I bought a new mailbox this morning. I’m restaining my front porch this weekend. Figuring out how to fix a few tiles. Repainting a wall. All of this is part of the not-so-slow whittling down of a list of tasks. Not the usual sort of 110-year-old house maintenance tasks, but the tasks one does as part of preparing to sell their house.
This will be the first fall that I don’t think about my spring garden. The first year that I put away my summer decorations, knowing that I don’t plan to put them up on this porch next year.
I don’t know where I’ll be this time next year. In the same city, I’m sure. But in a smaller house? A rental while I decide? Maybe living with the gentleman caller? I don’t know.
I do know that my old house needs a new roof, it’s 5 years away from another furnace, 3 years away from another hot water tank. The basement is and always will be a bit damp. There’s no insulation in the walls. I have all the love in the world for this house, but it requires more concentrated investment than I could ever justify.
I bought a new mailbox this morning, remembering the saga of the front porch. I look at the tiles in my front entrance, remembering when we put them in. Gabriel’s tree in the backyard has gotten taller than me, a tall tree in place of a tiny baby. This house was most of my marriage, all of my son, the story of who I have become after my divorce. This house is teaching myself to use power tools, coping with a broken furnace, leaking pipes, and unemployment, without a partner to comfort me. These walls hold the stories of my life. This house is joy and heartbreak, comfort and frustration and the million ordinary day emotions in between.
Even this morning, as I bought a new mailbox, I forced myself to think of what is sensible and cost-effective, not what I would love. It’s terrifying, sad, exhausting, but time to do this.