The last days in our first home

25Sep17

It’s been more than 20 years since Esteban and I first walked into our house, but the memory is still vivid. The wallpaper and woodwork were yellowed. Brown rings of nicotine stained the ceiling. The puke-green shag carpet reminded me of dead sod — with a path trampled down the middle, to the kitchen. The air smelled dingy and stuffy.

On our first night, as we lay on our futon in the middle of the living-room floor, I wondered out loud whether the house was haunted. Never mind that the former owner had died in Duluth; her presence was still so palpable that I felt like an invader in her home.

But that feeling faded quickly as Esteban and I covered the yellow with white paint. One day I tore up the carpeting, and a few weeks later he refinished the wood floors. I put down new linoleum in the kitchen. He built a new back porch. I refinished the cabinets; he rewired the front porch. We mowed the lawn and raised garden beds and harvested vegetables and shoveled snow and broke up concrete and built a shed and paved a patio.

Memories accumulated as we marked milestones and anniversaries. We grew older together in this house … but we grew happier, too.

And then, one bitterly cold January night, a pipe burst. We came home from vacation to discover that everything we owned — everything we’d worked so hard to build and restore — was ruined. Here’s the before-and-after:

House before and after BLOG

My own home felt like an alien landscape, wild and dangerous like the abandoned buildings I used to explore as a kid.

Stairs to main floor 1050011 BLOG

House on May 4 BLOG

Our insurance company came through for us, though, and we rebuilt. Esteban gave me free rein to design the interior. If I say so myself, it turned out alright.

House composite BLOG

But having such control over the interior of our home threw our lack of control over the exterior into stark contrast: Our neighborhood was changing. Businesses we had frequented for 20 years were being razed for new condo buildings. The area was becoming more congested, with less sense of community.

We were changing, too. The gardens, ponds and patios we had once tended so enthusiastically now felt like a burden. I was overwhelmed by the sheer length of our exterior-maintenance to-do list.

“Maybe we should move to a townhouse or a condo,” Esteban said one day as we surveyed the back yard. About a month ago we signed the purchase agreement — which meant, of course, we’d have to sell our house.

Over the past three weeks we’ve worked furiously on the euphemistic “deferred maintenance” list. We’ve stored half of our belongings, and we’ve cleaned and scrubbed and painted until our home looked newer than when we moved back in.

The diligence paid off: Within 48 hours of hanging a “for sale” sign, we had 18 showings and received six offers. In hindsight, emptying our home of our possessions and filling it with strangers was a therapeutic first step in letting it go.

So was looking through the deed and realizing that lots of other couples have also left this house over the years. It’s comforting sometimes to be reminded of the commonality of life’s milestones, no matter how personal they feel while we’re living them.

Deed writing IMG_2186 BLOG

During my walk this morning I wondered whether Esteban and I will regret our decision. But then I arrived at one of the parks that dot our new neighborhood. As I sat on a bench to watch the sunrise, I marveled at the silence — and at how many people said “good morning” as they walked by.

Park sunrise IMG_6534 BLOG

Change is always hard, but sometimes it’s also good.



162 Responses to “The last days in our first home”

  1. Yes, change is good. 💜

  2. Yup right change is always hard !

  3. As you know, no change or growth without loss. You lived a great life in your past life and will live a great life in your new one because your goodness and character travel with you.

    • 5 Heide

      You say the kindest things, Tom — and the wisest things, too. Thank you for both.

    • Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story made even more so by your excellent photos! I hope you get to use the time you free up to great advantage enjoying new adventures!

      • 7 Heide

        What a kind comment … you’ve made my day. Thank you! (I join you in hoping for more time for new adventures when this is done. 🙂

        • What a lovely thing to say! Being able to make someone’s day is a great feeling. I’m sure you will create many new adventures and I hope you will share them on your blog!

  4. There does come a point where old-house maintenance and large-yard upkeep become a drag. It’s a good sign it’s time to go. But it truly is hard to let go of the memories a place carries.

    • 10 Heide

      Exactly, Jim … you understand. There are one hundred rational reasons for leaving the house, but my heart is lagging a bit in making the adjustment. How are YOU settling into your new digs?

      • Slowly. There’s been some personal-life drama that has taken a lot of time and energy for us, and so we are still not significantly unpacked. So it goes.

        • 12 Heide

          Oh, Jim … I’m sorry about that temporary setback to your move. But you’re so right: So it goes. I hope everything will settle down soon so you can finish settling in!

    • What do you mean it’s a sign it’s time to go ? Why would you leave your home instead of repairing it ?

