A chair is not a house. And ceci n’est pas une pipe.

On Sunday morning, I cleaned the kitchen. I wiped down every surface and put everything in its place and threw a bunch of stuff away and took old cookbooks downstairs, and suddenly our kitchen looked (and smelled) really good.

Meanwhile, Jeff and the girls bagged up shoes that no longer fit and clothing that no longer works and stuffed animals that always seem to take up too much space, and suddenly we were able to see parts of the floor that we haven’t seen in years.

At 1:00, Jeff announced that he knew of a few open houses that he thought we should look at. (At which he thought we should look.)

When we moved into our house (exactly eleven years ago), we promised ourselves that we would stay for five years. Two years later, Harper moved in. And then five years passed and Meredith was in kindergarten and Harp was in preschool and let’s watch TV instead of packing stuff up. Six MORE years have passed, and we’re cramped. Our house isn’t a bad house, but the girls would love to have their own rooms and I would love to have a table in the kitchen and although we really like a few of our neighbors, we wouldn’t miss the others.

We’ve spent the past year lazily looking at open houses, and none of them sparked us. Ah, but then Sunday came around and we drove to a house on a street that has Winter in the name. (You know that winter is my favorite, right?) We pulled up to the house and I said, “Oh, wow. This is our house.”

When we walked in, the realtor introduced herself to us, and asked us to either take off our shoes or put on the booties. I was so excited that I took off my shoes AND put on booties and then I tripped on the bootie elastic and lost my balance and tried to look cooler than I am but failed, so I started laughing like an awkward lady because that’s EXACTLY WHAT I AM.

When we first walked into our current house (about eleven years and a month ago), we said, “This will do.”

When we walked into the winter house, we fell in love. (Honestly, the only thing missing is a fenced-in back yard.) It’s weird, because it’s in our price range, has FOUR bedrooms plus a finished basement and room for a table in the kitchen along with a bar where I can have meaningful talks with the girls as I cook amazing dinners and they snack on fresh veggie sticks. It has an office for Jeff. It has space where I can sit at my spinning wheel and look out the window. It has something called a Florida room where Jeff and I can read the paper and talk about smart people things like science and indie films.

This is an actual photograph taken after I hugged the tree in the yard and said something like, “That bathtub in the master bathroom is where I want to take a bath. Tonight.”


I spent the rest of the evening on Sunday eating dump cake and burrito bowls and singing love songs to the house.

Yesterday afternoon I met a friend for lunch. Because I’m sort of unpredictable and not the best at managing time, I ended up being an hour early. (The restaurant is less than a half hour away from my house. I have no idea why I do the things I do.) Anyway, as I sat in my car and listened to the radio, I felt my phone buzzing in my pocket. It was the winter house realtor. She could tell that I loved the house and she wants to come over to OUR house and I’m not even going to worry about punctuation right now because the whole conversation went just this quickly and the house we live in needs to be ready for her to see in less than two weeks and we’re meeting with a lender soon and I’ve made arrangements to get boxes and this weekend we’re going to rent a storage facility and yesterday I told our principal that I won’t be signing up for committees next year because: We’re moving.

Let me be clear: The house we fell in love with (also known as the house with which we fell in love) will sell very quickly, and most likely not to us. BUT, we’re finally taking the steps. And there WILL be other houses that are hopefully just as perfect for us.

I’m taking pictures off of the walls and boxing up everything that we don’t use on a daily basis and we’re hoping to be in a new place before the next school year starts. This is no longer just a thing we talk about before we change the channel over to The Amazing Race. This has become a verb. Stay tuned. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

25 thoughts on “A chair is not a house. And ceci n’est pas une pipe.”

  1. That’s a very happy looking house indeed. But you are wise to know it may not happen to turn out to be yours. Many other happy houses are out there though, and at some you might even be able to interview the neighbors (ruling out the whackos, and bonding ahead of time with the ones who have kids, dogs and good-smelling kitchens) <– (we are single-handedly responsible for "selling" our nice new neighbors on their home here because we happened to be lookie-looing at the openhouse the day they strolled in…believing they were "just looking". Realtor never shared her commission with us though — sigh)

    I'm excited for the whole Pudding family! Motivation to clean? Bonus!

  2. Once upon a time there was a house-and it seemed really great. Perfect even. So great we put in an offer! And our offer was NOT accepted. And we were sad. BUT THEN we found a house that was in a better location and a better house and a better price! And boy were we glad that first house did not work out. SO-here’s hoping that if you don’t get the winter house, it’s because it was like the first house. Really great-but not THE ONE.

  3. Well, I still hope you get the winter house, because (a) in my world everybody gets what they want, and (b) based on that high-def photo up there, it looks exactly like MY house. Except for the landscaping. We kind of suck at landscaping. P.S. My house is not for sale.

  4. This was our story last year. It took time and patience, but we’ve been in the home that we love for 8 months now and I sigh every time I turn on our street. I love it that much.

    I’m excited for you guys.
    (I haven’t commented in YEARS. I’m sorry. I’m pleading insanity.)

