SOLD!

Our house went on the market Wednesday. We accepted an offer Thursday night. The new owners (barring unforeseen issues) will take possession on July 11.

We moved into this house 24 1/2 years ago. Pregnant with my third baby, it was November, and I vaguely remember the rush to get things in some sort of order before the holidays. I don’t remember very much of the actual process of selling our first home and buying this one, but sometimes I can’t remember what happened 24 hours ago, let alone 24 years ago.

I’m grateful that things went quickly. I didn’t enjoy the phones calls for showings, the need to do multiple spot checks to ensure the rooms were always staged and ready, or the need to remember to turn on every single light in the house to provide that sunny, warm, homey feeling. I wasn’t very good at being polite after making myself scarce for what seemed like an appropriate amount of time only to arrive back home to find an agent and client who were supposed to show up at 3:00 pm, or at 6:00 pm still inside because someone was late, or had the time wrong entirely.

I am pleased with the final agreed upon selling price. We definitely benefited from the fact that the neighbor down the street sold his home for more than his original asking price. That gave us the impetus to price ours a bit higher to start with.

July isn’t far away. So much of the final work with this home will coincide with all the final aspects of my divorce so I feel as if much of life will be a blur for some time. Being the person that I am, I know clearly that I will be on edge until this is all over.

As I sit here now, writing this post and looking around at the freshly painted walls, the familiar scenes outside my windows, the sad and overused furniture, there are memories that come back to me. Most of them involve my kids. I wonder what I will remember of this process 24 years from now. I will be about 82 years old so I doubt any memories I may have will be very clear.

Better, I think, to get started on making some new memories.

Whirlwind

For some time there’s been nothing much to tell. Plodding along each day, waiting. Then, with one phone call, one meeting, the wheels begin to move, things start to take shape, and the to-do list is seeing more checks than empty boxes.

I hesitate to go backwards here, with my words. The working relationship between myself and my soon to be ex-spouse has been congenial. We have a shared goal now, one that ironically has made even simple conversation easier to come by. I have witnessed a willingness in him that previously was buried under mountains of obstinate refusal. One thing that has not changed however, is the very way we approach the getting things done part of all this. Simply put, we live on opposite ends of the spectrum in that arena.

Saying “I told you so” is counterproductive, but with all the good happening, I fully admit that lurking underneath any positivity, those words were ready and waiting to bubble to the surface. They have, but quietly and directed more to myself as an affirmation that, while outwardly some things can appear to change, the core of who a person is stays steadfast and real.

Being trapped in the immovable  sludge of “let him do it his way” was killing me and so, (here’s the I-told-you-so part) I jumped in, took responsibility once again, and within the past week we have a listing agent, a newly painted interior to our home, clean vinyl siding and deck, and are now only waiting on some landscape bark. Do I want to point out that I have been waiting for all this to happen since… oh- April 1st? I do, but pretend that I didn’t just write that, because you know- positive thoughts and shared goals, right.

My now very real expectation is that this home can finally be listed for sale within the next 7 to 10 days. Our agent is out of town (with my blessing) for vacation, but upon her return we will be ready for pictures, signage, marketing, and offers, offers, offers. I think that I mentioned the house two doors down in a previous post, the one that was listed well above what I thought might apply to our home. I just found out yesterday that it sold (less than 24 hours after listing) for almost $15,000 over asking price!

Real estate is crazy here- too many buyers and too little availability of homes on the market. Fingers and toes crossed that this means an upcoming happy dance for us.

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Busy work

Don’t know that I have all that much to report, but I’m enjoying my morning coffee, on this, an extra day off, and it just seemed like an appropriate time to see what might appear on this screen.

The sun is out, and our weather folk say we might see 70 degrees by Thursday. The sun inspires me to do stuff, and so I’ve been trying to do stuff, mostly just to keep busy and avoid counting every second of this wait-to-be-divorced few months.

So, the major weeds have been pulled, and the tiny weeds have been sprayed. Bark mulch will come at some point because it’s always easier to cover up than put my joints through hell trying to pull every last offending, unwanted foreign invader.

Still we wait on painting. One bid was way more than we intend to spend. We wait on a return phone call from another painter. At the rate things are going, my spouse may be painting these rooms himself. He hates to paint. I am steering clear of the whole thing.

My latest project is cleaning up the rooms that aren’t going to be painted- tackling cobwebs and dust, wiping down doors, just generally trying to make the spaces appear as if they aren’t 25 years old. Today I’m going to start on the under-sink areas. They’re pretty well cleaned out of stuff, but they do look somewhat beaten up and used. The white paint has seen better days, so my answer is to place some of that non-adhesive, grippy shelf-liner stuff down to mask the major scratches and marred areas. mN8slVTn04gwEXAITyd17ag

I purchased a few new entry rugs, and some pillows for the horrid gold couch that my spouse wants to keep and take with him. Of course, those things are waiting until the painting is done.

