Accept and DIVE IN!!

It was late morning when I countered the buyers’ offer and the day went by with no response.  Ugh…..Maybe I should have accepted.  Maybe they changed their minds.  Maybe, maybe, maybe.  And then it hit me – just STOP doing this to yourself.  They want the house.  You’ve decided to sell it.  Eventually, you will come to an agreement, it just doesn’t have to be THIS MINUTE.  So I went to Karen’s bait shop in New London, waited on customers, counted sandworms, sold clam necks, and sat out on the back deck a lot soaking in the sun.  And we laughed and talked and passed the time.  By late evening, my anxiety was starting up again and I once again managed to talk myself down.  What will happen, will happen, I decided.  If the buyers walk away, perhaps they weren’t the right buyers.  With that in mind, I passed the hours enjoying my friends and not worrying about what time it was.  And to be honest, I even forgot about the whole thing! Then at 8 pm, the phone rang much to my surprise and there it was – a new offer from my buyers.  This one hit the the magic number I had held in my head and I accepted!

Now comes the reality.  I have to move.  I have to leave my beautiful little home.  I have to leave my sister (by another mother), Karen.  And Jo.  And Barb.  But I HAVE to do this.  For my own happiness.  For my own health.  And hopefully, they will visit me often and we will have phone contact often.  Because I cannot imagine my life without them in it.  I love them.  They are part of me.

Obviously, I don’t know what religious beliefs, if any, my readers may have.  But I feel that if we listen hard enough, God, or the Universe or whatever you feel helps you along in life, speaks to us.  And so it was that night after I went to bed and started reading my latest in a series of historical novels set in Virginia immediately after the conclusion of the Civil War.  The heroines of the book were each trying to blaze new paths using their passions and they were encouraging one another to brave new frontiers.  One remarked to the other:

“My grandmother asked me one time to think about who the happier woman would be – one who braved the storm of life and truly lived, or one who stayed securely on shore and merely existed.  Her words gave me the courage to leave home, but there have been other times I’ve forgotten my answer and decided to stay on shore.  I’ve always regretted not taking risks.  I hope I’ve learned to never do that again, but life can be scary.  It’s easy to want to hunker down where you believe it’s safe”.

Wow!  What the heck?  Was someone talking to ME???  I could not believe that I was reading those words on the very night that I chose to say yes to sell my house!  Yes to leaving my home state.  It was like a gentle push telling me to go ahead and embrace this change.  And then, if that wasn’t enough, came another line that spoke so clearly to me.  Me personally.  Because it described EXACTLY what I had been doing.  It was EXACTLY what had been holding me back.  Because I don’t take anything for granted.  Not the gift of another day.  Not my dear friends.  Not the old 1998 car I still have.  Nothing.  And after having come close to leaving this world twice, I am SOOOOO grateful for everyone and everything I have in my life.  But there it was in black and white – the next line of the book that resonated with me:

“Change is hard for people because they overestimate the value of what they have, and they underestimate the value of what they may gain by changing”.

I had to really think about that sentence.  Overestimate the value of what I have?  No way!  That sounded down right ungrateful!  Until you look at the entire sentence that is.  Basically, it was saying to me that I was committing a transgression other than the offense of being ungrateful.  It was the crime of not fully embracing the life that had been so mercifully given back to me.  Twice.  First after I broke my neck in 2010 and again after I survived peritonitis last year.  OK God, I am listening to what You have to say to me.  I know there was no coincidence that I saw these lines on THE SAME NIGHT I shakily agreed to sell my beloved home and move 1,322 miles away.  I’m going to stop underestimating the value of what is out there ready for me to gain because that in itself would be ungrateful.  So here I go!  Ready, set, DIVE IN!

