And keep sailing...

It was only a little over a month ago when in a heap of laundry and tears, we realized we had to sell our house. After two years of financial hardship, acquired debt and a tax lien on our mortgage care of THAT ONE REALLY GOOD YEAR we had back in 2012 (we got taxed up the ass that year and were never able to get in front of what we owed) we realized, after much hand-wringing, that we really didn't have a choice.

We could either...

A. Stay in a broken house which we were unable to financially fix while continuing to charge credit cards/live paycheck to paycheck/borrow money we may/may not be able to repay.


B. Sell our house. Make a substantial profit. Pay off our tax lien and every. single. dollar we owe and live completely debt free FOR THE FIRST TIME IN OUR MARRIAGE AND have some money in the bank.

So, yeah. Not a very choice-y choice.


When I found out I was pregnant with Bo and Revi, my first thought was how the fuck are we going to afford four kids in Los Angeles?  LOL because we couldn't. Okay, we could for ONE year and then... that was kind of it. ED: Childcare alone was 2500 a month until Bo and Revi started school this past fall. Multiply childcare with not-so-low mortgage, bills, insurance, healthy food, cars... infinity things that children/families/humans need... and holy shit, you guys. It's a lot. And even when Hal and I were doing really well for ourselves financially, we were only ever able to get in the black once. And that 
was the year we bought our house. 

THE DAY we came home from the NICU with Bo and Revi, we were given notice that we had 9 months to move out of our house as our landlords were moving back in.  (Happy homecoming!)  The rents in our neighborhood were astronomical so it made sense for us to look into buying. The market was down and our house was hundreds of thousands of dollars less than every other house in the neighborhood. Still, it was a fixer. Everything was original and needed to be replaced. The windows were caving in. The roof needed to be redone... etc, etc, etc. 

We applied for a loan, and miraculously, after being denied by two different lenders, were approved by the third. 

This house became the metaphor that, by the grace of some miraculous something, we could MAKE IT HAPPEN. We could afford a life in Los Angeles with four children. We could become homeowners in a neighborhood we never thought we could become homeowners in. We could support ourselves AGAINST the odds. FUCK YEAH, WE COULD.

That was our SURPRISE PERIOD. First, my pregnancy with Bo and Revi, then home ownership. Followed by... months later... a tax bill that was 4x what we expected it would be.

It was the same good year that gave us the money we needed to purchase a house that also, in the end, forced us to sell. We set up a payment plan but were only able to afford the bare minimum after childcare and other bills. We were house-poor, seemingly overnight. And every time something broke, we were fucked. 

We bought our house, expecting our ONE good year was the first of many. 

It was not.

We had big plans when we moved in -- of remodeling the kitchen and repairing the broken windows, redoing the roof, the wiring, the bathrooms. Our house was considered a pretty major fixer when we bought it and we were up for the challenge! But after years of barely making ends meet -- of not using the shower when it broke because we couldn't afford to fix it and paying to have the roof patched every time it rained because replacing the entire roof was impossible for us to pull off financially--we started to lose hope. And then, in the last few months, shit got increasingly dire.

In early February, Hal and I had $400 dollars in our joint savings account. I had to borrow cash from Archer to pay for guitar lessons. 
The world felt like it was ending in a thousand different ways. And the thing about having kids? You kind of have to pretend like it's not. 

You have to hold it together. YOU HAVE TO SMILE AND WAVE when you want to break down and throw things and run away and be like AHHHHHHHH. 
We sold our house within 48 hours. We had ONE Open House, a week of private showings for back-up offers and that was it. Last Thursday, after a two week escrow, we closed.

It was ONE MONTH almost to the day after we decided to sell.

One month. 

I still haven't had time to emotionally process what actually went down but that's sort of recurring theme as of late sooooo.... "Hello feelings, come on in. Take a number. I'll be with you shortly." 

I do know that selling our house was was the right thing to do and I'm grateful for the seamlessness of the sale. The process, thanks to our agents, has been a breeze. 

This house was a gift dressed up as a promise. Old houses are like that. 

Ours was, anyway.
We applied to rent the first house we saw. It was empty save for an old Steinway piano in the middle of the living room--warped and completely out of tune. The grand piano felt like a sign (a Signway?) just like the ship with six sails was a sign the day we first came to see our current house. 

I used to think I went looking for signs. Now I feel like it must be mutual.

The VERY FIRST thing Hal and I procured as a couple when we moved in together was a piano. It was a gift from Hal's parents and I will never forget the day my newly pregnant self sat in the piano store watching Hal take our Clavanova for a spin.

