Tuesday, September 04, 2007





"Eternal Youth"








By the summer of 2004, we had sold one of our two houses (no double mortgages), churned out all the kids we intended to (no notion of breeding a full soccer team), and come to acceptance of our family’s quirks (plenty of dysfunction, but no crazy Aunt Millicent tied to a chair in the attic).

Obviously, if everything was going so swimmingly, it was time to create a whole new kind of hassle.

So we moved 100 yards.

Take a moment now, if you would, to look around your house. See that heavy sleeper sofa? See that fragile antique vanity? See those bookshelves weighted with encyclopaedias? See those closets bursting with unused fabric, tchotckes, and bedding?

Now picture picking up each and every one of those things, walking the length of a soccer field (by the way, guess where I’m sitting as I type this?), and then setting it down again.

The kids' playhouse moved better with wheels under it...


Yea, we humped our masses of possessions all of 300 feet…in July, of course. This assured that every piece of furniture would be coated with sweat during the short trip, thus affording our friends and moving helpers a much-needed challenge. Many of them would be missing their daily workouts, what with devoting hours to our cause; thus, we felt, somehow, that we were aiding their fitness efforts by making sure the move was a hot and strenuous one.

Okay, the backstory. A year and a half earlier, we had met some neighbors—a lovely young couple who would have assisted each other easily to goal after goal on the soccer field, had they, you know, played soccer--and scored an invitation to dinner at their house. That evening, when we showed up for dinner and walked through the front door, I exclaimed, with my usual reserve, “I love, luv, luff your house! If you ever decide to move, you’ll let us have it, right?” Artificial laughter sprinkled all around, and that was the end of it.

...until the phone rang a year and a half later. It was Lady Neighbor, and she queried, “So. When you said you’d love to have our house, were you serious?”

Good question. Of course I hadn’t been, but when presented with the option of buying their house, since they had decided to seek out greener hillsides in the Pacific Northwest, I realized I could learn to be serious about getting the four of us out of our 960 square feet and into something more than twice the size.

Discussion ensued. Deliberations deliberated. Beers were drunk. Offsides were called.

Then we went over and walked through the possible house. And we swooned a little at the Arts & Crafts touches, looking past the orange shag carpet, the dark wooden paneling, the frosted windows. We walked the circle of the main floor; we admired the large bedrooms. We sighed. We ran our fingers along the woodwork.

In short order, we made an offer, contingent (never again would we pay two mortgages and raise children on The Scurvy Diet!) on selling our current house. These very fine people didn’t even counter but rather accepted our first offer.

The wait began. Could our realtor manage to convince some young guileless couple that 960 feet was just the right footage in which to start their own soccer team?


To distract ourselves from the tension of keeping a house “showable” with two small kids around (“No, Girl, you may not play dollies. Sit quietly in the corner with your toy sponge and practice that mopping technique Mommy showed you. No, Wee Niblet, you may not throw your toys and food out of the high chair, as potential buyers could be peeking in the windows. Use your chubby toddler paws and hang onto the broom Mommy has inserted into them. Make yourself useful, Lug”), we went to the playground a lot. And we attended my college reunion.

How on earth it had been fifteen years since I had graduated from college was a mystery to me because, surely, clearly, I wasn’t a day over twenty-four.

But as long as I’d been invited to a weekend of revelry, I was game for going along with the pretense that I was thirty-seven.

What was gorgeous about that reunion was how the comfort and history and familiarity of the place and people grounded me at the time when, in daily life, I didn’t know what was coming next (a soccer ball to the skull, for all I knew). We all lapsed into the roles, speech patterns, and ways of conversing that had become habit half a lifetime before.

Yup. That's me there, ya eagle eye!


In the midst of that easy companionship, reaching back to some of the most invigorating years of my life, I didn’t care where I’d live the next month or if my kids ever got their own rooms (picture it if we didn't move: Brother and Sister Share a Room: The Teen Years: “Mommy, why does Girl put that strappy thing over her chest every morning before she puts on her shirt?” or “Mommy, why do you change Niblet’s sheets every morning after he spends some special quiet time laying in the bed?”).

Nope. I didn't care 'bout nuthin'. I just loved my friends and drinking and dancing and rocking out and the feeling of my feet on hallowed ground. I regressed even further and was 18 again.

This dude, one Martin Zellar, wrote and sang the soundtrack to my 1985-1989. He is my second husband. Don't tell anyone. Especially him. Or his first wife. But I'm sure he loves me.

Naturally, once Reunion was over, Monday rolled around again, and with it, real life; back at home, I fretted over selling our small house so that we could move over one street—the 100 yards to bliss. As well, acting 18 again during the light of day quickly got embarrassing, especially when I kept insisting the clerks check my ID at the liquor store when no one--I mean no one--was asking.

