Thursday, November 19, 2015

Lessons Learned. Can I Get On with My Life Now?

As I may have mentioned earlier, I finally sold my house. It was a clusterfuck from start to finish. I attribute the fact that we couldn't unload the house in the hottest real estate market in years to bad karma, bad decisions, and a few unscrupulous assholes (more on that below).

But the bottom line is, that chapter of my life is finally over, and I can move on (and buy furniture). And, you know, every bad experience is a learning experience. The worse the experience is, the more you learn.

By that standard, I am now a super genius.

Just like Wile E. Coyote.
We even have the same motto.
Here are some things I learned from selling my stupid house.

1. I need to get a new ringtone. For three solid months, I got phone call after phone call bringing bad news, stress, and fear. I came to dread the appearance of any number in my caller ID that wasn't Precocious Daughter's. And now that the stress and fear are finally over, my Pavlovian response to my phone's ringtone is heart palpitations and flop sweat. Not only that, but I've started to think I hear my ringtone everywhere - in the backgrounds of songs on the radio, in random noises my car makes - and it makes me jump every time. Sorry, ringtone, I'm breaking up with you.

2. I had too much stuff. I still have too much stuff. But holy mother of Kermit, I had a lot of stuff. I'm not a materialistic person, but I am sentimental, so once an object is in my possession, I have a hard time letting go. Over the years, that adds up to keeping a shit-ton of things for no particularly good reason. Fortunately (I've decided to go with fortunately on this one), there's nothing like an impending divorce to drastically discount the sentimental value of a lot of items. "But we got this on our anniversary one year" becomes a reason to trash it rather than stash it. It was still hard to part with certain things. But hey, you can't start a new journey without unpacking your baggage from the last one. Right?

3. Home inspectors are lying sacks of shit. The very first contract on the house fell through because the home inspector the buyers hired flat-out told them lies. Like that the location of the water heater was going to cause the house to explode. Yes, really. He also reported that the HVAC system didn't work, even though the air conditioner was running during the inspection. My guess is that his brother-in-law had a plumbing/HVAC company to which he happily would have referred them to make the repairs, had he not scared them off entirely. Another contract fell through because the inspector said we had termites. I don't know what he thought termites look like, but we had Terminix come out and do an inspection, and even to drum up business for themselves they couldn't find any signs of termites or termite damage. Again, I'm sure he ran a pest-control company on the side. Dumbasses.

Mr. Inspector, I'm sure you saw several of these
in my house, but they are not termites.
4. I have terrible communication skills. For someone who writes so much - both professionally and out of love - I'm really not very good at communicating face-to-face with people. Even my almost-ex. Especially my almost-ex. That became glaringly apparent during the long, drawn-out process of selling the house. On the rare occasions that we had open, honest discussions about what we needed to do, shit got done. The rest of the time, we were never on the same page and shooting ourselves in the foot (feet?). I also didn't communicate effectively with realtors, contractors, or bank people. Probably the biggest lesson learned during this debacle is how important it is to say what needs to be said, good or bad, and accept the consequences, good or bad.

5. I'm never buying another house. I don't want to maintain a house, or the land it sits on, or the fence that surrounds it. It's difficult, it's time-consuming, it's expensive, and I don't enjoy it. I know there are all kinds of advantages to home ownership, and lots of ways it's superior to living in an apartment. I was a  homeowner for almost 20 years. It's great to have space and privacy, to have your trash picked up, to be able to paint a wall without asking permission or make a ruckus without disturbing the neighbors. But to me it's no longer worth it. Until you guys make me rich enough to afford a full staff, I'm done with taking care of a place.

6. I survived this. I can probably survive anything. Unless a meteorite lands on me. But you know, other than that, I can probably survive anything. Hey, could have just sent that lesson in a fortune cookie. But thanks.


  1. I can relate with the ringtone thing. Sometimes you just need to throw everything out and start fresh.

  2. You can have a nice do-over of your life. Include plenty of monkeys.

  3. Not being tied down definitely has its advantages. Enjoy your new freedom (sounds like a feminine hygiene ad, but you know what I mean).

  4. House inspectors run the gamut from really good to OH MY GOD who tied your shoes this morning? The one who looked at our house when it was on the market made a note that we needed to have the gas logs was a wood burning fireplace...with ash remnants inside. Idiot. Congrats on selling your house and embarking on a new adventure.

  5. No garden is completely pest free, but having a variety of plants that attract beneficial insects can really go a long way toward controlling pests by creating a self-sustaining ecosystem. My cousin works for pest control Port Macquarie and that’s how I know things a bit.


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