Miscellaneous Observations From My Half-Empty House

Over the weekend, we unpacked the last boxes that had been stored since 2011. Some of the stuff then went straight into plastic bins and back into a storage unit! We don’t want to fool with any knick-knacks or artwork until everything is here. But the point is, we are no longer looking at boxes. And this is a good thing.

Now these were fun to unpack! Also, how to raise two history majors.

At the moment, the house is a pretty tranquil place. All-white, pretty floors, minimally furnished, and no big projects going on. That won’t last. HHE arrival is going to be apocalyptic, but we don’t think about that. Nope, not going there.

The kitchen and bathroom are fully functional, but that’s about all you can say for them. Bare concrete floors, ripped-up drywall, tatty old appliances. I have talked to two kitchen designers so far: the kitchen is totally doable, but we are looking at a minimum of four weeks of being under construction. Did I mention my house is very SMALL?

Right now, these kitchen companies are booking dates in December. I am seriously considering putting the whole thing off until spring so that we can at least cook on a grill and eat outside while it’s all going on. We should have our big screen porch done by then. And what good is a screen porch if you can’t set a refrigerator out on it?

Speaking of kitchens, did you know that you can produce some pretty decent food with two saucepans, a cast-iron skillet, a pizza pan, a mixing bowl, and a couple of microwaveable Pyrex thingies? And that three people can get by on a six-person set of dishes, silverware and glassware if they just remember to run the dishwasher twice a day?

Sometimes, particularly when we are talking about where to fit everything, I worry that we’ve overdone the downsizing. But then I plug in my vacuum, clean the entire first floor in one go, and think, OK, I can handle this. Also, the grown son will only be living here for a year—or two—right?

I am very happy about my yard. It’s a blank slate, to be sure, but almost flat and exactly the right size (.15 acre). We spent last weekend cleaning it up: removed a rotten old fence, chainsawed and otherwise filled 26 bags of assorted overgrown bushes, sticker plants, and random trash.

Let’s DO this, I said. And so, we did.

It was hard work, but in a good way. And, one weekend to clean up a rental property is just a blip on the radar! Our last yard was over half an acre of steeply sloped, bamboo and ivy-infested, Virginia jungle. That yard was the main reason I unloaded the house. This one’s going to be really fun to fix up. (Rubs hands in gleeful anticipation of getting extremely dirty.)

Every move is a huge project: moving back to DC and renovating a house takes that to a new level. I’m basically a combination handyman and project manager these days. With one month to go at State, the FSO is deep into job-hunting mode at the moment. As yet, we haven’t seen or heard anything in the news to lead either of us to regret that decision!

I definitely intend to look for part-time work, but am holding off until a few more things are done or at least contracted and scheduled (like the kitchen). Also, it would be nice to have some clothes to wear to said job, but for that I have to unpack HHE.

And we don’t think about that, remember??

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