Time to get busy I suppose.

Oh, and on a bright note- one of my favorite spring activities is happening this coming weekend. The local Historic Homes Tour is back! Alison and I have gone for the last few years and we almost thought we missed it this year. It is supposed to be sunny and mild this Sunday so I think that will be our day to walk, tour, and dream of life in one of these homes. This year apparently they are huge homes, some well over 4000+ square feet. Unfortunately no pictures with that link, just descriptions.

I can hardly wait…

 

Neglect

It is clearly apparent that my head has not been invested in anything much but getting out and away for so very long now.

My spouse has been attempting to get bids to have some of the interior of our shared home painted. This has to be done before it can go on the market for sale. Actually, it’s not that I have had no knowledge that these walls are long past due for a painting, but when you find yourself feeling defeated day after day things like paint don’t really seem to matter.

Some rooms are okay as is, but the majority of the downstairs, and the staircase area itself MUST be painted. The last time new paint touched these areas was when I did the entire house by myself years and years ago. Thankfully the situation isn’t to this point…yet.

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There are also a few outdoor chores to accomplish as well, but the reality is that, after putting a new roof on last summer, the money in our shared savings account has dwindled considerably. Of course, neither of us will/can draw from retirement accounts at this point so our mutual understanding is that we do what we can with what we have left and call it good.

There’s a home two doors down from us just put on the market about 1 week ago. It is our exact home, simply with the floor plan reversed. It was actually the model home way back in 1992 when we toured this development.

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Their home, not ours

This couple has always taken great care with their home and they have listed it at a price higher than I think we can attempt. I’m so very curious though, to see how quickly they can sell. The housing market here, like many places, is booming for sellers, so even though ours will be rather rough I have hope.

Divorce Stories

Since I have all this time on my hands I’ve decided to share some of an interesting/disturbing/disgusting incident surrounding this divorce process.

It was right around the time that I was finally prepared to tell my spouse that it was time to end our marriage. I had made an appointment with our long-time financial planner so that we could get our taxes prepared- close to the end of March it must have been.

I sat down and before anything else, told him that we had agreed to divorce. The man nearly became unhinged. Now this was a person who had come well recommended years ago. We began our relationship with him when both of my parents passed away within a few months of each other and there was inherited money that needed to be dealt with.

We have kept that relationship going for 20 years or so and have had no complaints about how our money has been managed, or how he has helped us navigate through things like college student loan issues for our kids as they all moved through higher ed. This person has always been soft-spoken, knowledgeable, sort of nerdy, definitely focused on facts, and never pushy about any decisions we have made.

I’m not sure that I can even begin to describe the person who presented himself to me on that day in March. It was not the man I had known for 20 years. I understand and acknowledge concern. I comprehend shock over the news that I had just shared. I can even accept, to some degree on his part, a sense of disappointment or failure that the future we had been growing was going to undergo a significant change. I am still in disbelief that I became the victim of a tirade for most of that tax appointment.

I listened to him tell me, over and over, how he had seen the lives of clients fall apart after divorce, how the process would be contentious; how it would be a struggle at best; how it would go on for a year or more; how no matter what we may believe there would always be something that would come up to cause disagreement or even open warfare.

He stressed, almost vehemently, just how much attorney’s set out to line their own pockets, caring little for their clients, and how they clearly delighted in pitting party against party in a divorce.

He felt the need to assure me, repeatedly, that there would not be enough money to live. I assume he was speaking about me (rather than us) with that comment because of the fact that I no longer work and my spouse has an income.

He felt the need to tell me the story of his own parents horrid marriage…tell me 4 times that they were married for over 50 years and readily admit that the marriage should have ended decades earlier…except that they would never have been able to live. They stayed married, living in separate areas of their home until his mother died.

He liked to stress that line, “you won’t be able to live” along with his constant observation that “I’ve seen this so many times” or that “it always happens this way.”

He shared the horror stories of just how much healthcare would cost me each month, based of course on the fact that he supports a family of 4 and that I had only 3 choices of plans. It made no matter to him that neither of those facts applied to me.

He encouraged, between the dire warnings, that my spouse and I go to counseling. Again, it was no interest to him that with each cajoling plea to seek guidance I stressed that we both clearly know our own mind and our decision would not change.

Intermixed throughout all of this was the clear insinuation that I would do myself a great favor if I simply settled in for the long haul, forgot about my own happiness and needs and rode out the rest of my marriage until, like his parents, one of us passed on. He even, without any subtlety or grace, noted that my only alternative was to find myself “someone with money to take care of me.”

**I must inject a note to my dear blogger pal Alice at this point– calm down dear. I have ranted and raged over this man enough for both of us since this day happened. I am almost to the point that I can find a pitiful sense of amusement in the story now. Don’t waste your time or energy.

I had a rather bad cold that day, so I think that much of what he was spouting off about actually didn’t faze me at the time, or I was just more focused on trying to breathe and not cough myself out of the chair. Believe me, I heard his words, over and over, but it wasn’t until the drive home that they actually began to sink in.

