Moving on

Friday, August 3rd, 2007

Today I close on my two houses here in Iowa.

First, at 10 am, I hand over the keys to our house in the country.

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We closed on that house in November of 2000. My very first home. The home where my son had his first birthday. The home where we lived through our first kitchen remodel. The house where our friends came over and helped us build a deck for nothing more than pizza and beer and the promise of many long nights on that deck and in that yard.

My daughter was conceived in that house, and it’s crazy to me to think that she never lived there with us. All that house knew was the three of us, back when I couldn’t ever imagine it any other way.

I remember the morning of my 21st birthday, waking up to the sound of running water and finding a pipe had burst. I learned then about insurance claims and dry wall repairs.

I remember the weekend my husband and I hung the wallpaper in our bedroom – a striped pattern across the bottom and a flowered border along the mid line. It was the first of many times I would find myself up at 2 in the morning trying to finish a decorating project that was way more difficult in real life than it looked on HGTV.

Although I can’t imagine living there now, having grown accustomed to being “in town” and in a larger space, I can’t forget how proud I was when we bought it. I couldn’t believe we were lucky enough to find a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom house in our price range. It was only later that I would learn to worry about things like square footage and location and “updating”.

Moving on…

At 3:30 we close on our house here in town. The house I still live in, and will live in for a few more days.

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Strangely enough, it is the house that I lived in when I graduated from high school. Ten years ago my husband – then just the most recent high school boyfriend – helped my family and I move into it. This was the first house my mom had ever owned. Three years ago I moved my own family into this house.

I was pregnant with my daughter at the time, and several months later I would bring her home from the hospital here. To her pink on pink room that I had painted the night we got the results of our ultrasound, despite the tech’s warning not to “go home and paint the nursery pink or anything”.

I took pictures of my son in front of this front door before he left for his first day of kindergarten.

We lived through even more remodeling here, including yet another kitchen project – this one even longer and more complicated than the first. We learned how to shingle and landscape and tile and refinish hardwood flooring. I helped hang the drywall on the ceilings here, even using the cordless drill myself.

I hosted my first Thanksgiving dinner here. And tonight we had our last meal as a family, at that same table.

I know it’s sappy and girly and unnecessarily sentimental – but my family’s entire history is in these two houses. I have grown into a mother and a wife and a woman with these homes. And though I spent much of the time I was in them desperately trying to improve them, I feel like I owe them some kind of respect now. Because amidst the remodeling and the repairs, we lived our lives here. We fought, we cried, we laughed, we loved. We drifted through the mundane day to days and celebrated milestones and holidays.

Tonight, after dinner and a night out with friends, we will come home to this house and I will still sleep in my own bed in my room. Except – it won’t be. I will merely be a guest in my house – in someone else’s house.

Strange. Very strange. Exciting, of course, and exactly what I hoped for – more even – when we put this little plan together a short four months or so ago. But still, I am overwhelmed by this strange sense of nostalgia. A longing to hang on when I am supposed to be letting go. A strange need to stop, to pause, to put it all on hold if only for a moment. Just one moment before it’s time..

…but it’s time. Now. Today is the day we move on.

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  1. jester says:

    Congratulations on selling the houses. There is nothing as scary or exciting as the beginning of a new chapter in life. I’ve been through several myself.

  2. Blue Momma says:

    Very eloquently expressed.

    Love your blog and look forward to hearing about the new life in Florida.

    And please share your hair secrets if you manage to avoid the frizz down there.

  3. Dave2 says:

    My belief structure discourages attachment to “things” as they are “just things.” But some things are repositories for memories, and letting go can be tough. The good news is that all your old memories are still there for the remembering, and you’ve got an opportunity here to make loads of new ones! :wave:

  4. AmyD says:

    “I feel like I owe them some kind of respect now.”

    I know that feeling. Your blood, sweat, tears, $$ and in return you were given a wonderful place to make wonderful memories in.

    This is all so bittersweet.

  5. Miss Britt says:

    jester: thank you :-)

    Blue Momma: one word – Aveda. I'm hoping to GOD that does it!

    Dave2: yeah, it's not the kitchen that I'm sad about leaving – it's the memories made there. But, you're right, it's not like I can't make more – and still hold on to these from there.

    Although, I wish I had taken more pictures and video now.

    AmyD: yep, exactly. It has to be really freaking annoying to be around someone going through "bittersweet".

    jason: Congratulations on selling your house! It is a bit of a surreal experience.

    avitable: :heartbeat:

    and… raised a husband? :wink:

  6. Miss Britt says:

    RW: :blush: Thanks. We're going out to celebrate the closings tonight. You shall have your drunken blogging, I'm sure!

  7. debkitty says:

    What a wonderfully beautiful tribute. I don't know if it was the writing or the Allen Jackson song that had me reading through tears, but a girl needs a good cry every now and thenb right??

    Congratulations as you set out on a new chapter to your life!

  8. ADW says:

    So exciting!!! I can't wait for your first post about the almost cross-country road trip with the whole family. I will pray that you don't leave a pile of bodies along the way.

