Lauren Wellbank

One mom and her struggle to survive until bedtime


Tag: Investing

Home is Where You Throw Your Dirty Clothes on the Floor

The boxes are (mostly) unpacked, the pictures are hung, and my husband’s dirty clothes are discarded all over the floor.  We are home.

It has not been an easy past two weeks.

I never actually questioned our marriage during this whole process, but I did vaguely wonder at a few points if someday I would have to place my hand on a bible in front of 12 of my peers and explain exactly how my fingerprints ended up on the murder weapon, and no your honor, I can’t account for my whereabouts that night because I was in some sort of moving induced fugue state. 

I kid, I kid.  Mostly.

I think it’s safe to say that we are on the other side of it now, though.  The only casualties were my husband’s cell phone and about a box of glassware.  And a bookcaseAnd an armoire.  Okay, and maybe a bit of my sanity (hence the busted cell phone).

Those losses aside, I did come out of the move with a new appreciation for everything that we have.  Both literally and figuratively.

Seeing everything* you own sitting in a truck is a sobering experience.  Your entire life crammed into one small space like that makes you realize how much you really have… and how it’s way too god damned much.

I vow that before the next move that I am going to get rid of at least half of our crap, maybe even more.  But I can’t think about any of that right now or I will either die of a massive brain explosion or have to start researching defense attorneys. 

And now, if we can, I’d like to take a moment to talk about how #blessed I am.  I am going to do a friends and family brag real quick.

I know most people can’t utter these words with a straight face, but I love my in-laws.  Love them.  They are literally some of the best people out there.  My husband asked them to help us move and they said yes with no reservations, even though my father-in-law was just days home from the hospital and my mother in law was recovering from a back injury.  Yet there they were, unloading box after box of crap, I mean of our precious possessions, off of the truck.  And my sister in law and her fiancé and my husband’s aunt, uncle, and cousins, I really couldn’t have asked for better help (they even stayed and helped me unpack the kitchen, LOVE THEM).  My cousin who had to work at the last minute swung by with beer, water, and snacks (LOVE HER).  And our friends gave up a Saturday morning, that I think most of them would have rather spent in bed sleeping off a hangover, to sweat it out carrying a literally shit ton of, well, our shit.

Like I said, #blessed.

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Our new back yard, where strange screams break up the night (I’m sure it’s just cats or a fox or the wandering ghost of a murdered woman).

It’s been hard saying goodbye to our home and trying to get settled here.  Although I lived here when I was younger, it still feels new.  The noises are new; the way the refrigerator hums, the sound of my grandmother’s oxygen concentrator at 3AM, the weird screams that come out of the woods in the middle of the night (yeah, that’s as terrifying as it sounds).  It’s all new and different but soon it will all be part of the background, part of our new normal.

So here I sit, in my new living room, in front of my new TV, with my same old daughter, about to start a load of laundry and get this show on the road.  This place may not feel quite like home yet, but my husband’s socks are on the floor, and that’s a start.

*Apparently our house was some sort of structural turducken with stuff crammed inside of stuff crammed inside of stuff.  Even though we “moved out” on Saturday we were still finding random things back at the house as late as yesterday while we were there to do the final cleaning. 

Adventures in Landlording – The Things We Leave Behind

It’s getting real.  The boxes are getting packed.  There are empty nails sticking out the wall, slightly darker paint showing where picture frames once hung.  The home turning back into what it was when I first walked into it eleven years ago, just a house.

So much has happened in the past eleven years.  I go back and forth between thinking that it all seemed like a lifetime ago, but also, just last week.

This is the place where my husband and I fell in love.  Where we lived together for the first time.  In the living room where he asked me to marry him.  In the kitchen where I came running out to him as he was making dinner with that first positive pregnancy test in my hands.  In our daughter’s room where we brought her after we came home from the hospital (but where we were never able to convince her to sleep).

Where we took pictures every month for a year, documenting all the changes she went through in those first twelve months.

There is a dent in the ceiling from where one of our friends shot a cork upon opening a bottle of champagne after he proposed to his girlfriend.

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Another tradition in our house, cups with slanderous things written about Belsky on them.

Where we began the tradition of the annual St. Patrick’s Day Party that changed and grew from a drunken bacchanalia to a mostly family friendly event.

There is a patch of counter top that mysteriously broke off after a particularly wild party at our house (pre-daughter, natch).

The fire pit that is no longer, that we gathered around in support of one another when a friend suddenly passed away.

Where I brought home cat after cat after cat.

