Dear All — Dec 11/Jan 12
The closing line of last year’s holiday letter was a promise to myself to spend less time renovating the old house and more time traveling. Mwahahahaha. Yeah, that didn’t happen. Probably moments after we sealed up last year’s holiday cards and dropped them in the mailbox, Steve and I decided, for a variety of really good reasons, it was time to move.
For the first three months of last year, we renovated the worst parts of the house — the leaky tub in the brown bathroom, the cracked front steps, the peeling wallpaper in the attic, the asbestos-wrapped pipes in the basement. We decluttered the house mostly by dumping piles of books outside the town library during off hours. We removed photos of the boys and bought festive cushions for the sofa. Then we swallowed our pride, listened to Susan, our gravelly voiced real estate agent, and priced the house lower than we would have liked.
The house was on the market for three months. We had lots of traffic, but no offers, not even insulting offers. When we were just about to give up, in the middle of July, a lovely family gave us a reasonable offer. However, they needed us out right away in order to register their son for school. The pressure was on. We had one day to find a new house. And we did it. We bought a house in one day. And a lovely house it is.
We moved the day before a major hurricane swept through the area. The new house withstood the storm and held back the floods. Then we had a week to register the kids for their new school and find the boxes with their clothes. Steve’s folks drove up from North Carolina to help us unpack and scrub down the kitchen. Three months later, we still have many boxes in the basement. The downstairs has been painted, but the boys will have to live with their flowered wallpapered bedrooms for a little while longer.
The boys have adjusted to their new surroundings better than we could have ever imagined. We were especially worried about Jonah, since he’s now in 7th grade, but he made the transition marvelously. He blended into the other pre-teens with long hair and hoodies. Ian has settled into his new routines, too. It’s nice to have plenty of space for Lego projects and artwork. Steve’s commute is about the same as before with a longer walk and a shorter bus time.
While we were very sad about leaving some beloved friends and a home that we had restored, we know that we are very fortunate. Our new house fits us like a glove. Steve is tickled pink to have two fireplaces to play with. We have big plans for a spring time garden. And, since we only moved 8 minutes away, we still can meet our old friends for drinks and drop in at my mom’s for a pasta dinner.
With all the selling and moving and unpacking, there was little time to travel, other than a quick Cape Cod getaway in June. While 2011 did not turn out to be the Year of Travel as I had hoped, 2012 will be. Sitting on my desk are four tickets to Puerto Rico for the third week of February. I’m counting the days.
Laura, Steve, Jonah, and Ian