Saturday, August 22, 2009

Time To Spill The Details...

I have suddenly found myself with some extra time on my hands.

Always a pleasant surprise!

With Will on a trip, it means that our Dining Room-turned-Playroom project has been put on hold for the weekend, which gives me a chance to get caught up around here.

Besides, I feel like I owe this post to those of you who weighed in with your opinions on whether I should visit our old home in Arizona while we were there on vacation visiting...

To my surprise, 41 of you took the time to give me your opinions.

Thank you for that!

Overwhelmingly, you responded "No - Don't do it!"

27 of you said "no" and most had personal experiences to back up those opinions.

7 of you said "Yes - do it"

And 7 of you said "maybe" or "it's up to you" or "good luck with your decision."

After thinking about it nearly non-stop, I had decided that it just wasn't a good idea. We would not be going by the old house.


It felt good to have a decision made.


you know the saying:

"the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray"

And that's exactly how it went.

We were in the West Valley, visiting friends, stopped and ate at my favorite lunch spot, cruising around seeing how everything had changed, when in a moment, Will said to me:

"So? You wanna?"

And my firm and calculated decision flew right out the window.

I said: "Fine. We can drive by, but that's IT! We're just driving by."

We made a quick right turn and before I knew it, we were driving down our old street.

When we got to our cul-de-sac we saw a truck parked right in front of our driveway.

I was fine with that! It would insure a quick drive-by, just like I was hoping for!

Until...our old neighbor came walking out of his front door and we realized that it was his truck sitting in front of our old driveway!

(I thought it looked familiar)

We said "hello", got caught up on how everyone has been doing the past 2 and 1/2 years, and then we immediately started asking about the new owners. We just couldn't help ourselves.

Ready for the dirty little details? Get this:

Turns out that the people that bought our house are great! Good people, great neighbors - super nice, friendly, clean, take care of the house, yard, etc


they decided to take advantage of the low prices that houses are selling for and they bought a house in the East Valley.

As soon as John said this, Will and I looked at each other, puzzled...

he went on to tell us that they had tried to sell our house, for quite some time, but couldn't get the price that they needed out of it.



We were shocked!

Obviously, these days, you hear about people doing it all the time, but to be standing in front of our old house, that we love, and hearing that it was empty...


John told us that we should go through the gate and take a look around.

"Really? Are you sure? We don't want's not ours."

I'm pretty sure he would have opened the gate for me, had Will not gotten there first.

John knew we would want to see it...

and in an instant, my feelings had changed.

Our house was empty.

I didn't have to see it with another family's life in it.

It was definitely a strange twist of emotions, but all I had was that moment, and with the new information that we had learned, I knew that I wanted to see as much as I could!

So we took the opportunity, and I can say now that I am happy we did:

Everything in the yard is so much bigger than it was when it was ours!

When we moved in, it was nothing but dirt, so it was so neat to see how it had all taken shape.

These next photos were the best we could get of the interior. They were taken through the side lights by the front door and through a few tall, decorative windows in the entryway...

It was really interesting to see the changes they had made with paint and the things that had remained the same.

Now, before you go and say "That was trespassing!", let me explain why we're ok with it, and why I'm pretty sure the current owners (who have now abandoned it) would be ok with it too...

We had to move back to WA from AZ in mid-November of 2006. We got an offer on the house and we were ready to be done with owning a house in a state we no longer lived in. We were all set to close in late December and we were thrilled to have a buyer in a market that was rapidly declining.

A couple of weeks prior to the closing we got a slightly frantic call from our real estate agent telling us that "everything has all been taken care of" and "not to worry" and "they've now got it all under control".


Turns out that the not-yet-owners of the house that we still owned, had started building a shed on our property!

From what we learned from our agent, that's a really big no-no.

So, we'll just call this whole "trespassing" thing, quid pro quo.


So, there you have it.

The funny thing is that, after saying "goodbye" to our old neighbor, and making our way back out through the neighborhood, we couldn't help but try and figure out a way to get our house back!

After a couple hours of daydreaming and trying to scheme up a plan, we finally realized that we just need to let it go. Because really, our emotions are not tied up in the house, it's in the life we had made.

We do love Arizona!
It will always hold a special place in our hearts. We formed amazing friendships and it's where we brought our baby girl into the world! But chances are, we will never call it home again. It's a great place to visit though - especially when you live in the Northwest through 9 months of gray skies and rain!

But if there is one thing we have learned about this life, it is to expect the unexpected...

For now, we're happy to call the Northwest "Home"

and with projects like the one we're working on now, we're well on our way to making this house a home that we love, equally as much!


duchess said...

What a sweet story. I'm glad you got to see your old house (not glad about the family who took over) but at least you got to have a little closure.
My husband's always telling me & the kids that you can't go back. Even if we got to move back to our favorite place, Pinehurst NC, it wouldn't be the same. We'd still miss our new home just as much because it's all about the memories.
Hope you're enjoying your weekend.

House and Homes....etc. said...

Hi Karla,
I have done the same thing, driving by an old house, it definitely stirs up the memory bank!! My husband is actually traveling in the NW this week and I someday hope to go with him as I have never been there.


AnneYarbs79 said...

I am a firm believer in "things always happen for a reason"- and you guys were obviously supposed to get one last 'go-round with the old house. So glad it had a happy ending!

Isabella & Max Rooms said...

What a great story! I can't believe you drove by...thinking you could JUST drive by!! Ha! The photos of the kids in the backyard are wonderful, what a great new memory you now have to add to all the old ones.

marty39 said...

It is funny how we miss some houses and not others. I miss our last one too. It holds so many memories, but like you say, you can't go back. I am trying to create memories in this one that will be just as wonderful. Hope you can too. Hugs, Marty

SILVIA said...

loved this post,love the way you write.
very sweet story for sure , i think i would have done the same.
it sure is a beautiful home and yard its a dream! i can see why you love it so much.if i could move to the states i would buy it definately!
have a great day..

Funky Junk Interiors said...

I was one to tell you to not do it. But my experience was different. If the place had been trashed, you'd have been somewhat tramatized. You found it in good order. I'm glad for that!

BTW... I would have driven by too at the very least. :) Driving by gives you at least some indication of what's going on inside. In my case, the outside was a complete and utter disaster so I have no desire to see what other tornados lurk indoors.

I'm glad you had a good experience!


Noodle said...

Does that mean it's going into foreclosure? Or just that the owners aren't living there?
We moved two years ago, due to my husband's job, and I really enjoy the house we live in now; however, he's been laid off, and our son and our daughter both live in our old neighborhood, so we see our old house all the time. It's strange, because we feel like we're in suspended animation right now. We don't know whether we'll be staying here or moving on again.
Anyway, I can empathize with your feelings of nostalgia for a life you built in another home! Especially for the landscaping you did yourself!

Mary Frances said...

It almost felt that you were drawn to the house by a pull outside of yourself...some things just need to work themselves out for us...then we can look forward with anticipation and back without regret!
Mary Frances

Marie said...

Hello Karla - thank you for sharing such a sweet story with us! I am so glad you had the chance to go back and say good-bye to your old house and I'm even happier that you were able to let it go, even though it was difficult. I'm sure it will be snatched up and loved by a new family very soon! Great photos.


Ruthie's Renewed Treasures said...

You never forget houses that you've created memories in. For me that's every house we've owned. You do have to let them go but they still live on in your heart!

Emily @ Frilly Details said...

I have a lump in my throat after reading this post. My husband and I moved from Chandler, AZ to Kansas and to say that I miss AZ is a major understatement. We went back last October and drove by our old place *sniff sniff*. Oh the memories!...