      • 14 Heide

        But we *did* repair our home! If you scroll down a bit you can see the photos of the new interior. It’s an old house, though, so it requires a lot of maintenance — and as we get older we’re less keen to climb tall ladders and shovel snow.

  5. It’s always a pleasure to read your post, Heide. Oh, you have been going through all kinds of weather with your house! You are both doing so well, moving house is a strain for everyone involved. I’m sure you are going to love your new home. Gongratulations! Fresh, green neighbourhood and friendly neighbours. That’s what I love about Norfolk too. In London noone talks to you on the street, in Cley everyone says hello.

    • 16 Heide

      I love your description of “going through all kinds of weather” with our house, Dina — it’s so true! But I am very much looking forward to the change of environment in favor of green spaces and friendly neighbors who say hello. Like you! 🙂 Thank you so much for stopping by.

  6. Feel the same (a bit) about our house and HUGE garden – Wish I could be so rigorous about ‘storage’ renting. Hero Husband insists that I put it AWAY for good (some 1800 books, same amount of DVDs, etc.). Are total slaves of our garden, feel less enthusiastic about spending tons of money for its keep…. but the house itself and the surrounding are so truly beautiful – it is an paradise island. Will see…. I shall keep this post in my mind for a later date, might give me a much needed input!
    Your last para is the BEST – was two days in Lyon (live just outside of Paris) and felt the same as you describe, friendly people, a beautiful, beautiful city, helpful everybody – felt like falling in love again and certainly felt like moving tomorrow…. (not likely…., sadly)

    • 19 Heide

      No matter where we live, we must always make some compromises … don’t you think, Kiki? It’s either the work and time of maintaining a garden or the expense of paying condominium fees. But the important thing is that we are enjoying our lives on the whole — and from the way you’ve described your home and garden in the past that certainly seems to be the case! Perhaps one day I also shall describe my little apartment as “paradise island.” :). Thank you so much for stopping by!

  7. Change is so challenging, but so ongoing and consistent, it’s great when we can move right into it and surf the next wave. It sounds exciting to be creating a new home, community, and viewpoint. I hope you’ll post more great pictures of the process!

    • 21 Heide

      I love your surfing analogy, Lara — it’s so apt as a reminder that you can either fight the waves or change, or you hop on and enjoy the ride. I’ve been trying to focus my thoughts on everything we stand to gain with this move (more free time, more community, more outdoor green space) instead of mourning what we’re giving up (more interior space, and the autonomy of owning our home). And I do promise to post a few more photos of the process — because I’m actually quite proud of how much we’ve crammed into a tiny storage locker. 🙂 Thank you so much for stopping by!

  8. Heide,

    Such a beautiful post. It’s never too late to open ourselves up to new possibilities. I love the idea of shedding the old to make room for the new…whether they be people, places or experiences. (The photos are gorgeous!)

    Diane

    • 24 Heide

      Your observation about “shedding the old to make room for the new” is so true. It can be hard to consciously let go of places and things that hold sentimental value, but it’s an essential part of being open to new experiences, isn’t it. Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words, Diane!

  9. Wow what a lovely story! Are you moving far? Change is good I say. Good luck with everything. Thanks for sharing this. 🙂

    • 26 Heide

      We are moving only about one mile, but it’s such a different vibe that we might as well be moving to another state. It’s really exciting and I really can’t wait! But as you know from your extended travels, figuring out the logistics can be daunting when you really *can’t* take it all with you. 😉 Thank you for the encouragement, and for stopping by!

  10. Leaving your home for a new one is always a mentally taxing experience, at least it has been for me. There is always the question about will the new owners take care of it, and indeed love it, the way you did. And how will you fit in in the new neighborhood. But moving into that new home always seems exciting.

    I’m on my third house. Been there now for about 8 years. I still love it, but still have a long list of things to “fix” from the original house inspection that I will probably not get around to until we sell. Still love the house, but the neighborhood is changing. It’s still residential, but the most the neighbors I liked have moved on – how come that is the case, why don’t the ones I don’t particularly like move (like the next-door neighbor who insists the neighborhood is infested with rats because I don’t pick up the dog poop everyday and the rats eat it)?

    Anyway, I’ve rambled enough. Thanks for sharing. You did a nice job on the forced interior remodel BTW.

    • 30 Heide

      It’s remarkable how perfectly you’ve given voice to my thoughts, Joe: Because I really *have* been hoping that the new owners will take good care of the house, and worrying about fitting in with the neighbors in our new place.

