Sunday, March 4, 2012

Can't We Just Pitch a Tent Somewhere?

Why so glum?

Twelve years ago we bought this house.

Um hmm.

And I swore I would never buy another house again.

I can understand that sentiment.

Now we are buying another house.

Well, your income and lifestyle must have advanced over the years so now you are upgrading.

We are downgrading.

Oh?

Our house, our current house, is roughly 4,000 square feet, roughly the size of the Astrodome.

The Astrodome?

Stop repeating me.

My wife and I can hide from each other. If I need to talk with her I have to embark on a search for her. If she wants to find me, I can keep switching rooms until she finally gives up.

Why is your house so large?

My mother-in-law had to move in with us. She was old and couldn't manage by herself so we had to find a house large enough for her to have her own living/dining room, bedroom, bath, and kitchenette.

That was nice.

Not really, but I won't get into that. Anyway, she croaked.

That is not nice.

I mean she passed on.

I'm sorry to hear that.

For its size, we got it pretty cheap. That means we had to put a lot of effort into making it the riviera of the neighborhood.

It was hard at first. A month after we got the house I got in my car to drive to work and noticed that one of the front porch columns had fallen into the yard. That was kind of demoralizing. Then the oven had to be replaced which required converting to gas because there was no electric oven that would fit into the space. Oh yeah, the under-foundation drain lines had to be replaced. But we forged ahead and it took about three years of hard work and a lot of money to bring the place up to our exacting standards.

That is wonderful. A loving couple working hand-in-hand building their dream.

We yelled at each other a lot. Marilyn kept insisting that we needed a new roof immediately. I kept replying that we could use rain buckets until we get a hurricane so insurance could pay for it. And new carpets throughout. She wouldn't accept my idea of rearranging the furniture to cover the bald spots insisting that we didn't have enough furniture for that. Also there was something about the fact that the carpets were 35 years old. That was after the garage door kind of crashed halfway down all crookedy so we couldn't get a car in or out. Then Marilyn had an unreasonable prejudice against Formica and Linoleum. Then something about water dripping from the A/C vents. Ended up replacing the whole air conditioning system. Then...

Wow.

Marilyn has a three page list of improvements we made. It was tiring and depressing, but we are still married. I don't know how long we are going to stay married though.

What?

We are moving from our giant house -- did I mention Astrodome...into an itsy bitsy 2,000 square foot house -- think well, itsy bitsy. We are used to yelling at each other across the Carlsbad Cavern to be heard by the other one. Now we won't be able to whisper in private. No privacy at all.

"Did you fart? I heard that!"

"It was the dog."

And the dogs. They get exhausted walking around trying to find either of us. And our yard, they can run from horizon to horizon to get their exercise. Marilyn and I may wander around and not see each other for...

Okay, okay. You don't need to pile it on.

You don't believe me?

Astrodome

Itsy Bitsy

That looks like a really nice house. Why are you moving?


Yeah it is nice. But...

Do you know how much it costs to maintain the monster house? Landscaping expense. Pool cleaning expense. The unimaginable heating and cooling costs. Vacuum cleaner bags. Weekly changing out of a couple of the 14,000 light bulbs.

I have my heart set on retiring before I am ninety -- but cannot do so unless we find a place to retire on my miserably miniscule retirement income.

It sounds like a smart plan.

I hate it. We have to sign papers, and papers, and papers. Then there is something called negotiation. Thank goodness we have our Agent Extraordinaire Marie to do that for us -- but I think she hates us.

I'm sure that...

Marilyn and I each have a computer, which you can do when you have a decent sized house. So when Marie emails us a Plan of Action, Marilyn will fire back an alternate plan of action -- and at the same time I will reply, 'I don't know what you are talking about'. I mean, there are disclosure statements, loan applications, certifications, some kind of not-in-a flood plain document.... It's all very confusing. So Marie has double the work just to calm our nerves.

Not once has she said, "Look you idiot, I have already told you this three times!"

She sounds like a gem.

She is -- although I know secretly that she is sticking pins in Jerry and Marilyn dolls. 

So you are well on your way to getting a new house?

Explain to me how you get a cathedral crammed packed with furniture into a little country church? That is what we are scratching our head over. Estate sale? Call up the kids and say, "You are getting this sofa whether you want it or not?" Not only that. Which furniture goes and which doesn't go?

I think Marilyn is thinking about selling stuff on Craiglist. But when? You see,  there is something called 'staging'. You are supposed to have furniture and stuff in the house to make it look 'presentable' for people to see. Did I mention that we have to sell this house too? Let's see, we have already gone through Plans A through G, now we have to worry about more plans.

Step by step.

Then Marilyn wants to repaint and change the stuff in the new house before we move in. Then we need a moving company. And then...

Slow down. Step by step.


I have my own plan, but I am having a difficult time getting Marilyn to buy into it.

Yes?

It is about time for me to go hiking somewhere. Let Marilyn expertly take care of everything, and when I come back we are moved in and set up.

