I’ve lived in my home for seven years. It’s been full of joy and heartache, struggle and fun. A few months after moving in, we found our bathroom rotting away. This was a fix we had requested the owner complete, and he did a half-assed job of it, therefore not finding the extensive rot, and leaving us on the hook for a total remodel. We sued the guy, and were left in non-functioning bathroom limbo for close to six months, during which we brushed our teeth in the kitchen sink, showered at the gym, and spent as little time on the toilet as possible so as not to be disturbed by the possum living under our house. Searching for warmth, he would peek his head out from the hole that used to be our shower, trying to sneak in. We refinanced to borrow the needed 11k for the remodel, since we didn’t have any money left over from buying the house to do it. Then the following year our furnace died, and we had to scrape together a couple more thousand to fix it.
We refinished the flooring in the bedrooms after ripping out the smelly stained carpet. We repaired drywall, alternating sleeping in the kitchen, living room, and two bedrooms while we repaired the house room by room.
We spent six and half years in a state of half-finished projects as we stretched our time and money to complete the work. We completely redid the front and back yards, building a patio and grape arbor in the place of five foot tall weed patches.
We made do in 750 square feet, which seems insanely small by US standards but is palatial compared to how most of the world lives. I hated our house at the worst times, and loved it in the summer when we would have barbecues and parties among the beautiful landscaping. Sitting under the grape arbor with the Christmas lights twinkling, sipping on a glass of rose, I felt at peace. Grounded. Happy.
We always planned on moving out. While a previous owner had raised four kids in the home, we had no desire to do the same. The goal was after I graduate, when I would gain employment and we could afford to move.
That day came too soon. We got news of the property behind us being sold to a developer who planned to build a 45 foot tall condo building with six units, towering over our backyard, and to add insult to injury, use the alleyway adjacent to our house as access for their parking. The alleyway that is only 10′ wide and 4′ from our bedrooms. The entire neighborhood freaked out and we mounted a campaign to oppose the alley use. Unfortunately, we couldn’t oppose the condo building, as the developer was within his right to build such a property. So we decided to sell.
I spent June and July finishing all our half done projects. My dearest friends spent a week-end fixing up our yard, trimming and weeding, planting and hauling off 2,000 lbs of yard waste. When we finished, our home was beautiful. Now I didn’t want to move.
But I looked forward to finding the larger version of our cute cottage in a new wonderful Portland neighborhood, and we finally did sell the house to a couple who didn’t mind the development. The City also denied the developer’s proposed alley usage, thus ensuring the safety of our home. With clean conscience and a bit of melancholy, we sold the house.
Now we’re stuck. Having rented back for a couple of months, we finally had to vacate but have no place to move. Portland’s housing market is insane. We’ve been outbid twice, had a freak experience on another, have been beaten to the finish line by developers before even getting a look at houses, and now are in an apartment. I should be grateful we have somewhere to live. So many people are not so lucky. But instead I’m depressed. A depressed spoiled brat. I feel unsettled and out of control. I also feel like it happened too fast. One day I was in my cozy newly fixed up home, the next we were out. There was no closure and now we are in limbo again.
Maybe it’s because I didn’t get to say goodbye. I didn’t expect to be so attached, after so much work and stress.
Goodbye little house. You taught me so much about construction, patience, financing, and gardening. You provided us with warmth and shelter. I loved walking around your neighborhood, feeling safe and having fun. The privacy of your yard provided such a wonderful place to escape and daydream. You embody our hard work in your finishes and plants. You provided us with a bounty of fruits and vegetables. You welcomed guests. I raised my son here. I hope that the love we’ve put into you is evident and you bring joy to the new owners. You turned out all right little house. We did good. I will miss you.