Excuse my absence here but I've been BUSY! Busier than I have ever been in my life, for an extended period of time. I have taken on huge projects in the past....buying, renovating and selling a condo, starting businesses, having a child, but selling my home of 38 years to a wonderful young man and buying his was by far the most challenging.
The process began a year ago and we are now both settled in our new homes. I announced to my book Group that in one year I was planning to sell my house and buy a smaller one. One of my Book Groupies suggested I talk to her son who lived less than a block down the street from me and wanted a new project. Our discussion began and within a year we reached our common goal. We saved a lot of time, energy, anxiety and money by buying each others homes. We did not use real estate agents, only a mortgage and title company. We made a simple contract with one another as we went along, concerning our respective expectations.
There have been other challenges, however. It was necessary for me to dispose of nearly half of my belongings before I moved into this much smaller home. After giving away a lot we had a 3 day moving sale. It was very successful, but I still have a garage full of things I must give up. I didn't have a garage before so I'm thrilled to have a place to store things until the next sale or until I can convince friends and family to take some of the items off my hands. Until I was actually into the new home I didn't know exactly what I would need or want so I kept things that I was on the fence about. As time goes on it's becoming more clear as to what else needs to go. Quite a bit!
One thing I neglected to think about before the move was who was going to help me. I forgot that at our age, none of my friends have pick up trucks and healthy backs. My son and his wife, in particular, were incredible. They gave so much time to the process. They have some very generous (and funny) friends that pitched in and we got 'r done! Several of my friends and family, also did a huge amount of work in the process. Even though I hosted a "thank you" party the other night I will forever be in debt to the wonderful people who helped make this happen for me. I am soooo fortunate and grateful.
It's surprising to me that after 38 years in a home I adored and held so many precious memories I have not had one moment of regret. I felt comfortable in my new home the first night and it becomes more mine everyday. On the night before the actual move, exhausted from packing, my son, his wife and I sat on the patio and reminisced. We shared stories, cried a little, laughed a lot and my son admitted to going through the whole house....opening every closet, cupboard and drawer and smelling everything. Smell being our most powerful sensory memory, I've heard, it made a lot of sense. His wife and I were gone at the time and we kind of wanted to laugh when he told us, but it was obvious from the look on his face he needed this alone time with the only home he ever knew until he married. So sweet!
There are many reasons that this was the right decision for me. It is more manageable, less expensive and aligns with my desire to live more simply. It is imperative that I also give credit to my homes previous owner. The young man who took a broken, run down, mess of a house and with his own vision and hands made it an open, yet cozy, contemporary but warm, lovely little house with lots of personality and ingenious touches. Everyone that comes in loves it as much as I do. What a tribute to C. whose hard work and insight created such a lovely living space. And, a huge bonus....through all the many pieces of the process, the continuous stream of paperwork, the planning and execution (like moving simultaneously on one day, which was nearly chaos and is funny looking back, but WAS NOT at the time in 95 degree weather), we have forged a friendship which I value deeply.
It will be interesting and exciting to see what he does with a larger, more stately home that needs a lot of updating and imagination. I have every confidence in him to do by right by a home that deserves and needs that kind of love and care. We sat on MY patio, that he built, and discussed his plans for HIS new home and he has some shockingly creative ideas. Can't wait to see what he does. And, as he is less than a block away, I can keep an eye on his progress....to my delight.
My son took a last photo of our home our last night there and posted it on Facebook, with the caption, "Thanks for everything, House." I commented, "We are leaving but taking all the wonderful memories with us."