Thursday, June 01, 2006

Goodbye 2047

So this is really it. Box by box, our house as we have known (and loved) it is being dismantled. Tomorrow the moving company will come to pull the plugs. Literally. By Monday, we’ll be loaded up and headed north. Yesterday Wayne signed on the house in Missouri so there’s no turning back — next week we’ll officially be Missourians(?).

Last night folks from the two houses nearest ours walked over and introduced themselves to Wayne. That is a very good sign. And one of them has a seven year old daughter waiting to meet our two girls—an even better sign. We’ve been grateful to live on a friendly street where everyone hangs out together and looks out for each other, a rare occurance these days, according to impressed friends who visit. Lisa, who lives a few doors down and is always up for a laugh or a party, created a keepsake album containing photos of each house and the family who lives there, as well as their parting messages to us. So on the day of inspections we were able to introduce the buyers to all their new neighbors. I don’t know which is the better inheritance: the house or the people who come with it.

We will miss both. We used to live in the house next door to this house. In 2000, three single guys lived in this house which sounded like a frat house but looked like a crack house. One day, over my protests, Wayne decided to make them an offer. In less than five years we’d met, gotten married, started a business, bought a house and had two children and I was in no mood to take on renovating a house that needed demolishing and yet another move. They accepted the offer. A year and a half later, after narrowly avoiding divorce, nervous breakdowns and committing homicide over our contractor, we were scrambling to move in before Wayne’s family, who’d scheduled their visit months out to ensure the house would be ready, arrived from England. We began frantically moving things in on Thursday and worked around the clock until we picked them up on Saturday when everything but the pictures were hung.

Wayne’s mum had moved to Houston five months earlier and offered to take Wayne’s aunt and uncle to Old Town Spring on Tuesday while we got back to work. I awoke on September 11, 2001 with Wayne bursting into the bedroom exclaiming his mother was in the hospital and the World Trade Center had exploded. Or something along those lines. I rolled my eyes. I’d been married to Wayne long enough to never believe a thing he said.

I stumbled from the bedroom in my robe and entered my new living room to discover a crowd: our employees, Wayne’s family, assorted neighbors, the electrician and the general contractor were gathered there. Fortunately, all eyes were rivited to the TV and not the state of my undress. The rest of the day proceeded to unfold in a surreal haze. While I watched the towers evaporating, I learned Wayne’s mum had gone into the ER in the night, unable to breathe. When we eventually made it to the hospital late in the day, the doctor pulled us aside. The TV above the bed replayed the horrific images of the day’s mayhem as more news pounded its way into our overloaded skulls...lung cancer...six months...

This is how the house we’d spent so many months fretting and battling over—with contractors, with floorplans, with budgets, with every doorknob, drawer pull and switchplate—introduced itself as home. The witness of our worst and our best; our joys and our grief. It’s been a haven to our family and the place we’ve welcomed, enjoyed and annoyed (in a nice way) many friends and family. We leave with fuller hearts and bigger souls.

It’s hard to think of someone else living here. If the new owners find half the riches here that we did, they won’t have done half bad.


Karen Miedrich-Luo said...

Even the picture took my breath away...all the memories I have few compared to yours. I loved that house, too. All our babies crawling around on the wood floor. The Christmas trees and birthday parties, late nights after Taft, coffee on the patio, and Ingrid. Your leaving is a domino in my life, too. It means one less reason to return. Eighteen years of friendship in a city of memories, shared friends and spaces. Places we both knew, people we loved, events we shared - births, deaths, marriages, renewal. This is a letting go I did not expect.

anthony said...

These posts have been just wonderful, Allison. Something to cherish in the years to come. I have always found moving such a stressful experience with emotions coming from me right and left, I just never thought it would be possible to put them down into some kind of coherence -- and you have. Many blessings on the road and journey ahead. Safe passage.

Deeanne said...

May the Lord grant you an abudance of grace and peace as you embark on this new journey. We will keep an extra chair at Taft Street for you, just in case you slip in unexpectedly.

Blessings to you and your family.

Love, Dee

allison said...

Yesterday the girls had to say goodbye to Micaela and who knows if or when they'll ever see her again. I don't think the tears will stop til I pull up in our new driveway. Thanks for all the love, encouragement and VISITS you all will make! And, Anthony, see you soonly!

Last night we, and a table full of neighbors, celebrated Samantha's birthday at her favorite restaurant, Carrabba's. That's a tradition SHE will miss!

I am at a coffeeshop to download a couple of days worth of email. Someone has to stay at the house at all times while the movers are there so Wayne and I are taking turns. Tomorrow the girls fly out. Tomorrow night we're rounding up the neighbors for a last toast on our barren patio. The truck leaves Monday and we close on 2047 at 3 pm. Monday night we'll be in Dallas.

I'm going to try to post along the way but don't know how spotty connections will be. If nothing sooner, you'll hear from me in Columbia!