Should I Stay or Should I Go?

I’m having a problem with time and my calendar.

Two weeks ago, I was babysitting Liam when I got a phone call I was supposed to be playing tennis in my last match at Coral Reef park. Then, after arranging a trip for my Book Club to the psychic town of Cassadega (with much back and forth on dates) I agreed to a trip to Maine with my son and daughter-in-law on the same weekend! I re-booked Cassadega with my sister Kelley for next week, only to discover it’s on the same day as my End-of-the-Year Tennis Luncheon I already R.S.V.P.’d yes to! And finally, a Yelp event to cook with 2 Korean Girls I signed up for this Thursday is the same night as my Book Club meeting so I had to cancel. AAAHHH! I’m pissing people off left and right and disappointing myself as well. I’m not usually this flaky, I swear!

I attribute it to 2020 and the year when time and calendars meant absolutely nothing. I had nothing on the schedule but: eat, drink, watch Netflix, sleep and repeat, with some walks and puzzle-making thrown in for good measure. No trips, no appointments, no people to see, or places to be. Meetings were all virtual, via Zoom, requiring only a quick trip to my den. It’s thrown me off my game, this last year of Pandemic living; usually an organized person, I’ve become a total flake of late.

Another thing I thought would never happen to me, has happened. I’ve started thinking seriously about selling our house.

When a former Book Club member put her house on the market, a house I’d been in and loved for its airy feel, I was interested in going to look at it and possibly make an offer. After spending a lot of money on our house in 2019, my husband and I decided we were staying put for a while, to reap the benefits of our investment. But after renting our condo in the Keys for the last three months and having to spend every weekend doing deferred yard work, it made me start thinking. Is this the way I want to spend my weekends? And, the rest of my life?

Also, our house is large, with three roofs, four air conditioners and 32 palm trees in the yard. There is ALWAYS something leaking, breaking and/or falling; upkeep is non-stop and our FPL bill is through the (leaking) roof. When we bought this house, the year after we got married, it was after a year of searching for houses to be “ours”. It was the last house I was looking at to buy, before we were going to start building onto my grandmother’s house in Coral Gables. It worked for us, mostly because it had a large upstairs bedroom area with it’s own bathroom that was the perfect space for my 16 year-old son to get away from all of us.

Although that son moved to Tallahassee that Fall, he would periodically move back, as did my oldest son Brad and daughter A.J. Let’s just say that room has basically never been empty, including a recent two-week stint with Christopher, Courtney and Liam as they searched for a house of their own. It is now finally unoccupied, but also in need of repair with bubbling plaster, broken closet doors and a bathroom in desperate need of updating.

The other thing that happened with our house is that while all the kids have moved out- into apartments, condos or houses of their own- there is still a feeling of ownership and territorialism associated with former bedrooms. One actually stayed locked for months after the resident moved out, so no one could invade said personal space. So, while we got this house in 2005 to be “our” house, with “our” family the way it was at that time, it is now time to get “our house” for “our” present family. A family that looks completely different sixteen years later.

The Book Club lady’s house didn’t work for us because: #1 There was no garage (and we have a lot of junk) and #2 It was two stories. If we are buying a house to fit our needs as we get older, two-story is not the way we want to go. So, here we embark on a new chapter of our life, but not any time too soon. That house that was for sale right down the street from us, simply got my wheels turning in a different direction. I do not want to be a servant to my house.

I have to say, however, that I have loved living in this house, with its Coconut Grovey feel and funky, Frank Lloyd Wright-ish architecture. When I wake up and look out my bedroom window at the palm trees and our pool, I feel like I’m on vacation, even fifteen years later. And it certainly was a comfortable spot to shelter-in-place last year. We spent a lot of time, energy and brain-storming fixing up this house, which totally didn’t make sense flow-wise when we moved in, into a home we finally felt satisfied with.

But even so, I’m not terribly emotionally attached to this house. It’s definitely served its purpose for us and I love the neighborhood we’re in, but I can also see letting it go. I would hope someone else would move in and appreciate it’s charms and quirks, but also realize it may be considered a tear-down.

So, I guess you could say I’m conflicted. I used to say there’s so much junk in this house you’d have to pull me out, feet-first but now… We’ll see.

“Just a little bit of green, clouds my eyes to what I’ve seen. Just a little bit of green, When I see you with someone new. And knowing that there’s nothing I can do.”

Elvis Presley

Published by gleeguilford

Born and raised in Miami, the daughter of a pilot and stay-at-home Mom, I love food in all forms. My great grandfather opened the first Italian restaurant in Miami in the 20's, The Boathouse on the Miami river. I love exploring my heritage and linking food and recipes to personal stories. I've been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love and wrote restaurant reviews and news as the Miami Dining Examiner for three years. I love exploring Miami's latest hot spots, hole in the walls and institutions. I'm always looking for innovative ways to use the plethora of tropical fruits and vegetables South Florida offers, especially from my own garden.

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