Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Transition Time Has Begun

Four days ago my husband moved out in order to start his new job half way across the country. When I use that phrase with my friends they tell me it "sounds bad". The fact is, it's true: he did move out. No, our marriage is not breaking up and no, we're not going to permanently live separately but who knows when we'll all be living together again. I doubt it will be before Labor Day and we'd be lucky (in this down with its slow real estate market) if that happens before New Year's Day.

It was strange looking over to his bathroom sink and seeing all of my husband's shaving stuff gone. All that was left was a couple of toiletries that apparently he doesn't need after all. I put it all away, thinking how the real estate agent will tell me to make all of our horizontal surfaces clear. All his stuff out on the counter did always bug me, but now when I look at that area it looks empty and artificial and wrong.

Even though compared to my friends and neighbors my kids do less scheduled outside activities there are still conflicts, mainly between sports and Boy Scouts (for one son). The fact that we do Boy Scouts in another town and that the lacrosse team is a travel team complicates matters for getting my kids to and from where they need to be. The fact that we are not in the public school system and we don't have many friends from that school to do carpools with makes it harder on me. I can only be in one place at one time. Therefore sometimes lacrosse is skipped so both can go to Boy Scouts. I can't do it all and neither can my kids.

I am meeting with our real estate agent this week so she can look the house over and so we can agree on a selling price. There is even more competition as a few days ago my neighbor two doors down to the south put their house on the market. Another house a couple of doors down to the east put their house on the market. It has been interesting trying to compare and contrast the three properties.

I wonder what the sellers will think about our home and also how they will compare it to the other homes in this neighborhood. I think ours is better for a few big reasons but ours has it's downsides: wall to wall carpet on the second floor and formica counters in the bathrooms. Ours will be better for the best reason of all: I want to move this fast so plan to list it at a lower price than the other two. I have no time for dragging out the sale with a two year listing and doing a half doze price reductions. The last time I sold our house it took only six days due to careful consideration of a realistic price.

Regarding the kids everyone tells me to have them help with the work of decluttering and packing. I tried that yesterday afternoon and it was a big failure. What I wanted to throw out they begged to keep. When I asked them to put a bag in the trash bin in the garage, I later found it in the middle of the kitchen floor. When I handed them a box to put in the pile to donate to the charity thrift shop they groaned and complained of its weight.

I am trying to do too much by keeping up with all the regular living we do in addition to trying to prepare to move and to sell this house. I thought about stopping homeschool lessons for the academic year now. I just can't see a way for me to dole out lessons and give math help and writing composition tutoring in the middle of me sorting through crap we own and packing up what we've decided to keep. I have already lightened up their load by more than half, but just as predicted, they are intellectually bored and are bickering. They are out of sorts due to my husband's absence and this doesn't help their state of mind either.

There are six more weeks left in our regular schedule of sports and Boy Scouts. I don't plan on having the kids quit either thing but finding the time to pack is hard in between everything else. Let's not forget I'm now doing the shopping errands by myself and cooking all the meals and cleaning up the meals then doing the regular house cleaning. So I'm actually doing more things with my time than before.

That's what's going on around here, a lot of transitioning. Everything is still uncertain, when the kids and I will move out, and where in Houston we'll live. When we can go depends on how fast this house sells.

I hate the feeling of so many things in my life being up in the air all at once. This can't be compared to juggling balls, this is more like the game of 52 Card Pickup with the cards temporarily suspended in mid-air.


Xa Lynn said...

I sympathize greatly. My husband is working in Poland (he left last week), and my house goes on the market on Friday. I had 25 cubic yards of mulch delivered, got half of it spread, and now it's supposed to rain until Saturday. The kids miss their daddy. I miss my husband... especially his strong back, shoveling wet mulch. I still have another 20 yards of mulch to be delivered and spread. This doesn't count the inside-the-house stuff that needs to be done. I always did all the shopping - but I did it alone, while my husband was at home. It takes twice as long to do it with the kids, and is ten times more unpleasant. I am stressed out, and annoyed.
Xa Lynn

C T said...

Wall-to-wall carpeting is a downside? I love carpet! Termites don't eat it.... (we treated for them three years ago, and now they're back)

ChristineMM said...

Yes in this town and in this price range and house size the buyers are very picky.

We have a fair number of brand new similar houses so the buyers compare new to existing and see that the older homes (15-20-30 yrs old) have the trend of the present time in decorating. The new houses obviously come with all the latest trends in decorating. This is a pain in the butt since it seems every 5 yrs the trend shifts.

Some homes right near me are 200-300 yrs old so really to critize a 20-30 yr old house as being "too old" seems insane.

Right now the buyers want marble bathroom tiles on the floor not ceramic tile. They want granite counters in every bathroom. They prefer shower stalls of the latest style of clear thick glass with a door that opens out, not the sliding plastic frosted door.

They prefer hardwood floors in every room except kitchen which sometimes has tile, but lately that's brown or earth tone not a bright white. The latest though is also a hardwood kitchen floor.

The kitchen cabinets they want darker wood not light colored and not painted, they want a high quality wood like cherry not oak.

They also want stainless kitchen appliances not black shiny fronts which was the trend not too long ago. One thing that's hard when replacing kitchen applicances here (as some broke over time), we were faced with starting to shift to stainless and having half the appliances be black and the rest be stainless. What's better, to match or to have some of the latest mixed in?

A neighbor took 2.5 yrs to sell their house due to these picky requests on decorating. They wound up selling the home for 30% below appraised value and the new owner did a total redecorating including an all new kitchen and all new bathrooms.

I dread putting this house on the market....

heidi said...

This comment does not apply to the post, I just do not have your contact information - hope this is ok.

I am a filmmaker working on WWII films designed to engage kids and connect them with the heroic acts of WWII. I was wondering if you would like to do a give away of the Americans on D-Day film over the Memorial Day weekend, and we could be certain it is shipped right away in time for Father's Day. The anniversary of D-Day is June 6th, so that might be another good date to run the contest.

I've created a page on our site with free clips and lesson plans for teachers and home schoolers and am trying to get exposure and feedback on the page (feedback to, and I thought your site might be a great way to reach home school families.

Here is the page where you can watch some promos about the films:

Please let me know if you are interested! I can also give you a file of the cover art.

Warmest Regards,
Heidi Mehltretter

livnletlrn said...

Hang in there, Christine. Uncharted waters ahead. Slowly, carefully, with consideration of all options (as always), you'll get through it and come out the other side in a brand new shiny life in Texas, all four of you back under one roof again. Breathe.