Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Saying Goodbye to Ivandale

Selling a house really comes in four parts. There's the first part: the frantic work-load of preparing a house to show and put on the market. Part two is the euphoria of seeing the "Under Contract" sign gleaming like some trophy of triumph.

Part three requires as much work, if not more, than part one.

Moving. Ugh. Packing up every single item from every room and every closet. Weeks of work. I started methodically, trying to pack up one room a day. It was a brilliant plan. But I'm a procrastinator, so it lasted all of two days. Then with just weeks before the moving deadline approached, we worked (it seemed) every minute of the day. Do you know what it's like to pack up the sixth closet? Or under bathroom sinks? Or a basement? Oh the Horror! The Horror!

Again, good friends came to our aid. Karen came to lend moral and physical support. She was the one who kept encouraging, "Just get one more closet done!" She also helped me see my stuff more objectively. "Donate!" and "Toss it!" were key phrases.

The Lush family lent their truck, trailer, and boy-power with loads to the storage unit and dump. Thank you!

On the actual packout day, we faced the daunting task of packing up the kitchen which I had saved for last. Holly Davis came to offer her support. We formed an assembly line tossing food from the fridge and washing up the drawers and shelves. She kept me from bursting into exhausted tears with her energy and enthusiasm. "Let's just get this done!" she cheered. It takes a special person to come help clean out someone's fridge? Right? Such a yucky job. I'm so grateful to her.

There was also Dayna and Jess who took Charlotte for playdates so we could focus on the work. Such a blessing.

And then part four. Saying goodbye.

Finally the house was empty. Our home for eight years was now just a husk. Just bare walls and floors.

As we pulled out on the gravel driveway that last night, eight years worth of memories flooded my mind. Christmas tree decorating. Story book time in front of the fireplace. Marathon Thomas the Train play sessions. Tea parties with the American Girl dolls. Watching Owen plant and tend his garden. Cleaning rabbit cages in the shed. Finding Truman out in the raspberry patch. The kids climbing the tree in the front yard.

My beautiful hydrangea.

And then...I remembered all the goodbye and hello hugs and kisses on our front porch as the children left and returned from school each day. Sitting with the twins in saggy diapers waving goodbye to their big sisters. Holding Charlotte on my lap to wave goodbye to all four siblings...and then this year, standing by myself and watching all five children climb onto the school bus. All from this same porch.

How I have loved this home, these walls, the hearth, the kitchen, and the porch.

I cried sad tears and counted myself blessed to have lived in the little white house on Ivandale.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Why the silence?

I find it hard to write about difficult times. I feel uncomfortable complaining, and also I feel guilty after I've complained because really, any hard things I'm going through are first world problems. But I also don't like painting a sunshiny-rainbows&butterflies picture of my life either. Because that's not a true reflection. So instead of just "putting it all out there" - I stay silent. Not a particularly good trait for a writer.

Today I'll try to remedy that. I'll play a little catch-up with the past two months. Besides, time and perspective do wonders for hard times. 

Owen traveled to Jakarta for language training during the month of April and part of May. While he was gone, we decided it was the right time to put our house up for sale. This required tons of work. Tons and tons! Thankfully, my Dad flew out from Seattle to help. 

We sorted, moved furniture, made many trips to the dump and storage unit, decorated (with amazing help from Molly Kay!), worked in the yard, painted the front fireplace, and cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. Dad was such a help. He tackled my basement (easily the most daunting of all the jobs) and made the yard look beautiful. He helped pick up kids from various activities and pitched in for groceries and pizza. 

I could not have done it without my Dad.

My Dad wasn't the only one to help. My visiting teacher, Dayna Barker, came to wash windows. Actually, she taught me how to wash windows, as I had never washed my windows...ahem...ever. Then Amy Berringer showed up (even though she was sick) and painted my trim. And my amazing home teacher, Adam Fife, took a load of stuff to the dump for me. I felt overwhelmed with gratitude for everyone's help.

Have I ever mentioned how much I do not like manual labor? Yet, somehow when I'm not by myself, when I'm working together with someone else, it's not quite as bad.

Of course, it wasn't all hard work. There were the morning runs with Dad. We ran 6 miles during the week and worked up to 8 miles on the weekend. There was a lovely walk around Franklin Park pond for family home evening. And there were the hours of talking, reminiscing, and just being together. In many ways it was a most precious time to spend with my Dad. 
And then, all the hard work paid off. In nothing short of a miracle, we received an offer on the house within the first 24 hours. A cute young family thought the house was perfect for them. 
I'm so grateful for all the people that helped this come to pass.