      But your second paragraph helped reaffirm my decision to move: After a while those “fixes” that never got fixed really started to weigh on me, as did the sense that the neighborhood was changing into a more urban, rental-driven environment. I do feel for you with that one fellow next door and his theories about rats, though … he sounds like a real unique piece of work!

      Well, as I keep reminding myself, it’s never going to be perfect, is it, and we’re always going to have to compromise something. As long as we’re both about 80% happy on the whole with our living arrangements I’d say we’re doing ok, eh?

      Thank you so much for stopping by, Joe, and for sharing your own experiences.

  11. Wow beautiful and congrats , masdive achievement

  12. I hope the change works for you.

  13. I can see why your house was your home for so many years–but change is inevitable. Good luck settling into your new community, your new home. I bet–as always–you and Esteban will make your move turn out for the best.

    • 36 Heide

      Thank you for your kind and encouraging words, Patti. I do think that — once we’ve figured out the logistics and the dust has settled — this change will indeed be for the best. If nothing else, it has forced us to finally clean out the basement! 🙂

      • HA. Good luck cleaning out the basement. That is rather like the fibber-mcgee closets I have at my place–and they are impossible.

        • 38 Heide

          Thanks for the good wishes, Patti! We’re going to need them, because our basement has become a supersized “junk drawer” over the years. Fortunately The Husband is very motivated to live a life of leisure in a condo, so I have hope that all the carpet remnants and vacuum cleaner parts and goodness-knows-what-else will soon be liberated back into the world. 🙂

  14. “that’s life” in the words of Mr Frank Sinatra …. what a wonderful home and what an amazing photos of your life project but now pastures new and more adventures and blogs !!! thanks for sharing x

    • 40 Heide

      Thank you for putting that Sinatra song in my head … I will carry it with me today as a reminder to roll with the punches, JJ. Thank you also for your compliments on the photos! Once we’re settled in I hope to have A LOT more time for photography. That alone will be worth all the trouble. Thank you so much for stopping by!

  15. I think some of us become more attached to a house because of its role a “home” – at least I do. We have been in our home for 24 years and there are many of the reasons you mention for moving on to something new. But I’m not ready. And because our neighborhood is stable there is nothing forcing me. So I hope to stay awhile longer.
    I am glad that it is working for you and hope that your new place will become everything you are looking for.

    • 42 Heide

      May I tell you something in confidence, JP? I’m not entirely ready to make the move either — in part because I’m naturally change-averse, and there isn’t a truly compelling reason to move (aka, “nothing forcing me”). But I’ve noticed of late that more and more of the heavy lifting on home repairs is falling to my husband — and that he’s not enjoying the handyman stuff like he used to. So I guess as long as the husband is willing, the household will stand. 🙂 Here’s wishing you as many more happy years in your home as you want.

  16. Hi Heide, First time i am reading your blog!, beautifully described your feelings and thoughts. definitely agree with you.. life is full of changes! and we all cope up with it. Hope you love your new home and have the best time ever!

    • 44 Heide

      Thank you so much for stopping by, and especially for taking the time to leave your kind comment! I appreciate the good thoughts. 🙂

  17. Someone once used the word “panache” to describe things about our house and I hated it (always found it to be sort of a goofy word) but I’m going to use it on you since we have a black and white clawfoot tub exactly like the one in your picture above. We never use it because climbing in-and-out is such a pain in the neck.

    So I think it’s clearly for the best you’re moving, now. You already had that terrible fall in Paris and either you or Esteban (or a humiliating package deal such as Valentines Day gone very wrong) were bound to slip and hurt yourselves getting out of that ridiculous tub, eventually.

    • 46 Heide

      I don’t know why, but I hate the word “panache” in all its uses and forms — and especially when applied to a house. Or undergarments, for that matter.

      Speaking of house-insults: At least your house hasn’t been called “quaint,” as ours was. I’m hoping they meant to type “quiet” and just missed by a couple of letters.

      As for that antique tub: GET OUT!! That is *crazy.* Clearly we both have exceptional taste in bathroom fittings. You’re right about the safety considerations, though — especially now that I’m getting older and am less able to resist the sweet siren song of gravity. It’s probably a good thing that the new place only has showers, and that they’re outfitted with orthopedic grab-bars. (To my horror, that last sentence is actually true.)

      Well, life is full of compromises, isn’t it?

      Thank you for stopping by and for always bringing a huge smile, dear T-Fir.

