End of chapter

The house in Winston-Salem is no longer my concern. I closed this afternoon and should have the check (such as it is) tomorrow.

I took a beating on the place, selling it for $22,000 less than we paid for it at the top of the market in 2006 and then did a total of $33,000 in repairs prior to the sale, most of that related to an abandoned underground oil tank that we (and our realtor and our lender) somehow believed wouldn’t be a problem when we bought the house. Suffice to say we were mistaken. I’ll get reimbursed for about $20,000 of those expenses through a state rebate program…eventually.

Despite the loss and despite the near-constant stress of the past two months, where things were on and off, perpetually delayed, and always in danger of imploding, I am absolutely ecstatic tonight. It’s finally fucking over. I no longer have to worry about taking care of two houses, one of them thirty miles away. I have given myself the equivalent of a net monthly raise of over a thousand dollars a month. And I’m symbolically closing the door on a chapter in my life that didn’t work out the way it was supposed to, which is something that I’ve really needed.

Deep down, I knew back in 2006 that it was the wrong time to buy and that we were paying too much, but my very excited emotional side convinced my rational side not to say so. I expected a bit more of a reaction from that emotional side to my final walk-through and departure from the house–after all, he place was home and was where my ex and I had once fantasized we might spend the rest of our lives–but in the end, I was (at most) just a little sad when I walked out last night. Then I ran into several of my neighbors outside and I never had time to dwell on it, which is the best thing that could have happened.

I also had no idea how I’d feel after closing today. I figured I’d either be a little sad or outrageously excited. I was neither. About the closest I can come is to say that i was very relieved and very exhausted. I came home and actually fell asleep on the couch in the middle of the afternoon, which is not something I ever do. As I’ve said before, I think all the stress associated with the sale (seriously…it’s been two of the most stressful months of my life) and the fact that I hadn’t really lived in the house for quite some time anyway were a big help in minimizing any emotional reaction.

In a lot of ways, I was at a loss for how to react to a stressful situation that just ended and disappeared so quickly and cleanly with one event–today’s closing. The big stressors in my life are usually not that neat and clean; they tend to hang on like scabs you can’t stop picking at. And this is one of the current biggest two, with my mom being the other. I envision sleeping much more soundly in coming weeks, with far fewer instances of waking up in a panic at 3AM.

I’m actually pretty fucking proud of myself for getting through the process. It reminded me that I can get things done and that I’ve come a long way toward becoming the self-reliant person I used to be. which has been a big goal for me over the past year or two. I lost a lot of that when I was coupled; when you’re with someone who takes care of things very efficiently, it’s very easy to cede that responsibility to them and it’s sometimes kind of hard to get it back. Fortunately, I never lost it at work…only at home.

If there’s a downside, it’s that I have for the first time in my life moved into a place I like less than the one I moved out of. But this place is better for me on lots of levels, and now that I have a higher proportion of my own furniture and “stuff” it’s starting to feel a lot more like home. That whole “no mortgage” thing is pretty sexy too.

Next goals:

  • Getting some kitchen and bathroom repairs and upgrades done at the “new” house.
  • Tenure. Should know something in a month or two.
  • Pondering a trip to the UK in spring. More on that later.


5 October 1992

Twenty-three years ago today, while the President and his wife were presumably on their honeymoon, I started my new life in San Francisco. The whole cross-country road trip has been on my mind more than usual this year because the days of the week line up (5 October was a Monday in 1992 as well) and because my mind works that way. I woke up that morning in Winnemucca, stopped in Vallejo on the way in to call my soon-to-be roomies, and met them at the Market Street Safeway around sundown. I started work two days later.

Interestingly enough, this year also marked my first return visit to Nashville since that trip and my first return trip to San Francisco since 2010. I do not anticipate visiting Kansas City, Denver, nor Winnemucca this year, but one should never rule out things like this.

Other fifth days of October in my past:


Wednesday. Maybe.

It’s looking like we may actually be able to close on the house on Wednesday, which means I will be free of the place at last. That’s about a month later than the original planned closing, and let me make it clear that it has been a month of pure suck.

It has also pretty much eliminated the possibility of my annual Thanksgiving trip to Toronto the first week in October.

Am I bitter? Yes. Yes, I am.

Will no longer owning the house that’s been making my life hell for the past few months help me deal with that bitterness? Yes. Yes, it will.

Honestly, I’m just too damned exhausted and too damned done with it to spend any time getting sentimental…which is likely a good thing. And I’m liking my childhood home a lot better now that I have a much higher proportion of my own furniture in it. Either way, it will be nice having a weekend where I don’t have to move furniture or load boxes into my car. Except for the vacuum cleaner and two lamps, everything is out. I may go somewhere. I may park my ass on the couch and watch movies while eating bon-bons. The possibilities are limitless…

Order amid the chaos


Being optimistic that I may actually close on the house I’m selling this week, I finally moved everything out on Thursday. There are a couple of boxes of odds and ends, and a couple of things for the junkman to pick up — things that Goodwill and Habitat would not take — but generally, it’s pretty much empty. If there were any chance of this turning into something emotional, they were basically negated by all the stress that’s been involved with the repairs and the oil tank.

Since I’ve pretty much been living in my “new” house for two years, I think I underestimated (or was in denial about) how much stuff was still in the “old” one. I’m a little overwhelmed by the influx of stuff. It’s mostly a storage issue, and when I get all my shelving set up I should be fine. There’s also an issue of excessive furniture, but I’m working on that with the consignment shop and with Habitat for Humanity.

So I spent today getting the place habitable. I can’t live with chaos for any length of time and even if I really need to be doing something else, minimizing the chaos is always going to be the first priority. I have to have one living space that’s completely normal, and I have to be able to at least walk through every room. I did manage to get to that point by this afternoon.

And then I made the mistake of driving over to Winston to pick up a few odds and ends. Shouldn’t have done that. I tripped on the curb while carrying a box, and did awful things to my knee. I’ll spare you the picture, but I have a feeling it’s really going to hurt tomorrow. The most fun part of the whole thing was that I didn’t even have anything to dress the wound with, since I’ve already cleared out the house. I had to run to Target with my bloody knee fully exposed and…um…bleeding. That was attractive.

It’ll all be over soon, right?

Randomly Thursday night

Random realization upon hitting the ripe old age of “middle” (an ongoing series):

  • it is OK to pay movers to handle the big stuff.
  • if you don’t ask anyone to help you move, you are absorbed of any responsibility to help anyone else move.
  • The only reason I still have cable is to keep TCM. Now that I no longer need cable to do that, there is no good reason not to cut the cord.
  • Good meatloaf is always worth an extra five-minute drive. Really good meatloaf even merits an extra ten-minute drive.
  • Having a job and a boss that you like is an incredibly wonderful thing.