If I close my eyes, I am back on the front steps of the house. You can't stand on that little porch any more because we put a much larger deck across the front.
I remember walking into the house and the furniture was all over the place, randomly positioned. There was a strange glow to everything - like the lighting was wrong and there was a haze in the air. I was convinced this was April, but apparently, it was November!
Each room had it's own unique look - pink shag with hot pink walls in one room, matching green shag and walls in another, so naturally, the third room was blue. There was no character to the house. It was just over 1,000 sq ft. and from the outside, looked like a big peach box with a bright "Farmer Green" roof. The main living area was an odd shade of Harvest Yellow that matched the rather dated linoleum floor in the kitchen and the dark brown shag carpet adjacent to it. Once we moved in, we would soon realize the walls were actually off-white. The nicotine stains from the farmer's heavy smoking had stained all the walls with a very antique layer of crap that had to be scrubbed off before we started to paint.
I was keen to buy, not because it was a fabulous piece of real estate (mind you the lot was HUGE by town comparisons - but nary a tree for privacy.) but because The Big Guy wouldn't set a date for the wedding until we had a house. He was afraid people would think we weren't going to start life off right if we didn't have a home. The plan was to rent it out for a year or so, then freshen it up for our new life together. (Don't get me going on the perils of waiting 2 years and 2 months to get married!)
We came back the next day - because this particular house was going to be sold by AUCTION. The family of the late owner, a farmer...surprise, surprise....had his entire estate ready to spread out on the lawn.
The Auctioneer stopped the bidding twice because the minimum asking price was not reached. We recognized two of the opposing bidders and fumed - more retired farmers with more coin than we hoped to have in a lifetime - bidding up this plain little house. The Big Guy had veins popping all over the place - could have been because he'd never bid on anything in his entire life, never mind a HOUSE! I removed myself from the stress by walking the lot and spending a lot of time in the area where our children now have a sandbox.
Finally, we got the winning bid. We were home owners. It was a combination of wanting to jump up and down and scream, and projectile vomit.
We became a couple at this house. We became a family here too. We raised plants, dogs and then kids. When we outgrew the house, we adding roughly 200 sq ft. and made the plain little house a smart little bungalow, complete with a custom kitchen and massive master bedroom with en suite bathroom.
We entertained friends here. Had our babies first birthdays here. Their heights are marked on the stud in the basement. The Big Guy has fixed all the quirky things about the house and he knows where all the pipes are buried.
But today, it's going on the real estate market.
And - maybe nothing will happen. It's truly a fishing expedition. We have found another house, that needs some love and attention, but there is more space for TBG's modest landscape business. It's in a beautiful area of town with views in three directions. I've always liked the idea of being up on a hill - to see far away from where I am. I also want to live on the water. Not sure how to make this work - but given the river is not far from either of these houses - I'm going to take it!
First Born Son and Second Born Son are equally jazzed at the idea and have tackled their rooms with a zeal rarely seen. I will spend the weekend packing up personal photos and items that should not be left lying around when strangers come through your home.
As I signed the paperwork to list the house, I had an instant flashback to the day I signed the paperwork to buy the house - two feet away from where I was sitting. Life is an interesting journey and if this is meant to be, it will be.
If not, I will gladly hunker down in my little house for many more years.