Still aglow from reunionizing, and finally starting to detoxify, I had occasion to shine my face up to the sun and thank the gods of Home Upgrade (a bellicose crew, the triad of Scrape, Sand, and Varnish) for their blessings. Our damn house sold, to a young couple, looking to create their own wee Beckham.

Shortly thereafter, we moved the 100 yards. GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL!

Here, now, 100 yards away from our previous house, life is lovely. Gracious. A place that will--knock U-Haul--witness my first grey hairs.

Not that I have any.

Nor will I for some time yet.

After all, I’m only 24.

27 comments:

Keshi said...

only 24 and this? :)

Keshi.

my4kids said...

Hehe I love your posts....I wish my move was that easy actually.

Jazz said...

Of course you're 25 dear. You'll never ever ever hit 45. I promise.

jen said...

i so love this story of how you got your house. i can just picture you wide open in this world and all these good things just flow.

Logophile said...

Having moved to Europe twice, and returned twice from thence, I envy you this move.
And the fountain of youth, I envy that too
:p

lime said...

LOL, we did that too. moved two blocks away from a third floor apt. to a duplex. prior to the limelets, but nonetheless the carry it yourself method. ain't it fun!

Julie B said...

You clearly have so much fun writing. Do you laugh out loud when you think up witty things to say? Your blog has made me laugh often. You make simple stories come to life with such a wild and wacky train of thought.
I suffered at college with writing. Words and talking lots are easy but just couldn't put it all on paper correctly. And following in classes after writers such as you didn't help any :)

frannie said...

and a lovely 24 at that!

I hit that one out of the park, huh?

sorry- I'm a baseball fan

That Chick Over There said...

Hot and Sexy too.

Top cat said...

you made me laugh.:)
tc

Tai said...

Love your posts!
Hate moving!

Glad you're done and you're happy!
And, like you, I'm only 24! Have been for almost 11 years now!
Also? I just noticed how much I adore exclamaions marks!

My Reflecting Pool said...

Heheeee. I bet that clerk loooooved you! hahaha.

Dan said...

You moved 100 yards?

Did they do this in Egypt with Abu Simbel? It was flooded out by the Aswan Dam? Sounds like your move was way more complicated!

Shari said...

Aren't you the lucky one? Able to freeze your age like that while the rest of us keep getting older! What's your secret? Must be all that soccer...

Spider Girl said...

I really like the picture you posted of the house.I think I'd love it too.

Not that I'm one to fall in love with the house down the street at first sight...oh..wait...actually I am.

That's why I'm right now sitting in my beloved house that's only a block from my old house.

Oh my, but I knew that house down the hill was just right for me.

To get this house I had to wait a good while (two years almost), had to write a letter to a little old lady with an enviable garden, saying that I really liked (wanted!) her house if she should ever, you know, NOT WANT IT herself anymore....

I was quite shameless. But there you have it. :)

Claire said...

Score, score, score! It was worth it. And yeah, you don't look a day over 24, I swear. (Can I be 34 again?)

Diana said...

Well, of course you're only 24. As am I. And yet our kids keep growing older. And who the hell put those wrinkles in my 24 year old face?

I love it when house stories all work out and everything falls into place, so to speak.

urban-urchin said...

Wow- that worked out rather well didn't it? You're pretty ambitious for a "24" year old....

Diesel said...

So this is funny, because last year my family also moved 100 yards. Unfortunately the new house isn't any bigger, and brother and sister bear are still sharing a room. I think I'm supposed to be doing something about that.

yinyang said...

24? You’re a TV show? Now I’m confused.

Her Grace said...

Moving 100 yards sounds so eaaaasssy. What's 100 yards? But I'm guessing that it's not even a little easy. Even if you're only 24.

Dorky Dad said...

100 yards? Piece of cake. But I'd be afraid of the people who moved into my old house. I know exactly what kind of things I say about the former owners of this one ...

Glamourpuss said...

When I hit thirty I just started counting backwards - works a treat.

Puss

Theresa said...

24? Are you sure? You don't look a day over 18, really, I swear! And, of course, neither do I. If only all my moves had been 100 yards. I just figured out that I've moved 13 times in the past 20 years -Oh wait, that's impossible since I am only 18 ;)

Jill said...

Honestly, that sounds like the worst kind of move ever. It's too far to just carry everything individually, and not far enough to justify packing up everything. I think I would lose my mind.

Mother of Invention said...

So have you stopped looking for new houses?!
There's always someone in the same position you were a few years back. Thank goodness!

I hate moving! I'm never moving again..the next move is into the nursing home!

You always have an ending with a punch!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

That sounds like a heavenly move, compared to packing up the contents of a four-bedroom house in the largest U-Haul known to woman and driving it cross-country to a storage unit, then realizing that even a smaller house could not be afforded in California, giving away most of the stuff we'd hauled thousands of miles, and settling in a small apartment.

You would have to wonder about the sanity of those who would do such a thing.

Your home is lovely. I hope you and your family have many more years of wonderful living there.