  18. Condolences on the burst pipe. I can’t imagine the disruption that caused. We did a planned remodel a dozen years ago, and that was stressful enough. You did a beautiful job remodeling your home, both in the photos above, and I’m sure after you first moved in, too. Ah, green carpet. I remember it well. I like clean lines and open spaces, large windows, all of it. I could happily live in your lovely home. Life is surely about trade-offs. It will take time to fall in love with your new home, and time to adjust to the changes. A lot of people refer to this as right sizing: finding the right size and space for your current lifestyle. I applaud you for moving forward. I also celebrate your love of home and garden and understand the sense of loss as you say goodbye to a home that holds so many memories. The beauty of memories, though, as that they are yours to keep forever. Having photos from along the way helps, too.

    I really enjoyed looking closely at the design and what fun to read parts of that old deed. Perhaps you’ll leave a copy of this blog post in an envelope for the new owners to find in a cabinet or drawer. Knowing how you loved this house will be a gift to the new occupants. Wishing you energy and patience as you work your way through the next steps.

    The park bench awaits. xo

    • 48 Heide

      Thank you for your lovely and perceptive comment, dear Alys. We really are two peas in a pod, aren’t we — because you’ve beautifully described so many of the things I value and appreciate about my old house. You’ve also invoked my husband’s wise mantra: “We’ll leave the house, but we’ll keep the memories.” As for the new occupants … well, I’m trying not to think too much about the future, because I’m not sure the new owners will appreciate my old house (certainly not enough to read an old blog post …). Better to focus on the things I *can* control, like packing — and finding more time for that park bench! Thank you for coming along with me on this journey. xoxo

      • I’m so happy to be with you on this journey, as I once again am amazed at the friendships to be found via blogging.

        Moving is hard work and packing is tedious, but in the end, you’ll clear out unwanted items as you make room for your new life. That park bench is waiting for you. xo

        • 50 Heide

          “I once again am amazed at the friendships to be found via blogging.” Hear, hear! And yours is especially precious, lovely Alys. Thank you for your kind words, and especially for your reminder to keep my eye on that park bench of a prize! xo

  19. Ahhh this gave me all the feels! It was also something that I really needed to read today so thank you! I especially connected with:
    “It’s comforting sometimes to be reminded of the commonality of life’s milestones, no matter how personal they feel while we’re living them.”
    It is sooo true. Sometimes we feel so alone when going through things, but the fact is we are rarely alone. Different journeys yes, but there is always someone who has experienced something similar before you. We are never alone.
    Thank you for that reminder and congratulations and best wishes on your new condo and starting a new journey! ❤

    • 52 Heide

      I’m really pleased and honored that phrase spoke to you as it did — because it’s easy to feel a bit lonely when we’re going through tough times, isn’t it? I hope that love and friendship will always find their way to you, both in good times and in sad. xoxo to you …

  20. Orthopedic grab bars? The ADA rocks and so do you!

    P.S. Panache? Heh-heh-heh……

  21. ‘change is hard but good’ is so true. Two years ago we left a house we had lived in for over thirty years. It was built in 1865 and needed a lot of work doing to it. I spent the first five years decorating throughout, putting up plaster coving, fitting a kitchen, building a wall, laying a patio, designing and making shelving and cupboards. Looking back I don’t know how I managed it all. Over the years the house aged and so did we. It was had to maintain but we couldn’t bear to leave it – it was where the children grew up. Finally we made the decision to move. There were months of clearing out, disposing of stuff, slimming down. We found a house we loved, ours sold in 24hrs of going on the market. It was a huge change but we are delighted we summoned the courage to make it happen.

    • 58 Heide

      I can’t tell you how relieved I am to hear of your experience, Andy — so many of the feelings you describe here echo my own. (Especially the looking back and not knowing how we managed all that work!) I will cling to your last sentence in the coming month, as we finish emptying the house and finalize our move. I hope that in a couple of months from now I will describe myself as “delighted” too. Thank you so much for stopping by!

      • I do hope your move goes smoothly, Heide. Moving house is reckoned to be one of the major stressful events in life. If your heart is in it and you know your are doing the right thing then that is half the battle won.

        • 60 Heide

          Thank you for the great sense of perspective and for the kind words of encouragement, Andy. I’m only about 80% sure we’re doing the right thing, but close enough. There are always compromises in every situation, aren’t there …

  22. I so like the Black & White pictures!

  23. Well said! Your photos are beautiful. Our family had to rebuild after a devastating fire – change is SO hard, but often good. Thanks for sharing! Best wishes as you move!

