About rugrats, minivans, The South, photography, farmer's markets, puberty, Army, snotty noses, blankies, movies, hugs, autism, make believe, homeschooling, sibling rivalry, car seats, weather, in-laws, scribbles, marriage, and somewhere in there, a stoned British reporter.

Friday, April 20, 2012

So. . .THAT happened

I guess the universe thought I was bored? That I was getting too content and comfortable in my surroundings? Out of the blue this past Monday, it decided to give me a roundhouse kick to the face.

Imagine it. We had a long day at our homeschooling co-op, and were home unwinding. Some of the kids were in the backyard, some were glassy eyed in front of a movie, so I decided to grab my camera and sit in the front yard to try and get some bird shots. I settled down on our front steps, and propped my camera on the railing towards our bird feeder and waited. It was a lovely afternoon.

Was being the key word here.

 I'm sitting there and a black SUV pulls into our cul-de-sac. I think nothing of it at first, until it slows down and stops in front of our house. Hmm. A woman gets out and walks around to her passenger door, calling out "Hi, how are you?" I stand up and set my camera down, as she grabs some papers out of her car and walks towards me.

I almost wish I could freeze time right there. RIGHT THERE. The defining moments in everyone's lives usually aren't long and drawn out. It's usually something that happens in an instant, and your whole reality changes. This was to be one of those moments.

She says she's from the Department of Transportation, and asks me how much I knew about the road widening. I tell her that I know that someday the road next to our house will be widened, and that we will lose part of our backyard and have to move our shed. (We knew about it when we bought the house, but weren't too worried. This road has been slated to be widened for almost TWENTY YEARS.) She nods and then pulls out one of her papers.

"Well, (she rambles something in here I don't quite remember about the creek behind our house and drainage from the road) as it turns out, we need to just take the whole property." She looks at me, waiting for a response, which I believe verbatim was "Oh. . . . . . . .kay?" She shows me on the diagram something about a drainage pipe that needs to run where the house is, and some other things, but my brain goes kind of fuzzy here. I think at this point there was a voice inside my head shrieking "Wait, what? What?! WHAT?!?!?"

There was paperwork to fill out about our family, and explanations about the process and what "The State" has to do for us. In a nutshell: I have to get our house cleaned and looking pretty so an appraiser can come at some unknown time (seriously, it could be next week or next month. I DON'T KNOW.), he assesses the property, the state makes us various offers based on whether or not we have them move us or we do it ourselves and they pay us, and then, then we move so they can tear down our house. I asked her what kind of time frame we are talking about here for the move actually happening, and she said "Oh, probably about 6 months." She then gave me her card and left.

So. I basically found out this week that we have to move 6 months from now so our house and beautiful trees can all be razed to the ground, so people can get downtown faster.

This has been hard. Devastating. I mean, I know it's just a house, but it's MY house. Anyone that knows us, knows how much work we've put into this place. How much we love it. It's perfect for our family, and we expected to be in this house for a very long time. The kids are not taking it well, either, especially Lindsay. She cried when I told her. "But what about Emily?" she sobbed. "Who?" I asked. "My tree, the one I named." as she points to a tree that I know will get cut down. I told her we'd take the smallest trees that we've planted, but I didn't think "Emily" could be moved. I did my best to try to absorb her pain as I hugged her.

Ryan has been internalizing most of his anger and sadness over it, but I know it's there, as it pops up from time to time when he can't contain it. We've already started looking for new houses, because holy cow, six months is not very long. We're keeping the kids very involved in the hunt, as we hope that the excitement of a new house will help ease the sting of losing this one. I'm hoping the same for myself. I can't help but feel a twinge when I look at "Emily", or our 30 year old fig tree, or all of my crepe myrtles, my azaleas, the dogwood tree. All of it will be just. . . gone. I told someone the other day that most likely, once we leave this house, it will be a long time, if ever, before I am able to drive down this road again. Especially once they start tearing things down. I think I'll gladly take the slower way downtown.


Jim said...

Is it any consolation that this is written so well it really brought it home to me and tears to my eyes? I thought not.

It also won't help to know that there are places I've lived (including the place your mother and I lived in when you came home from the hospital) which no longer exist. And places your grandparents lived that no longer exist.

We want to think our homes are permanent, forever. We see houses that are 100, 200, heck, 300 years old (on the East Coast, anyway), and think, "Maybe our house will be like that." But those houses squeaked through some sort of brutal survival lottery. I've come to the sad realization that 99% of all housing (all buildings, really) ends up getting razed at some point. And that includes trees that were planted, gardens that were tended, pet graves that were dug, add-ons and porches that were imagined and saved for and designed and built and enjoyed, paint colors matched, and on and on.


Cyndy said...

I am so sorry to read this awful news. Having been gone through a front yard reducing road-widening, a house-demolishing fire, and as a child, seeing my grandparents getting ousted so that the county could tear down my mother's childhood in order to build a parking lot, I can relate to a lot of what you are going through.

I hope that you will be able to find an equally pleasant home somewhere nearby and that you an your family are able to adjust and recover from this traumatic situation as soon as possible. I know it will be hard and I hope it all works out.