When we started planning the 5050 Travelog, almost exactly a year ago to the date, the plan was always to sell our house. The winter and early spring was spent mentally preparing for the challenges ahead. We sorted old paper work, photo albums and memorabilia to decide what we wanted to keep. We aired the plan to our family and friends and immediately received overwhelming support. We listed the house in May and it was time to put talk into action.
Cleaning up our belongings took over our lives. It was necessary. We knew this and there was no way around it. Nineteen years of stuff had to be dealt with. Diana is extremely organized and I have a more laissez faire approach. Take the example of our slides, which were already neatly stored in three ready to move bins. Diana however persisted the slides could take up way less room if we took them out of the cases and stacked them neatly in plastic bags. After debating the topic for a while Di's arguments proved stronger than mine. We prolonged the project by checking out old slides from Denmark, Ontario, Australia and Greece but there was no hurry. In the end we boiled it down to one box and Di won me over again. It was the right move and it felt good to get them sorted. At this point we were worrying about how much stuff to put in storage.
We listed the house with Robin Baycroft from Remax and after just a week and a half Robin stopped by with an offer in hand. Excitement was in the air but it quickly turned to disappointment as the potential buyer had second thoughts. Oh well... we had to move on.
The spring and summer months were spent fine-combing our house for every item, big and small. And let me tell you, it is an enormous task as our goal was to seriously declutter our lives and rid ourselves of as many possessions as possible. Kudos to Diana again. Her approach was methodical. We had sections in the garage for boxes going into storage, things going to Emma in Victoria, things going to Mik in Vancouver, items for a garage sale, items for recycling, stuff for donation and finally things going to the dump. After the garage sale we took away another four pickup truck loads. Thanks Calvin for letting us use your truck. We now have a small 10" x 10" storage in Vernon.
As the summer went on we started getting serious doubts about what we had started here. It was clear from the start; if the house does not sell we are going nowhere. We were now at our first deadline, September 10th and the house had not sold yet. We had planned to attend a family reunion in Denmark on September 19 but it was clear as a bell, no one in the entire world wanted to buy our house! We lowered the price but still no result. We knew it was a game of time, price and patience but we were not so good at the patience part. I am sure many sellers go though this and for us it was a very stressful time.
At the end of August we took a U-Haul full of stuff to Mik in Vancouver and Emma in Victoria. Emma was moving in with Nic in a nice new basement suite. At this point I had seen enough moving boxes to last me a lifetime. Here we were with our stuff, Emma's stuff and Nic's stuff; trying to fit it all in to a one bedroom suite. An admirable effort from everyone led to success. We dug through it all and Emma and Nic's place is now very cozy and with some of our furniture, kitchenwares, TV and our cats; is feels like home away from home.
Coming back from Victoria and Vancouver to the now mostly empty and unsold house was another low point in this experience. We decided that we had to do something drastic, at least for us non-handy people, and embarked on 3 week renovation project. After all we have lived in this house for nineteen years and perhaps buyers were not thrilled with the scars now clearly visible. Ledges and shelves were sanded and revarnished, wood floors were professionally treated and revarnished, doors were repainted, Emma's room including the ceiling repainted, pantry spiffed up with new paint, lamps replaced, a window and toilet replaced, our bedroom and ensuite fully repainted, foyer with a fresh coat of paint, folding doors painted and re installed. I am not sure how we did it but it took a bunch of good tunes, several trips to The Home Depot, a dozen or so take out meals, blood sweat and yes... tears.
We were feeling more optimistic about our chances of selling the more we worked our way through the renos. Robin had an open house on October 4th at 1 PM. We got up at 5 am and scrambled to get everything finished and cleaned up in time for the open house. For the last couple of hours we were literally running up and down the stairs in order to wrap it up.
Shortly after the open house Robin sent the text that he thought we would receive an offer later in the day. Our best friends Dagny and Philippe were serving us a beautiful lunch when the news came in. Wonderful. Negotiations followed and it resulted in an accepted offer. Then almost two weeks of waiting for subjects to be removed. We spent Thanksgiving in Vancouver and Victoria again and it was nice to know we had an offer in place. Upon our return to Vernon the last few hiccups were dealt with but the final day for subjects to be removed was tough to endure. We expected to get the final paper work at the end of the business day but they had until midnight. At 10 PM it came in and we were exhausted and the news didn't really sink in until the next day when Robin showed up with a bottle of Champagne and the SOLD sign.
Thanks Robin for your many reassuring texts, calls and emails.
Perhaps needles to say selling the house is a huge relief and the kick starter for 5050 Travelog. Our first adventure will be a trip to Hong Kong to see our friends Sharon and Leighton. We leave at the end of the month and are excited to share more photos and stories. Thanks to everyone who have been listening patiently to us talk about our plans for the past year. We are glad that it now has become reality.