Preparing a house to put it on the market should not be a painful process. Cleaning and packing are all to be expected but then all those deferred maintenance things we all live with are suddenly illuminated with a bright shining light. Under my breath I utter words of contempt for myself for letting things go unattended for so long.
We live in a hot humid climate. It’s hard on structures of any kind. Algae grows, wood gets damp, and critters find delight in dark, damp places. The flowers die and the weeds flourish. The summer rains are heavy and constant. The mid-day sun is brutal. Temperatures have been hanging around the mid 90F mark for the last week or so. It didn’t help my mood when my A/C gave up the ghost.
Contractors have been in and out of my house for months now. The schedule is always pushed back for some reason – weather, someone else’s emergency, workers out sick…..I have come to generically refer to these contractors as ‘men in trucks’ or MIT for short. I stole this from my friend who had issues with these nameless people long before I did.
I am a prisoner while they work. I am fortunate to do most of my work from home, but feeling ‘trapped’ worsens the mood. Trash, empty bottles, cigarette butts (we don’t smoke), gates left open and chemical smells from chlorine and paint plague me. When the work is finally completed, I breathe a sigh of relief, but it seems so short-lived. There is always ‘one more thing’ around the corner.
I know the tone of this sounds cranky and I suppose it is. The reality is that I love this place. The memories made here and the open feel of it make me smile. We have lived through several substantial hurricanes here. We have been fortunate, though. A fence down, a branch off the tree, a statue toppled over – all small compared to those who live around us. Living in an old house presents a set of unique problems, but for us, they have all been worth it. Maybe I am cranky because I see an end to our life in this place and that makes me sad. I know there will always be a perfect space in any house for the perfect Christmas tree. I know that wonderful meals and laughter-filled gatherings will always be part of us no matter where we go. This old house has been such a good friend, though, and maybe I’m not 100% ready to say goodbye.