Showings

The “Ball Is In Your Park” decision; the BIIYP, as you may recall, ended quickly with a request for a showing.  Geezzzzzz!!!!  So SOON??!??  This was supposed to take awhile!  I just got used to seeing the sign for Pete’s sake. I was quite comfy in BIIYP and was not ready to have strangers (otherwise known as BUYERS to regular people who list their homes) coming into my home!  No!  I didn’t want to show it!  But the PIA voice started nagging.  I could clearly hear her lecturing me about wasting Marilyn’s time if I wasn’t serious.  About having wasted MY time too.  “Alright ALRIGHT!!!  I’ll show it!  Shutup already!” I hollered to the PIA voice.

So you might think that with my half-hearted attitude about selling, that I would give showing the house a half-hearted effort, but that is just not me.  Nope.  Everything had to be perfect.  Each showing was akin to preparing for a visit by heads of state.   Every tiny speck of dust removed, every pillow karate-chopped just the right way.  Did I mention that I am a Certified Professional Home Stager and HGTV addict?  Well, I may not have really wanted to sell my house, but darn it!  It was going to look like it jumped out of Better Homes and Gardens for every showing no matter how I felt inside!!  Probably the funniest incident happened when I was in such a pre-showing rush and panic, I whipped myself around and accidentally stuck the running vacuum cleaner hose into dog’s water dish and it started sucking up water!!  So that showing wasn’t quite perfect of course since I had to have the vacuum upside down in the basement sink draining out the water.  Lesson learned.  “Budget your time a little better” the voice said…….  At another showing, the PIA voice nagged about giving more attention to detail.  “Maybe next time, you can remember to take down the bra hanging from the clothes line in the basement.”

I met each prospective buyer at the door, at least momentarily.  Yeah, yeah….I know you aren’t supposed to.  I cleared out quickly enough, but I wanted to get a read on the people who might buy “my baby”.  All told, I had a crew that came in and toured 3 times and each time they came, the entourage grew (should I set up a polling station??).  Another couple who came twice and spent at least an hour both times (The house is all of 1,176 square feet.  Seriously???  I don’t take that long to view some of the mansions at Newport).  Then they gave me an insulting offer.  Obviously, after all the time they took to look, they gave not a second’s thought to the problem with ticking off an emotional seller.  They found out quickly enough……  Then there was the couple who said the yard was too big (that would be why there is a lot size and lots of pictures in the listing (sigh…).  The single lady who had a big house and was trying to downsize.  A former colleague who told my agent that she knew my house was perfect because that’s how I did everything at work.  I decided to take that as a compliment and ignore the PIA voice reminding me about my tendency to nit-pick.  Each time, I did NOT want to show the house.  Each time, I ran myself ragged making everything perfect.  And each time someone didn’t want it, I felt myself indignantly asking “And just why the heck NOT???  HMPH!!!”.  Most importantly, with each “No”, I was able to stick with the satisfaction of the BIIYP.  Hey, I had no control over these folks, right?  I was doing my best to make the house look great.  It wasn’t my fault that no one was buying (or forcing me into changing).  So basically, I’d put in a good faith effort to make it look great, and feel a bit put-off when someone said no.  But if truth be told, there was that feeling of “Whew…I dodged THAT bullet!”.  There is probably some technical name for this in the psychology books under general weirdness or wishy-washiness or something along those lines, but I think the term “scared of change” would be most appropriate.

And then THEY came.  I liked them.  They loved my home, but decided it was too small (dodged another bullet HA!HA!).  But then they came back for a second look on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend.  And apparently, they REALLY loved my house.  Ut-oh…….

Marilyn called me the following Thursday evening chirping “Well, we are going to have an offer tomorrow”.  My response was “Oh yeah?  Hmmm.  What made them change their minds?”  So after all the staging and yard saleing and furniture listing on Craig’s List and Letgo and Facebook and just general angst, my response to her was “Oh yeah?  Hmmm.  What made them change their minds?”  Well, that’s what she heard anyway.  But what I was actually saying, with wild-eyed, screaming anxiety was “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!   I      CAN’T      DO      THIS!!!!!”  I felt the tears behind my eyes, just waiting to explode onto my cheeks as I struggled to keep my stomach from flipping.   Instead of jumping for joy, I was terrified!  Scarlett came to my rescue.  I didn’t know what the offer would be, Scarlett decided.  It could be as bad as that first one.  So Scarlett wrapped her arms around me and decided “I can’t think about that now.  I’ll think about it tomorrow”.  I love Scarlett.

