Tuesday, June 10, 2014

FSBO fiascos and living in the in between

I'm not going to bore you with the sordid details of our FSBO fiasco.  Well, it's not really a fiasco, just an adventure (if you spin it glass-half-full style) or a long and winding road (if you spin it Beatles style).  I'm not.  But the short of it is that we were supposed to close on May 16 with a cash offer which changed to a financed loan closing on May 30 which eventually ended with a cash closing on June 6.

The long and winding road, tha-at leads, to your door.  Except for us, the door it has lead us to is the one attached to my parents' house.  Bless them.

We are more than two full weeks in and everyone has survived thus far.  The girls are adjusting to sleeping in the same room and doing remarkably well considering one is an extrovert and one is a yeller.  The biggest casualty of the whole room-sharing change is my peaceful morning, because when a four year old wakes up and turns off the noise maker and clamors down the stairs, then certain Chinese people also wake up and holler until I stumble out of bed to retrieve them.  Faith used to sleep until 9:00 or 10:00am (if we didn't have to go anywhere) and now she sleeps until 7:03am.  Remember how I'm not a nice person when I'm tired?  Me, too.
We moved in to my parents' house (and my grandparents' house and my in-laws' house and our friends' extra garage) Memorial Day weekend and spent the next week loading up the remaining odds and ends from our house.  One night that week, after the girls were asleep, the Husband and I took my mom's iPod speaker and spent four hours cleaning the house while listening to podcasts (This American Life and The Thrilling Adventure Hour).  I cried when I closed the door to Lila's room.  I cried when I vacuumed the baseboards in Faith's room.  I cried when I stared in the closet of our room (I don't know why).  I cried when Molly Ringwald told the story of watching the Breakfast Club with her daughter.  I've been a little emotional about this whole thing to say the least.

On our last day before we handed the keys over to the new owners, we spent several hours at the house cleaning.  The girls ran and scooted (can you guess who did what?) around the empty house, and I marveled at how foreign and familiar a house devoid of stuff can feel.  I wanted to take pictures of the girls in their rooms, but they wouldn't cooperate.  I did get a picture of our little secret graffiti project on a hidden part of one of our closets.  Lila thought this was great fun, of course:

All was well until the new owners pulled up in their truck and Lila began to put two and two together.  She locked the door to her room and stood in front of it, arms crossed, legs wide, refusing to let anyone in her room.  I'm not gonna lie, I kind of wanted to do the same thing.  The pre-schooler in me want to yell "MINE!  This is MY house.  These are MY memories.  This is where MY family called home.  Don't take it!  Don't change it!  It's MINE!"

It's still strange to imagine someone else's furniture in there, someone else's pictures on the walls, someone else's life being lived.  I try to remind myself how ready I was to be out of there and what we have to look forward to, but my sentimentality is stubborn and willful and would much rather mope and mourn.

We eventually coaxed Lila outside and buckled her into her car seat where she broke down into sobs.

"Honey, what's wrong?" I asked with tears in my own eyes, "What is making you feel sad?"
"They're going to go in my room!  I think they're in there right NOW!" she said through tears.

I cried with her and told her it was okay to feel sad, that I felt sad, too.  I told her she might feel sad for a long time, but that it would get easier - especially once we find a new house.  I told myself the same thing.

Now that we've been out of our house for a few weeks, I'm finding I think less and less about what we left and more and more about where we are and where we are going.  As we have hunted for houses (a process which lost its appeal rather quickly) we have learned what we want, what we need, what we think we need that we don't actually need, what we think we want that we don't actually want, and what we think we don't want that we actually need.  I'll write more about that soon - about how over the last six weeks our priorities have revealed themselves as we have changed some of the questions we are asking.

For now, I wanted to share a few memories from our time here at my parents' house so far:

One of the things Lila has been mourning the most is her friendship with her buddy who lived next door to us.  This little girl's circumstances have changed significantly due to a family tragedy so she's actually not living there anymore either, but Lila was so sad to not have a friend right across the fence.  I promised her that we would have her friend come play and the very first week at my parents' house it worked out for me to pick her up to play.  Lila was over the moon and I think it gave both of them some assurance that their friendship could continue even if they live further away.

We lived close to a really busy street in our last house and hurried drivers often cut through our street to avoid a busy intersection so I never felt really comfortable with the kids playing outside - especially in the front yard.  My parents live on a quiet street and have a great back yard so my kids have gotten some great play time outside already this summer.  I took this picture from the upstairs window through the screen so it's a little funky looking, but I wanted to capture the peaceful moment.  The Husband was just out of frame lest you think the kids and dog were unattended.
P.S. Faith was eating the chalk in this picture. 

It's been raining a ton and yesterday my mom took Lila out to splash around in the gutters - something we did as kids all the time.  This kind of fun is reason number 72 why Lila will not ever want to move out of Nanny and Pop's house.

 I let Lila choose a few dress-up dresses to keep accessible at my parents' house and of course she picked her Cinderella dress that "touches to the ground."  In this picture she was "reading" a story about a big monster:
"There's a big hairy monster!  We can't stop him, but we can PINCH HIM!  But then he will fall on us so we will have to run!  Okay!  Do it quick! Pinch! Pinch! Pinch! Pinch! Now RUN!  And they ran and ran and ran, but the monster was too long!  Even as long as a train!  He was seven feet long!!"

We are spending our days house-hunting, playing outside, making a mess of my parents' house and trying to keep from crossing the line that would make them want to kick us out of their house!

We are trying to protect our kids from the chaos and uncertainty we are living in and to give ourselves and each other grace as we figure out how to live in the in between.

Lila is learning the names of all the birds that come to my parents' bird feeders and Faith is learning that shrieking really loud from the landing at the top of the stairs is great fun.

We know this time at my parents'  house is temporary - both in its gifts and in its stresses - so we are trying to live in the moment even as we grieve the past and hope for the future.

Right, Faith?
this is exactly how I feel about my life right now

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