“Whoever you are–I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.” –Blanch Dubois (Tennessee Williams)
Angels seem to have always appeared to us as strangers. They come into our lives and then disappear. During the house selling process it felt like that sometimes. I’m not sure I always recognized them as angels, but they provided help when needed.
It’s strange to think of those three years without an occasional sigh, or tear, or smile.
Some of those strangers were renters. The house had a wonderful daylight basement that was completely finished with a full bath and its own outside entrance. The university was about a ten minute walk, so it was perfect for students. I thank Craigslist for bringing me so many wonderful people. Once in a while I would also rent the guest room upstairs. I met a lot of interesting people from the law student from Turkmenistan to the Chinese doctoral student. (Their stories will have to wait for another blog date. ) The money this generated was very helpful, but it was a big house in an upscale neighborhood and took a lot of maintenance. Within the first two years I spent about $7000 on having the outside painted, plumbing repaired, and garden work done. Plus it seemed that the property taxes increased each year, or Wells Fargo added some kind of new fee or other.
Deciding to sell the house was not an easy one. For the first time in my adult life I had to lay out my finances to my family and strangers. It was an embarrassing time and my stress level went through the roof.
Then, in January of 2010 my beloved cat had a stroke and spent a couple of days in the hospital. The Vet and all the people at the hospital were kind and caring, but it was expensive and I had to ask my family to help with the bills. Now I am embarrassed and sad. I spent the next five months nursing, Pavoratti, my cat, back to health, but he never really recovered from the stroke and I finally had to put him to sleep on July 16. Now I am grieving. Pavarotti had been with me when I was sick or down and always slept with me. He was a dear companion.
That same January my son-in-law lost his father and it was very hard on him and my daughter.
The house went up for sale on Feb 12, 2010. So, now I am dealing with a sick cat and cleaning house every day for possible buyers, doing my volunteer work, and looking at possible places to buy. Then it was time to do my taxes and try to have a life.
My renter ran into financial and health difficulties about this time and was not paying his rent on time. I had to ask him to move out. Luckily, I found a new renter right away.
My daughters sent me a roundtrip ticket to New York City for Mother’s Day and the quick trip was welcome relief from the strain of everything. I will be eternally grateful to these two stunning women that I brought into this world.
The rent wasn’t bringing in enough money so I started seriously downsizing. I had been playing around with Ebay for several years and always enjoyed it. Now it became a necessity. Every day I listed genuine antiques and collectibles from my travels. There seemed to be a rhythm and I was really running a business. List, sell, package, mail. A few days later repeat. It kept me busy…sometimes I think it was my lifeline to sanity.
In May of 2010 my sister, living in California, had back surgery, but I had an ailing cat and a house to sell, so I was not able to go down to help her. This added to my stress, for she had helped me through two surgeries and I felt terrible that I wasn’t there for her.
In June an AARP fellow volunteer died suddenly and we went to his memorial. By this time I had withdrawn from a couple of my community volunteer commitments and cut back on my AARP work. Wonder Woman doesn’t live here anymore.
By July I started selling some of my vintage and antique furniture through Craigslist. That began to clear out the house, and I had less to clean each day.
It became difficult to sleep and my doctor prescribed some mild sleeping pills, which helped a lot. At this point I was still paying my first and second mortgage every month, but had cut back on all unnecessary spending.
It took thirteen hard months to bring the sale to completion, find a new place to rent and get moved in. Whew!
Tomorrow I will talk about my real estate agent who stayed with me for the whole time.