Saturday, April 11, 2009

Blog Against Theocracy: Leaving it all behind


So you've heard how people who are being foreclosed upon trash their houses?

Not us. I understand the anger that people feel when they must leave their homes, but why do damage? How can that possibly make you feel better?

As we finish closing up our house to turn the keys over to Citibank, I'm vacillating between an odd melancholy and a sense of relief. I can assure you, though, that it has not occurred to me to damage the house.

Perhaps the fluorescent light bulbs have disappeared. And the good shower heads. And some of the heavy-duty dowel rods from the closets. But these are all things we purchased on my credit card and will continue to pay for as part of our Chapter 13 bankruptcy settlement. I figure that as long as that chunk of money for creditors is subtracted from my paycheck, then I'll be damned if I'm going to leave those things behind.


It's really as much what you don't do as what you do, I think, when it comes to leaving a house. Luckily, we've been able to take our time. The Sheriff didn't knock on our door and demand that we leave. I'm glad for that.

However, knowing that we were leaving, things like simple repairs didn't get done. Why bother? Screens are damaged and go unreplaced. The Actor and Garbo cracked a window in her bedroom a while back and we didn't fix that. We never finished the painting job we started in 2007 when our lives derailed and today I peeled some blue painters' tape from a door jamb, chuckling to myself about how many times I'd said "we really need to finish those touch ups and be done with this."


As I walked through the house this afternoon, I listened to the echoes of my footsteps, playing off the walls. And what was that? The wild footfalls of the kids running down the hallway, the sound of a cat mewling behind an accidentally closed closet door, the crackling of bacon frying on a Sunday morning, a hushed laugh in the master bedroom, the faint racket of the washing machine winding down its cycle in the basement.

I stood for a moment in the master bathroom and stared out the window at the cedar tree that stands alone in the back yard. As odd as it seems now, this was the room where I experienced my most intense emotions. It was where I hid to cry, where I mulled things over as I got ready for my day, where my eyes met the eyes of my beloved in the mirror as we shared that space.

I snapped a picture and then moved on. The neglected garden waited for me. I joined MathMan in the back yard, sorting out the hardscaping and emptying pots of soil into the tangle of weeds that would have been, in other years, a dark patch of earth with new growth already poking through. I plucked the low iron fencing from the edge of the herb bed and considered which plants to dig up and bring with us to the new place.

There won't be too many more trips to the old house now to tidy up. All that remains is a second hand weight bench, some pots from the back yard, an odd box of bunting that needs to go back to The Dancer's high school, and some cleaning supplies.


I did leave one thing behind. I couldn't help myself. Of course we'd left our marks all over the house. The color of paint on the walls, the type of flooring. The dings and scratches on the walls where pictures once hung.

That just wasn't enough for me, though. I wanted to leave a message. In the master closet, I'd done my handiwork.


All the way up and down the closet. Keep Church and State Separate. It's my little way of participating in The Blog Against Theocracy and spreading the word.

43 comments:

  1. and a good way of participating it is!

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  2. A beautiful home. Memories can be made anywhere as long as you band together for the long haul.

    You're very brave to share your experience with us.

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  3. I understand completely. Leaving a place that was home can be wrenching. So many memories left behind.

    The decals in the closet are a nice touch. The next occupents will have a small hint of who you were. It might make them think.

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  4. Beautifully written Lisa.

    - Sherwood

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  5. You left your lovely house in beautiful condition. And I love the message you left behind.

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  6. This is a wonderful post ... and of course I love the stickers! Thanks!


    BAC

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  7. I am certainly sorry for you. We are all just one or two little mishaps from the same fate. And we all got here due to the economic and fiscal policies of a bunch of Jesus lovers.

    Who Would Jesus Foreclose On?

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  8. May the next people who live in your home in the future fully contemplate those stickers you left for them. ;~P

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  9. You did a beautiful job of cleaning up, and your restraint is admirable. I think you already know that it's all of you, not the physical shell of any house, that makes your home.

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  10. Man, those pictures brought tears to my eyes.

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  11. Oh that is so rich, I love it!

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  12. This post is a bit of sheer perfection. You've done so much more than can be expected. Your kindness is reflected in all the touches. Your intellect and wisdom reside everywhere like the colors and the little message in the back of the closet

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  13. lisa, that you walked away from this house, leaving it beautifully clean and fresh, speaks volumes about who you are...and that little touch in the closet is a wonderful closing remark ;)

    may your memories in your new home be as wonderful, as magical as you are...I can't wait to see it in a year!

    have a wonderful easter tomorrow and eat some(lots) chocolate~hoping the bunny is kind to you, as you certainly deserve it!
    xoxox

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  14. Bless ya Girl.. I know it was hard.. but you have done a remarkable job, and leaving the stickers a stroke of genius. It is hard leaving a place you love, but new memories will soon start moving into the corners and occupy the spaces where the ones are now, you will still have the old ones, they just move over a little and become that much sweeter.

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  15. Those empty rooms shout of the loving family that once lived in it, all because you shared yourself and family with us.

    :)

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  16. Nice house, Lisa :) Show us your new one then, go on :))
    xx

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  17. Time for some cliché that really does ring true while stitching in time to save a six-pack: home is where you hang your hat. And where your gang hangs their dirty clothes.

