Sunday, June 05, 2011

I'll deal with it tomorrow, or next week, maybe

The day has come. My tenants, who were actually down to one, the last man standing, in recent months, have officially moved out.

Strangely, I am not leaping at the chance to move myself and my children back into our beloved house. Not just yet. Because, you see, I'm still in the processing stage. The girls and I wandered around our sadly uninhabited home, lingering in every single room, for the first time last night. It was weird.

Everything that made it once feel like a cozy home, our home, seems to be missing. Esther was amazed to discover all her old toys still in the wooden toy box in the living room. She sifted kind of listlessly through them on the floor while I was making my way through waist high grass to find my perennial garden. Our copy of Once upon a Potty was on a side table. I could imagine that book is an interesting read while stoned.

Isla, ever oblivious, amused herself by doing laps around the chimney, just like old times, on the rusted red, Radio Flyer tricycle, with the wobbly back wheels, I unearthed in the basement.

Most of our stuff is stuffed into the attic, I guess. But some part of what's missing feels irretrievable. Nonmaterial. As if nothing in the house will never be, or feel, the same again. I hope I'm wrong. I hope all it needs is our family living within its walls again to regain its shape.

It also needs a power wash and a floor sander and a coat of paint. Oy. 

The students, how many were there in all?, may have left our home, but they left behind their aura. They also left a disgusting flea bag couch in the living room, the frame of another couch on a ghetto bonfire on the lawn, a giant old television and several horrible faux wood pieces, a totally -trashed wide-pine floor, some dirty socks, two pairs of smelly sneakers, a bong made from a Sunny Delight carton, a fallen- down, makeshift greenhouse on the lawn, A classic Grateful Dead vinyl album: Cats Under the Stars, a plethora of bottle caps, microbrewery stickers stuck to every surface, including the bathtub (is that really necessary?), and a thick layer of grime throughout.

Surprisingly, they did not leave behind a single tye-dyed tapestry anything or Jerry Garcia poster. Only thumbtack holes in the walls where they once hung.



To their credit, the toilets, and the refrigerator, were clean. I think we can thank Mommy for that. Thank Goddessness for Moms.

The master bedroom survived relatively unscathed. Parties seemed to have stayed downstairs.

Master bath looks the same, aside from the bathtub sticker.

Bonus: I forgot Ian built me us a laundry table before we left.I didn't check inside for cats.


Oh yeah. I almost forgot the mini fridge in the attic bedroom, all the way on the third floor. The Sharpie message scrawled on top speaks volumes.

Esther spotted this first.


 How the hell am I supposed to carry that beast down the spiral staircase?

Just thinking about it all makes me want to lie down. Or maybe it makes me want to drink a cold beer, smoke a cigarette, inhaling deeply and dramatically--like a pensive single mom in a movie-- then lie down. For a week.

My pics aren't showing the half of it, I know. I couldn't bear to point the camera at the ugly stuff. Maybe tomorrow.

30 comments:

Laree said...

Don't carry it down the spiral stairs.

Throw it out the window.

I bet the resounding crash will make you feel better. Even if it's just a tiny bit.

Smashing things tends to do that!

Betsy said...

Laree: Brilliant idea. Thank you. We used to smash bottles against a brick wall during exam week when I was in college. I'm pretty sure we swept up the glass when we were done...., otherwise I have just outed myself as an irresponsible college student. Karma?

Robin said...

Also, consider calling 1800gotjunk. I have no idea what they charge, but I've thought about getting them to my place to remove some old stuff the previous owner left as well as some of my own junk. I think they'd be happy to take it from your yard after it's been dropped out the window.

Amy from Occupation: Mommy said...

If you'd like to keep it, try spraying it with spray-on sunscreen. Crazy, but sunscreen takes Sharpie off of finished wood, so it might work on the top of the fridge. I learned this the hard way, after my daughter drew on my dining room table with a purple one. But if you don't want to keep it, I agree that you should throw it out the window! Much more fun!

Betsy said...

Truth be told,the last man standing only moved down the street. I stopped by there after seeing our house and breezily told him he forgot a few things. The TV is gone, as were the four full huge garbage bags on the porch I forgot to mention. And, he promises he's coming for the couch.If he doesn't come for it in a few days, I'm considering delivering it, and all other unsightly, unwelcome garbage, directly to him.

Helena said...

That does sound unsettling. Good luck!

Living Down Under said...

It'll feel like home again once you're in it with your stuff. And even more so when Ian gets back.

