I've always rolled my eyes when people use the term "bittersweet" as in "retiring from this place feels bittersweet." Yet as we gear up to buy a bigger house, I do feel this crazy mix of excited and sad.
How great will it be to never have to clean teen gunk out of the sink before brushing my teeth because she will have her own bathroom? To have enough space to revive my hobby of buying mid-century chairs and lamps?! To have a home that's Ours, not Mine? Maybe the yard will get enough sun for tomatoes and zinnias.
And then again, I get pangs every time I merely walk to Ellwood Thompson, or Avalon, or Mongrel, or For the Love of Chocolate, or Coppola's. Have I mentioned that I have been shopping at Bygones since I was about 16 years old? Damn: how spoiled is it to have all these wonders -- and more -- moments from my front door? Ukrop's, our regional grocery, may get sucked up by a bigger chain -- or it may be rumor. Either way, the Carytown one is nice and small. I feel overwhelmed when I shop in the massive suburban ones, any one of which may be closest to our new place. And I actually love the only quasi-functional baggers at C'town, and the bizarre mix of unfortunates and Windsor Farms housewives who shop the early morning discount bins with me. Surely no Northside store will provide such comforting weirdness.
Even as I dread these losses, the irritants resurface. Step-teen complains about the homeless people she has to walk by on the way home from the bus. Drunks (aged, poor ones; foolish college boys) shout in the back alley at 3 a.m. The kids the lady two doors down babysits ride their bigwheels endlessly up and down the block, shouting; or they beat up the ivy by by my front steps. No, with all that crap, it's not worth putting an addition on the house.
And so here I am, waiting for a junk removal company to take away the long-dead washer and dryer, and for the Realtor's photographer to come in and be shocked by how messy it still is. Is it his/her job to hide all this junk, or should I? Have you really thought about those pictures: no trashcans, dish drainers, cat food bowls, toothbrushes, boxes of tissues in sight.