I don't think...

Or perhaps a medically induced coma. Or accept a job assignment overseas.

Working together hand in hand toward a worthwhile goal.

Hummrrph!

 

46 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thank you. Now if I could just get everyone that sympathizes over here to help move maybe I could come out of this alive.

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  2. By the way, Jerry, I tagged you. See my post of February 28th.

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    1. Thank you sir. I appreciate your recognition.

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  3. Oh dear. This would be our scenario in, probably never, unless a hurricane really does demolish the rubble around which we navigate. I would so love a smaller house. With one story, drains in each room to hose down the place easily and a 5x5 foot garden. Do you think rotting deck/small grodie tile on the island/backsplash/rotting-dogeaten carpet and one old water heater/ original AC/semi-new roof will sell? For anything? Please?
    Congratulations.

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    1. Sure it would sell. You just have to get someone that recognizes 'potential'! I can recommend a dynamite agent who needs the practice selling potential -- 'cause that's she is gonna' do here.

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    2. Oh pick me pick me!!!!!! :)

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  4. What a creative and entertaining way of relaying the situation, Jerry.

    "She wouldn't accept my idea of rearranging the furniture to cover the bald spots" .. .that would have been my impulse as well. Women.

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    1. I'm more of a make-do hold-on-to-stuff type of guy. It is my wife that drags me kicking and screaming into the future.

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    2. If it's not broke (and exploding) don't fix it. :)

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  5. Ah! Moving. You have my deepest, deepest sympathies.

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    1. See my reply to Bruce's comment. And bring boxes!

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  6. Jerry, I assure you there are no Jerry and Marilyn dolls with pins in them! I actually think my parents are a little jealous when I told them how much fun I've been having working with you guys. Even informed them I've turned you into a texter. Now I know you wouldn't want to broadcast that so I'd never publish that secret info on the Internet. Oh....oops!

    We'll get through this! Most of the paperwork is done aside from the 3 killed trees worth that you will have to sign at closing!!!

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    1. The real test will be selling our place without bouncing off the walls laughing.

      This doesn't make me feel better. I've been blaming all those aches and pains on your needles. Now I have to come up with a better excuse.

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    2. It was Marilyn sticking pins in the Jerry doll for making her get rid of stuff! Just kidding Marilyn!

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  7. I keep saying the same thing. We are selling our house and now renting. I don't ever want to be homeowners again. Or pet owners. Or caretakers of small children. Sometimes you just have to move on and leave the past behind. Onward and upward! I'm sure clearing out stuff will free you as you move to a smaller space.

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    1. I think you are on to something Karen. Let the young handle the responsibility -- they can contend with the hassle.

      In truth, I think we will be much happier in a smaller, manageable place.

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  8. I'm a little jealous of Marie--I think it would be fun be on the inside scoop of how Jerry and Marilyn handle moving stress! Then again, I may be going through the same thing in the near future, and I don't think I'd want anyone 'in' on that... ;)

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    1. The hardest thing to contend with is the myriad of details that we have to take care of. It kind of leaves us in a stupor. Right now I am trying to convince Marie that painting is really part of what she is supposed to be doing. So far, I have been unsuccessful.

      You are going to be moving. I hope that you share the story Bridget.

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    2. Well I love to paint, just not sure I can stay in Houston long enough to get the job done! But if I could make it happen, for you, Jerry I would!

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  9. I am never moving again. They will find me mummified on the roof fixing the swamp cooler or in the furnace room trying to figure out exactly where that drip is coming from, but I'm not leaving.

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    1. I understand completely, 100%, absolutely, Carol. Right now, we have to and I am wishing that I could somehow jump forward in time about nine months.

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  10. Last year was our year of selling/moving/buying Hell. It is good to be on the far side. Best of luck. I recommend the coma option.

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    1. That is why I want the induced coma thing, so I can just wake up on your side. But Michael, you give me hope. It is survivable.

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  11. Dang. Seems like a lot of trouble to go to just at the beginning of tornado season.

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    1. Dang Murr, you always nail it. Maybe I can just cancel the whole thing until after tornado season, which I think will be in 2016.

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    2. NO, NOT an option! We've made it this far, there IS NO TURNING BACK NOW!!!!

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  12. Marilyn the wife (so far)March 5, 2012 at 6:14 AM

    As a dutiful wife I feel I must correct a misconception your readers may have gotten. “We yelled at each other a lot”. REALLY??? In 14 years we’ve only raised our voices twice! That deserves an honorable mention in The Guinness Book of Records to my way of thinking. I know you like to embellish the truth to make a good story, but hey, stop misleading these innocent followers of yours! Incidentally, If you’ll recall, I didn’t even yell at you when you forgot to close the door of the U-Haul truck and left a trail of all my clothes down the highway. Never told THAT sordid tale, did you? So now you folks know “the rest of the story”.
    All my love,
    Marilyn

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    1. The U-Haul truck/trailing clothes story sounds post-worthy, Jerry...In all fairness to Marilyn :)

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    2. I REMEMBER that story! He did tell it. And I am SUPER impressed you didn't yell then. Because I? I would have a complete and utter meltdown right then and there.