  5. I swear, Angela — your commenters are simply THE best group of people on the internet! “Muppet arm flail” ,”haven’t commented in years and pleading insanity”, the love for your “high def photo”. I tell ya, when the times comes (assuming I win the lottery between now and then) I’m buying plane tickets, or a full tank of gas, as needed, for all of us to come throw you guys a moving party. Think how fast it would go! Think how much fun it would be!! (Think of the utter chaos!!!) ((Think of the fantastic snacks we would all contribute for the after-party!!!! :-) ))

    Grammy, you’re in with me on this, right?

  6. Wooohoo! I’m moving to a new place in a month, but I’m renting, and haven’t started the purge and pack yet. My mother, who is coming when I close on the new place, will likely be horrified and shocked at my procrastination. I need to get to work too!

  7. The one thing I have is excellent real estate Juju. I hereby transfer my real estate juju to you. Let the winter house be yours!

  8. Okay, here’s the deal, Carroll, I would so love to do this with you, making a super “Hey, The Pudding Family is Moving ON” party. But consider this: They get their moving chores done and find the absolutest best house in the world that they will love forever and ever. While they are waiting for the moving vans, the two-leggers and the four-leggers are exhausted but excited. Angela looks out the window to see if the vans are near and…

    There is you, carrying big bags of food, and me, lugging along two slow-cookers to heat things up, and trailing behind us are myriad cyber-neighbors, all shapes and colors and sizes from all over the world, smiling and hugging and bringing their beautiful treats to offer The Puddings. And Angela gets a little anxious because she wasn’t prepared for this and begins to cry.

    That sets off everybody following suit — weeping and laughing and tripping all over the boxes that are ready to load onto some truck that will show up sometime. Whoever brought the wine decides that will fix things. You can all fill in the rest.

    How about we head on over to the NEW house and wait for them there? We can have everything set up before the van even shows up. The Puddings turn the key in the lock of their new home and, when the door swings open, there are all of us — ALL OF US — with hot soup and beautiful salads and bread baking and after a brief greeting and good wishes we call the bus that brung us (we’re not going to be driving after all that wine, are we?) and depart to let The Puddings enjoy their lovely new home themselves.

    Angela can let us know which celebration she prefers. You and I can work out the details from there.

    P.S. For the rest of you, Carroll and I don’t know each other. We’ve never met. We don’t know what we look like or even where we live. But Fluid Pudding is where we like to hang out. Like you. Angela is special.

  9. Okay, I lied. I do know what Carroll looks like and where she lives because she has a website. Turns out I live about 100 miles from her. Both of us are far away from The Pudding Family, which probably gives them some solace…

  10. Grammy- great idea!

    FP- are you staying in the same general area?

    We saw this house on Sunday, offered on Monday, sold ours on Wednesday. Been here 20 years. God puts us where he wants us, when he wants us there.

    I hope your search goes as well.

  11. You’ll be a verb! Fingers crossed; fantastic story; loved the title alone, but loved the story even more.

  12. WHAT? Grammy, how did you find my website?? NO ONE ever finds my website! Well, wait –I take that back. Yesterday, for the very first time in the three or maybe four years I’ve had that thing I was actually contacted by someone who lives miles away from me and we talked in the afternoon and she sounds like a wonderful person (could easily be part of team FP!) and I really really helped her and we both felt so good about it afterwards, but really, until yesterday NO ONE had found me through that website (except for the students I’ve given the URL to in workshops) so wow, yesterday must have been THE day for internet super connectivity or something because evidently you found me too! Amazing!!

    And your party plan — yes, absolutely. You’ve nailed it. We would not want to have Angela in tears on her moving day, and your plan is perfect. Except I think we will have to rent a large park or something so that we can all hang out together and get to know each other. Angie will be too tired to unpack the next day anyway. As long as the dogs and the kids are fed, and she can find all the aromatheraphy stuff in the first box, surely she won’t mind taking the day off to come play with us.

    And Grammy, for Pete’s sake, Woman! The website has a contact thing — use it! I need to know where you live, and whether you ever come in this direction or if there’s someplace in the middle we could actually connect in person one of these days. I feel like I’ve already known you forever! :-)

  13. Carroll, I just clicked on your name at the top of your comment. Everyone who gave that information when posting a comment has their name show up as a clickable link.

  14. You are my very most favoritist blogger in all of bloggerville. I laugh at almost all of your stories (except when they are not supposed to be funny, then I cry). I almost spit coffee on my computer when I read the part about you taking off your shoes and putting on the booties! Thank you for your writing. Good luck on your house hunting!

  15. So excited for you! I hope it all comes together easily and you are in your new home soon!

  16. Pssh, Grammy, that’s too easy. I thought only the ones that show up in blue were clickable. From my vantage point, I’m not blue, but I bet that’s because this magic thing called the internet knows that I’m me. Anyway, I’m glad you found me — it was an additional highlight in a milestone day for my “internet presence”!

  17. Congratulations! We have been slowly working toward putting our house on the market for over a year. Our goal is now one year from RIGHT NOW. It’s quite daunting. If you want tips, google Sabrina Soto (I watched her every day of my maternity leave three years ago – she helps people spruce up their homes on a small budget to stage for selling. Her #1 tip – All Clutter Must Go. Goodwill has been in love with us for a year now.)

  18. Come to our neighborhood. Awesome school district and only 10 or so miles west of where you are now… And a few GREAT homes available in our small, close knit subdivision.

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