February – selling our existing home and test camping trip

I will start with the fact of my life – my husband is not a planner. I do not want to say its bad, I dont judge him for that, but it sometimes drives me crazy. If he has to be somewhere on time, I know for sure that he wont. If we travel and have a flight to catch or ferry to make, I have to fudge the time or use my super powers to get him out of the house, which does not mean we can actually leave, he will always come back once, or twice, or drive back because he forgot something. It seems that my whole life with him is waiting for him to be there, and knowing he will be late but he makes it. We all know we cant change our partners so being an optimist I have learned to live with it and sometime to even have advantage. It is as if he thinks there is that magic fairy which does all the planning, and it just happens. Its not!

So the plan was for children (of which we have 3) to move out and then sell our house. Since we never experienced “moving out kids” it was all new to us. Whoever said we will be sad to be empty nesters was wrong – its been 2 months and I am still quite happy. I left my home at 17 and came back once when our country fell apart and my parents asked us to come back. 1.5 years later I moved to Europe and only visited since. My oldest was 31. Maybe someone will understand how ready I was to be an empty nester.

First thing we have learned with kids moving out of our home – they wont clean or patch the walls (up to 80 holes in the walls from shelves and other things) and they are not coming back soon to help with cleaning. Right. They are busy settling in which is understandable. I guess one can say first time can be a free ride, they will be in for a surprise when they move next time. My youngest moved out first and I went full speed painting, cleaning, getting rid of left over things.

Now, what they left. When you live with your partner and you shop – you know what you bring in. When you live with your adult children for years – you have no control. Ideally they should have taken everything with them but in reality they took only what they needed – yes, leaving us with 20 bottles of hair conditioners, 50 lint rollers, 20 bottles of moisturizers, combs, brushes, hair dyes, shampoos, 3 hair dryers and lots of furniture which they said they will pick up later (and they did not). It took me a week to realize how useful “buy nothing” FB groups can be – we got rid of almost everything by just putting it there and taking it out of the house for pick ups. But, it took a lot of time and effort.

Next, i have learned that while my husband is excellent in patching the walls, smoothing them, fixing them, he is not that great about cleaning up after, so its also all left to me. February was the month when in addition to the full time job I painted, cleaned, washed, scrubbed, disposed of, did 4 recycling loads of recyclables and 2 dump truck drives to the dump, and overall slept 5 hours per night and was busy as a bee. My oldest moved out a week before our realtor came to take pictures and she occupied 2 rooms – I think I slept even less but everything was perfect for his arrival.

We listed our house mid month and were asked to go somewhere for the weekend to let people see our home. Right. You got it right. Middle of the pandemic, middle of winter. I opted for camping because I needed hubby to get on board with less stuff, learning we can live in our 22 foot Springdale trailer for about a year when we sell and when our house is being built. Right. He was not on the same page. I do not think at that time he was on the same planet.

We opted for local campsite next to Fort Langley where we were lucky to score the site. You hear me right. Campsite was full, mid February. 156 sites. We were lucky to get one site right next to the road. Everyone had full hook ups but no sani dumps on site, we opted for not using our water as of course the weather changed and we got a dump of snow and freezing temperatures. Last thing I wanted was to have my pipes crack on our test trip.

We survived. It was warm, thanks to a small heater. The dogs (we have 2, one is very old, one is large) were happy but confused, we never camped in winter. Bathrooms were closed to I used a bucket with bags in it which turns “it” into solid waste. I called it expensive dump as 5 bags were 20$. We actually had a chance to talk to people who camped there full time – it was eye opening for my hubby. People who gave up their homes to live life in the RV and travel around. Because of pandemic Florida was out of the question and local campsites offer 6 month camping so here they all were. It was a great short trip which helped my hubby to wrap his head around the fact that he actually has to learn how to plan and picking up just some clothes 30 min before the trip is not going to cut a life in the trailer for almost a whole year with seasonal changes and moves.

Highlights of our trip included burning 20 years worth of old documents that we found around the house in the firepit. Having campfire and cooking on it with the snow around us (it was fun, and yes, our stove still works, we just chose to burn the papers as its faster than shredding and warmer). Mocca, our old dog, picking up a scent of the bunny and disappearing in the middle of the night, she made almost 2 km run being 15 years old. Lots of laughs. Lots of proof of concepts. Good time. Nice coffee. Learning from others. Putting it into perspective how much of “stuff” we do not really need.

Our camps site at Fort Langley brae Island
We had cleared sitting area and could sit next to orchids 🙂 in the bin by the window

After our return home we found out we sold our house and got enough funding to presumably finish our new home. Some things I have learned from the sale – oil tanks (new asbestos in the sale forms) – bad, test your site if you want to sell, everyone wrote nasty subjects of liability if they find it on the property, money is not everything but its good to have a lot – subjects can be not attractive – we ended up negotiating subject free offer without inspection or finanacing. Another thing – I filled out application to buy my own house and I did not qualify. Right, I can not afford to buy my own house. But someone has enough cash to afford buying it (and possibly take down and build on top). Good realtor is a blessing (thank you, Ray).

Right after accepting the offer (which took me 5 min after negotiating the subjects while my hubby was fully engaged in work meetings and just got to me after I went thru 8 offers and chose one and negotiated – arent I an awesome wife ahaha) I started packing. We opted for NOT putting anything into storage but instead purchased a trailer to store what we possible will use and mostly get rid of everything. Yep, we got rid of almost all furniture, and left only things which we love the most (and most of those have no value but make us happy). I packed and packed and assmebled bins for the RV life and booked our stays in various campsites so we can live worry free life. That of course involves a lot of planning which HE does not do. So I do. I plan, I execute, I pay, and I spend money on booking camp sites, trips, ferries, transportation etc etc etc. I guess that’s what family symbiosis is. If he is not on the same planet, I will plan how to get him there. After all he embraced the fact that hundreds of successful people live in the RV full time and have so much free time to have hobbies or walk or hike that life becomes simple. Just FYI we are married for almost 32 years.

The highlight of the month. He wanted me to keep our China cabinet. It is a great solid wood heavy cabinet which perfectly fits into our alcove in the house. It is dark. I do not want dark in my new home. I am done with dark. Suddenly he says – do we want to get rid of that cabinet? I do not think we need much furniture in the new home. I think that was the best moment of February – when I realized both of us have a vision of the new home and those visions are similar and also that HE can let go of things we do not need. It felt great, considering if we go to the cafe and waitress asks tea or coffee we always answer two different answers as at that moment one of us wants tea and another one coffee. So the simple fact we both felt we do not need that awesome expensive solid wood cabinet at the same time was amazing. Its like we both suddenly wanted coffee at the same time. (but he drinks it black and I drink it with cream). Oh well, nothing is perfect.

Picture of our house in the snow. He had to drive back home from the camping to clear the driveway, in the snow, up the hill, because we needed to. He can not plan but he can take care of things which need to be done. Late. But better late than never.

Our house. I love how it looks. We lived here for 18 years. We dreamed to have a garage but decided house is old enough to not bother. It is a happy good house. I will miss it. But adventures ahead of us call me now.