    • 64 Heide

      My heart goes out to you and your family — “devastating” is the perfect word to describe the aftermath of a fire. But I hope you were able to rebuild and eventually settle back in? Thank you so much for stopping by, and for your kind words of encouragement.

      • Thank you – It was a few years ago, and we did rebuild. It was a tough time, but I think our family is stronger because of it! I wrote about it if you’re interested! https://afreshbrewedfaith.com/2015/06/18/my-story-part-1-from-the-ashes/ 🙂 Thanks again!

        • 66 Heide

          Wow … your post and photos were just heartbreaking! It was gut-wrenching to read about your experience (in part because it brought back my own) but I’m happy you and your family made it through that dark time. And as you say, these “trials by fire” make us stronger, don’t they? Thank you very much for sharing your link …

          • Thank you so much for reading, Heide, and for your kind words! I agree that a support group for things like this would be a great idea! I was thankful for a great doctor who suggested writing as therapy. It was perfect for me. Blessings on you and your family!!

  24. Change is good
    😏

  25. Go with the change.. Good for you!

    • 70 Heide

      I will try to imitate nature in this case and go with the flow. Thank you for stopping by, and for your encouragement!

  26. I loved reading every single word of this familiar little story that carries a lot of meanings .. perhaps carries a life time

    Thank you for allowing us to wonder through this .. thank you for reminding us that’s okay to change .. may be it brings a lot waiting

    • 72 Heide

      Thank you for your kind comment — I’m glad and honored this post spoke to you. And thank you also for reminding me back that it’s OK to change. I needed that reminder today. 🙂

  27. Enjoyed reading. And the house was done up very well. Professional touch with personal feelings

    • 74 Heide

      Thank you very much for your kind compliments! I think you’ve summed up the interior of our house beautifully — and I will miss that combination terribly.

  28. Even though our last house was rented, the thought of ever moving broke me to tears. Clearly not ready! But then the weight and restrictions of living in a house that would never be truly our home eroded that fear and this year we were finally able to move into our own home. And, like you, we’ve only moved a mile away. Yes it was scary, it was unknown, it was a huge commitment, but we’ve not once looked back 🙂 We spent a long time discussing the things we might miss from our old place and so are braced for that, all the while reminding ourselves of all the positives from moving. I can understand how much harder it must’ve been when you’d put so much of your heart, blood, sweat and tears into your house. And now all that investment has enabled you to move on to a new chapter. This post really resonated with me. Wishing you all the best in your new home.

    • 76 Heide

      Thank you SO MUCH for your lovely and buoying comment … it’s extremely comforting to read all the parallels in your story, and to hear that it all turned out ok for you. Your statement that “… now all that investment has enabled you to move on to a new chapter” spoke to me especially. I’ve been struggling with walking away from all the money and time that we invested in rebuilding the house — but you’re absolutely right that all that energy is making the next chapter possible. Thank you … and my best wishes to YOU too in your new home!

  29. All those have seen is so nice and beautiful…. I like to get in touch with you and know more about you…

    • 78 Heide

      You’re always welcome to stay in touch here! Thank you for stopping by. 🙂

  30. My favorite line…we not only grew older but happier too! If any house provides you that – It’s a blessing.
    We are in our second home and there is lot to maintain – grass, garden, Apple tree, deck…by the way Mike the handy man just finished staining the deck – it looks new.
    As we age our priority changes and blessed are those who GOD has provided Garden in the backyard and a Bookshelves in the den.
    Your story is strong and so is the comments. I enjoyed reading both.
    PS: I have a friend who keeps a separate maintenance money for the house aside like a 100 dollars and use it when required. I like the idea!

    • 80 Heide

      I’m honored and happy my words resonated with you! Congratulations on your like-new deck … isn’t it satisfying to see what a bit of “elbow grease” can accomplish? And thank you also for the reminder to be GRATEFUL for my blessings, which are many. I’m also grateful you stopped by and took the time to comment. Thank you!

  31. Change is always bittersweet. Good luck to you, on your new chapter!

    • 82 Heide

      Bittersweet is the perfect word, Ruby. Thank you for stopping by, and for your kind wishes.

  32. Look at all that green. Memories always stay dear to your heart when attached with emotion.-Dr.K

  33. I dread the emotions that will come the day we decide to let go of our home. We have also had so many milestones in our home. I loved this post. Encouraging for the future.

    • 86 Heide

      It really is tough to let go of a treasured place, Asimuel … but if it’s of any reassurance to you, it’s getting easier as we empty it and pack away our belongings. It’s a symbolic reminder that we’ll carry the memories with us wherever we go. I hope you will find the same, whenever it comes time for you to make the same decision. Thank you so much for stopping by!