    On second thought, maybe we should get your itinerary and send some kind of mass e-mail to the PDs that are en route to beware of a teeny tiny, curly headed (with bangs) spitfire roaring through their town. Yeah, I think that definitely needs to be done.

  9. AmyD says:

    It's not annoying at all. I feel torn because on one side I get how you feel about leaving these houses (but more so what they represent and all the people you have right there around you) and on the other side I'm so happy and excited for you.

  10. Congrats on everthing moving forward.

    You will make new memories in Florida. So many you will wonder why you didn't do it sooner…..

    :clap: :martini: :martini: :clap:

  11. jason says:

    I just sold my house Wednesday, and I wasn’t as attached to it as you are, but I still found myself wandering around touching things, remembering things…and kind of really, really sad to be leaving it. But, onward and upward!!

  12. avitable says:

    Nothing wrong with being sentimental about these homes – you’ve done amazing things while living there. Besides raising two kids and raising a husband, you’ve really been able to mature and define who you are, and it is always hard to leave the place where you finally realized that. :heartbeat:

  13. RW says:

    Nicely tapped into your psyche and well done. Terrific use of comparison and some of the best writing you’ve done. Reflective and real.

    Now can we get back to the drunken blogger thing please?

  14. pnbzmom says:

    I have to agree with RW. This post, with music, made me get teary-eyed. SERIOUSLY! In a good way though. Because we all can relate in some way or another, ya know.

    Kudos to you! Have fun making new memories!

  15. Blonde Chick says:

    Yes, we just went through these same emotions when we moved out of our house. When we first moved in, we weren't married yet, and we didn't have our youngest daughter, either.

    I cried when I walked through my empty house for the last time.

    You'll make more memories in your new house, and after a while you'll wonder why you waited so long to leave little old Iowa!

  16. jennyryan says:

    Congratulations, and good luck!

  17. Dude, how many life-stress points do you get for closing on TWO houses in one day? Crikey.

  18. Wicked H says:

    :martini: :martini: :martini: :martini:

    A toast to things past and everything to come.

    Clink.

  19. Rick says:

    Wow. Those houses have Iowa written all over them. Brings back memories of my own. I’m guessin’ your best memories happened ON (ahem) and around the kitchen table. 8-|

  20. Fogspinner says:

    Congrats on the closings and good luck with the move. Leaving what is familiar is the hardest steps we take.

  21. christie says:

    You won a RFS Blog Award!

    Woot!

    :clap:

  22. Miss Britt says:

    pnbzmom: awwww… thanks. My greatest goal in life is to make people cry. SERIOUSLY.

    debkitty: yeah, I have a feeling over the next couple days of "good byes" this girl

    will have a few more good cries. But.. then it's on the road!

    ADW: if I get so much as a seat belt ticket, I'm blaming you.

    AmyD: like Dev says – we're half and half. ;-)

    themuttprincess: thank you!! all good sun drenched ones I hope!

    Wicked H: :martini: clink to you too :heartbeat:

    Blonde Chick: I so hope you're right!!

    jennyryan: thank you!!

    Rich: a fucking lot, that's for sure. LOL

    Rick: my ass is too delicate for a hard top table. Now those stairs… ;-)

    Fogspinner: yep, I think it will actually get EASIER after Wednesday.

    christie holy shit, I won something?!?! wooo hooo!!!!!!!!!

  23. Sodapop says:

    What an awesome thing! Congrats to you and your family for accomplishing so much!

    Making such a move and change in your life is difficult to say the least (I'm moving to San Diego in less than 3 months so I know) and it's such a relief to be able to do it.

    Congrats again and I look forward to hearing of your adventures in life down in Florida :)

  24. Anonymous says:

    Try moving from one country to another,moving is hard but the new memories waiting to be made, make up for it.

    btw what plugin do you use to display word meanings in your blog? Trying to find something that does that.

  25. Poppy says:

    I'm so happy for you, Britt. This post is really quite spectacular.

    (Feeling mushy, sorry.)

  26. Michael says:

    It would help if I filled out all the form!

  27. Miss Britt says:

    Sodapop: Congrats on your big move too! And good luck!

    Michael: I think it is so cool when people get to move to another country!!

    The plugins is acronyms.

    Poppy: awww.. thanks! I didn't know Poppy got mushy!?!?!

  28. jane says:

    This sums up the word 'bittersweet'. Florida is a new beginning for you & your family, but those homes. Just looking at them makes me think of the warmth & love of a family. Too bad you can't take your house to Florida.

    New memories. Good times ahead.

  29. Michael says:

    Thanks for the plugin info, trying to get it to not put my words I want in all uppercase, but I'll get there.

  30. Turnbaby says:

    Way cool post!

    You are just a few days from trying on your new swim suit ;-)

  31. webmiztris says:

    I know it's hard to let go. i can't imagine moving out of this house because of all the memories — and I don't even have kids! good luck on your move. :)

  32. Miss Britt says:

    Turnbaby: ah see, now I'm laughing and crying at the same time! LOL

    jane: oh, no, I don't want to move the house. I mean – I love her and all… but it's definitely time for an upgrade.

    Michael: if I wasn't retarded I would totally offer to help.

    webmiztris: you don't need kids to make memories… thanks for the luck!!

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