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    3. Dear Marilyn,

      Isn't there a statute or something about testifying against your spouse in a blog?

      In truth, it is kind of hard to yell when we agree on everything. I may have stated that we yell a lot to make us sound more natural -- I just didn't want to let it slip that everything is perfect.

      Hurrrmmph!

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    4. Bridget -- There is too much sentiment building up for Marilyn now. Just because I may have once accidentally, with minor consequence, let one or two teeny bits of stuff slip out of the truck, with a really minor crashing to the road is no reason to get all excited.

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    5. Gigi -- I think I did allude to the incident a while ago. You know, there is yelling and there is the 'you broke my treasured Ming Dynasty vase handed down through ten generations of my family...' reaction. The second one kind of makes your heart wilt.

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    6. If Gigi remembers that story, I think it deserves a re-posting, just so we relatively-newer readers can get the full story and draw our own conclusions...just sayin'...

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    7. I have a FEW stories about a certain attorney we know and his U-Haul driving experiences....it may ease the pain of the one time you had a little U-Haul oopsie a bit! Not completely, but a bit :)

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  13. Haha, maybe Marilyn could be a regular blogger here. Jerry posts his version, and then Marilyn posts The Truth. Something like that. ;)

    Incidentally, my house is about 2000 square feet and I share them with my husband, a teenager, a cat, and four dogs. And we still have two rooms no one really uses. I think you'll find that it's a lot more reasonable trying to keep 2000 square feet clean, a lot less vaccuuming.

    A tent might be a bit too small though.

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    1. I think the competing blog idea sucks. Just accept that I tell the truth, more or less....sorta'. It is the central theme that counts.

      I suspect that the new house is going to suit us perfectly...if we can dump a whole lot of stuff.

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  14. My father-in-law grew up in a tent outside the family cabin (as in no running water) in Moab Utah. When we recently sold our 1,600 sq ft home to move into a two story 2,000 aq ft home, he took a tour of it... he now calls our new home "The Mansion".

    Our plan is to stay in the Mansion until the grand kids no longer want to visit grandma and grandpa any more. But one thing we are NOT going to do - sell the home and travel the country in a motorhome. Crazy!!

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    1. Just the thought of living in a tent in Utah in the winter makes me shudder, which I'm sure he did...a lot.

      I'm with you on living in a motor home.

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  15. If you think itsy bitsy is 2000 sq feet...we went from a two story 2300sf to just under 1600 sf...with this economy it is best to simplify and lighten the load...I know moving is a nightmare...but when it is done, you will feel so much "lighter".

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    1. I think I have this little fear of being in our smaller house with it crammed to the hilt with bigger house stuff. You are right -- the whole point is to feel "lighter".

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  16. Moving can be a true nightmare. Going from a larger home to a smaller can prove problematic. Over time one collects cherished peices of furniture, art and sentimental items. Which ones to keep, sell or donate to charity. We're considering going to a smaller home from 5600sf to 4500sf, just thinking about moving is something I'd rather not do. Having packers and movers swarming around the house like locusts is not one of my desires in life. It seems you and your wife are holding up quite well and taking things in stride. Love yours and her version of moving experiences, like dueling banjos. Best to you and your lovely Marilyn with your move and I'm sure you'll be very happy with each other and your new home once you're moved in.

    Magnolia

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    1. We simply can't contemplate the magnitude of this venture. The best we can do is figure out what step 1 is -- and get that taken care of. Then we will have to sit around over a cup of coffee and ask ourselves, "Now what in the devil is step 2".

      Thank you for joining us.

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  17. I'm a army brat so I've never lived any place longer then 3 years, but I have never gotten tired of the moving. My favorite part had to be when my Dad goes into a part of the house and starts looking through everything and you would hear, "Michelle (my step mom) Why in the hell do we have some much crap! This is your fault you know, you keep everything...What is this!? "It's something you need to put back Peter (My dad) because when Christmas time comes and your looking for blubs to replace the burnt out ones we wont have to go to the store and spend money." My mom always walks out of the room smiling and my Dad will mutter under his breath! Good luck on your move!!

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    1. I'm like your Dad. I am walking around muttering the same thing these days. Too much stuff. Where did it all come from? And I wish that Marilyn would stop always having a quick, logical reply.

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  18. Lol! Wow, that sounds like a lot of work! Understandable that you want to escape, but I'm sure yur wife would love to have your help ;)

    Thanks for keeping me accountable on my blog, everything is fine, I am just having much longer periods of time in which I cannot think of what to write...I also have not had as much time to get my tush outside to take some brilliant photos. Anyway, I will try to be more consistant (as that was and continues to be the goal). I so very much appreciate your bloggy friendship and am glad you checked up on me :) blessings my friend :)

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