Home Sweet Home

We did the final inspection on our house yesterday and got the keys back from the renters. It was pretty surreal, standing in that big empty house that looks so little like our old home.


My favorite thing about our house has always been its warmth. Even in the dead of winter the living room is full of light, and I used to love spending my Sundays knitting in an over-stuffed chair by the fireplace, enveloped in the warmth of the fire and the sunlight pouring through the windows.

It was about 30 degrees (-1c) and the heat was off when we met at the house yesterday, so we walked room to room with our (okay, maybe just my) teeth chattering and our hands deep in our not-at-all-warm-enough jackets. Before the inspection, while Wes helped the renters move their last few items out of the house, I stood in the kitchen in front of the sliding glass doors trying desperately to convince myself that the setting sunlight filtering through was enough to warm me. It did not feel much like home. Not like our home anyway.

We’ve been beyond blessed to have the same people renting our house for the last three years; we haven’t had to deal with the headache of finding a new renter from half-way around the world or having the house inspected and cleaned during the few months we’re home in the summers. It’s been much better than it could’ve been–I know that. But other-people-living-in-your-house is very strange. I don’t know that I’d recommend it. (I have a great many opinions/observations on the overall state of our property but realize it would not be prudent to share them. Feel free to applaud my impressive self-control.)

This whole there-and-back-again thing has taught me so much about who I really am–I’ve had opportunities and experiences I never imagined myself having. I’ve learned a lot about what kind of person I am and what I am capable of. And I know now, without question, that I am not a landlord. But Wes is. He’s patient and understanding and fair in a way that I wish everyone in the world could be (including myself). He’s really taken the reigns with the rental from day one so I haven’t had too many opportunities to be my “Um, I don’t know if that’s a good idea ohmygosh reallywhatishappeninginhere STAWPIT” self.

We will spend the next few weeks further destroying the house in order to get it move-in ready by the new year. It’s all very stressful and exciting and expensive. (Yesterday while we were discussing the estimated cost of the new floors, I couldn’t help but feel envious at how easy and inexpensive and practically decision-free this process is in Manu’a.) We have a lot of work to do and I plan on blogging the heck out of it. The painting! The repairs! The flooring! Oh my! Get ready for a bunch of photos that aren’t of malnourished dogs or beach sunsets! This blog is going to a whole new level!

About Cat Q.

For three years, I lived on a tiny little island in the South Pacific called Ta'u, where I taught elementary and high school English. Much of this blog is a chronicle of my time there, and of the travels we were able to do while we were on that side of the world. Now, I'm doing a different kind of travelling in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia with my husband and two children.
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3 Responses to Home Sweet Home

  1. Erin says:

    I had trouble with this too. It’s a weird line, because I definitely have broken/scratched/marred things in my house. But in my head those thing are ok because I can fix them and they were incurred as part of regular everyday life. But something about having someone else damage your house seems so personal. Not just tenants, though my tenant did leave some permanent marks here and there, but I had some long-term on-again-off-again house guests over the summer (long story) and they seemed to break something every time they stayed with me. Nothing intentional or unreasonable, and thankfully nothing that couldn’t be fixed, but it was one of the most stressful things about the experience for me.

    But I try to remember that the remaining scars from my tenant and guests as part of the history of this house–the inevitable side orders of adventure and/or hospitality. Houses are meant to be lived in and life leaves marks. And home improvements are always kinda fun–especially new floors! Can’t wait to read about your renovations!

  2. Pingback: Renovation Week 1 | Traveling with Matches

  3. Pingback: A Quick Update on the Most Beautiful Floors that Ever Were | Traveling with Matches

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