  34. Oh! I really liked this. We moved my MIL to a condo from a house she had lived in for 47 years! It was such a daunting job. She loves her new condo.

    • 88 Heide

      Yes, indeed … “daunting” seems like a perfect word for it. Also “endless” and “exhausting,” yes? But how kind of you to help your MIL move — and how encouraging too to hear she loves her new place. Thank you so much for stopping by!

  35. You will create more memories in your new home I am sure

  36. Scary but amazing. Enjoy your new chapter!

  37. wonderful writing technique and beautiful imagery.

  38. I love the changes, that’s why prefer to have a 360 degree change with zero experience than gradual change.

    Love the new neighbourhood of yours. The greenery is so pleasant to see early in the morning!

    • 96 Heide

      I wish I were as bold as you sound! But I struggle with change sometimes (especially one so big as selling a home) so I’m trying to focus on the positives — like that beautiful park. Glad you liked it too! 🙂

  39. Loved the feel of transformation in your writing (and of course the photos). My parents just discussed with me selling of the house I grew up in, and it was hard. So much goes into it…it is not a house but rather it’s been transformed into a home. Great writing.

    • 98 Heide

      My heart goes out to you, Dalo … I still remember driving away from my family home for the last time after my parents sold it — I felt like something had been amputated, maybe because the decision wasn’t my choice. But if it’s of any reassurance, the sadness didn’t last too long once we started making memories as a family during our visits to their new home. I hope you and your family will have the same experience. And as always, thank you very much for stopping by!

      • It is just discussion right now…but yes, it is inevitable. Change is what it is, sad yet also invigorating and necessary. You are wise to embrace it like you have 🙂

        • 100 Heide

          My embrace of change is tighter some days than others, Dalo. But there really is something freeing and comforting when you accept the inevitability of something and ask yourself, “How will I adapt and make the best of this new situation?” I hope there will be many such comforting positives for you when the time comes for your parents to make the move.

  40. Beautiful post! Change can be bittersweet but still amazing!!

    https://organizational-bliss.com

  41. Also blessings and good luck for the new chapter of your life!!

  42. Best wishes on the new leg of your journey. Thanks for sharing this!

    • 105 Heide

      I like your description of this change as a “new leg.” Thank you very much, Matt!

  43. Hope you like your new place. The old house did look nice at least from the inside. You had done a very good decoration job. Maybe we should think of hiring you Heide!?

    • 107 Heide

      Wow, Yann … what a compliment you’ve paid me. Thank you! Unfortunately the exterior wasn’t quite as nice, which is part of why we’re moving. But once I’m settled in I’ll gladly take on other decorating jobs. 😉

  44. It seemed like traveling with you through the journey of your memory. Glad to have come across your blog

  45. Beautiful story ❤️

  46. I can’t even imagine living in the same house for 20 years. So cool.
    I’ve moved over 40 times and I’m only 33. ☹️

    • 114 Heide

      You’ve moved more than 40 times?!! That’s incredible. I can’t even begin to imagine how stressful that would be. But I also imagine you have it down to a science by now?

      • Well if by science you mean sell lots of stuff, throw most everything in random boxes, yeah – I’ve got it down. LOL 😂
        In reality it’s more than that, but that’s what it feels like. We’ve sold off a lot and given away even more – it’s freeing in a way. But I’m so done with moving.

        • 116 Heide

          Sorry about the delay in replying — I’ve been following your example of selling random things and throwing the rest into (mostly unlabeled) boxes. It will be such a fun surprise in a couple of weeks to open them and find out what we still own. Wheee!! 😀 You’re right that it’s freeing in a way, but also exhausting. I hope you’ll get to finally settle down for a while soon.