    I sincerely hope a fundie is the next occupant of that house. Think of his rage as a nice substitute for the trashing you didn't do. ;-)

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  18. I'm So Sorry for the loss of your home but in the end, it is just a building. The people in it are what make it a "home". After someone else has lived in it for a while and you happen drive past, you'll be happy to be in your new "home". The stickers, applied not where the'd deface anything yet where they'd be visible daily, was a nice touch. Great post Lisa.

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  19. Good morning! I was thinking as I watched the coverage of the tornadoes that came through less than 30 miles from me. It's just stuff and stuff can be replaced. It's family, memories and the love that holds us ALL together that is priceless.
    Bless you and your family. And I don't say that out of a "oh I'm sorry you are going through this" sentiment. I truly wish blessings on you because we are all connected and all so very blessed.

    Peace,

    Phil

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  20. Lisa, I am sorry that you had tears in the bathroom. Oddly, I do not feel particularly emotional over leaving it. I guess I have come to realize that house, the land and location were not really "us". Makes it easier to leave but it does not mean that I don't or didn't like it. I will miss the garden and the decent floors and all the neighborhoo critters.

    And for those who don't know. We know of the three occupants of the house since it was built just over 12 years ago. Every occupancy has ended with a financial problem

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  21. Mathman states that the prior occupants also suffered financial situations. Methinks, the house is evil. My evil house - burned to the ground, and although we suffered through the loss, we were safe and healthy...and stuff could be replaced. Our luck seemed to improve once away from that property. You and Mathman will make your new abode a safe haven for your family and new memories will be made.

    I can't wait to see your new writings in relation to the new Manor.

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  22. you are taking all the important things with you. Good luck in your new place xxx

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  23. Things and stuff mean nothing in the scheme of things anyway.

    Sad, not knowing the circumstances, but having been there before myself.

    Sure makes you realize what traps we are led into and to believe in.

    You can only go up after being down, as dumb as that sounds, it's true!

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  24. Always hard, leaving, but it sounds like you bid a nice adieu

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  25. There are places we leave without much regret and there are places whose spaces and angles of light reflect essential parts of who we've become and what will never happen again. I had just a week to clear the house where I grew up, a house by the lake where my parents lived for 45 years. Every year we knew spring had come when dappled light from the melted water danced across the walls. It was spring again when I said good-bye.

    You are a lovely woman. I rarely cry but I got tears in my eyes reading this post.

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  26. great post love it.. Hoping all of you lot of happiness in the new place! Big big hug :)

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  27. So now you close this book of memories and move on to make a new book. A better and happier one. Mathman is right you are yourself wherever you go. Bloom where you're planted, as they say. I'm ready to hear the next chapter.

    Best to you always, Linda

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  28. Onward and upward!
    P.S. Our living room walls are the same color.

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  29. Lisa-nice post! I like the way you did it. At first, I was like...huh? Then I read closer and"
    ënbiggened"the photo!
    Cool!

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  30. lovely post, lisa, and a lovely goodbye to the house you had to leave behind.

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  31. My deepest condolences, this must be very difficult for you. Good luck in your new home. (Home used to be where you hang your hat. Now it's where you put your mousepad.)

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  32. Your family is never far from my thoughts. Take care of yourselves. The sun will rise again.

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  33. I think you did a beautiful job and how hard that must be. and I LOVE that you "left behind" the gol'darn sticker.

    Love you and think of you often.

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  34. Nice elegy for a former home. A lot of love must have gone into the place! Good luck at the new house.

    And Yay, stickers!

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  35. Parting is such sweet sorrow.

    To better times.

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  36. The thought of Fundies moving in your old house and seeing the stickers (causing heads to revolve) is a nice one and in this area very likely!!
    If home is where you hang your hat I'm in trouble as my hat is hanging in my pickup truck.

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  37. So sweet...and not so bitter.... I would not have been so...well...gentle about it all....

    That house MUST be damned!!

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  38. I had no idea that you were going through this...many many hugs....I am sending folks here today...

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  39. All my heart goes to you and your family, Lisa. I've been in a similar place. No matter where you go, you've got your love, your peeps ;-) , your friends.

    xoxo

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  40. Well done, good luck and best wishes.

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  41. Wow--another beautifully-written blog entry by you. :)

    I sooo can identify with the wistfulness of leaving an old home. When Iwanski and I left our old apartment in Wisconsin--even though I knew we were moving to exciting downtown Chicago--I cried and cried. So many memories in that old place...

    I am glad that you left such awesome remnants behind, though. *smiles*

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  42. Empty rooms, stripped of the furntiure and day to day things we need in them, always seem so BIG.

    And uncluttered, they have a dry reverberation that makes them sound so strange compared to what we have grow to know and love.

    And of course you only experience that sound during the upheaval of moving in, or moving out...

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  43. Oh to be half as talented as you at putting my life out there, making light of it and finding just the right notes to describe the situation.

    Your words are like finely oiled gears in an engine. Keep up the great work.

    My advice about the house, don't look back or you just may turn into a pillar of salt. Walk away and just never look back. Every time I look back it nearly kills me.

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