This is the part that nearly killed us. The six weeks between the offer on our little green house being accepted and closing, six weeks of waiting during which there was very little that we could do to move the process along. Like I said, things went pretty quickly, as far as real estate is concerned. Our credit is nearly perfect, we were taking out a mortgage well below what we were pre-approved for, the inspection went beautifully; there really wasn’t anything holding up the process, and it still seemed to take forever.
And the thing about Kyle and I, is we’re very type-A, control-freak, see-a-problem-and-attack-it-with-solutions people. When something is giving me anxiety, I want to confront it and take care of it so it will quit giving me anxiety. But with real estate, there was nothing we could fucking do to make it go faster. Just sit and wait. And plan. And make lists. And draft the house. And pick out all the furniture. And draft the furniture. And make some more lists. And make plans for new lists. And make lists of plans.
So basically, obsess.
But finally it was over, and we closed on the house. Our real estate agent brought us a bottle of
champagne prosecco and hugged us. “Congratulations!” she squealed. “You own a house!” “I’m just glad it’s over,” Kyle sighed.
Now, according to HGTV house-hunter show rules, our journey is now over. Standby upbeat guitar music…
Except that the journey? Just getting started, motherfuckers. We left the opening and drove right over to our new house(!), where we immediately got started making it ours. Kyle swapped out all the old locks for new locks and deadbolts (because safety, yo,) and I got started covering that horrid orange giraffe room with a coat of primer.
The next day, we left to visit family for Christmas.
The day after we got home, all our friends– our wonderful, amazing, kick ass friends– came and helped us move. Which was amazing, because it would have sucked big balls if we’d had to do it ourselves, but was super not a big deal with so much help.
And then, as if we didn’t have enough to unpack, we made a pilgrimage to Ikea and bought a Sprinter van’s worth of shit. Because we only had enough shit for a 700 square foot apartment, not a big boy house. We came home with some beautiful furniture, but also enough boxes to rebuild our entire house again in cardboard.
(Seriously, we had a frightening amount of cardboard.)
But before we could completely unpack, I had two rooms to paint: the no-longer-giraffe room (now our office,) and our bedroom. Which, while not entirely unenjoyable, was a lot of work. And on top of that was the cleaning. Lots and lots of cleaning. I swear to god, I spent the better part of a day scooting around on my ass, scrubbing the baseboards with a Magic Eraser.
And on top of all that, there was…the reckoning. Facing all of our shit. Going through all the boxes that we’d been storing at our parents’, in our own storage unit, in our closets. The shit that we’ve been saving since college, high school, childhood. My stuffed animal collection. Kyle’s old hockey gear. My dance shoes and leotards. Tchotchkes and once-beloved souvenirs that we hadn’t seen or thought of in years, or even decades. And in some cases, things we hadn’t used or touched in as long that we hadn’t previously been able to bring ourselves to get rid of. Some things (47 pairs of my dance tights, my extracted wisdom teeth) were easy to get rid of. Others (the Jones Soda bottle my ex gave me with our picture on it) were harder. And others still (Kyle’s harmonica) I wish we’d never found.
It was a solid month of absolutely frenzied unpacking, painting, repairing, assembling, and cleaning. We’ve made five trips of cardboard to the recycling center, and I’ve driven a garbage bag of donations to the drop-box at the church near our house nearly every day. I shit you not, I actually injured my right shoulder from all the painting and scrubbing. And let’s not even talk about how many trips to Home Depot we’ve made. It’s been a lot of work.
But damn, was it satisfying. And fun. Don’t get me wrong, we ended every day exhausted. But it wasn’t all sweat and swearing. Being locked in our new house, just the two of us, we were a team, and we were able to keep each other from completely losing our shit. He knew exactly when I was three seconds from lobbing my tiny Ikea wrench across the room, and would appear with a cold beer. I knew that he was tired and pissed off from attaching cupboard hardware, and that blasting Rent for a top-of-our-lungs-musical-theatre-sing-along would make him smile. And when he found my box of childhood momentous and insisted that I finish vacuuming the basement while wearing a plastic tiara and Girl Scout sash…well, you don’t really have a choice but to sash up. When we took a step back and looked at everything we’d done, I couldn’t help but be incredibly proud, and so very, very happy to be home.
We’re at the point now where I think I finally feel comfortable saying that we’re finished moving. We’re probably 98% unpacked, with all that remains being a handful of boxes of garage gak that will find its home once we build a storage shed out back in the spring. As we speak, Kyle’s rearranging the boxes that go in our long-term basement storage, which we’ve named Siberia, and I’m sitting on our couch in our basement den with a Mila-kitty on my lap, just being. Which really, is what we’re most excited for. Sure, there’s still a lot of projects on deck. We’re planning to gut the kitchen in a few years, and I’m absolutely itching to paint the guest room and the bathroom. In truth, I don’t think we’ll ever be completely finished with the house. But for the moment, I’m ready for us to just live in our little Sage Bungalow.
Do I hear upbeat guitar music?