if you're just getting here, you'll want to start with part one.
the sidebar on the playhouse was completely unintentional and slightly superfluous, like the word superfluous. anyhoo, the actual life size house is the issue at hand, and at heart. i finally let go of the playhouse (as much as i could) after i'd resigned that i'd simply done all i could do. but the house, it still had potential. it still needed a savior. it went on the market a few years ago and that was the first time i got to step into it. more than another decade had passed since i'd visited it at the age of sixteen and again, time had not been so friendly. the interior had deteriorated substantially and shrunken in size by what seemed at least two thousand square feet. still, i wanted to buy it so badly. oddly, i have never had the desire to actually live in it. i have just desired to own it. desperately. i reasoned that we could keep it as a rental. we discussed it. we consulted my dad (i.e. real estate expert) about it. i tried my best to present the intellectual and logical side of my pitch and only make mention of the nostalgic benefit as a sidebar. a bonus. but he saw through my facade. in hindsight, i should not have ever made that call. i should have known that he would stoically and rationally present logic and reason in the face of my irrational and emotional justifications. "never make a business/financial decision based solely on emotion", he said. and that was that. it was a run-down home in a depreciating neighborhood and unstable market. it wasn't too much of a risk or financial obligation for a house, per se. but it was too much too ask for the house as some sort of childhood memento. i would have to let go. and by let it go, i really meant put it back on its shelf.
last week, i found out the house was on the market. again. vacant. cheaper than ever. we could totally afford it and this time, i wouldn't consult with my dad about it. i did, however, consult with chris. i even managed to get him excited... (okay, excited may be the wrong word)... optimistic about it. (oh, okay, well he didn't say no, how's that?) so, friday morning, i pulled out of the driveway, turned the radio up, rolled the windows down and consequently, allowed all sense of logic and reason fly right out on the drive. my heart was filled with anticipation and hope. the kids were singing songs in the back seat and i was silently calling out, "home of my childhood, your savior is about to swoop into your circular drive in her luxury car and save you!!".
it was a bright and sunny day, but as soon as we pulled into the drive, it became eerily dark and dreary. it was an omen. the trees and shrubbery have grown thick like a suburban rain forest, so much so that chloe, upon glancing the yard, said very studiously, "look at this jungle!". the tall grass and overgrown shrubbery combined with the most dreadful, depressing shade of gray painted onto the brick exterior made for a very uninviting welcome. it looked like a great old ship washed ashore and abandoned in the middle of suburbia. nonetheless, i'm accustomed to being sadly disappointed by the exterior view. i've grown to expect it. and i was too high on hope to be distracted. a little landscaping there, a little [or a lot] of paint here. we walked through the front door into the tiny living room that decreases in size every time i walk into it. we make our way down the narrow hall and i am with great purpose and intent studying each room. i already knew. it would be the last time. it was worse than i ever could have imagined.
chloe asked which room was mine and i told her about how i had cycled through all three of the hallway bedrooms during my residency. i don't remember where i started, but i do remember the first room on the right, with my white twin canopy bed covered in frilly pale yellow bedding. i used to throw all of my stuffed animals on top of the canopy and then jump up and down on the bed with my arms fully outstretched above me, catapulting them off, one by one. in the next room, i had a full size bed covered in bedding that had small rainbows all over it. i can remember laying in that bed in that room trying to stay awake, peering out the window and hoping to get a glimpse of santa clause.
you know, it's funny, because these days, i literally cannot even remember what i did yesterday, but standing in that house, memories of even the most trivial things are so vivid. so hilariously vivid. and some, just so vividly hilarious: like the night i spent soaking my technicolor rainbow bedding with tears over michael j. fox. the fact that i was eight and he was, like, twenty three, was clearly overshadowed by my childish infatuation; i remember crawling down the hall on hands and knees, pushing barbie and ken their pink convertible corvette over the thick, blue shag carpet in the living room, and down the stairs to the "drive in" in [now infamously] red living room. oh the red living room. red carpet, a large red chair, and the longest red vevleteen drapes you've ever seen. they must have been twelve feet long, reaching from ceiling to floor. in hindsight, they were hideous, but as a toddler peering up at them, majestic! oh, and the memories from toddlerhood. they are equally as vivid: i will never forget crouching behind the door in mom's study (my former canopy bed room), hiding because i didn't want to go to preschool one morning. with my four year old logic, i reasoned that if she couldn't find me, she would eventually just give up and go on to work. (sidenote: can you imagine waking up and not being able to find your child?!) i hid for so long and was so wrought with anxiety, i wet my pants. furious frustration and anxiety, aside, she finally found me soaking wet. [p.s. i'm really glad we can laugh about that story now.] oddly, i don't really remember what happened after that. maybe she was so relieved to have found me, we just cleaned me up and went about our morning. either that, or i've blocked it from my memory. good times. so many. of course, some memories are less humorous, but no less vivid. if the lot is ever renovated, someone is going to unearth a small pet cemetery in the back yard. then there are the saddest of memories here too, but none that negate the happiest ones, for the happy ones far outweigh the sad ones. i could go on and on... and i was in the midst of this nostalgic fit of daydreaming when chloe interrupted me and [holding her nose] said, "mommy, let's get out of this stinky place!". she was right. the odor on the inside rivaled the view.
so. here it is. beloved home of my childhood. all but dilapidated. and by dilapidated, i mean the upper level master bedroom and lower garage portion (not fully visible in photo and which was an add on to the original structure) literally looks and feels as though it is on the verge of separating itself from the rest of the house. i had our realtor find out what he could and the worst was confirmed. there are serious flaws in the foundation. he went on to say that we could always inquire about repairs. he felt confident they would lower the price even further to compensate for it. now, i would be lying by omission if i didn't say that i wasn't still considering it. or at least considering the 'inquiring part' with contractors, etc. but somewhere deep down, my own [albeit unfamiliar] voice of reason spoke the proverbial nail into the coffin. it was time to let it go. it just needed more than i could give it. i just needed to let it go. and whatever reward i had ever hoped to gain in owning it, couldn't possibly be worth the time, the work and the cost that would go into restore it. it was past the point of restoration. it just needed to be torn apart and gutted.
it's not in the condition to be stored in my closet of broken dreams. i really have to let it go. and while, for the most part, my revisiting and wishful thinking has been lighthearted throughout the years, letting go, really letting go is proving to be a much more serious and excruciatingly painful experience.
to be continued...