I have so much to say but words are escaping me lately so I will get out what I can. 6 years ago this month, we bought our first home in Westwood. We poured our hearts, souls and a shit ton of money into making it our own. I loved that home. It was so good to us and we were so thankful to have been gently eased into homeownership.
When we decided to list the house I just knew I would sell in 2 weeks or less. It was priced cheap for a fully renovated house on a great street. In fact almost every single one of the inspectors/contractors/appraisers/whoever else I paid money to that had to come into the house immediately said how perfect and beautiful it was. All were floored at the selling price and THREE of them were mad they didn’t see it listed because they wanted it! As most of you know, my sister Ali lived with us there. (She’s the real reason the front yard no longer looks like the forest shown below. She insisted we tear it all out and plant new. She was good at spending our money.) But I was also confident Ali would see to it that the transition from one home to the next would be as easy as possible on me. Sure enough, 2 weeks and a lot of prayers later, we accepted an offer. Packing up began and the (stressful) buying process began.
Now I knew leaving the house would be hard but I had been so anxious to get into the new house that I wasn’t feeling very emotional. And then came moving week. Gah. Ali barely lived with us for a year and a half. That’s not even a long time. But in that short period, loads of memories were formed. Unforgettable ones. When my sister passed, at least I still had our house full of memories. I could close my eyes and see her on the couch next to me. Hear her footsteps above me. Hear her yelling at me from the kitchen that Adam didn’t do his dishes again. See her out the living room window cutting not just mine, but our neighbors grass at a jogging speed (to get exercise) as she crossed through 3 yards back n forth. All of those memories were readily available when I needed them just by looking around.
When I started reorganizing and de-cluttering (like a million diff times) pre listing, I would find things she left behind at my house that I didn’t realize. Mostly just piles of crap in the basement that was once were her super cool goodwill purchases and needing to be taken back, immediately. But then there was the bin full of college photos and other randoms where her smile was ear to ear. I could hear her laughing. Then there was her Michael Jackson memoribilia board with a record, sequin glove, cassette and a printed autograph. My tears turned into laughter and I was able to go back working. On the last night at our house I laid on our mattress on the floor next to boxes and my broken down bedframe just absorbing as much as I could. It’s so silly to think the memories weren’t coming with us to the new house, but it was the feeling I had over closing my last open chapter to her life, with me.
The second day after we closed, I went alone to a mostly empty house to clean for the new owners. Wouldn’t you know the only things that remained hidden for me to find were Ali’s! I know she did that just for me. Closure I guess? Upstairs I found her round brush wedged between the sink and the wall. The back of her old closet was open to crawlspace. There I found a couple of her (14 thousand) totes. (I actually left them there, just because. And also because they were ugly, which is probably why she originally left them.) As I vacuumed the upstairs one last time, I was
not really shocked to see glitter from her over dramatic Christmas tree still stuck in the wooden floor boards. I cried. A lot. I was very thankful the new owners didn’t come to get the keys then, because they may have thought I was a real nut job. And after I finally gained my composure I went to the basement to gather up odds and ends and I caught a glimpse of color wedged behind some old door frames resting against the wall. It was one of her many $2 hula hoop impulse buys. If you know her, you can easily understand why that’s funny. Again my slow falling tears turned to laughter and I called Adam to meet me at the house because I couldn’t walk out the door alone, forever. So just like he carried me through the threshold on our wedding day, he carried me out. And I say that laughing because we aren’t romantic. I actually wanted to gag just writing that sentence.
Here were are 6 years ago. (I’m pretty sure I just finished playing 3 back to back soccer games.) Lilo looks like a baby fox. HA! I really REALLY wanted to get an updated picture of the 5 of us with the sold sign but unfortunately that didn’t work out. Wouldn’t that have been adorbs? BOOO.
And now we start a new chapter. A very exciting and overwhelming one. Our house is much bigger and has a lot more space for the kids to mess up and for me to clean. Really, just more space to lose them and for them to do bad things that I can’t see. And now we have 3 floors that we use daily. Both Nori and Adam complain about the amount of steps they have to walk, but I’ll tell ya, I’m appreciating the extra exercise. (Sad that I consider that exercise?)
I’m SO happy the buying process is finally over and we are settled in. Shout out and many thanks to Frank at Option Financial for busting his ass to allow us to close on time! I’m pretty sure no other lender lets clients meet til 1030pm on a weeknight and responds to phone calls at any hour of ANY day. Anywho, we love it already. Took a couple weeks but I kinda don’t feel like I’m house sitting anymore. Bonus is, I’ve known a handful of our neighbors for 10+ years and on top of that, there are kids everrrrrywhere! Over the weekend there were some school age boys hanging out on our retaining wall. I went out to introduce myself and they’re response was, “Hey. We just like to hang out here. It’s our spot. You got kids for us to play with?” I love it. Nori is in kid heaven. Adam and I are back on our old stomping grounds and he picked up his old running route from college. I can’t believe we are those people but we really are, Westsiiiide fo life.
I’ve been instagraming bits and pieces of the house interior. Maybe one day when it looks more like what I want, I’ll share here.
Ps. The old owners told us after closing that the bushes in the back were rose bushes. It was a very pleasant surprise to wake up yesterday and see them full of PINK blooms!! So I guess Ali did find her way here after all.
Ps. Brittany and Brian are moving too!