Our new/old piano isn't OUR piano, of course. We don't own it in the same way we don't own our new place. But ownership is meaningless in the end...  what matters is how we inhabit new spaces and what we do to improve them once we're there. What matters is the music
... however long it lasts.


The jasmine on the side of our house blooms once ever year. In the Spring. For one week. When we moved into this house it was the summer of 2012 and I had no idea the jasmine would be so fragrant. I even wrote a post about how-- how it was like a surprise gift to wake up one day and smell the overwhelming sweetness.

And for the last several years I have looked forward to this time -- opening up every window of the house so that the scent could waft through the halls (which is exactly what it's doing as I write this post, cross-legged between boxes and trash bags stacked for Goodwill.)

It feels extra meaningful for this week to be THE WEEK the jasmine came to bloom. It feels like a wave goodbye.
We're only moving a mile and a half away -- blocks away from the apartment Hal and I shared when Archer was born -- in the old neighborhood where it all began... We'll be in a walking neighborhood like we are now. Next to museums, closer to Archer's school...

Our new rental house is beautiful. It's bigger than our house -- with an extra bedroom so Archer and Fable can have their own space -- a first for both of them and one that is quite necessary at this time. Our new place was built the same year "Esteban" was and is full of original details from that period. Our new yard is full of water fountains and vines cover the windows. It has a converted garage with what the kids assume is a tiny stage for putting on theatrical productions. It even has a wishing well in the backyard. (The owners raised their four children in the house -- another signway to add to the list.)

See? Chin up, Charlie, I keep singing to myself, as I wade through the last five years of memories... EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE AMAZING. THIS IS A GOOD THING!

Still, I cannot help feeling the way  I do. 
I am heartbroken to leave this house we have made our home. The fence we painted, covered with our names. The walls stained in sharpies. The floors scratched from dragged chairs. We laughed and we cried and we mourned and we fought and we chased rats down the hallways in this house. My twins learned to walk here. The sidewalks are stained with the blood from their scraped knees. Everything here is a reflection of how we've grown and this is a death I have to mourn.

Nostalgia is where I fall apart. I crumble at the sight of old pictures -- which is what happens when you're clearing out a home after five years. When we moved in, Fable was four and Bo and Revi were only nine-months old and I had forgotten about those early days -- how hard they were in ways that I no longer recognize.The potty training and the sleepless nights and the outdoor summer concerts. The birthday parties and hanging of signs on our busy street to HONK IF YOU'RE WITH HER.

When we bought this house, we pictured ourselves staying here forever, but I guess that's normal. Humans don't put down roots while simultaneously planning to uproot them. Still, I have spent the last several weeks mourning the childhood I assumed would take place right here.
Mine was like that. We moved once when I was six years old and that was it.  My parents still live in my childhood home and all of my memories exist between the same walls.

This will be the fourth move we've made as a family -- a reminder that, indeed we can do this, we've done it before... and before that. And before that. And while this is a different move because this house was SUPPOSED to be our forever house, it's also just a house.

We are the home.


The night we accepted an offer on our house, we bought a couch that we can all comfortably sit on. We had been planning on doing that when we moved in here, as well, but we were so house poor that we couldn't. We also bought ourselves our first real bed, something we ALSO had been planning to do since we got married. Over twelve years ago.

"We can say goodbye and hello all at once."





The ship was originally what brought us here. When we first came to look at our house, I noticed the ship on the roof and how it had six sails...

And we were right. It was our house. It was our house SO MUCH in SO MANY ways... It was our house for better and for worse, for richer and for poorer, till DEBT did us part...
As per our lease, we plan to be in our new house for at least three years. Ideally, longer than that, but I know better now than to hold my breath or make plans or set anything in any kind of stone. We've signed leases in the past, only to see them broken. We've made pacts, plans, promises... editing mostly everything over time. 

That's okay. Nobody ever really knows what's coming next. I do know what's come and I know what is going and I know that this house will always be a part of our lives even when it isn't. That there's actually something kind of beautiful about transitioning from one habitat to the next -- growing into new homes, taking the essence of yesterday with us into tomorrow 
....while simultaneously learning to accept, adapt, move forward... 

I know that every day is part of an adventure I couldn't plan if I tried. That we are SO incredibly lucky to have had a house to sell in the first place.

Everything is temporary... even decisions that seem permanent... commitments, careers... Ships dock at harbors for five years only to sail on...
...And keep sailing.