I am trying to remember when we first started talking about moving. It was about eight years ago, when my husband had quintuple-bypass heart surgery. That began a number of conversations having to do with our home that we have loved for 33 years, but that has a laundry in the basement and too many stairs. After some real estate research, I discovered spring was the best month to market.
Two years ago we became serious about the first step, de-cluttering. We cleaned out every drawer and every closet in the house, bringing bric-a-brac to charity shops in town. We offered stuff to our daughter, who first said, “It’s beautiful, Mom, but not my style,” then kept her grandmother’s gold-rimmed china for holiday dinners after all.
It was a good feeling – lean and mean. We’d open a drawer and the three or four items in there would literally swim around. Until they didn’t. I don’t know how it happened, but the moving keeps getting put off. And the drawers are filling up again.
Right in the middle of that big downsizing craze, it was on our minds that our 50th anniversary was coming up the next September. Our event planner daughter said one night, “How about having the party in your backyard?”
We gulped and said, “What a great idea. We won’t put the house up for sale this spring. We have a party to plan!” And so we did, and it was incredible; it could not have been nicer.
That fall, county officials announced that our street, Brighton Road, would be torn up and not usable until Dec. 1. Perfect, we thought. We would put our house on the market in early spring 2015 and there would be a brand-new road to brag about. We would do the painting and redecorating –that bathroom sink has got to go! – over the winter.
Except we had more winter than ever. The one from hell. It was snowy and freezing cold and all we really did was hunker down in front of the fireplace and try to survive. Energy we did not have. Our neighbor did, though. He sided his house. “It looks beautiful,” we said to each other, “and will certainly help the value of ours.”
That summer we enjoyed the backyard more than ever, knowing it would probably be our last year here.
In the fall of 2015, we obviously needed some pushing, so we invited a real estate agent in. She went through, underscored what we had to do to get it ready to show and we signed up again for the push. Yes, we would scrape and paint and sand and refinish. We certainly would put the winter to good use. Except that we didn’t.
Because this is the winter that Fishy died. Fishy was my granddaughter’s fish that she won at the Brighton Field Days event eight years ago. He thrived and grew big and fat. One day he was swimming around in his fish water happy as a lark. And then his tank got cleaned and new seascape ornaments put in and the next day, he was found floating on his back. All that clean stuff he could not take.
“Fishy will be buried in Grandma’s backyard,” the Facebook post said. “Watch this space for further information.” The plan is that when Mother Earth gives us permission to dig, we will landscape his burial site with flowering perennials so we will always know where he is.
Sell the house this spring with the ground still soft from a family funeral? It just doesn’t seem right. Maybe next year.