I took a little “break” from wedding planning this month to take on one of my most daunting projects to date, my childhood home. My parents house, our home where I grew up has been vacant since February when my dad moved in to his new apartment. Though our 70’s house has good bones, sits on a beautiful property, in a perfect subdivision convenient to almost everything, it was over stuffed, cosmetically in need of a serious makeover (facelift?) and the yard which was once a source of great pride for my dad, had been sadly neglected. Our “castle” on Kings Court needed royal treatment urgently. Since I only had three weeks in between events, I had to work feverishly to clear their house of the stuff, selling what I could, finding new homes for lots, (thanks Linda!) preserving, packing & sending what I wanted to keep then shred, recycle and dispose of what was left. A garage sale, an overflowing twenty yard dumpster and two pick ups from 1-800 Got Junk later the house was ready for transformation. I was originally motivated to “flip” the house, but given my schedule and frankly my skill set, I compromised and decided to get it as good as possible given the time frame and budget that was allotted. We were tasked with ripping down wallpaper and we pulled up carpeting. Fresh paint and well preserved hardwood floors did wonders for the tired house’s first impression and after more interior cosmetic updates: hardware, light fixtures, mirrors, faucets, light switch plates and vents; a little landscaping and a bit of curb appeal, voila! The house is nearly market ready.
My days were filled with trips to Home Depot and dealing with crazies from craigslist. Everyone understood the urgency of our task at hand except for the robin who made her nest and laid her newly hatched eggs in the shrub in front of the house. We were able to take down the other shrubs and add mulch without disturbing her babies, but are waiting to complete the last one until the four baby robins fly away. Checking in on them and noting their progress became a welcome daily ritual.
This week a new water heater will be installed, a basement inspector will be checking out the crack in our concrete wall and now that the paper work has been submitted our listing is live!
Word of our impending sale had been spreading naturally, and there had been much, maybe that’s common, I know many were curious but it was rewarding to show people the house and it’s improvements. No offers yet but hoping a new family will take over where we are leaving off, soon. Growing up, it was just home, as a kid you don’t– or at least I didn’t really analyze where I lived or why I lived there it just was, but now that I am a little more real estate savvy, I have a new appreciation for the house and the space it sits on.
This project was a labor of love and what kept me going, as the pulling up of nail strips and removing of staples seemed endless, was that I was honoring my parents, their investment and a home that houses so many fond and forever memories of my first family. I love that in a matter of a few hours the night before I left, I was able to fill the house one last time with 17 members of my extended family for one last hurrah!
While being away from my husband, our life, my business and routine is difficult, I am blessed to have so much support and love in Wisconsin it makes trips like these bittersweet. I worked hard, was productive, learned a lot and truly feel like this was an important piece of the process of grieving the loss of my mother, my dad’s independence, my old life as I move on to my next chapter and my forever family.
I am writing this in first person but there were so many people that helped me through this process. I hope I don’t forget to mention anyone.
The first week I walked around the house a lot being overwhelmed, dabbling here and there but not really accomplishing any one thing. Then, because I was in the Midwest– I got to escape for a few days and see my godson make his first communion. Upon returning, I brought in the big guns. My dear–dear friend Liz was on it, like white on rice. Because she is currently a free agent, she was able to come from Florida and help me go through everything! Save, Garbage, Donate. Just cube it. I would have been there until Christmas without her. True story. Her generosity, kindness, hard work, selflessness and moral support were invaluable. Happy I got to show her a few of my favorite hometown haunts but happier she is newly engaged and I can repay her with wedding planning!
Liz, Linda, Eddie, Martin, Sergio, John, Rob, Denise, Rob, Judy, Erik, Cricket, Serena, Isabella, Reeba, Callen, Hattie and Dan seriously you were all so vital to the success of this emotional and overwhelming operation. The help, work, strength, time, meals, cheese, cider, advice, encouragement, love and support kept me focused and on task.
Lastly, I am grateful for my equally sentimental mate who encouraged me to bring home whatever I wanted. It’s going to take me a while, to find space in our home for 14 large plastic tubs of sentiment, but in time, I look forward to incorporating my parents’ treasures into our lives and traditions.
In case you’re curious or know someone looking, the listing is here.