Selling the house

Our house was sold yesterday.  I’d say, “We sold our house yesterday”, but the truth is, my mom handled all of it — preparing it for sale, dealing with the details of selling it and getting it finally done.  She’s the best mom (and realtor) ever.  She saw us through 4 contract negotiations, and just when we were about to give up and rent it, we finally found a serious buyer . . . and one who was in a hurry, which was an extra bonus.

It’s strange.  For the first time in 17 years, nothing is tying me to Virginia.  My family is in Maryland, our “official” US address right now is in Florida, with Dan’s parents.  I am, truly, no longer a resident of Virginia.  It makes me a little sad, because Virginia is home to some of my most favorite places on Earth, and has been my home for a long time.

It’s further strange, because I’m no longer a property owner.  I don’t own a home or a car.  The bulk of my “stuff” (in both a physical and financial sense) has been removed from my life.  I’m back to being part of the proletariat, after years amongst the bourgeoisie.

It’s strange, too, because what has been our home for so long now belongs to someone else.  We bought this condo nearly 10 years ago.  It was the first home either Dan or I owned, and the first home we set up together (the apartment we lived in before that was the apartment Dan chose and set up after finishing with college in 1997 — I joined him there, but it wasn’t ever really “our” place).  It’s the home where we built our family.  It’s where we brought our babies home from the hospital, where Benjamin took is first steps and had his first birthday party.  Liam won’t even remember this house, but Benjamin might, a little.

The fact that it itsn’t ours anymore is a little sad, but not as much as I expected.  It had really stopped serving our purposes.  Although it was huge, the space wasn’t set up particularly well for a family of 4.  The location was fantastic — convenient and beautiful — but that made it so expensive that it put a tremendous burden on our single income (when we first bought it, both Dan & I were working as software engineers, without kids, and money wasn’t much of a concern).

The truth is, we are now more flexible — we can settle anywhere that serves our purposes.  We can focus on a house that serves our needs when we come home, instead of being stuck in a house that we chose back when we had two incomes and no kids (which is a little like wearing shoes that don’t quite fit anymore, just because they’re cute).  Adding the fact that our immediate financial picture just became much better, and there’s very little downside.  I will miss our old home, for sentimental reasons . . . and because Benjamin still tells me from time to time (as he did today) that, “I miss our old house”.  Knowing he won’t be going back there makes me a little sad, but I’m excited to be moving forward, and with less baggage to weigh us down.

No more suitcases

It’s official:  no more suitcases.  We spent a few hours working around the house this morning (thanks, in part, to Dan’s parents who watched B while Liam slept and we cleaned and organized) and got the suitcases unpacked.  We still have a lot to do, in terms of getting things organized, unpacked and cleaned up, but being out of suitcases is a major milestone (besides, there’s something kind of lame about having guests who are living out of their suitcases while the hosts are still doing the same).

It’s another reminder of something I realize periodically:  we live here.  Our perspective is vastly different than it would be if we were just visiting . . . and it’s also different than it would be if we were living here permanently (with no end date looming).  We’re getting the feel of being here as tourists, a little, with Dan’s parents visting — our heads are spinning with the effort of trying to cram into just 10 days everything we love about Vienna (and trying to maintain a little of “normal” life at the same time).  It reminds us that we have been spoiled by time — we’ve had the benefit of what feels like infinite opportunity to explore, discover and enjoy Vienna.  But, at the same time, our 2 year deadline hangs over us:  it’s a reminder to make the most of our experience here, without creating too much pressure to fit everything in to too short a time.

It’s good to continue to get these reminders:  I want to seize this experience and get everything out of it that I can.  We are so very fortunate to not just be here, but to live here.