  47. Change 😊

  48. It looks beautiful! You did a wonderful job!

  49. Heide, I hope I’m not annoying you bc I come back to this post once more….. merci!
    I thought of you a few times lately, I’m thinking about moving, mostly because I REALLY don’t want to live here forever, and I am not the youngest and fittest anymore, and the garden is killing me and and and! I’d rather read another book or two more per week and now, just back from the veranda, where I replanted a few now empty pots has nearly put my back out – there is so much work and so little help.
    Yesterday amongst friends we talked about those beautiful, wonderful, and totally impractical claw-foot bath tubs – Yep, got one, love it and it has been used one single time in over 9 years, for a dear, fragile 91yr old friend who just never used a shower on its own, only ever bathed. I was sweating blood and tears and barrels of Angst to get our friend in and out of the tub (yes, with a ladder and my shortish arms were nearly insufficiently long to wash her – and I’m breaking out in a sweat right now thinking of that episode). Incientally, I phoned with her today and she literally told me How fond she is of the wonderful experiences she had when we had her here for her last visit abroad! Might she have thought of that bath? Hopefully not….
    Then, my sister moved from a house to an appartment and they too had garages, garden sheds, basements and storage to empty, to give away, to throw stuff away. She told me it nearly killed her (and she’s 5yrs younger than me). I look at my beautiful home and see all the things it needs to have done, some waiting since we bought it, others that HAD to be done are now well ‘worn in’, and often I find myself sighing. I still see all the beauty of it, the features, the fresques, the parquet floors, the 100yr old tiles and the ones that are broken, or so dirty that they cannot ever be clean again and I wonder: Do I need that? At my age? IF we could find a buyer who loves this place and the garden as much as we do, I think I would be able to walk away with only fond memories. If I have to stay here for many more years, it might become unbearable…. You took the right decision, so did my sister, and who knows, a well heeled lover of a Post Victorian stone pile with a wild garden and tons of original features might turn up on our doorstep and save it for them…. Sorry to go on, I shut up now 🙂 When is your move?

    • 121 Heide

      You are not in the least annoying me, Kiki — in fact I greatly appreciate your thoughtful comments. Your description of how you are starting to see your house echoes my own, in the last couple of years: Instead of seeing beloved old spaces, I saw things that needed work, and after a while the list started to feel oppressive. To make matters worse, my husband and I are physically less able to fix things than when we were younger, and we’re not wealthy enough to hire help for everything. It’s a difficult decision no matter the circumstances but I think you’d be very lucky indeed if you could walk away with only fond memories of your beloved old house. (Wouldn’t that also be a beautiful epitaph for our lives? “I have only fond memories.”) Anyway, if all goes as planned we’ll be out of our house this weekend. Wish us luck. 🙂

  50. Wow, those demolition pictures are crazy!

    • 123 Heide

      Agreed! When I look at them I still can’t believe that was actually the inside of our house for a while.

  51. With your capacity to find and create beauty, you would definitely make any place lovely and your home. Your old home is lovely and I am sure your new one would be too.

    • 125 Heide

      What a beautiful comment. Thank you for your kind words! I will strive always to live up to the lovely impression you have of me. 🙂 Thank you so much for stopping by, and especially for your encouragement.

  52. Oh i love that house. I don’t know if i can leave my home like that. I’m way too love my simply house.

    • 127 Heide

      Thank you! I love my house also and will find it difficult to leave when the time comes. But in life sometimes we have to let go of the old to make room for the new, don’t we? Thank you so much for stopping by!

  53. Beautifully written memoir Heide. You did a wonderful job designing the interior. Letting go is hard and we can only imagine how hard this is for both of you. We too are learning life is a series of letting go and each one brings new vistas. We are proud of you and the path you are walking that is teaching us.

    • 129 Heide

      I’m so sorry for my delay in replying to your kind comment, Audrey — and from being absent so long from your lovely blog as well. But your wise words hit their target with perfect timing today, as we pack the last of our belongings and spend our last week in our house. You have reminded me that sometimes in life we can’t make room for the new unless we let go of the old. I will think of you every day in the week ahead when the inevitable little pangs of sadness hit. My warmest regards to you and Tom, and I look forward to rejoining you soon and catching up on YOUR journey.

      • You will both be in our prayers as you move forward.

        • 131 Heide

          Thank you so much for your sweet note, Audrey … and a huge apology that it’s taken me an inexcusable SIX WEEKS to reply. It’s been very hectic, but we’re supposed to move into our new place this weekend so hopefully things will settle down soon and I can get back to being the good blog-friend you deserve. Hope all is well with you!

  54. I am going to move out of my home soon as well. I’ve lived in this home my entire life, 24 years! I know the emotions you feel are difficult because I feel the same. Good luck to you and your future adventures!

    • 133 Heide

      Leaving your childhood home is hard, Daniofish … it contains literally a lifetime of memories in your case! But another wise reader just reminded me that sometimes we have to let go of the old to make room for the new — and I hope your “new” will bring many happy new memories. Thank you for stopping by!

  55. As someone who’s had to move multiple times in her life, this was beautifully put. A beautiful piece of writing!

    • 135 Heide

      How kind of you, Catherine. Thank you very much for making my day with your lovely comment!

