Friday, July 25, 2014

Home Sweet Home

Sorry I've been MIA, but this last week has been pretty crazy for me. 

About a month ago my parents let me know that they were planning on putting their (our) house on the market. The house I grew up in. We moved in when I was two and I never knew another place as home when I was growing up. I was upset when they told me they were thinking about selling, but I honestly didn't put too much stock in it. They have said they were going to sell many times over the years, and they never do it. They usually end up just doing some kind of renovation on the house. 

Imagine my surprise when they actually called and told me they had listed it….. and imagine my surprise/despair/sadness when four days later they called to tell me it had sold.

I understand it's what works for them right now. It's a good time to sell, they want to retire and they want to be able to travel more and spend more time with the kids and grandkids. It was a big house for just the two of them, and it was also a half acre lot that required a lot of upkeep.

I understand all that. I do. But it doesn't change the fact that this is my home. It the place I have always know I can come back to. 

It's a beautiful house. My parents have put a ton into it over the last thirty years. I have actually lived in three of the four bedrooms, starting from when I was two and ending when I was 18, graduated high school, and moved out. I had my first drink (gin, stolen from my parents liquor cabinet) in this house. When I was about 6 I wrote on my wallpaper "this is Leah's room and always will be" and subsequently spent a Sunday morning scrubbing it off. I had my first heartbreak in that house. This has always been my home…. and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little devastated at the thought of not being able to go back there.

Anyway, they told me it sold last Friday. We had originally had a trip planned to Reno for Labor Day weekend, but the closing date for the house is September 1st. Fist of all, I didn't want to come to Reno when they were in the process of moving (they are getting a rental for a year while they figure out what their next move it) and second, I wanted… no I needed….. to go home again. I needed a chance to say goodbye to they place that has been a part of who I am since before I can remember.

We scrambled and rearranged schedules and hopped in the car early Friday morning, drove eleven hours, and were there. It was a long drive and a hectic week, but we made it happen. We got to work first thing on Saturday morning, helping my parents set up a garage sale. This was emotional for me, and made it all the more real that this was really happening, but it was good for me to be able to focus on a job. We set stuff our for two days and watched as people came in to give new life to things we had deemed as junk. There was a whole shelf of stuffed animals from my childhood, and I pretty much gave them away to every child who came through, as long as they promised me to give them a good home. I remember trolling garage sales when I was a little kid and coming home with all kinds of treasure, and I can only hope that I made some kids happy and they will create new memories with my old toys.

I could go on for hours about this house. I love it. I love the neighborhood. I love our neighbors, who have also lived there for as long as I have. That's the kind of neighborhood it is. People move in and they stay. The kids I babysat for family still lives to the right of my parents, and the neighbors to the left have been my parents best friends since they moved in twenty eight years ago. They are like family. They are family. The lady across the street has been their forever, I remember watching her daughter get married in their front yard when I was about 8. You can walk down to the river in less then three minutes. The elementary school is about five minutes away. Their is a local coffee shop and a wine shop, both within walking distance. Wherever you go their are people walking their dogs, or running, or riding bikes and they always wave hello. One day this week, when we driving out of the neighborhood we saw a mama deer and her baby frolicking throughout the yards. It's that kind of neighborhood. It's my neighborhood.

The two pictures above were the last bedroom I lived in. Obviously it looks quite a bit different from when I was there. When I lived there the walls were papered with teen magazine cutouts of N'sync and backstreet boys and Brad Pitt. I had bulletin boards with pictures of friends and soccer trophies and candles and pictures frames. You couldn't see the carpet because it was always littered with clothes. It took my parents about a hot minute after I moved out to clean it up, take down Brad, Justin, and the rest of the boys and make it a proper guest room. And I was OK with that, because it was still my room. I know I get to see my two little boys sleeping in there and it makes my heart feel full. Even if L is the strangest sleeper ever! (Yes, that's him with his feet on the wall, and yes, he's fast asleep!)

This is our Christmas tree room. It's the room we weren't allowed to have food in when I was a kid. It was kind of my mom's room, where she read and drank her tea. I've always been in love with the fireplace, even though I don't ever remember lighting it in this room.

This room is now the office, but before I big remodel when I was about ten it was my room. It as my first room in this house. My parents let my put up pink wall paper that head teddy bears and heart on it. It had a Semi walk in closet with a shelf and a light and it was the perfect place to play house. This is the room where I wrote on the wall.

Our Kitchen and dining room. What can I even say. Family breakfast, Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners. My mom used to make me sit at the kitchen table and do my homework so she could make sure I wasn't messing around. I ate breakfast every school morning that I can remember at that kitchen counter. When I was 16 we were having a family dinner at that table and my Grandma spilled the beans that I had gotten my belly button pierced.

This room is probably where I spent most of my time, besides my bedroom. Our family room. The fireplace is now gas, but years ago it was wood burning. I spent many a night laying in front of that fire place reading or watching TV. This is the room where my Dad introduced my to my puppy Sabra. I still remember her running and romping around the room. (Sabra died a few years ago.) The Bar, which all my friends thought was so cool. I remember eating pizza up there with my brother when I was in second grade. I remember stealing liquor and refilling up the bottles with water when I was in high school. When I was in fourth grade we used to have dance parties in the room with our close family friends and our neighbors, the adults drinking wine while the kids put on elaborate shows.

And our backyard. Really, you couldn't ask for a more beautiful backyard. My parents have put so much work into over the years. The patio and fire pit are fairly new, it used to be just a huge expanse of lawn, surrounded by garden and old trees. And it was a lot of lawn. My parents made me mow it about three times before they decided that listening to me complain just wasn't worth it. There used to be an awesome two story tree house in the corner, with a ladder to get up and a slide to get down. It was so cool. My parents tore it down a few years after I graduated, but I have amazing memories of it. When I was growing up we had an in-ground hot tub on the old part of the patio. I spent hours and hours in it. Again, after I left it didn't get used much and they filled it in, but the memories of it are there.  The back of the yard is all old trees and we used to play all kinds of games back there. I'm sure there is all kinds of "buried treasure" from me and my friends scattered throughout the yard. The tree in the first picture is an apple tree. It's L's favorite thing about the house now, he always goes out and pics tons of apples to eat. He doesn't even care if they are sour, he thinks it's so cool to be able to pick them himself.

OK, I think that's it for the house tour. Like I said, I could go on and on. Twenty eight years of memories and experiences is definitely too much for one blog post. And I'm sure this is probably one of the most boring posts for people to read, but I think it will probably be one of the most important ones to me on this blog. I'm not going to lie, I"m sad. Like really sad. I just can't even imagine what it will be like the next time we go home….. but we don't go home. I cried a lot this trip, and I think I"ll probably be sad for awhile. But, the most important thing is the memories that I have, and hopefully the memories that L and L2 will have. R is too young to remember this place, but we have pictures and stories and I will always be able to tell them about where mommy grew up and show them that they were there.

I'll leave you with a few last photos, and I promise that there will be another post coming soon. Although it was a sad trip, it was also an amazing trip and we did a lot of fun things! That post coming soon, I promise!

(Pictures with Gramps on our back patio on our last night)

(Daddy and L2 in front of our apple tree)

(My three boys)

 (A last family photo in front of our fireplace)

And finally, these last photos in front of my home. It was the night before we left, and it's probably the last photos I will have of this house. I'm glad and grateful to S that he took the time to take all these, because I look forward to the days when I'll be able to go through them with the kids…. and maybe even my grandkids…. and tell them about there mommy grew up.

So, goodbye house. Thanks for everything!

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