torn about tossing
those stinky old lacrosse pads on top. Sniff!)
So in preparation for a sometime-in-the-near-but-not-too-near-future move, we started getting a whole lot of work done around the house. We had those glorious floors put in upstairs; I freshly painted most of the rooms and removed the last of my 80's-era wallpaper borders. (Yes, I liked wallpaper borders once upon a time, I admit it! Don't judge me!) And my husband went into handyman mode, doing demo work on the bathroom, tiling the floor, and putting in a new vanity, mirrors, and light fixture. (We also had a new tub/shower unit installed.)
We flew down to the DC area on inauguration weekend to visit son #2 and his family, and that Saturday, on a lark we went to look at one of the houses that had caught our fancy online. Our son and his wife (and their one-year-old boy) drove over to look at the house with us, and we just loved it. The price was right, it was located exactly in the middle of the two cities where our children live, less than an hour from each...maybe, we thought, we should make an offer? But was that insane? We weren't even ready to put our house on the market yet--how could we buy a new one? Could we rent the new house out until we were ready to make the move south?
We returned home to NH and went through the mail that had been delivered in our absence, and there was a letter from a local real estate agent in the pile. She said she had clients who were longtime residents of our town but had always wanted to live on our street, and she wanted to know if we were thinking about selling. (Also, these people were ready to pay in full. In cash!)
Everyone on the street got this same letter; but still, it seemed like some kind of sign to us! So we called the agent and arranged to have her come and look at our house. She gave us a few suggestions--pare down the books and knickknacks (especially the porcelain dolls!) on the shelves, put away the countertop appliances in the kitchen, and give the dated master bath the update we'd been planning to give it. She told us that if we could do this as quickly as possible, that would be best, because if we waited too long her clients might start looking elsewhere.
Meanwhile, we decided to be bold and put in an offer on the VA house. For a while, it looked like we wouldn't get the house; we were outbid and decided we wouldn't go any higher, so we bowed out of the race. But the sellers ultimately accepted our offer, because they were in a hurry to move and ours was the only one that came without contingencies. Okay, we thought; we must have been meant to get that house. But what were we going to do if our NH house didn't sell?
Well, we went into hyperdrive getting it ready to show. I cleaned and painted and purged and staged. Here are photos of the built-in shelves on either side of the fireplace in our living room. (They're still pretty busy shelves, but can you see how much worse they were in the photos on the right side?)
So life is good, but my head is spinning a little. We've had to do so much work in such a small amount of time; and yet there is still so much to do.
Perhaps you can see why I've had trouble blogging lately. Not only have I been very busy, going through my attic and storage spaces and trying to figure out what we will take and what I must finally let go of, but I have also been somewhat emotionally overwhelmed. There have definitely been tears. Although I know that this will be the best thing for my husband and me and for our family, it's really, really tough getting ready to say goodbye to a house that has nothing but happy memories in it. It contains so much of our history as a family within its walls. For instance, there's this.
I have so many blog posts in me, you wouldn't believe it. Great renovation posts, with "before" and "after" pictures of our bathrooms (they are gorgeous now!). Posts about preparing your home to sell. Posts about the angst a mother feels about tossing out any item from her children's past that has a happy memory attached to it, no matter how useless that item has become. Posts about finally learning to let go, and to feel peace about it.
The other day, I was finally able to let go of some of my boys' lacrosse helmets. (Some, not all; I'm not crazy, you know.) I brought three of them over to Goodwill, along with a load of other stuff. But you know what? Goodwill doesn't take old used sports helmets. They aren't up to code anymore, their integrity might be compromised, they might have hidden cracks. It's too bad that I didn't just donate them a decade ago, when some young lacrosse player could have put them to good use. But unfortunately, I didn't.
Note the floors: aren't they awesome? They sure beat the worn-out carpet we
used to have!
So we had five of those helmets in the attic. Now we have two, and three of them are on their way to the dump. But at least I have this picture to remember them by. And I'm taking pictures of other sentimental items, too--a technique for holding onto things without holding onto them, which I've found to be really helpful while going through this painful process. So that's another post I'll be working on, too.
I have so many things to share here. I will be back. Hopefully sooner rather than later. (But in the meantime, you can check out Instagram for more about our house projects and our move.)