Leaving Home

The same bird – the one that says “Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy Choo”, is driving me crazy here too. I’ve never been able to catch the thing in my binoculars either in Washington or here in Vermont.
That’s one teeny frustration, and I wish it were the only one. Fitting that my friend Susan’s book called “The Stager” comes out in a few days, since we are having to do what a stager does, which is make a house look like nobody lives in it. At the same time it has to be beckoning and spotless, a blank canvas of a gorgeous and/or irresistible color that the buyer can’t wait to get her hands on.
Achieving this is probably near the bottom of the list of things I’m good at. I’m a good cleaner once I get started, but I rarely get started and I have a high tolerance for dust and dog hair. Having strangers look in my closets is like having a bad accident while wearing dirty underwear, a circumstance my mother always told me was the worst thing that could happen in this life.
Oh god, what if they punish you in the next life for disorderly closets.
Our real estate agent came to take pictures today while we drove around the dreamy, fragrant countryside of southern Vermont.
The wild lupines are fading but there are yellow daisies everywhere, white daisies too, wild columbine, Queen Anne’s Lace, tiny magenta pinks, escaped blue geraniums, milkweed, and the last of the lady slippers. There’s been a lot of rain so the mountain streams are fulsome and clear. The real estate agent suggests a thorough cleaning of the whole house.
I don’t want to sell this house. I don’t even want strangers coming here and murmuring about all the work there is to do. We already filled a Dumpster with precious stuff that had my grandchildren’s dna all over it. Now all that precious stuff, puzzles and games and drawings, along with ruined mattresses and limp inflatables, are in a landfill in Canada and the remaining humans – my husband and me – can’t stand each other. The dogs are sullen, sensing unwelcome change. They break my heart.
I let them sleep on the couch. I let them sleep in the chairs and on the beds. I let them shed. I let my grandchildren bring great armloads of sheets and blankets into the living room so they can sleep there together. The sheets and blankets leave the living room but I never know where they’re going to go.
All I really wanted to know, all I care about, is that my grandchildren, who are mostly teenagers, wanted to stay up most of the night giggling and talking and then go to sleep in the chairs. If the sheets make it to the laundry room, or even to my attention, I will wash them, dry them and fold them and put them somewhere.
The worst of it is that I have no right to whine about this loss. I am a lucky little girl, as my mother used to tell me. And surely that’s true.


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