I don’t believe in “signs”.
But there it was – yesterday morning, on the third Sunday in April – I spotted it parked on the front walk of our new, next door neighbors’ house – a bright orange and yellow, get-in-and-out-of, toddler-size plastic car with a door and wheels – a “Cozy Coupe” -and it looked exactly like the one our kids had years ago.
Thought #1: How reassuring to think some things have not changed. Kids still play with blocks, toss balls and get in and out of their Cozy Coupes.
Thought #2: Our 18-month old grandson…
(wait, wait, please don’t leave this page! I’m NOT going to talk about him. Management has informed me that he is off-the-record and I gladly comply.)
Though we did visit the little guy yesterday afternoon and he, too, has his own bright orange and yellow Cozy Coupe identical to the one that just moved in with the new young family next door.
Thought #3: If I saw two Cozy Coupes in a one day, what is that telling me?
It’s a sign.
Time to Move?
And because I am a practical (“too practical” an old friend once told me as if there could possibly be such a thing) and base all of my decisions on evidence, hard facts and well-reasoned arguments (oh, sure), I picked up old legal pad and drew two columns.
Why We Should Move:
- We have lived in this house for 33 years
- Our House is not getting younger
- 33 years is a long, long time
- JP and I are not getting younger
- The neighbors around the corner, the neighbors behind us, the neighbors up the hill – all have little kids
- New next door neighbors have a Cozy Coupe
- Their Cozy Coupe will begat other Cozy Coupes and soon…
- We will be the only family (are Empty Nesters considered a family?) on the block WITHOUT our own Cozy Coupe
- Back to #1 – we have lived in this house for 33 years
Why We Should NOT Move
- I love our house
- It’s my memory storage center (I can look inside the door of our linen closet to see the pencil lines measuring our son’s height from ages 3 to 17)
- I would miss seeing our ancient lilac bush burst into bloom during the third week of April each year
- I’m not ready?
When we first walked into this house on another Sunday in April many years ago, we were greeted by the “aroma” of chopped onions.
Yes, most people bake cookies or bread to tempt would-be house buyers, but the apparently reluctant would-be seller of our house decided that the pungent smell of onions in a mixing bowl on her formica kitchen counter was the way to go.
I was undaunted. Nor was I put off by the over-size, black wrought-iron, wagon-wheel shaped ceiling light fixture in the master bedroom that looked ready to impale unsuspecting sleepers. And I looked beyond the green shag carpeting in the living room, the burgundy flocked wallpaper in the bathroom and the shiny disco ball in the basement.
Somehow this house felt “just right” from the moment we walked in.
It’s not that I am picky (oh wait, I am), nor do I resemble Goldilocks in any way (she: a natural blonde and me: once a natural brunette), but I do want to replicate that “just right” moment when we move to another home.
Which likely won’t be a home in the form of an actual house. We are considering taking the plunge, as some of our friends have already done, to down-size to a two bedroom, two bath condo.
No more snow-covered front walks to shovel, lawns to mow, front doors to repaint! I shudder in joyful anticipation – already dreaming of the day when a giant dumpster sits in our driveway – toss! toss! farewell! see you never! I will gladly say to the boxes of I know-not-what that clutter a corner of our basement.
JP and I agree. Let’s just see what’s out there.
So we look at one condo, not far from a DC metro stop, saw two miniature bedrooms, you could reach out your hands and touch both sides of the walls. (shouldn’t those wide-angle, misleading real estate web site photos be banned for legal inaccuracy?) followed by an equally tiny galley kitchen. Perhaps we’re supposed to bring in take-out every night? We still like to cook. We look at the people coming in and out of the condo building. No one looks over forty. Maybe not even over 35. I don’t see us there.
Off to another condo. The lobby of this one has glossy, marble floors, a cadre of courtly concierge types sitting behind a stately desk. The bedrooms are larger but outdated, with hideous track lighting and non-dog-friendly, white carpeting which our rescue terrier would eviscerate in minutes. We look at the people coming in and out of the building. No one looks under 75. Maybe not even under 80. I don’t see us here – either.
This is going to take awhile. Is that “just right” feeling too much for an empty nester to ask for?
And am I ready to have our next place become our truly “forever” home – as in the very non-fairy-tale meaning of the word “forever”?
I’m waiting for another sign.
TO BE CONTINUED