Friday, October 15, 2010

Outtahere...well eventually

Is it the caffeine now unheedingly coursing through my system, the promise of an unscripted day off before me (furlough), or the changing winds and long shadows of fall that has me sitting here staring at this blank page, antsy and restless? Kate and I have spent the last two weekends feverishly reworking our small, suburban home to the suggestion and guidance of our real estate agent: we’re out of here. Well, we’re not out of here, at least not just yet. We’ve still got some finishing, sprucing up and decluttering to do. We’ve got to sell our home in the worst of imaginable markets, and we’ve got to do so without losing our shirt in the process; otherwise we’re not going anywhere. Its an unenviable, ‘stuck’ place to be.

Fortunately we’re not in the boat as many, those strapped between payments, facing reduced income, piling debt and the ominous loom of foreclosure. We’re thankfully in a very different boat, yet no less comforted by this fact; we just desperately want to be someplace else. And our timing really stinks. This has been a fine place to live, but its not felt like ‘our home.’ It was crafted in the imagination of the previous owners and countless HGTV episodes. It’s the perfect house for that great American buyer seeking domestic perfection. But for me, I can’t get comfortable and look past the fear of scratching or denting the precious surfaces of our grand ‘investment.’ Even before any of our furniture was moved in to this place I knew that our tenure here would be short, and with that knowledge I’ve neurotically watched over the pristine appearances of this 1950’s gem to ensure its attraction to future buyers when that time would certainly come. As painful as that has been, hopefully its paid off because that time is now: I want out, plain and simple.

I don’t want the neighbors eye balling the length of my grass, and suspiciously discussing the extent to which I’ve sacrificed beloved bluegrass to “what is that?…vegetables?” I don’t want my neighbors to largely avoid us because we’re not in our 50’s, or we don’t have children, or because badly played banjo music emanates from our home, or we‘re just weird--those bike riding, yard destroying, childless weirdoes. I don’t want to drown in all this unused, superfluous space. I don’t want to fill rooms with unnecessary crap for the sake of appearances. I don’t want to be told we cannot have bees, chickens, privacy, freedom to explore our interests and passions without the admonishment or judgment of municipal codes and paranoid neighbors.
“Is that compost bin too close to the fence?”
“Are you going to spray those weeds?”
“Is that a Pit Bull?”
“I think the bin is fine. I’m not spraying poisons on anything and yes that actually is pit bull mix, We rescued her. She’s like 9 years old, allergic to everything, old, tired, and very gentle…wait where are you going? Nice talking to you.”

But with our readiness to end this chapter and begin another we’re faced with the grim realities of how likely it will be that we’ll be here for a good long while yet. Despite the optimism of our agent, the eternal faith and positive thinking of my wife, the assurances of our friends; I’m not quite so cheery and hopeful. Ever the practical realist, I’m not quite content that this is just going to go our way. And that bums me out, pure and simple. So I’m trying very hard, spending good cash on appliance upgrades, paint, trim; spending my free time and weekends working hard on those ‘final finishing touches’--“but it may be all for naught.” Those nagging, realist thoughts of mine are an annoyingly hard pill to swallow.

So I’m not going to dwell on what may happen, what could be. I’m just going to focus on right now; what needs to be done, what the next step is. Its like that point in a very long ride, where you’re done, taxed, and miles from the end. So you get into that carefully focused zone and just pedal continuously into the weariness and infiniteness of time and space; every lane marker passed, each seam in the pavement crossed is a sign of progress, grindingly slow, yet eventual, progress. That’s where I am; head down, pedaling hard, steady and marking my slow progress.  Time to get back to work.


  1. I followed you from a comment you left on Cold antler farm's blog (curious about a fellow Coloradoan). Have you heard about burying the statue of St. Joseph in your front yard when you're trying to sell your house? We sold in the fall of 07 in Inland Southern California, where the bubble was already imploding, with a clouded title (a paroled felon had been left on it by a title company error when we bought the house!) and we still sold. I have no idea why. But we knew going into the sale it would be very hard and somewhere I'd read about burying the statue upside down to bring luck to the sale. I feel silly suggesting it to you, but I recognize our desperation to get out in your post and can't help but resonate. Give it a try. It can only cost you a few bucks.

  2. Sue that's an awesome suggestion. It may in fact be a bit silly, but there's a certain interesting weirdness to how things work out sometimes so you just never know. I'm glad it worked for you; that's testament enough for me! Now I just need to find out where you can get such a statue. Off to Google!

  3. don't be discouraged, my husband and I are searching in the area for a home. So just know there are people out here searching for a home! To be honest, from the first paragraph I was going to ask for your MLS, but you lost me with your neighbors, b/c we wish to do the same as you! ;) I giggle to myself thinking, "wouldn't the neighbors just die if we moved in and upped the ante with urban homesteading the house!!! (peals of laughter!) Would serve them right!

  4. I'd pay to see that! I suppose in my hum-drumming the other day I painted them in an overly negative light. In fairness, the two women behind and north of our house are actually very nice neighbors, as is the guy across the street. In general though I think we've somewhat stuck out and play the role of 'those crazy kids' on the block more often than not. And as much as some are probably dying to see the evil pit bull leave, a pygmy goat might not be what they have in mind in terms of a replacement!!