Friday, November 2, 2012

Leaving Home

When people hear our story, they often ask, "How could you rent your house out for a year?  How did you leave your personal belongings? What was it like to leave your home with strangers?"  Short answer: weird.

For the long answer, here's an excerpt from my memoir on our sabbatical year:

The walkthrough was surreal.  Sustaining on shots of 5 Hour Energy and espresso, this is all I remember:

     “Oh my god, they’re here!  Emma, shove this in the sideboard! Wyatt, run this down the stairs!  Anabel, hide this under your bed!  Greg!  Where are you?”
     “I’m hiding more toys in the attic!  It’s five hundred degrees up here and I can’t find my way out…” Loud bangs and cussing came from above. 
Wyatt returned from the basement.  “Go help your dad get out of the attic before he falls through the ceiling!”

The doorbell rang.  Wiping sweat from my eyes, I answered the door with a smile on my face.  “Welcome to our home… your new home now, I guess.” 
This was the weird part.  In our home were our collections, items I had handmade, antiques from both sides of the family.  Walking through it with a complete stranger, and a foreigner no less, I wanted to stop all I had started.  How can I leave my grandmother’s chifferobe and Greg’s grandmother’s pie safe with people we don’t know?  How can I just throw the kids’ baby pictures in the basement and walk away?
Glancing at my wedding china still displayed in the dining room, I spread my arms wide and began showing Aapo around our home.  His English wasn’t great, but his manners were impeccable.  He smiled in every room and seemed genuinely interested in every minute detail my over-caffeinated brain spit out.  His wife, Aino, was still in Finland and wouldn't arrive until next week so he took housekeeping notes for her.  His pen flew across the paper as I rambled on about the vacuum cleaner.  He wrote in Finnish and for all I knew was writing warnings to his wife about the crazy American homeowner.  Being a businessman, he took pictures of any damage in the house.  I understood why this was necessary, but it felt like I was being judged; I’m sure my friends and neighbors had noted the same flaws, but they were kind enough not to take pictures.
Somewhere in the middle of my housekeeping trial, my sister and brother-in-law arrived.  Gail took the kids with her to pick-up Chinese for our dinner and Beau stayed to help finish loading the U-Haul for South Carolina.  They both met Aapo before he left.  It was some relief knowing they would be in town to watch over the house, if needed.
The U-Haul was finally loaded with only the essential fifty-five boxes and the Harley Davidson when I suddenly felt rooted to the spot.  I sluggishly strolled through each room one more time touching each cherished possession that wasn't tucked away in the basement or going with us to Fripp.  My exhaustion made it easier to let them go and entrust them to a stranger's care.  A person can only pack so many boxes in nine days.  We locked up our beloved home for the last time for our sabbatical year, loaded the dog in the car and drove away without a backwards glance.  
I don't think I had ever felt so free in my life.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for reading and commenting! Heaven knows, I need some interaction...