Yesterday Lisa, our Realtor, asked Steve if he had some art he could put up over the sofa, so today he painted the lovely piece you see hanging over it in these latest shots! And then he started building a new hearth for the fireplace. A true renaissance man!
And a few more shots, in case anyone wandering by our blog is interested in a cozy little four bedroom in Southern California!
We signed the listing paperwork this evening. Phew. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about it, especially with all the work we've put into the house these last six weeks or so. It looks gorgeous. It has never looked better, at least in our time here. The apple trees are full of ripening apples, the grape vines are setting fruit, the snap peas are at peak production, all the garden beds are full of life. It's so beautiful in the yards and the house, for the first time since I've lived here. And yet, it feels right to be turning it over to someone else. Even though I don't know where we're going to end up yet, or what life will feel like there.
Steve, for his part, is feeling right about it too, which really surprised me. He had his synchronicity just today and I think that's helped him to feel that this is the right move for us. (I don't know if I've written about all the synchronicities I have had around Fort Collins, but there have been three or four rather startling ones -- connections between people I already know and people I have just met in Fort Collins, primarily.) Steve's involves a publishing company in Boulder that was advertising for artists and designers on the Fort Collins Craigslist and a book he decided to begin reading yesterday after picking it up at the LA Times give-away bin a couple of years ago. The book is on art, spirituality and creativity and he first found some very inspiring quotes in it, then read that the author is an artist who lives outside of Boulder, then saw that it was published by that same company whose job announcement he printed out last week.
This whole process of deciding to move and preparing our home and ourselves for the transition has been a stressful process but a good growth experience too. We're learning to let go of things, materially and emotionally. There's an amazing amount of energy that gets freed up when you do that, we've discovered. We'll see what happens next. Our house will officially go on the market Thursday evening, and I'll post a link to the listing website when Lisa gets it going. Right now, I'm going to enjoy a Memorial Day sunset on our lovely back patio...
Sigh. I knew it would come someday. I just didn't think it would be this soon. The funny thing is that I was actually wondering the other day when the kids might begin to wake up to the opposite sex. Harry, at 5 1/2, announced today after church that he wanted to marry "that girl with the pretty dress" when he grows up. As our church has all of five kids, we were trying to figure out who he meant, then realized it was one of several new kids who came this week. Avery. She's nine or so. Harry says he told her that he wanted to marry her when he grew up and she said, "That would be nice." We supported him in his choice of a sweet (and apparently well-dressed) spouse. But boy, is it going to be hard to watch him continue his outward trajectory, after these seemingly forever years of utter focus on us. We aren't the whole world to him any more. And that's a good thing, I know. But it still aches to let that time go, as overwhelming as it seemed so often...
on the home repairs/remodeling. Fort Collins was wonderful (again). Steve and I loved the service at the UU church and we met several new unschooling moms and kids and felt so welcomed and at home with them! We spent two days frying our brains with home tours, and saw several places that were 80 percent right (there's one I'd want to put a bid on if we had our house on the market already, but I can live with it if it gets sold before we're ready. I *loved* the views off the back deck of the foothills though.) We also saw one that was absolutely the most frightening house I have ever been in. Good lord. From the outside it looked like a small, older one-story place on a fabulous 2-acre lot in the city. Inside, it was straight out of Silence of the Lambs -- every wall stripped to studs blackened by time and veined with exposed wiring. You could look up through the rafters, past enormous spider webs to the roof shingles. You walked on subflooring covered in places with old astro turf. The kitchen was rudimentary at best. The bathroom was horrible. Down two stone steps to a dirt floor addition, a dark room with a desk and open closet eerily neat, with clothes hung perfectly on hangers. Steve actually ventured into the basement. I had to flee the house as I was quickly becoming terrified for no good reason. The basement actually frightened Steve as well. He said it was chock full of junk and you had to walk through narrow, winding pathways to eventually find a couple of cots with bunched up sleeping bags on them as though someone was actually sleeping down there. When he came back up and went into the dirt-floored addition, he said he saw two giant Mardi Gras masks and a full-head, leather mask of a fly's face, complete with bulging eyes and working pincer mandibles. I tell you, I will never consider living in that part of town after being in that place. I'm convinced they're going to turn up bones when someone eventually buys and razes that house to put something else on the property. It took some serious effort to shake off the vibes of that place. (Our real estate agent joked that it made the Buddhist house look turnkey. She also said she had never, ever been in a house like that before. You can't even call it a house. It was a shack. An insane, dark, falling-down shack.) As far as vibes go, while the Buddhist house has some good vibes, it is off the table for us -- turns out there's not only roof issues, but foundation issues also. What we found is that we'll probably go ahead and get a small mortgage to get a larger lot and home and, sigh, spend our energies updating it once we move in, as if we aren't already burned out on that sort of project. I'm really excited about this move -- there's such an energy to Fort Collins that our suburb here entirely lacks, but it's not fast paced or terribly urban either. Downtown is utterly charming. We got a taste of the extreme and changeable Colorado weather while we were there -- it actually snowed/rained around midnight the first night we were at my sister's house and was pretty cold and cloudy for much of our visit, but the last two days were lovely. Off to get going on a half-finished project or two...
We've been making great progress on the house (unfortunately, there are always more projects that pop up than you expect, so the to do list hasn't shrunk quite as much as it should have), so we took the day off on Tuesday and went to Disneyland!
I made everyone memorize the lyrics to the Pirates of the Carribean theme on the drive in and Maddie has all four verses down pat. (Of course, I have half of one verse stuck in my head like an irritating mantra now and I'm trying very hard not to awaken in as I type about it.)
We met my folks and my cousins, Siobhan and Eric. Siobhan works for Disney studios and is able to get us in for free, a wonderful perk we try not to abuse too often. The kids and Steve had a great time, and the only thing that kept me from having a perfect day was that I found myself worrying too much about keeping everyone happy and arranging group split-offs and reunitings. I have to remember it's not my job to make people happy! It was a gorgeous day though and not much in the way of lines, so it really was a wonderful outing.
I was wiped out by about 5:30, then got my second wind just about 8 p.m. when I was stunned to discover that the park was closing! Just as well, we didn't need a late night -- I had a full day of work the next day and Steve didn't know it but he had an illustration commission from the Times waiting on our answering machine.
So, we're headed out to Denver again on Saturday for a final tour of Fort Collins and environs before signing a listing agreement and committing to moving. I'm excited. There's a few houses I'm really intrigued by out there, including this one. Don't know if the Buddhist sanctuary is going to go on the market or not yet.
We'll hit the UU Church on Sunday then wander around downtown and get a feel for living there. Monday and Tuesday our real estate agent will show us around in the mornings and we'll hit parks and other fun places in the afternoon. Wednesday, we return home, hopefully enthused and committed to moving. If not, then I'm digging my heels in for a pool to survive summers here. But I really do feel like this is where we should be going next!
Heading out to see A Night at the Museum at the discount movie theater tonight. Hopefully Steve will be far enough along on his piece to join us. Tomorrow, he juries an art show in Idyllwild, up in the mountains, as if we didn't have enough going on right now!