Today is our last day in our house.
I'm sitting on the bed typing this, because it is the only piece of furniture that hasn't been packed into the cube in our driveway. I've lived in this house for almost four-and-a-half years. When I moved in, I was a newlywed (first husband) and the house was an abandoned wreck (this is our kitchen).
I thought this house was the final piece to our happily-ever-after. Instead, a few short weeks after moving the furniture in, we started talking about divorce, a few even shorter months later we were separated, and less than a year after moving in, our divorce was final. I bought the house from my ex-husband, filled it with roommates so I could pay the bills, and for the very first time, looked around and realized I could change it (sorry, Dad, about putting your butt on the internet).
And change it I did. I had a friend teach me how to spackle, sand and paint. I recruited a few more friends to help me paint some more, and my dad to hang doors (there were none) and fix some of the worst of the minor damages. I didn't have a ladder yet, so I would paint as tall as my chairs and desks and countertops would allow me. I have painted every single inch of this house.
That meant that rooms looked like this for months, and then one weekend I spent entirely painting the top three inches of all the rooms. I spent days, nights, we spent weekends painting. It was only a few minutes ago that we said to ourselves, "Finally. We have painted it all."
And I don't want to make everyone groan with the worst metaphor in the world, but it's simple fact. As this house changed, as it grew from a battered and neglected shell into our home, I changed. My life changed. This is where that happened.
I started running again after a five-year layoff that led to surgery. You've read the ups and downs that have come along with that decision. I brought home my first puppy in this house, we named him Graham because his little sweet puppy breath smelled like graham crackers. He learned to walk without wobbling here, he ran through his first snowfall here when DC was hit with the worst storm in whatever amount of years, he turned us into a family here. You all saved his life, here.
The poet moved in, we moved in together, in this house. We figured out how to live together, we worked through the baggage we were both carrying from our pasts, here. He got dragged into the biggest and slowest DIY project ever, and learned how to replace a water pump and install a ceiling fan and hang a bathroom cabinet.
We got married here.
And then celebrated, here.
We've thrown hundreds of parties, I've spent so many nights drinking wine with friends, we brought Molly and then Sofie home. We have replaced every piece of baseboard molding, painted every ceiling. I became an ironman in this house; the poet, a marathoner. I learned how to cook - really cook, not just make chicken stir-fry and pizza - in this kitchen.
So, I know that this doesn't have anything to do with swim/bike/run, but I just needed to pause. To take a moment, to stop and remember. It's hard to leave these things behind, there were times when I thought we would never leave this house. "Especially after all this work we've put into it," I would cry, whenever leaving came up. It's been harder than I expected, to take the house apart and pack everything up and walk around inside it, empty. But we are leaving, we are heading west with our boxes of crap and our lawnmower and our couches and our puppies and to what we hope will be a better life for us. This house has been the backdrop of our lives, and now it is time to say goodbye.