Posted by wendiwendy
When we first walked through the house in April, it was basically empty – no furniture or window treatments, nobody currently living there at the time. After we decided that yeah, we were gonna take a shot at buying this house built in 1900 (!), we came back and took a closer look. I’d found out the hard way, from a house we’d signed a contract on a few weeks earlier, that it was a good idea to open those cabinets, look in the closets, really take your time and decide if you can make this place work. (We backed out of the other house after the inspection turned up some Bad Things, but I also hadn’t realized that the kitchen cabinets were actually horrible inside – I never bothered to open a door or drawer. Doh! The market was insane at that time and we were basically jumping at any house that hadn’t been sold out from under us.)
As we slowly inspected each room, opening cabinets and drawers, we realized that there was actually quite a bit of stuff still here. Pots and pans, dishes, silverware, lace curtains (still in the packaging from the dry cleaner) hanging in the closet. The upstairs storage area, which I call the attic but really isn’t – it’s just a small room at the end of the upstairs hall with lots of space for storing things – had some holiday decorations in the back. There was a propane charcoal grill on the back deck. Stuff like that.
We tried to piece together the story of these left-behind items. The seller hadn’t lived in the house since 2011 or 12. I found a whole kitchen cabinet filled with inkjet cartridges, markers, first birthday invitations, even photos, and our seller was not in any of them. Leftover invoices in the same cabinet had somebody else’s name, a couple with a small child from the looks of things. I assumed they were renting the house and, for whatever reason, took off in a hurry and left a bunch of stuff behind. I also assumed it would all be gone once we actually took possession in June.
But it wasn’t gone. We opened the door with our new key, walked in, and found all these things in the same places we’d last seen them. So I ended up with a couple of new pots and pans, donated most of the dishes, gifted to Paige all the things she needed for her new home, and tossed the junk in the trash.
I pretty much forgot about the holiday stuff. I mean, it was June and the holidays were the furthest thing from my mind. Once November rolled around, though, I started eyeballing potential spots for a Christmas tree. You might remember my dilemma when we moved to the little house in Niles, a house so small that there was no possible place for a full-sized tree. (I actually considered not having a tree that first year, until Dave insisted that we look at some pencil trees.) To have multiple possibilities for tree placement was a novelty for me; even in Illinois, there was only one real option for where to put the tree (and I still had to move furniture to fit it in).
“We need to buy a tree this year,” I reminded Dave. “I hate to spend the money, it would be cheaper to buy it after Christmas, but that pencil tree is just not big enough. We’ll put that one out on the front porch.”
He held up a finger to stop me. “Hang on.”
He went downstairs (we have a Michigan basement here, so I try to stay out of it as much as possible). A few minutes later I heard something thunking up the stairs, and then a six-foot Christmas tree appeared in my kitchen.
He peeked around from behind it. “It was downstairs! It has lights on it and everything. It’s from Bronner’s!”
I mean, what are the odds?! This tree is the perfect size for the family room, and it is gorgeous.
I did suggest that we buy a second tree during the after-Christmas sales and put it up in the living room or dining room, but Dave shot that down. Can’t blame a girl for trying! 😉