We are definitely moving back at the end of August and have to give our tenants notice to move out. I almost just want to move to another place. How can we move back to the same place. We now have 3 children, we've experienced something different, it'll be weird going back to where we were with all our old stuff (half of which, i am sure i can live without!)

I'm trying to be optimistic for you. Not sure if it'll work but maybe you can do the same for me in a few months? Plus, i need a new moniker :). How's NOT Living Down Under?

A little hard graft might make you clear your head and feel better. You can kick me now ;)

Emma said...

Yes, I'm with Laree, throw it out the window.

And I can imagine how you feel, that listless, frustrating kinda blueness. You will get through this, your home will be home again. Think of it as the most amazing spring cleaning opportunity ever! (Ok, that is really lame, but in a very sad way it actually sounds a little exciting)

Meowmie said...

It'll feel better once you've got it cleaned to your satisfaction and have moved in your things.

I felt the same way when going to a cottage that I was going to share - finding it had been sublet by party boys all summer. Yikes! Took quite a few days to get it back into order.

Angela said...

Lucky you were once a student too, otherwise you might be horrified by student ways!!!! If you don't want to have to clear up the mess of the smashed fridge under the window (that would put me off!), or set all the CFCs free, you could at least lake the door off before you try to get it down the stairs. Makes it a BIT lighter and easier to hold.....

We used to throw bananas hiiiiiigh into the air. That makes an interesting smash. (or cigarette lighters, but that is possibly dangerous and silly? ;) )

Angela said...

erm, Take the door off, I meant...

Kip said...

You're not giving the security deposit back are you?

I imagine it would feel like a violation of sorts to have signs of anyone living in your house left behind, even if they were 'invited'. Just remember what you got in return - France.

Yes, your home needs a bit of an exorcism. Out with the tenant spirit and in with yours. Don't people burn sage in this situation or something? Might be a nice little ceremony.

Betsy said...

Angela: Banana smashing? Now that sounds intriguing.
Kip: Yes, sage burning is definitely called for. Not that enough "leaves" haven't been burned in there already.

Anonymous said...

I also think that you should be careful when you mow. Who knows what's in all that grass?

Throwing the fridge out the window would feel good, but it might explode. I would make the guy down the road get it out. They probably used a rope to hoist it up the side of the house and through the window.

"a bong made from a Sunny Delight carton"?! Well, they were resourceful.......

Sounds like a lot of scrubbing and painting is in order. Maybe that dramatic cigarette isn't such a bad idea! I'm sure that all of us that comment here would agree that if we all lived closer to you that we would get together and have a clean-up party.

Keep us posted on the house. At least you have a place to stay while you're wading through the grime in your house. After that, the only thing that you need is Ian to come home. When is that happening?

KiminAZ

Angela said...

Betsy - nice explosion. But the banana needs to be ripe! And the ground hard. (Erm, and some beer consumption, and yes, the looming of exams, may have added to the interestingness??!)

Steph said...

I get that listless "I want to lie down" feeling about cleaning in general, and we haven't left the country and come back, so I can only imagine how it must feel!
I do like the therapeutic value of tossing the fridge, though.

Mimi said...

Who puts STICKERS on a BATHTUB in a house they are RENTING? Of all the indignities you listed, this is the one that makes me twitch. Come ON.

Anonymous said...

Hi Betsy, from me, 2kidslife, aka Liz C in NJ..... I've been supporting you, and thinking about you, and looking forward to hearing your next step, how you 3 ladies are doing, etc, as I know so many of we readers have.... and you know what it is, I'm guessing, part of it, for you, with the house, your home? It struck me suddenly, and this might not be it at all.... but maybe it feels so wierd/strange/invasive/leaving a bad taste in your mouth, because other people lived in your home. Ya know what I mean? I think that is totally natural. Your emotions are saying "Wait! What?! This is just a building that any other humans can come in and out of, occupy, move on?! Isn't it SPECIAL?! for me and my family and it is our HOME?!" Here's why I'm thinking that... my childhood home has been gone out of our family for 11 years now, and changed, and dramatically changed, and some people moved in and out just to "flip" it, remodel it and resell it... and my heart has been saying "Wait?! What?!" and read the rest above..... So, here's the thing.. Keep on doing what you are doing. Take it in. Process it. Let yourself feel what you feel. Feel crappy, overwhelmed, sad, surreal, all of it. But also know that it IS your HOME. And very special indeed. You 3 ladies, and dog, and then Ian, will turn around on the first snowy day and it will be all yours again, aromas, sights, sounds, and it will be whole. Don't forget, not that you are forgetting, that Ian is a huge surreal hole missing for you right now, husband, father, partner, lover, sharer of burdens and good parts.... Keep on truckin', tough mama. One step at a time. P.S. Yes, I know that I don't "know" you! lol! We readers are supporting you, Betsy! Hugs today.