By morning, I had gotten hold of myself and was OK with the idea of selling my beautiful little house.  Still not jumping for joy, but OK as lukewarm as my OK’s usually are.  And so there I was…. waiting for the offer.  And waiting.  And waiting.  And then doing what I normally do when I’m stressed – I find something to do.  I took the dogs to the park even though it was 88 degrees.  I don’t have a problem with heat as long as I stay in the shade.  Perhaps wearing fur coats, however, is what made the dogs less-than-enthused.  They sniffed a bit here and there and then looked at me, tongues hanging out of their mouths, as if to say “Seriously????  What is your problem woman??”.  OK.  Home we went.  Since they were hot, I took that as a good time for baths.  Of course, that also means washing their beds.  And what the heck, while we’re at it, I might as well strip my bed and wash my sheets too.  Having completed my “torture” of the dogs, there were a couple of plant stands that I had intended to sand and spray paint.  That kept me occupied for a few hours even though I found myself checking the time regularly and wondering……WHERE…..IS……THE…..OFFER????  Sigh.  The personification of cool am I (not).  Moving on, I cleaned all the windows on my car – interior and exterior.  Finally around 8 pm, I couldn’t take it anymore and texted Marilyn with “Well….Did they change their minds?”  As it turned out, the offer had come in late and she hadn’t had a chance to look at it yet.  I wanted her to see it first.  Silly?  Well, maybe, but I know how I am.  Just in case it was another insulting offer, I wanted to give Marilyn time to come up with her calming words of wisdom.

As it turned out, their offer came in with great financing and a fairly decent first offer.  More hemming and hawing ensued, but not even Scarlett could save me this time.  I had to make a decision.  I HAD to embrace this change.  The price wasn’t quite there, so I countered.

And so the DANCE begins……

For Sale!

In my last post, I left you staring out of my back window with me wondering what I should do.  Well, time passed and the leaves got bigger and greener, the flowers were popping and the chorus of bird songs filled the air.  I spent more and more time staring out the kitchen window while doing my dishes, savoring every bit of nature’s summer loveliness.  But breaking through the peace of that exquisite scenery and the delightful bird songs was………that annoying, pain-in-the-ass (PIA!) voice in my head telling me “Sooooooo….you DO want to end up regretful don’t you?”  UGH!!  SHUT UP VOICE!  By mid-June, Scarlett’s “I’ll think about it tomorrow” became Nadine’s “Alright!  Alright, voice!!  I’ll find a real estate agent!!”.  After four interviews, I picked the one.  Her name is Marilyn and she had no idea what kind of nut she was signing on with, but she seemed like she could handle it.  I can’t possibly have been her first wavering client.

In July, I shakily signed the paperwork that would bind Marilyn and I as partners for the next six months.  And so began the “Ball Is In Your Park” decision; the BIIYP.  Hey I did something, right?  I made a decision to sell my beloved house!  A decision to move on to Florida!  A decision to change!  That was it.  The decision making was now up to the buying public.  It was out of my hands.  Having to make any decision and actually change anything was no longer in MY ballpark.  Whew!  Glad to get THAT off my chest!

A couple of days later, I was in the kitchen staring at my beautiful yard again, when I heard a loud, thump, thump, thump sound.  I went to the front of the house, looked out the window and swallowed my heart.  There they were.  Pounding a “For Sale” sign into my front lawn.  I resisted the urge to run out in my pj’s and bedhead, screaming “Get that off my lawn!!!!  I didn’t mean it!  I changed my mind!!!”.  Instead, I just quickly moved away from the window so no one would see the blood draining from my face.

And so it begins…….

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