Thursday, June 12, 2014

Phew

I'm house-sitting and watching Chrissy's kids while she and her new husband honeymoon somewhere in Europe. I just have the kids Wednesday and Thursday night, and she did everything she could possibly do ahead of time, to make my life easier.

I was quite honored she asked me to watch the kids. I'm not exactly the first person* people think of when they think about child care (shocking, I know).

Everything was freaking fine, until the three of us got in the car to leave for school - and my car wouldn't start. We pivoted quickly, moved to Chrissy's SUV, and got them to school only 4 minutes later than planned. I was impressed, considering we had to move their booster seats, find keys, and I had to figure out the new car.

As I waited for my battery to be replaced, it occurred to me this could have been much more stressful. So I'm quite grateful that...

• We slept at their house and not mine, where a second car would not have been so readily available.

• My friend's kids are nosy and look where they shouldn't, which is why they knew where to find the keys for that vehicle.

• My car died while everyone was safely in the house.

• I, at some point, thought to put my roadside assistance service membership on auto-renewal, so I had someone to call for help.

• That I came to the same place to replace my battery, and they keep good records. My battery was under warranty.

Phew.

*I wasn't her first thought, either. I am very touched to even be on the list.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Before and after

By now you know I sold my house and moved. What you may not know is that I sold my house to a dear friend of mine and that guy she married.*

I adore them, of course, and I am so very happy to see them happy.

Of course, we're all friends on Facebook, Twitter, and I'm not sure where else. I see the pictures and status updates, and comments from their friends and family, as they post about their renovation efforts. I even helped them move some stuff into the house (though I stopped short of carrying boxes of hardwood flooring).

The other day, a mutual friend asked how I was handling that - seeing a complete dismantle of the house I called home for so long. Even X asked how I would ever be able to go back, and see how the work and memories I made have been changed.

I'll admit - at first it was strange. It felt weird, seeing pictures of my house on someone else's timeline, labeled "before." I thought back to when X and I moved in, and took the same photos (in the BF - Before Facebook - era). Except, we called them "after."

But the truth is - the house hadn't been my "home" for a long time. I bought it as one half of a couple, many years ago. The projects and renovations we did were done as a team. Sure, I bought the house after the divorce, and it was mine. Yes, I continued to make memories - Chrissy and her kids lived there for a while, there were parties and house guests and little changes.

But the house was never what I imagined back in 2003, when I was full of ideas and hope for what we could make of it. That all stopped the day X left. That was the day the house stopped being my home.

There is an episode of How I Met Your Mother in which Ted gives up his long-time apartment. In the letter he writes to his friends, he says he thought the apartment had been haunted by memories of a love he lost, but he finally realized that it was really haunted by him. He had stopped living and was standing still in time, and the apartment was keeping him from moving on.

At some point, the house did the same for me. It allowed me to stay stuck in a place where I didn't have to deal with the reality that my life is different - and it was time to move on. The house was my excuse, my refuge from the scariest thing we all face now and then.

Change.

The truth is, home is a fluid concept. When we're young, it's with our parents. At some point, it becomes that first apartment where we spread our wings for the first time. Eventually, if we're lucky, it becomes that house we buy right when we think we're settling down.

It'd be nice if that was the last home for everyone. For some, it will be, and I think that's simply wonderful.

For me, home has changed again. I'm grateful that I owned a house, and saw some of those hopes and dreams come true.

I'm also grateful that I was able to own the home on my own for a bit, that it was there to help my friends when needed, and to shelter me while I healed.

Now I'm grateful it will be there for someone else's hopes and dreams - and I actually feel quite honored I'll get to witness those dreams come true.

After years of haunting, I'm finally finding my new home - and my after has become someone else's before.

*Make sure to visit their sites for pictures of the renovations and other musings on life, and home ownership.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Mission accomplished

The past couple of months have been a whirlwind of change for me.

At the end of March I accepted a position with a new company, ending a nearly-14 year career. I still work in insurance, but on the other side of the wall.

That change was a big deal. I had to give up the perks that came with seniority and job security. I have to learn a lot, being back on the receiving end of training after so many years of being the "expert."

I couldn't be happier.

I've known for a long time I wanted the change - but finding an opportunity that made sense wasn't easy. Where I've landed seems to be a good fit. Still - it's tough to leave a job where you didn't have to think, and take on something new where every click requires a thought.

About a month after the first day on my new job, I moved into an apartment. A week later - I closed on my house. No big deal, right? I've talked about selling for years, and I knew I wanted to leave home ownership life.

But I'd lived in that house for eleven years. I only lived in my childhood home (which was an apartment) for thirteen years - so this house was my home. It held all of my memories (good and bad) and packing that up (or in most cases, throwing it away) was tough. Few things in life are more emotional than seeing your entire adult life bagged up and left to wait for garbage day.

But it was time. For years I have promised myself that I would not turn 40 with the same job or home address.

I turn 40 in 48 days.

Mission accomplished.