Wednesday, September 3, 2008

"Hope U All Get Along"

We took possession of the new house on Friday, August 22. The previous owners left us a lot of things: custom toile drapery with matching bedspreads and seat cushions, and extra fabric to continue making accessories. Matching and over-accessorizing are the Kansan — and, I tend to think, midwestern — pitfalls. Whew.

I think I was a fan of toile for the briefest moment in '04, not enough of a fan to do more than purchase one pillow, and then it was over for me. I like to mix-and-match the following: old things that look old, new things that are made to look old, and new things that look new. Never will you see more than two pillows of the same fabric, and those mostly came with the couch. Colors don't even recur in my proximity. Admittedly, I am a fan of bold shades, but we had a '60s house and that's one way to update. The new one requires a more subtle touch. But I am losing my focus: the leaveabouts, the leftovers. My sad foray into fragments of the previous owners' lives that we now own. It all started with the note.

Our home's history includes a move of its own, from a lot across town, a mere seven years ago. A church wanted to raze the back lot for extra parking, where this old home sat, dilapidated, as resident. One church member offered $7,000 for the house, and moved it to the current lot, much to the amusement of all town residents. According to the photos that were left to us, most of the town's populus watched excitedly as the house progressed through the streets and was settled onto its new foundation. The owner then proceeded to update and refurbish the house, restoring it pretty close to its original glory, with a few modern upgrades and changes per state code. He then immediately sold it.

The owners prior to us were the only folk to actually live in the house since its traumatic relocation: a new doctor and his wife. The doctor, well-known because he headlined the only local hospital, continued to update the house, installing new roofing, central air, water heater, flood pump backup, new kitchen countertops and building a garage with a large workshop room on top. Somewhere along the way, the couple had a little boy and then separated, but not before painting the boy's room a lovely camouflage pattern that will prove difficult to cover. Anyway, they divorced and moved away to two different locations, leaving doctor John with the empty house for the last year. Other than staging furniture, it's been desolate for 366 days.

I found the doctor's note when I walked through the house with our realtor on Friday, just before the closing. There was a litany of things unique to the home — weird light switch behavior and how-tos — that everyone leaves. We did. His was extra long but nice, since we won't have to go looking for things and he considerately left us picnicware in case we couldn't find our stuff. But the note ended: "I am sad to leave this house. Hope u all get along."

It made me inexplicably sad too.

Photos (in order): Me, standing proudly in entry, with post-moving hair - yum. Family room looking toward front door. Kitchen. Dining room view through to living room. Living room looking at front door and entry area.

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