Extreme Quietness

Well, the dust has literally settled on last week’s Extreme Makeover project. What a week! Some of the production crew is still here, cleaning up the neighborhood and they’ll be here until Wednesday. That means in the space of ten days, they came in, completely took over people’s yards, closed off streets, installed security details at multiple checkpoints, set up barricades, parked cars in our yards and oh yeah…….built a house in seven days, working around the clock. I tell you what, though – everybody we came across on that production crew were polite and terrific. They were in communication with us nearly every day on what would be happening, they will repair any damages to our lawn and they even are compensating us additionally for our trouble. Really, it was no trouble. It’s a small price to pay to get that family back together.

The payoff? A teeming crowd on a freezing Friday afternoon, a lot of whom showed up at 7am, all waiting for that limo containing the family to turn the corner onto little Elm Ct. I’d say there was just short of 2,000 people, jammed onto people’s yards (including ours, partially), up in trees and standing on rocks, all to catch a glimpse of a father and husband coming home for the first time in two years. It was pretty moving. I shot some very cool video towards the end that I’ll post eventually.

When the smoke had cleared and the bus was gone, the neighborhood took about an hour to clear out and suddenly, things were relatively quiet again for the first time in a week. Our local newspaper reported in the aftermath that the fundraiser which the town put on resulted in $50K plus for the family. We were more than happy to contribute and clearly many others were as well. Monster.com, Maynard’s largest employer, contributed another $80K to the family and promised a job to the husband when he’s ready. A local landscaping company offered their services for a year – gratis. Even Dunkin Donuts gave the family a free one year supply of coffee. Steph made brownies and brought them to a food drive for the volunteers. Apparantly the amount of food donated was staggering. How’s that for a community? Yeah. We love this town.

Now playing: The Soft Boys – Old Pervert
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Home Plate

So we’re selling our house. This probably comes as a bit of a surprise to some of you who know us, for you know all too well how much work we’ve put into this place. It truly is ours. Somebody will bear the fruits of our labor for sure. Although they will have to pay for it. I’m surprised, actually, at how much my heartstrings have been pulled, though, when I think about not living here. Houses really do become part of your identity in a way. This is the place where my wife and I got engaged. It’s where we brought our babies home. It’s where we (painstakingly) stripped every bit of wallpaper, carpeting and remnants of 40 years ago and turned into a beautiful, updated colonial home. It definitely hurts a little to leave.

That said, I have to realize that things have changed here materially. While the house was perfect for the two of us, the space here just isn’t sufficient for 4 of us. I should rephrase that. The living area is probably suitable. It’s the total lack of storage that is killing us and is common in these 100-ish year old houses in New England. Steph doesn’t even have a clothes closet. That’s wrong, so we need to change it.

So with that comes the great, great fun in selling a home. In a down market. We’ve been scrambling during the very few spare hours we have to get this place ready for selling, which means essentially turning your life upside down and finding spots for the things you haven’t used since you moved in. It’s slightly cathartic, I suppose, although now we can’t find anything. Small price to pay.

We’ll be staying in Maynard, by the way. It’s really the only place we’re looking. We futzed around Bolton and Acton a little bit, but have decided Maynard is where we want to be for several reasons I won’t get into. There’s a couple of places we could probably envision ourselves, but we’ll leave it up to fate and our realtor to find the next place we’ll call our home.

Sidenote: part of preparing to sell is getting the outside looking nice. This is something that has been largely disregarded since June when the monkeys were born. So I spent all day Saturday out there raking, mulching, hauling, wheelbarrowing, weeding, trimming, blah blah blah. And I did good! Then, at the end of the day, something flew into my eye. Three hours later I was sitting in the ER because I couldn’t get the damn thing out and man, it hurt. Good times. Of course, it took them all of 60 seconds to extract what turned out to be a piece of bark mulch. You haven’t lived until you’ve had bark mulch in your eye.

Now playing: Richard Thompson – Both Ends Burning
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