With the walls clean and white, and the linoleum and carpet almost gone, it’s starting to feel more like we could live here.
Sure, it’s our house on paper. It’s our house because we came in the front door using the keys and started taking down wallpaper (let’s be honest, we took a few pulls at the wallpaper before we ever signed those papers because, damn, it was awful). But for the first week or two, it still felt like someone else’s house.
And it really kinda was. Generations of one family lived in the house for the last 100 years. And despite the fact that it’s been sitting empty for the past two, it wasn’t empty of stuff. Two old TVs, a large – and thankfully empty – trunk, a 12” plastic Jesus Christ bust – fading in color and surveying the kitchen from above the sink, a wooden-handled toilet scrub brush on the bathroom wall (and also, a very strange odor), and an old jewelry box that had seen better days…just to name a few things.
If you’re wondering why the house wasn’t cleared out before we closed, well, that’s a long story. It has to do with the basement. Lou wanted to go through the treasures in the basement once we owned it, so we told the sellers that they could leave that stuff and just clean out the upstairs. To which the seller’s agent at first said yes, but then said, “You can’t pick or choose, they’ll take it all or they won’t take anything.”
I guess they were told to just leave it all. I don’t remember that conversation… Needless to say, they still came and cleaned out some of the “good stuff” from the basement, upsetting Lou, and leaving all the shit upstairs, upsetting me. I did not want to have to deal with the bust of Jesus on my own. Dude has been watching over this kitchen for who knows how many decades. Which is why he is still there despite other stuff being removed, and why he may just be put into the back of the new cabinets when the time comes…
But some of the stuff that was left in the house makes me a little sad. I can’t help but think as we remove grab bars that they were installed for someone’s grandmother who depended on them. Breaking down the jewelry box and throwing it into the Bagster – I had to imagine the woman who owned it to be a horrible, evil person.
I guess Lou and I balance each other out. When I mentioned to him that it didn’t feel like our house yet, he replied matter-of-factly that yes, it is our house. Of course it’s our house. And then proceeded to tear down another homemade window covering. Meanwhile, I talk to the house like I would talk to a pet, saying it’s going to be okay and that, despite the mess and destruction currently going on, we’re going to make her all pretty and new.
But really, it’s amazing what white paint and bulbs greater than 15 watts can do for a place. I give you, the first Before and After.
Did you see the two TVs in the Before picture? They’re actually still upstairs, they’re just behind the now-grey doors. I scheduled a trash pick-up for them and then forgot to put them curbside. Oops.
It finally feels like we could live here. And next week, the floors get their much-needed transformation. And then, we finally will move in. And live here. For reals.
But first, we will have to pack up the apartment. Crap.