The Moving Diaries: Phase 2: Juggling Two Houses

We took possession of the new house on April 29th. It was mid-afternoon before the lawyer’s office called to say everything was done; we immediately drove over to take another look at the house, inside and out.

It’s an opportunity that doesn’t come very often in a life, wandering around the new living space, thinking about wall colours, furniture placement, what will go in the kitchen cupboards. In our thirty-eight years together, we’ve moved five times before: three apartments, two houses. This is the first time the move is to a house that needs only cosmetic upgrades, and the first time we have enough money to make the changes before we move in.

Yesterday and today I cleaned, the kitchen, pantry and bathroom cupboards: everything else was spotless, but these needed a better cleaning than they, for the most part, had had. BD put up shelves in the basement, and took down the curtain rods and runners: we prefer blinds. We bought a couple of new light fixtures, and new knobs for the kitchen cupboards, and collected paint samples.

And now we’re kind of in holding mode. Tomorrow we meet with the person who will measure the three bay windows for blinds, and the day after with the contractor who is doing the painting and minor repairs that are needed. Thursday we meet with another contractor, this one to choose the gas fireplace we’re having installed. We’re hoping the timelines will be such that we’ll be able to move in at the beginning of June.

But until this work is done, we can only move so much stuff over. The basement is getting things that are of low priority (like boxes of Christmas things, and winter boots, and the picnic basket) and the garage is the repository for the boxes that need unpacking fairly quickly. Now the cleaning is done, we actually need to spend more time here, sorting and packing, and then making runs to town to drop off things at the charity shop or the new house. But the temptation to go to the new house is so strong!

I’m also making endless lists. Things to ask the contractors. Things to bring over – tape, magnets for the fridge, teabags. Things to consider – can we replace the track lighting near the kitchen island with a different type of fixture? We won’t know until later in the year, when it’s dark at meal preparation time. Will the north-facing deck get enough sun to need a sunshade? Again, it’s too early to know: the two trees shading it haven’t leafed out yet.

And at the other end, we’re waiting to hear if the person who wants to buy this house can get the financing. I make other lists for this house: what needs fixing, where I need to send change-of-address notices. Reminders to get the well tested, the septic tank pumped, the insurance changed.

It’s a lot of work. But yesterday, taking a break from the cleaning, I walked out the door, got on my bicycle, and biked the short distance over to the Arboretum. I locked my bike to the rack provided, and walked for an hour, listening to the birds, taking pictures of spring wildflowers, watching a raccoon (this one where it should be, and not in our chimney!) hunting through the mud at the edge of pond for food. The Canada geese nesting on a hummock in the swamp have goslings now: I stood on the boardwalk and watched them exploring their brand new world. And then I unlocked my bike, and five minutes later I was back home. It’s definitely worth the work.

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