I bought a house in Meridian, Idaho five years ago, 2009 – rather a risky time to buy a home as the trajectory of the economy continued to descend. It was an out of character move that confounded many of my friends. Not only for the location, but for the three car garage that was an astounding acquisition. At approximately 825 square feet, it could easily be an apartment.
Nonetheless, I stubbornly forged ahead, established a five-year plan to stay in the house, practice my handywoman skills, hope for an improved economy, and then sell. I planned to use the money from the sale to buy a small cottage on the Washington coast.
As the economic downturn continued into a recession, near depression status, and the housing market bottomed out lower than expected, my five years turned to a ten-year plan. At times I wondered if I would ever get out of the house, perhaps stuck for a long time, and simply hoped to break even.
However, surprisingly, at the five-year mark an improved, robust market began to emerge. I was ready to sell and live in something smaller with less maintenance. I wanted to use my time and money to travel, spend time with friends and family.
The process began with clearing everything out of the house to refurbish it with fresh paint and carpet. Potential buyers could see the house clean and empty. Part of the task list involved finding a home for ten-year old Miss Cleo cat, a stressful and sad situation that thankfully ended well. After that ordeal, I vowed at some point in time to either foster older cats or try to take them on as pets.
During my five years on Snowgoose Way, I packed the time with people and new activities. One daughter lived with me for a couple of years, and the other came and went as she finished college. Snowgoose saw several friends come and go as they transitioned to new lives. I hosted parties, and had family dinners over the holidays. My older daughter brought friends from college one summer, and they practiced acroyoga yoga in the yard.
Locally I joined a community garden group that started behind the back of a church, and later moved to a large plot in Kleiner Park. I learned how to grow food and enjoyed eating freshly picked cantaloupe, tomatoes, peppers, kale, red potatoes. The first year I spent hours in the garden. After work, I headed to Kleiner park to water and weed in the hot evening summer air. Each night the broad horizon graced the sky with extraordinary shows of spectacular sunsets.
I had dreams of playing the piano again and for the first year practiced each day for at least 20 minutes, but that discipline fell by the wayside. Instead, at a friend’s urging, I rekindle a long time dream of learning to play the banjo. The house endured endless hours of practice.
I remained in the house during the painting so I could attend to yard projects. Daily I would arrive home and find walls that I had painted with my unique colors turned to lovely neutral beige. Gradually I felt my personality leave the house. A good friend suggested I spend solitary time in the house to say goodbye, and while I smiled at the suggestion, inwardly I scoffed. It turned out she was right. Alone in a quiet house, I paused to enjoy the empty, simple, clutter free existence, honor the memories, and gave thanks for five years of beautiful shelter.