A year ago we FINALLY sold our condo. It took 3 long, agonizing years to do it. There was nothing wrong with our condo. We just got caught in the middle when the housing bubble burst. We could afford to move, but not until we sold our property.
I could create numerous graphs showing: how many hours our children spent in front of the television while we cleaned for an open house or showing, number of potential buyers who we never heard back from after they raved about our condo, and how many homes we visited in neighborhoods we wanted to live in. I could share horror stories of those years. This is the story of my last day on Clinton.
It began the Friday before. The movers arrived and of course we were not ready. Yes, there were piles of boxes and bins, but there were also closets and drawers still full of 11 years of life. Life that began with 2 adults and ended with 2 adults and 2 children. Plus all the paraphernalia of parenting. I had tried very hard to sort through all of our possessions to avoid packing items that would eventually be thrown out or donated. I tried so hard, in fact, that I did not leave enough time to pack. In a whirlwind of hours, the movers loaded up their truck, leaving empty rolls of packing tape and soda bottles in their wake. I was left with semi-empty rooms, brimming closets, dust bunny colonies and an uneasy feeling in my stomach. I tried to reassure myself that we still had the weekend.
Monday morning arrived and we decided to park our children at the neighbor’s house to finish packing, cleaning and emptying out our off-site storage facility. Sponge Bob, Arthur and the Looney Tunes crew took care of them while I raced around, cursing myself for not being prepared. The invisible stopwatch in my head rapidly moved the day forward, getting closer to the 4:00 closing that would only be attended by our real estate agent. Just when I thought the kitchen was complete, but then I discovered a drawer full of utensils and instruction manuals. I dumped handfuls of unknown contents into boxes for the sake of saving time.
The refrigerator was still full. Why hadn’t we finished the juice and the baby carrots, I asked no one in particular. I hated to throw out food. I eased some of the guilt by leaving surprises in my neighbor’s fridge and freezer with a nice note explaining my last-minute generosity.
I spent the last hour in the condo on Clinton cleaning while sending text messages to our Realtor about the status of the closing and when exactly the new owners would arrive. I still had a bathroom to clean, could he stall them? I couldn’t leave without leaving every space presentable. I was so sleep deprived from this whole excruciatingly time-consuming and life sucking roller coaster of selling our condo. I was unsure about the months ahead and I worried that somehow the deal would fall through at the last-minute and we would be trapped in our condo forever.
I took one last look around, remembering our life of the past 11 years when we: first moved in, brought our cat home from the Humane Society, brought home babies from the hospital, potty trained our kids, played hide and seek, survived the years when my husband worked from home, laughed about the blackberry incident, hosted our 3 Kings parties, had friends over for play dates, had visits from out of town friends and family, let the kids zoom through the kitchen on the tricycle , received bad news.
I tried not to cry. I had wanted this for 3 years. Sometimes change is hard, especially when the unknown lies ahead. A Tom Petty girl at heart, I tried to comfort myself with the lyrics from his song, “Time to Move On”. I said a silent goodbye as I carried the remaining items that we would need for our upcoming Adventures in Tiny Condo (a future post), to the car.
My husband was unloading the second filled-to-capacity moving truck into the new storage facility. He had a flight to catch that evening and was depending on me to pick him up and get him to the airport. I brushed my tears aside, cranked up the radio and somehow made it happen.