A few times during the 45 minute appointment I remember looking at him incredulously. I asked him at one point, after the 3rd time around with his parents story, if he was honestly telling me that I had two choices: stick it out and be miserable for 30 more years, or find myself a cardboard box to live under the local overpass. After a shrug, and likely his interjection of one of his favorite ‘you can’t live on that amount’ replies, I clearly remember telling him I would gladly choose the box.

The irony of that meeting is evident in the fact that nothing that he predicted, at least so far, has come to fruition. We discussed, agreed, moved forward, continue to make progress without lawyers sucking our money from us or being involved at all, have made quite equitable decisions that will allow us both to live, not in a box, but between walls and with a roof, and remain amicable.

I have had to have email contact with him a few times since that day. I remain coolly detached, ask my question, and move ahead. Today in fact, in a reply to me, he managed to throw in one of his favorite statements when answering my question- the one about how he’s seen it happen before, so many times.

My amateur psychology degree tells me that there’s something underlying these reactions. There are some deeper issues here that this man cannot move beyond, that this man must project on to others. Or perhaps he was just a misogynistic horse’s ass all along…

I have to admit that I find myself feeling rather smug during those moments when I can share with him in an email just how easy this process has been, just how smoothly we are moving ahead, just how things like his dire prediction of an $800+ health insurance bill per month will actually be a mere $25 per month- all thanks to my spouse candidly and openly reminding me that I can take advantage of the fact that I am still covered by the military healthcare system, and will be for life.

The best day, I predict, is yet to come. That will be the day when all of this is over and I walk into his office for the last time. I plan to leave him a small cardboard box and perhaps a tarp as my final goodbye gesture prior to firing him as my CPA.

Wanting…and tasting

Are you familiar with that idiom that goes something like “I wanted it so bad I could taste it…”

I oddly remember my mother used to say that sometimes. Right now, it happens to be a great way to describe this divorce process. The wanting to be finished is palpable. Freedom is so close that I can taste the sweetness on my tongue.

Yet we wait. We start down all those new pathways that one must take when they end a part of their existence, yet still have to start living all over again… but we just can’t quite reach the finish line.

There are things to be done, of course. Lots and lots of paperwork, and changes: removing names and connected identities, all sorts of movement from we to me. Some of that can be done now, during the waiting time. A lot of those things are forced to wait as well, and then be accomplished in a flurry of post-final-decree-I-am-single-and-ready-to-get-on-with-my-life-madness.

I don’t wait well. As I just said to someone yesterday, Patience is not a virtue that I claim. I am being forced to wait. I love the state that I live in, or at least I do in all respects except for divorce. In an uncontested divorce with no minor children, whereby every single aspect of married life has been looked over, divided, listed and assigned…whereby every financial detail has been agreed upon…all without lawyers because both parties wanted the divorce equally…my gorgeous-for-it’s-natural-beauty, liberal leaning  state still enforces a 90 day waiting period before a divorce can be finalized.

I have filed forms that were nothing more than 10 pages of ‘check the appropriate box’ responses all referencing our agreement. They sit, signed and stamped, in a file in my county clerks office. I have completed the remaining forms- again, 20 odd pages of checked boxes referencing that very same agreement…waiting for me to stand in front of a judge, assure him that ‘yes, we both want to end this marriage,’ and then watch him place his name on a paper printed from my computer, releasing my spouse and myself.

Do I feel as if we are wasting 90 precious days of freedom? Clearly the answer is yes. I want my own name on my own accounts. I want to find my own new home and not be encumbered by the fact that no one will believe that I will have an income post-divorce because they have no evidence, only my word that ‘the divorce will be final in mid-July.’

I want to change all the we things and make them me things. I want my identity back, fully and completely. Even though I was a fully functional, independent adult before marriage, maintained personal accounts throughout marriage, have an amazing credit score, continued to work during most of the marriage, and can still be considered mentally competent to pay my bills on time and correctly, I am now fully confronted by my social standing as married female.

And I don’t like. But…I will not go off on a feminist inspired tirade, claiming sexism and oppression and marginalization and patriarchy, even though I really, deeply, and sincerely want to.

I will simply reiterate that a 90 day wait period, in this type of divorce, is ridiculous! I would like my judicial system to come to terms with the fact that some of it’s citizens can very easily think for themselves, come to mutual agreement, and move on with living. Autonomy doesn’t have to be a bad word. It does not have to be a word that strikes fear into the hearts of men who begin to imagine chaos and civil uprising and desperate females crying at their courtroom doors, begging and pleading and claiming that ‘it was all a misunderstanding…I never really meant to leave him…let me go back…I promise that I’ll behave…’

Having no choice, no option, no ability to move on, only to sit and imagine that far off day when pen on paper provides freedom, well that sucks.

90 days of waiting sucks, pure and simple.