All of these things that made our house our home will cease to exist in a few more weeks.  Of course, when I confided this in my husband he very reassuringly, reasonably, and annoyingly told me that those things don’t just disappear once we do.  They will always have happened here and no matter what we are doing with this house, whether it be continuing to keep it as a rental or returning here at some point.  Nothing changes that.

I must add that my husband is a good man for putting up with me, my flair for the dramatic, and my public outing of his antics at almost every turn.  Also, for agreeing to pack up everything we own to embark on this mini adventure, obviously.

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The wreath I made for our shed door back when we drank that much beer in just one weekend.

Also, I need to remember that all of those things don’t just stay here.  They come with me, with us.  Just like the unreasonable amount of cat paraphernalia, countless comic books, and stuffed animals.  It all comes with us, and it will all come with us wherever we end up after that, and after that, and for the love of god no more after thats.

So yeah, I will take all those memories with us and although they may no longer live within the walls of this house (where hopefully someone new will be making wonderful memories) they will just have to live within us and the stories we will tell our daughter (and hopefully, like five more kids) until she grows bored of them.

Godspeed house, I hope you get to see as many great things happen to our tenants as you saw happen for us.

Also, try not to burn down or have any pipes burst or get termites or anything.  You’re our retirement plan now.

Approximately 21 days left under this roof.

The Accidental Landlord

Alright, the title is kind of misleading.

First, we are not yet landlords.  We are still in the god awful showing of the property and screening out lunatics phase.  We haven’t even gotten to the part where money exchanges hands.  We’re just basically unpaid tour guides in the museum of our lives.  And. It. Is. Awful.

As for the, “What?  How did this happen?” part of it all…  well, it was always part of the plan.  Or at least, part of the dream.  Our five year plan involved moving out of our school district before our progeny was old enough to enter kindergarten.  The real estate market being what it is in this town, nay the country, we were going to keep our house on as an investment.  Try and make some of that sweet, sweet rental income while we were at it.

But that plan was for five years from now (well, three years from now because holy crap my daughter is almost two).  Once we had added a second bathroom, painted the living room something other than purple and red (I assure you that it seemed like a good idea at the time), and figured out what we were doing with our unfinished car port… you know, and a few other things.

Instead, life does what it does, and laughed in the face of our plans with a big old HA HA HA.

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Echinacea in full bloom.

Now we’re looking down the barrel of a five week deadline.

This is not to stay that we don’t want this.  Honestly, all the moaning and groaning aside, this has been the kick in the pants that got us moving.  Sure, our five year plan turned into a five week plan and we’re scrambling a little bit, but we’re getting it done.  Slowly but surely.  Yeah, we aren’t adding a second bathroom, but we finally made a decision on that car port (a coat of paint and some minor major repairs to the roof late,r and it’s a… car port… you’re welcome future tenants).

And we’re going somewhere good.  Somewhere where we will be doing good.  And no matter all the other details, that makes it all worth it.

Even being a docent in my own home.

I’m also trying to lean into it a bit.  I’m giving into the crazy, the mayhem, the insecurity of it all.

The first day of showings I scheduled them all perfectly so that I had an hour for each visitor.  That gave us a full eight hour day with eight visitors.  You know, like a noob.

I even dressed nicely, figuring that I was asking these people to trust me as much as I needed to trust them.  I wanted to present myself as someone that took things seriously.  Someone that wasn’t going to get them in here and take advantage of them.  I wore a skirt for crying out loud.

My husband took a different approach and after the last appointment left pulled two knives out of his cargo shorts.  He had one in each pocket, he confided in me, in case something happened and he needed to use one, he didn’t want to forget where it was. 

After an awful day where only half of the scheduled viewings showed up (two cancelled without any warning at all), and one unbelievably unpleasant group of people that I had to tell on the spot that we would not be renting to them.  No no no, not under any conditions, NOT EVER.  I needed a beer and a break.

This weekend the viewings are scheduled for every 15 minutes for three hours.  I’m wearing shorts and a t-shirt.  And maybe I’ll shower.  But maybe not.  Because walking from room to room and giving the same speech over and over again (all the curtains are staying, this bathroom was partially remodeled in 2015, oh this is the original vanity from 1951, blah blah blah, word vomit word vomit word vomit…) is sweaty work.

Did I mention it is also very thirsty work?

So, here we go.  This is our adventure in landlording.  Worst case scenario it’s just a year.  Just 12 months.  This could be a good 12 months, or the worst 12 months of our lives.

Here goes nothing everything.

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