. . .and now it’s real!

Things are moving FAST!

My head is spinning, but I’m taking a break to provide this update.  We never imagined things would proceed at such a pace!  Our realtor met with us on September 10, we signed the listing agreement the next day, and on 9/12 the photos were taken.  The listing was set to go live on September 14.  Then came the big surprise:  on September 13 we received a full price offer!  We chose to interpret that as a sign from the universe and signed the contract.  Now we had to figure out how to dispose of a lifetime’s accumulation of stuff!

                                                     Our buyer’s last name starts with an S so we’re leaving this “S” stone!

We decided that we would not keep any furniture, instead only keeping things that were truly important to us:  my mother’s china, a few of Phil’s paintings, off-season clothes and shoes we would need while roaming, important papers, memorabilia, and some beloved works of art.  We limited ourselves to two boxes each of books; I dedicated one box to fiction and poetry and the other to cookbooks.

 

One of Phil’s paintings that I can’t part with

The next thing, the really, really hard thing, was finding a new family for Baxter.  I made a bio with his photo and we shared it with friends and family.  Our friends network came through!  Baxter is now the CEO of Silo, a local fused glass studio, and the beloved pet of owners Elissa and Chester.  They loved Baxter on sight, and he warmed up to them right away.  Elissa kindly sent us pictures to show us how well Baxter was adjusting.  He will love going to work with them every day, greeting customers, soaking up attention, and observing activity from his kitty condo that went with him.  I cried most of the day he left, but after several days I feel ok and know it was the right decision for him.

                                                                                      Baxter exploring his new office

 

You might be wondering how we’re managing to dispose of everything that won’t fit into a 5′ x 5′ storage unit.  Just in case you ever have to do this, here are the steps we’re taking:

  1. Had our kids identify what they wanted.  We’re shipping a number of items to our daughter in Europe, and our son who lives close will pick up his things.  We also gave away a number of things to friends in the area. 
  2. Made a list of everything to be sold, with information and pricing.  We gave this to our realtor, and the person buying our home ended up buying a lot!
  3. Listed the rest on Nextdoor.  This resulted in several sales to people in our immediate neighborhood.
  4. Listed on Facebook Marketplace.  I’ve been surprised at how much has sold on this site!
  5. Donations, donations, donations.  We’ll donate primarily to Habitat’s Restore, where they sell items to raise money for home building.

                                                         Our home buyer bought almost everything you see in this picture!

We decided against an estate sale due to COVID risk, and we were pleased that everyone who has purchased items has masked up.  The big learning from this experience is that selling all your stuff can be almost a full-time job!  Good thing it doesn’t go on very long.  Also, we priced everything at about 40% of retail, and most buyers paid full price.  We discount things that don’t sell quickly, as our goal is to sell as much as possible.

And now we have 2 1/2 weeks to wind up everything and hit the road.  We’ve decided on Cape Cod for our first destination, with a three-week stop in Raleigh.  We’ve booked AirBnBs in both locations, with a few hotel stops along the way.  I’ll be working, aside from a few vacation days, so we won’t be spending long driving days.  We’ve been pleased to see the extra cleaning our hosts (both AirBnB and Marriott) are doing to protect guests from COVID, but we’ll be bringing along plenty of disinfectant supplies and masks.  

                                                            The cozy cottage that will be our temporary home on the Cape

Seeing our house emptying a little each day feels weird–not bad, just strange.  And of course we miss Baxter (I haven’t broken my habit of closing the bathroom doors to prevent him from playing with the toilet paper rolls!).  And it’s definitely stressful handling inquiries, keeping track of everything, and managing transactions with strangers (all of whom have been lovely so far!).  But mostly?  We’re excited about this new experience.  We’re so glad we’re taking this step.  Here’s to the next adventure!

 

 

 

we’re selling the house!

This is getting real. . .

The pandemic experience has caused us to look at just about everything differently.  We’ve always believed that life is short and moments are not to be wasted, but recently we’ve come to realize that our time on this planet is limited and we must not wait to start our next adventure.  So. . .we decided to sell the house we love.

                                                                                          Our little piece of heaven

A real estate agent came over this morning to look at the house and discuss the listing.  She sold us this house and was eager to see all the improvements we’ve made in our three years here.  No major remodeling was needed, but we added a large patio and pergola, installed custom window treatments, had all the cabinetry painted, installed new lighting, and had a lot of landscaping work done.  This is our favorite house (keep in mind, we’ve moved 18 times in our marriage!) and it will be hard to leave.

                                                                           My raised bed garden.  The sign cracks me up!

But the pangs of giving up our house are coupled with excitement about this next adventure.  Since Americans are not allowed into France, where we plan to begin our roaming, we’ve decided to take this opportunity to roam the U.S.  My job allows me to work from anywhere in the country, which is a huge privilege.  So we’re planning to spend some extended time in some of our favorite places, and to discover some new ones.

 

  • Since it’s likely that our in-country roaming will begin in late fall or early winter, we’re looking at some warmer locations to start.  We love Savannah, Asheville, Charleston, and Raleigh-Durham, so one or more of those locations might be first on our list.  We’ve started researching AirBnB options and would plan to spend several weeks or a month in each locale.
  • Our son had the brilliant suggestion to spend some time in Dallas, where many of our oldest and dearest friends live.  That’s where we raised our kids and where we lived the longest (including our record:  11 years in one house!).  The COVID situation will likely dictate when we do that, as we’ll want to see our friends and not be isolated there.
  • Our original idea, before we decided on roaming, was to do a “grand retirement tour” in a couple of years, visiting friends and family throughout the country and making stops in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Colorado, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, and New Mexico.  We’ll incorporate those locations into our U.S. roaming–at least we could have some socially distanced visits with dear ones.
  • And, assuming we have sufficient time, we’ll want to visit our beloved New England, where we spent eight wonderful years.  Moving to Boston in 2008 was the best adventure of our lives so far, and it’s where we learned that home can be anywhere as long as we’re together.  We love the entire area and look forward to returning to Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont as well as Massachussets, where we’ll also see dear friends.

We are going to miss this adjustable bed!  But not as much as Baxter. . .

So, these are exciting plans.  But a major obstacle remains, one that almost brings me to tears every time I think about it:  Baxter.  We love him and don’t want to give him up.  We debated bringing him with us, especially since he’s very chill and has even done a road trip with us.  But we know cats hate change, and putting him through constant changes, moving every time he gets comfortable somewhere, would be selfish.  So we’re going to have to find him new humans.  That will be the hardest part of this.

                                                                                      How can we part with this fellow?

 

So the first part of our adventure is about to begin.  We’re excited, anxious, sad, and frankly a bit stressed.  But mostly?  We know that now is the time to do new things.  We’re ready.