Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Closing Without Closure

As you may have noticed, particularly if you're one of those keen-eyed editor-types, my profile photo is broken. That's because the computer where it lives has been packed up and is in transit to its new home in Ireland. Yesterday, the movers came and hauled away all of our worldly possessions, a very small allotment, since we got rid of all of our furniture. We might still have a bed - I don't really know.

But how could I not know? It's my stuff, right? Yes, but I wasn't there. Peter was though. Peter had all the fun of selling our furniture, supervising the movers (who also packed for us), selling the car, setting up our bank accounts for wire transfers, shutting down the utilities, tying up all the loose ends and attending the closing. And now Peter, like our computers and clothes, is on his way to Ireland. Well, at this very moment he's at least on his way to the airport via a luncheon establishment.

For me, it's a weird anticlimax. Here's this thing that I've waited seven weeks for - the closing on our house. I should be excited. Peter will be here in a scant 12 hours (not like I'm counting). But I feel a little bereft. I loved that house and I didn't even get to give it a proper send-off. I didn't get to take a final stroll through the house and have fond recollections. I've never really met the buyer. I didn't have to sign sheafs and sheafs of paper. I didn't get to slide my keys across the table to the new owner.

It's weird....a closing without closure, for me at least. I'm picturing walking in the front door, into the airy living room that flows into the dining room. I'm remembering that I insisted we get "grown up furniture" for the room - a matching couch and chair in a deep forest green. I'm peeking into the kitchen, which was my biggest complaint with the house when we bought it. I'd dreamed of a kitchen with an island and windows and space. I got a hallway with appliances. But I learned to work with it, to live with it, and I spent many happy hours baking in there.

I'm stepping down the single step into the family room. I'm remembering playing my arcade game - Operation Wolf - a tremendous birthday surprise from Peter for my 30th. I'm remembering all the work we put into the room last year- ripping up the carpet and skirting boards, painting, putting down Pergo, and putting in new skirting boards. I'm going back through the house to go upstairs.

Upstairs, I go first into the library, a little anteroom off the master bedroom. It has been a regular bedroom until previous owners put on the master bedroom addition. Then it became a weird walk-through room. We filled it with bookcases and a futon to create a cozy reading nook, even if the futon mattress was always sliding off.

Another step down into the master bedroom. I remember how it got the richest, warmest sunlight in the autumn. I look out the window at the disaster of a backyard that I created with overly ambitious and under-researched prairie plans. Back through the library and out into Peter's office. Before it was Peter's office, it was "the hottie room" - the bedroom of a 13 year old girl and it was painted bright purple with a hand-made "hottie" sign on a window.

Peter painted it a nice manly green and filled it with computers, CDs, games, and computer bits. For Christmas in 2003, I'd just been laid off and had more time than money. My handy brother Patrick helped me construct homemade bookcases in my grandmother's basement in Cleveland. Then we disassembled them and loaded them into my station wagon. (They were very cleverly designed to be only as tall as the back of the station wagon, about 5 1/2 feet.) I'd hoped to be able to put them together myself, but it was obvious I didn't have the hand strength or the basic skills necessary.

In a series of shrewd airline bumping-acceptance moves, Patrick engineered an overnight layover in Chicago and assembled the bookcases for me. Then he woke up early and went to Home Depot to buy backing material and he put that on the bookcases as well. I stained the bookcases and organized Peter's office into a brilliant showcase, if I do say so myself. Peter was very appreciative of the unique gift - more than just the bookcases it was the office he always wanted but never got around to making for himself. And, it must be said, Patrick saved Christmas.

Next, I look into our little yellow guestroom. I picked out the color - Van Gogh yellow - and I remember painting the room. We hadn't moved in yet, we were just painting a few rooms and getting ready to move. It was pouring rain out and the gutters hadn't been cleaned, so the rain was spilling over. It was noisy, but a comforting noise.

And that's pretty much our house. On this nostalgia tour, I think we can safely skip the bathrooms and the basement. Although I do miss our bathtub already.

We lived in the house for 3 years. It was a good house, despite the small kitchen, ancient wiring that we had to replace, and sewer main that broke at the last minute (right as the buyers put an offer on the house). It was big enough to give us breathing room and escape space, but small enough to comfy and cozy.

Goodbye, little house. You will be missed.


At 2 June 2005 at 03:05, Blogger Career Guy said...

Ann--I remember my first glimpse of your house: that aerial photo of you frantically waving at the plane Peter was piloting over the neighborhood. I have nice memories of that house,too, since it was a wonderful haven in which to spend time with my favorite daughter. We never met the people who bought Nana Anna's house either, no sliding of keys, just leaving of keys on the kitchen counter. It was all quite antiseptic, handled by the realtor.

We were happy to hear that Peter was on his way finally. Hope he's in a seat and not a cardboard box.

At 2 June 2005 at 15:53, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was a little sad but very much enjoyable to read. Sorry you had to say goodbye to the house you loved so much. Of course my contention is that your love for the house has a direct correlation with the love you share with the person you lived there with. A great marriage is no match for even the coziest reading nook, the most luxiously appointed living room or even the coolest rompous room complete with snooker table and dancing girls. (Unless of course the girls are very hot and up for a party.)

So do enjoy your life together!

- Shane

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