Monday, July 26, 2010

The Times They Are a Changin'

Jacob was disappointed that I returned to blogging without filling in the last four months. He appreciates the blog as a diary of our lives- our own little 'Little House' if you will. He said, "Why didn't you write about the chaos of the move?" and I said, "Well what would you like me to write about it?" and he said that he envisioned me writing all about how the house was sold, we successfully downsized and found a good rental and now we were saving money for our travels and shifting our consumerist patterns. So here it is in a nutshell.

The first step in putting the house on the market was to get it presentable and that meant finding a new home for the bunnies and Suki. After we found a home for the rabbits, I set about finding a new home for Suki. Despite all her faults, Suki is a pretty good looking dog and small dogs are pretty desirable. I was really candid in the ad on Craigslist about her “challenges” in the hopes that someone would go into the adoption process with eyes wide open. After a few flakey callers (including one woman who already had a three year old pug who wasn’t housebroken and , inexplicably, felt her life needed more pee to clean up) we found a new owner for Suki. In the weeks after giving her away we were treated with mini updates as to how her “dog daughter” was doing (she was always being a “perfect angel”) and the occasional picture of Suki in a new outfit. Suki’s new owner works for Banfield, the national pet hospital chain and Suki gets to go to work with her every day and has allegedly even starred in an educational video on pest control. I went so far as to sign up for an online Banfield account (even though they are not our veterinarian) in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the video that rocketed her to stardom. The inevitable SPAM I’m going to get for signing up for the account was for naught since there are several video choices in the flea-and-tick genre and I gave up after three minutes of watching just one.
I can’t say we really miss Suki. Like at all. Jacob may have summed it up when he said, “I’m so happy that damn dog is gone” - an hour after she left. At least we can say she is in a better place.
With the pets gone (except Hannah and Goldie) we could move on to the task of cleaning, organizing and repairing. For a solid two months our weekends were filled with projects ‘round the clock. We discovered that some of these things, like cleaning behind the stove for example, should be done on a more frequent basis than once every six years. Throughout it all I nursed a vision of us paring our lives down to a simplicity that included just one bowl for each of us. Ultimately we would end up hauling over to the new house dozens of boxes with unhelpful labels like “Junk Drawer #2” on them.
The house went on the market the night before Easter Sunday and we got the call that morning at 10 am that a couple named Jason and Cam would like to come by and see it. They had been looking to buy in the area for a while and by the next morning we had a full price offer – minus some closing costs they wanted us to chip in.
Their real estate agent was from Windermere and turned out to be the new partner of the agent we had sold and bought with on our last move. Jeannie was friendly and helpful but since we were representing ourselves we had to constantly be on guard for all the real estate agent mind tricks. She greeted our generic real estate template forms with a mixture of pity and amusement as if we’d written them on diner napkins. After the inspection came back she reacted with indignation that was on par with someone expecting to meet a petite 25 year old blind date only to come face to face with the obese senior citizen reality. We kept saying to each other, they do realize this is a 100 year old house, right? We were told that Jason and Cam were “fair people” but that they were facing some “significant and expensive repairs.” The implication was that perhaps we should consider condemning the house rather than selling it. While we realized that topping the “repairs” list were things like redoing the hardwood floors and vaulting the ceilings, we also didn’t want to jeopardize the sale so we gritted our teeth as we weighed just how much we could live with. We ended up having to replace the sewer lines because, in what must be the most amazing display of government efficiency on record, we received a letter in the mail the day after our inspection that they were aware our sewer line did not link up with the main street line and that we had exactly 30 days to figure out how to make this happen.
The next month was a whirlwind as we finished packing, cleaning, repairing while desperately scouring Craigslist for a decent rental that would actually allow us to save the money needed to finance our travels. One evening in the midst of all this our neighbor from across the street walked over to hand us an oversized, glossy postcard featuring a beaming Jeannie proudly announcing her sale of our house. I had to walk into the paint store and let Jacob handle sitting in the car to call up Jeannie on Saturday morning to tell her exactly what we thought of the postcards.
We’ve hit a stage in life where the amount of bribing it takes to get any of our friends to give up their weekend and jeopardize already aging backs is about on par with just replacing everything and starting from scratch. Jacob headed down to Portland’s day labor site to hire a couple guys for a few hours to get the major furniture out of the house. They were happy to have the work and we were happy to have the help. Being cheap, we took them back to the center a few hours later and decided to move the rest of it ourselves. Three U-Haul trips later we were out and moving on to a new house and a new stage and I can honestly say that all three of us were ecstatic.

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