Betsy said...

Liz: "Wait, what?" Exactly. We never moved when I was young and my parents still live in my childhood home and nothing, NOTHING, has changed. You are so right about everything and with each time I go inside and look around, or each weed I pull out of my gardens, or each dirty sock I pitch into the garbage it starts to feel a bit more familiar. I will hire a cleaner and a floor refinisher. Then I will start bringing things down from the attic and set up beds, then I will tune the radio to VPR, or get out my old CD's better yet, and it will all be okay. I think.

Betsy said...

Kim: He's coming home in Sept. I have many offers for help from my amazing community. Problem is, I don't know where to start. A party is probably in order. Perhaps with a bonfire...

Seamingly Sarah said...

sounds like a fresh coat of paint might be in order, physically and mentally. cleaning for me is very cathartic, so just cleaning everything out would mentally stabilize me. And a bonfire is also an excellent idea!

I'm a Bingham said...

Beautiful post. Honestly, you don't give yourself enough credit- take the photos out the words are strong enough. Maybe leave the one in with your feet (take out the tag). It sums up the head-down, listless tone of the article. So well written.
We miss you here in Europe but every chapter is a new adventure. As said above, get on some overalls, and get scrubbing. (If poss give the girls to their grandmother and get some of Your girlfriends over to help with a bottle of French wine to help inspire all those stories you'll have to recount).
Jx

Betsy said...

It took me a sec to figure out which J. Bingham you were. I didn't recognize your written voice.We miss you too. Post Bingham depression is ever present.
We might stain the floors with some French red wine. Good idea. As someone who likes to admire the things that people make, I think it's time for a new blog post on "I like to make things." Don't you?

airwolf said...

You might want to submit that picture of the message on top of the 'fridge' to www.passiveagressivenotes.com. They and all the people that comment there would have a field day!

Anonymous said...

I know it's messy but what shines through from the picture to me is how amazingly beautiful your house is. I love love love the windows in your bedroom. You are invited to Florida if you need a break from Vermont. We could practice our German.... Antje

MJP said...

I agree with the last comment. From the pictures, your house looks gorgeous! With a good scrubbing, it will be your home again. Banish the germs and the bad vibes. Vinegar works well for stickers - pour some on and let them soak. Better yet, make the last man standing come back and do it...

Karin (an alien parisienne) said...

I feel really, really guilty for laughing as much as I did in this post. *sheepish grin* (Yeah, you sucked me in! I was supposed to be doing other stuff, but I greatly enjoy reading this more, lol.)

Alas. Soon your home will revert to being yours. I'm sure of it. Changed somewhat, yes, for aren't you all changed as well? (And you can never, ever go fully back to the way things were...)

But things will be better, I'm certain of that.

And yesssss! Airwolf read my mind! "You might want to submit that picture of the message on top of the 'fridge' to www.passiveagressivenotes.com. They and all the people that comment there would have a field day!" Totally! I love that site...

Well, I guess I can say this, since I live with a 16 and-a-half year old boy on and off (stepson), too: I now really and fully (painfully) realize that I was once young and stupid. I was irresponsible in so many ways (although I totally did not think so at the time). Yeah, as they say, youth is wasted on the young, eh? *sigh* Good thing is, at least I like to think, someday there will be young people in their world who will bring balance to things, and make a mess for them to clean up. Karma, ya know, lol.

I'm still cracking up at the Sunny Delight bong and the *ahem* greenhouse. Heh. Gotta love Vermont and some of the hippie types it draws! Boulder, CO is (or used to be) the same.

Good luck with returning your home back into the place you can really call *home*.

Karin (an alien parisienne) said...

P.S. Hahahahaha! I just read the comment you posted after Laree. Umm, yeah, karma maybe, lol. ;-)

Mama Badger said...

Ok, so I would see this as just what you need to get back into the swing of things. An opportunity, even. Take it one room at a time. Start with the rooms you use least (or they'll never get done). Think about what you liked about it when you lived there, and what you wanted to change. This is your chance! By the time you're done it will feel like yours again.

Anonymous said...

To remove permanent markers and just about anything else use "Mr. Clean" Magic Erasers, not sure what these are made of, but they work wonders! I have used them on wood, countertops, etc. for just about anything!