Forty-three Years of Living Packed into Five Frenzied Weeks Part 1

(read and/or listen to this post)

Dearest Readers:  In case you’re wondering (or even if you’re not) I’m still here, and still writing in the nooks and crannies of my life. Since you’ve last heard from me here,  I cobble together a few random Facebook Posts, visit Lake Opeka, catch some sunsets, and keep my eye on my growing-out-of-the-rock-tree who had a tough summer and is now sleeping through the winter. Other than that . . .In case you are new here, you can read about the Little Tree HERE

1099 Rose Ave

After forty-three years we’ve left Rose Avenue and moved a mile away:  Last January (2022) we turned our “Rose” house into Airbnb and moved to a smaller house we purchased in 2004. “We’ll take our time to go through all our stuff, and sell the Rose house in a few years,” we say. It seems like a good plan.

The “good plan” begins to unravel in April, with a notice from the city on our return from Florida informing us we must shut down our Airbnb. (Someone doesn’t like it. It only takes one disgruntled person for the city to shut the whole thing down.) We have limited time to figure out the next steps.

Thus begins a string of unanticipated issues leading to an untimely move, at least untimely as far as we are concerned.

Bedbugs (yes, bedbugs) hitch a ride into the house on a guest’s luggage in early May. We get that taken care of in time for State Farm to drop the insurance on the house. (Storm chasers from the year before made too many claims.)

June and July has Galen looking far and wide for a new policy so we can do a long-term lease/rental.  A family hears about it, wants to lease, signs a contract, and then changes their mind.

That’s it. We’re going to sell.

The next day we tell the family who backed out of the lease that we have decided to sell. Their response? “We’d love to BUY your house.”

But their need to move in by August 1st collides with our plans for a much-anticipated visit from my Montana nephew’s family of six plus my sister-in-law. They’ll stay in the Rose house the last week in July. The first week in August we’ll be with our sons and their families in Wisconsin.

We agree to a sale price and move-in date of July 31st. We tell my nephew Brian to keep their plans. We’ll figure it out.

On July 30, we complete the move – five frenzied weeks from the decision to sell to signing the papers and being out – every.single.thing. Donating and discarding happens. There is a twenty cubic-foot dumpster involved. My 2008 white Lexus is a regular at Goodwill. I peruse “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning” Facebook Page daily for inspiration. Still, we’re left with a double-car garage and a spare bedroom worth of boxes to process once we are in the “new” house.

Brian’s family escapes to Brookfield Zoo one day to avoid the chaos. I accompany them on a day excursion into the city, returning home after lunch to come back and keep packing.

When they are here at the house, the children do what children do in the chaos of moving – offer to help, join the moving crew with the big guys, or play with one of the remaining toys in the middle of the floor. And when all else fails, read a book.

Lillie has been trying on princess dresses our grandgirls have outgrown. Today, as the belongings leave the house in a steady stream, I find her wandering around the front yard. “Do you feel a little lost, Lillie?” She nods her head. “I feel a little lost too.” We have a chat about feeling lost and share a hug. I think it helped both of us.

Finally, on Saturday evening the last drawer is emptied, the last box has been packed, and the last piece of furniture has been removed. It becomes a game to see just how full we can pack that silly dumpster.

Sunday morning my husband and I go to the now-empty house to bid her farewell.

“Goodbye old friend.

1099 Rose Ave

I will  miss your warm oak woodwork,
And your three-sided fireplace but not your many stairs.

I look one last time out my kitchen window where I used to watch the children play. The bare spot from home plate is gone as is the tree where my children climbed. I asked them one time if they knew I worried about them falling out of it onto the grill and breaking their bodies. They said they didn’t.

The weird little bridge over the weird little pond (as my oldest calls them) is gone to make room for backyard baseball games. The pond was drained and filled with dirt during the first year there. The pond’s cement lining remains in the ground. A crescent-shaped brown spot alerts us to the need for rain as the cement lining under the dirt heats up in the summer sun. I wonder if the new owners will notice. Maybe we should have told them

I look out my living room window and remember staring at the brilliant yellow oak tree that October after my daughter-in-law called to confirm her dad, our friend, had ALS. I knew then I would never look out that window without thinking of him. The tree is gone now and so is Tom. The memories remain.

I look out my office window and see the garage that had to be bumped out in the back to make room for our green station wagon. There’s the basketball hoop, the one my children and now grandchildren used for so many years. The six children moving in will use it too.

Dear cherished friend
you were good to us,
so many memories
joy and laughter
pain and sorrow
forty-three years’ worth.
in it all,
Jesus with us,
even when it seemed
He wasn’t.
He was,
and is,
and will be
with us

The children are grown with children of their own. They hold the memories. Be good to the ones who will now inhabit your space.”
. . . . . . . .
We chat about our feelings, remember the good times, and acknowledge the hard times. Galen prays a blessing over the family who takes possession tomorrow, that it will be as good for their family of eight as it was for our family of five . . .  that they will find much to cherish in time.
. . . . . .
Today we’ll drive to Christmas Mountain Resort in Wisconsin to be with our family until Thursday- all eighteen of us, plus our Montana family joining us for the first 24 hours. (that’s twenty-five of us all together).

. . . . .
And that insurance policy – on the last possible day, we found an insurer. The lawyer who helped us buy our house 43 years ago still works part-time and handled the sale.

And Lillie . . . . . the princess dresses that brought so much joy over the years will be packed and sent to Montana. It seems right that we pass them to my brother’s only granddaughter. I think he’d like that.


And now Dear Readers, you have the beginning of an idea of why I wasn’t posting much this past year.  Stay tuned for” Moving, Part 2 The Aftermath”,  Probably this time next week. It won’t be as long as this one. 


2 Replies to “Forty-three Years of Living Packed into Five Frenzied Weeks Part 1”

  1. A special thanks to each one who helped us with the move: friends, family, neighbors, and strangers and all who picked up items we placed on the parkway).

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