Wheelbarrow for Grandma

My in-laws are now officially relocated to Hawaii, as of this past Monday. They shipped some stuff to themselves, packed a couple suitcases, then sort of vaguely waved a hand at their house and told us, “Just get a big shovel for the rest.”

So, I slogged through this week hip-deep in dusty knick-knacks, knitting supplies and mismatched dishes, assembling everything into a pile for the nice charity pick-up men. It’s been very cathartic; there’s a real satisfaction in transforming clutter from disaster to tidy piles and empty rooms. A clean palette is good for the soul.

Dan’s parents keep apologizing “Sorry to leave you with this!” and we keep reassuring them, it’s no problem. And really, it isn’t. Sifting through almost thirty years’ worth of accumulation is, in fact, less overwhelming than dealing with our own house.

When we first bought our place, we did so with a flush bank account, two great-paying incomes and all the skills required for remodeling. We’d fix it up, live in it for a while, and sell it at profit to move somewhere else when the girls are finished with high school.

In the intervening three years, things took a crazy wrong turn. Jobs dwindled into spotty work and then unemployment, followed too quickly by lawyers and court fees. Then the housing market crashed; now whatever we put in, we’ll never get back. Our motivation has fizzled out, and so have our remodeling funds. I look around and I can’t see potential in this house anymore. Only unfinished plans and frustration.

So, when Dan’s folks begged us for the umpteenth time to please rent their house after they move, we finally agreed. It’s a terrible time to sell, and the house is only a few years from paid off; if we take it over, they won’t have to deal with renters or leave the place vacant.

But really, we’re the ones who win. In my family, we call it a ‘wheelbarrow for Grandma.’ That is, a present you give to someone else that’s really for you. We’re cleaning out the house and renting it which helps them out, sure. But in return, we get a huge break on our cost of living and a fresh start. We’ll fix it up, move our crap over there (it’s only 6 houses away from ours), then finish remodeling our current house. Then unload that chi-blocking albatross.

Whenever they thank us, I feel like thanking them instead. I love a plan where everyone wins.

1 comment:

  1. I think this sounds like an excellent, win/win situation. Can't wait to see what you do with it!