Bittersweet Day

Today was bittersweet.  We sold our house and it closed on Thursday.  We have until this coming Tuesday to vacate, 11am to be exact.  We have moved everything out of the house, but we had to go back over today to clean the place.  It was bittersweet.

We have bought land upon which we wish to build a house.  Both of us have always wanted to build, probably Sweetie more so than me, but we have five acres with a lot of trees and a hill, and it’s all ours.  We are patiently planning for the day that we will start to build, but for now, we are in a rental house not too far from our old house.

It’s bittersweet because it was the first house we bought together.  We had both had houses when we got married, and we had sold those and bought this one together as a couple.  It was like our “child” in one respect, because it was amazing.  It was my dream home.  I knew it the first day that we walked in to it on one of those Sunday open houses about five years ago.  Our own house had been for sale for a month or so at the time, meaning his house that we both lived in at the time.  My house from my first marriage had sold several years prior to that.  We had looked at about 50 houses before settling on the house on Brandywine.  It was a street upon which I never thought I’d have the opportunity to live, as I had looked at one of the houses way back in 2003 when they were first developing the area.  My friend was building a house similar to one on that street, and she was using the same builder, so that builder allowed us to go in the house she was building there to see what it looked like on the inside.  It was beautiful – a dream home by most standards, and above that for many more. 

I loved the house on Brandywine – our house – at first sight.  The upstairs area, the loft, the kitchen with the Travertine tile, the wood floors in the living room, and everything else.  It was a wonderful sight, and one that we welcomed after seeing so many other houses we didn’t like. 

I had been reluctant at first to look at it.  It had been for sale for over a year when we bought it.  I wondered at the time why – and I still do, seeing that we sold it in a mere 11 days in a much better market than back in 2008 when we bought it.  I was reluctant because one of the neighbors was a neighbor from a former neighborhood, and we knew that they didn’t keep their yard up very well.  It ended up that they turned out to be much better in this new neighborhood, and we actually enjoyed living next to them.

The reasons we wanted to move are numerous, but most of all, we no longer needed a two-story, 4 bedroom, 3.5 bath house with an office for a family of three, soon to be two.  We also didn’t want a two-story house anymore.  It’s just too much to care for, and the utility bills were horrible in the summer. 

We spent five holiday seasons there, many birthdays, three graduations, and many other events.  We had family and friends over, we had holiday parties, we had lots of fun.  There are many good memories of that house; there are also some bad memories that I’ve decided to leave there and not carry around anymore.  Things happen to people that they never expect.

As I write this tonight, I am both sad and relieved.  I am sad to leave my large master bedroom and double sink bathroom for this smaller one with only one sink.  I am sad to leave my bunnies in the yard and the many squirrels that gave my Moxie dog fits in the fall.  I am sad to leave Felix, my Japanese maple who I loved more than just about any tree ever.  I am sad to leave my dream home behind.  Most of all, I am sad that our first house is now someone else’s house, not to be mine anymore.

I am relieved that the move is over, that I have a smaller house to clean, and that our utility bills will be less.  I am relieved that we (so far) don’t have dogs barking behind us every morning and night, which occasionally happened in that old house.  I am relieved to have a less-steep driveway, which makes it easier to move things in and out.  I am relieved that we were able to get rid of a few furniture items that were dragging us down.  Most of all, I am relieved at the freedom non-home ownership brings.  We could move tomorrow – out of town, out of state, across the world.  Finally, I am relieved to be nearly debt-free, save the land we purchased and a small truck payment.  I could quit my job and work at Burger King and still make ends meet.  In today’s society, that says a lot.  No, I don’t own a home, and at our present income rate I will owe a huge amount of taxes next April most likely, but given the interest we were paying on our house, I think it will all work out even in the end. 

I sat in my closet the other day, thinking about the quiet times I had in there.  It was my “get away” spot, where no one could bother me, and where I could hear nothing from outside the house.  I laughed in there, I read in there, and I cried my eyes out in there.  I have a new closet now, and I’m sure I will do those things in there as well.

Tonight, I wish to dedicate this column to Felix.  He was and is a good tree.  He is beautiful.  He is the one very good memory that I will not forget.  I love you, Felix. 

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