Part of my To Do list while I was home in NC this holiday season was to prep the house to put on the market. It's not what I want to do. It's not even in the top ten, but Plan A- rent downstairs to nice, stable, employed people blew up in my face. They paid October rent two weeks late. Never paid November's rent, and moved out 11 December, leaving items behind, having not paid any of December's (or November's) rent, painted the entire downstairs without permission, and have been dodging my calls, preferring to deal with Dad because he's "nice". I started vacation going to court to formally evict them. They didn't show, so while I got my property back, I don't get any money. And let me tell you, I'm all for people having protection so they can't be evicted without cause, but I find it ridiculous that someone who is employed full time cannot be punished, or made to pay back rent.
But walking downstairs to inspect what they'd done/left, it struck me that this was officially no longer my house.
I did not recognize it. It struck me how easily our mark upon the world can be erased.
As I walked around the house with the broker to add to my To Do list, it's hard not to feel sad. I bought this house for Mom, thinking it would be a permanent home. Everything I did with it was a set of tiny steps in the grand plan for how I wanted to make it. As I let Nehi out into the yard this morning, all I could see was all the work I had poured into it.
To me, the garden, or the yard is the heart of a home. It becomes the visible proof of what you create in a home. My yard was a sandpit when I first bought the house. The fence went up when Nehi came. The rain garden came after I realized the yard flooded on that side. The eucalyptus tree I planted in memory of Mom. The cherry tree, peach tree, and flowering pear were planted because I love the spring blossoms. The lantana is everywhere. I built the herb wall garden. Each plant is a memory of time digging in the dirt, with Nehi lazing in the sun.
As I look around the house, I also see Mom. All her knick knacks, pictures, stuff. Dad doesn't want most of it anymore, so I'll be packing all these things and driving them back to Albuquerque with me. Once we sell the house, Dad will move into a smaller place, one where the mortgage is more manageable. And once the house is sold, my last tangible connection to my Mom will be gone. This was the last place she was. It's where she died. And once Dad moved into his new place, that place will not be home so much as his place.
I will also visit Dad as much as my schedule allows. But my home now is wherever my academics or work takes me. Perhaps the future will allow me the luxury of once again owning a home, and making it my own. And I'm fine with that. Part of my marketability is that I'm willing to pick up everything and move for a job. But I know as I drive away, I will be saying goodbye to many things.