If you had told me back in December how quickly and effortlessly I would adapt to living back in our Maryland house, to the point where I nearly forgot what we had been doing for the past four months, I would have said you’re insane. “No way. It’s all changed. We’ll always feel out of place in that house now… “
Not so. It was frighteningly easy to slip right back into the ordinary, even though several things about our winter back in our house were entirely different from any time before. For one, we continued to travel. Christmas in Chicago, the first week of January in Los Cabos celebrating my parents’ 50th anniversary, a week in Bend… all things that would have been much more difficult to do had the kids been in school. Tacco wrote an extensive missive covering that time frame, so I’ll forgo the blow by blow.
Which leads me to another significant difference, which is the kids still being homeschooled. We did end up putting the girls back into school for about 6 weeks once we learned that they were welcome to just sort of show up and disappear again. It made things easier on us homeschool-wise and getting-the-house-prepared-to-sell-again-wise, but was also valuable for the girls to see their friends again and re-experience the classroom setting.
And then the most significant difference of all, which was our living there with one foot out the door. We never quite completely unpacked our “stuff” or sprawled out into the house again, which was by design. Our intention was to look at the winter as a time to catch our collective breath, learn a bit more about where we would end up, and most importantly, get the house back on the market in a way that would actually result in a sale, but not to really “move back in” in any sort of meaningful way.
Despite all this and a looming launch date (we decided early on that we would aim for a departure on the first day of spring) however, everything became very normal, very quickly. My own bathroom, shower and washer/dryer… throwing dishes in the dishwasher… falling asleep to mindless TV in the basement with Tacco after the kids were asleep… seeing local friends again… there was no sense of any of that being out of the ordinary. All of which led to very mixed feelings when we found ourselves a week or two out from departure.
We did accomplish a good bit. We saw more of the local area (though it’s never enough), and probably most importantly, we took our ski trip to Bend, which got us most of the way down our road toward a permanent home.
We also got our house back on the market. That part was harrowing and more than a little frustrating. We did a thorough post mortem of the unsuccessful seven month stretch on the market and think we came up with some factors (other than price, obviously that’s always a thing, if not the thing) that kept it from selling. We did a lot of work on the house, even though we knew it wouldn’t get us any more money in the sale. That was a bit painful. Who knew there was so much more to do, and why were we only doing it now? We also think we have the right realtors on the job. Though we didn’t have personal issues with the previous ones, we realized in retrospect that not only should we have conducted several more interviews before hiring them, but we should have been extremely clear in our expectations (not only communicating them, but also knowing precisely what they were!) and brought that to the interview table and to our early interactions. This new team seems to be a great fit though, and we like the listing and the sales plan we’ve created together. Hopefully the frustration is over. Because I have to admit, we’re uprooting again in pretty much the exact same situation we were when we started the first time, which is an unsold house. As I alluded to in post number one, that was never the plan, and is not sustainable. Even though we know where we want to be and when, it doesn’t work if we don’t sell our old house. And we can’t afford to “give” it away, so lowball offers and crazy discounts are off the table. It should all be very disconcerting. Yet somehow it doesn’t feel that way.
Overall, it doesn’t seem like we’re “getting back” to it, it feels like starting all over again. I truly don’t remember what it’s like to be out on the road. Here are the good things though: we’re ahead of the planning part this time and know about the pitfalls thereof; we have an endpoint and a time frame for it, which cuts down on the flailing; and the kids are in a much better space – despite normal mixed feelings, they’re excited to return and seem to have done a lot of growing up in the last three months.
So have we I guess.