Saying Goodbye to The House

April 11, 2008 at 8:32 am 14 comments

To the New Owner of My Old House:

I apologize for the leaking ceiling in the kitchen. I’m sure the real estate agent didn’t show you the house on a rainy day. If it’s any comfort, it only leaks when it rains really hard, and that only happens, what? Six, seven months a year? You’ll need to buy a bucket, pots and pans fill way to quick.

That hole in the ceiling on the back stairway is really more of a cautionary tale than an undone home improvement project. A friendly reminder that there’s nothing between the studs in the attic except a very thin sheet of drywall. Just ask my second oldest daughter who discovered that fact the hard way. I’d apologize for the really ugly, mangy, orange carpet in the den…but what’s under it is even scarier.

Hopefully you didn’t spend your kid’s college money to buy this house for the “tin” ceilings and “stained glass” window. Fake. I know, they look real, but if you poke a pin in the ceiling it will stay there and if you look very closely on the bottom right edge of the window…go on, take a look…see that wavy spot in the opaque section? Pap did that, therapy after his by-pass surgery.

I imagine you’ll paint over the marks on the wall in the laundry room. They measured my five kids growth while we lived in that house. You say there’s eight sets? Oh yeah, those other three kids are the ones that lived there before us.

I’ll completely understand if you feel the need to cover the grapes and magnolias I painted on the dining room floor and the red walls in the library. But trust me when I tell you that any color besides powder blue on the front stairs will make you feel like you’re ascending a coal shoot every time you head for bed. The glitter in the paint was a nice touch, don’t you think?

Unless you’re willing to have most of the neighbors stopping by to check out your fish, you better just fill the pond in. You might want to trim that random branch off the weeping cherry tree or it will grow through the garage roof. I know keeping the grass pulled from the bricks on the patio is a pain, but those are historical pavers, pulled from Main Street sixty years ago. They wanted to live there, the patio practically built itself.

Make sure you check the sump pump in the basement regularly, it has a tendency to shut itself off and the toilet at the back of the house has a habit of flushing itself. Woo, those two little things have a way of running up a water bill.

Its best if you leave the doors to the two stairways open at all times. Some people call them drafts, some people say it’s a peculiar tilt to the house, but if you close them they’ll just open themselves up again and slam a hole in the wall while they’re doing it.

I’m sorry you have to take all those shelves down in the fifth bedroom so you can fit the crib in, I have a lot of clothes! You really shouldn’t put a baby in there anyhow…it’s, uh, drafty….

Enjoy your new, old, home. If you love it like I did, it will love you right back.


Entry filed under: Family, home, small towns.

What Are You Reading? Alien Children

14 Comments Add your own

  • 1. QuillDancer  |  April 11, 2008 at 8:51 am

    I love this letter! It is funny and sentimental and just dang sweet!

  • 2. LauraJ  |  April 11, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    This made me smile very much!

  • 3. Janet  |  April 11, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    Ya know, if I was the new owner, I’d appreciate getting this letter!

    I often think that when I leave here I might write a letter to the new owners about the quirks and history in this house.

  • 4. katcampbell  |  April 12, 2008 at 1:51 am

    Quilly – Ah thanks! It was closure.
    Laura J – Good, I didn’t want my last piece of business with that old house to be sad.
    Janet – Really? Maybe I’ll actually send it then.

  • 5. Shelli  |  April 12, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    You should totally print this out and leave it somewhere that they will find it. I would treasure something like this.

    Our house is filled with stuff like this, too. I’m sorry you have to give yours up.

  • 6. rel  |  April 12, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    There is something about old imperfect houes that is comfortable and they do grow on ya after a time….sorta like a member of the family.
    Certainly a focal point for scads of family memories!
    Nice story telling Kat!

  • 7. katcampbell  |  April 12, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    Shelli – Its okay, I’m not sad to be leaving it, too much to clean, repair, pay for…
    Rel – Thanks! Old houses are for young people, too much work for the likes of me.

  • 8. Dr. John  |  April 12, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    So many memories with that house. Some good some bad. The good nrews is you get to keep those they didn’t go with the house.

  • 9. colleen  |  April 12, 2008 at 9:49 pm

    I love this. It makes me sad that you are leaving your house; it all sounds so much like a part of the family. And I really appreciated your comments on Loose Leaf about the good teacups.

  • 10. Little old me  |  April 13, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    After reading this I started to think about what I would put in a letter if we ever left our home. It made me laugh and cry at the same time, it’s all the little quirks that make a house a home.

  • 11. bettygram  |  April 14, 2008 at 3:30 am

    An old house has character but also does need a lot of work.

  • 12. katcampbell  |  April 14, 2008 at 3:47 am

    Dr. John – Absolutely!
    Colleen – It’s okay really, the house was just way to big for us now that all the kids are grown.
    LOM – Quirks are just part of home ownership, aren’t they?
    Betty- Money pits, that is unfortunately the fate of all big ole houses.

  • 13. Hayden  |  April 15, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    money pits, yes. but also filled with history….

  • 14. J.  |  April 16, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    Okay, this was really cute. Made me laugh!


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