      • Thank you! I think I just found one of my new favorite blogs 🙂

        • 137 Heide

          I expect this is no longer one of your new favorite blogs as it takes the author SIX WEEKS to reply to your kind comments. I’m so sorry, Catherine … life has been crazy over here! But thank you. And right back at you! I look forward to getting back into the sing of blogging soon and catching up with your posts. Cheers to you!

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  57. Thanks for sharing. Change is so hard, yet can be so gratifying in the end.

  58. Enjoyed reading and loved the pictures.. very well written👌😊

  59. The picture of the before and after it completely broke my heart… We are like ants, all the time rebuilding what it has been destroyed. Apart from that, I moved 3 times in the last 6 years (a nightmare) and every time I moved I had the feeling that I was breaking a relationship. So it was hard, but at the end, every change was for better. Where I live now I feel much more comfortable than in the previous flats, but I really have lovely memories of all of them. Thanks for your post, it moves me!

    • 145 Heide

      ¡Saludos, querida Penelope! I am so ashamed it’s taken me a month to see and reply to your lovely comment. But as you have moved three times in the past six years (GASP!) you can certainly imagine the upheaval of leaving a house filled with 27 years of possessions and memories. I’m very glad to read that you’re comfortable in your new home, though — and that you also have fond memories of your previous flats. I hope I will be as fortunate as you once all the dust settles. Anyway. Thank you for your encouragement, and I look forward to checking in soon and catching up on your wonderful blog. Cheers to you!

  60. WOW! You’ve done a big change! Well done! 👍🏻

    • 147 Heide

      Yes indeed, Ms. Tulipe. And finally we get to move into our new home this weekend. It will be a lot of work, but I can’t wait! Thank you for stopping by.

  61. Changes can indeed be hard, but they are also liberating. We do get attached to our homes don’t we…

    • 149 Heide

      Please forgive my terrible delay in replying, Otto. There’s been a lot of upheaval over the past month, but hopefully this weekend we’ll start moving into our new home. I hope condominium living will indeed be as liberating as I hope so I can get back to reading your wonderful blog and being inspired by your photography! My best to you, and my thanks for your kind comment.

      • Thanks, Heide. Don’t worry about the delay. It’s not that blogging requires us to be present all the time. After all real life happens, too. 🙂 I hope you will start to enjoy your new home.

        • 151 Heide

          Your hopes are coming true, Otto — we’re GREATLY enjoying settling into our new home. Upending and time-consuming though it may have been, the move was worth all the trouble. And now … let’s see what Otto has been up to these past eight weeks, shall we? 🙂 Thank you for your kind and supportive words.

          • I am happy yo read that you enjoy your new home. It always takes time to settle in, doesn’t it!

            • 153 Heide

              It does indeed take time to settle in, Otto — and it’s the little things, like hanging curtains, that seem the most time-consuming! But one box at a time we’ll get there.

  62. 154 Pierre P.

    Hi ! Just passing by to say hi ! Quite a long time since I last read of you 🙂 Hope you’re doing well.

    • 155 Heide

      You are SO THOUGHTFUL, Pierre. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to acknowledge your kind comments. All is well … just very busy. I hope you’ve been well too? I will pay you a little visit and see for myself, I think. 🙂

    • 156 Heide

      Pierre ! Je m’excuse … c’est moi encore. Je viens de chercher ton blog mais ce n’existe plus. C’est vraiment dommage; tu me manqueras ! Je serai triste de ne voir plus tes belles photos ni de lire des petits morceaux de ta vie. Mais j’espère que tout va OK et que tu trouveras des nouveaux endroits pour partager tes admirables photos et pensées. Si tu veux rester en contacte mon addresse email est hmunro point wordpress arobase gmail point com. My best to you!

  63. “Change is always good, but sometimes hard” LOVE. Change is so hard, to begin a new chapter we must step into the scary to discover the beautiful new memories and stories to be told. ❤

    • 158 Heide

      I’m so sorry it’s taken me two weeks to reply to your kind comment! But thank you so much for stopping by, and for your thoughtful and encouraging words as my husband and I move into our new home this weekend and start making new memories in a new place. Cheers to you!

  64. 159 RAJ JODHPUR

    Thanks you for giving… valuable information

  65. We have lived for 17 years in our house and recognize some of the changes you describe… I hope we can separate ourselves in the same good spirit…

    • 162 Heide

      What a kind comment, Björn! I’m glad the post conveyed our good spirits — and i’m happy to tell you it was well worth all the work! I hope that when (if) your time to move comes the outcome will be as positive for you as it was for us.


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