Somehow, everything is in its place

Elaine Luddy Klonicki, Columnist

Whew! That’s the only way to describe how I feel. Our real estate agent just placed the “for sale” sign in our front lawn. Having never sold a house before (we’ve been in this one for 18 years!), we had no idea about what all that one sign implies. Following our agent’s instructions on curb appeal, we’ve had maintenance men, painters, and landscapers at the house by the score. That was the easy part. The hard part was the de-cluttering or, if you prefer the feng shui term, “space clearing.” Although we’re certainly not as extreme as the couples on HGTV’s “Mission: Organization,” we’re not the Felix Unger types either. Like most people, we’re busy, and when we find ourselves with extra time on our hands, we’d rather do anything than sort through dusty boxes in the attic.

If you’ve moved lately, you know that the simplicity most of us yearn for is easier said than managed. What kept us motivated was imagining what it would be like to find the perfect house. We knew just what we wanted, having played the “dream home” game on car trips over the last several years. I wanted a bedroom on the first floor. Running up and down stairs was killing my knees. My husband, Gary, needed a garage. Our 16-year-old daughter Jenny hoped for a den where she and her friends could hang out and watch movies. Then there were the gravy items, like Jacuzzi jets in the garden tub, and a Jenn-Air grill on the cooktop.

When we started searching for a new home, it was fun at first, then frustrating, as we couldn’t find anything even close to what we wanted. Finally, about a month ago, our agent called to say she had just found a house that had every single item on our list! Was that possible? I grabbed the car keys and headed over to see it. The location was perfect: just minutes from the Y, and a half mile from the Sawmill Tap Room where Gary and a co-worker watch Monday Night Football. 

The house was interesting architecturally, so I was really curious about the inside. I crept up to the porch and was just about to peek through the glass in the front door when it opened. Flustered, I explained myself and the owner was kind enough to show me the inside. I was dumbstruck. It was one of the most beautiful houses I’d ever seen: part contemporary, and part art deco. I called Gary and we toured the house together that evening. His reaction was the same as mine. This was THE house! We made an offer the next morning, and after a tense 48 hours of counteroffers, we agreed on a price.

Luckily our son Doug was in from Los Angeles on vacation the day we had the new house inspected, and he took loads of digital pictures so we could start placing our furniture virtually. When I saw the pictures, I realized that the built-in desk in the kitchen would be a perfect writing space for me. It has easy access to the kitchen table for editing, the patio for fresh air and the stove for keeping an eye on dinner.

We’re still amazed that the house we described on paper will be ours in less than two weeks. Maybe there is something to that feng shui philosophy of putting out to the universe what you want, and clearing out space in your life for it. Apparently, it has not only worked with respect to the house, but with my career as well. I’ve been wanting more steady writing work, and have been paring down other commitments in order to free up time for it.

Then in the midst of the moving madness, the North Raleigh News called, and here I am with my first column! I guess that, as it says in the line from Forrest Gump, “Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get.” But I have to say, mine’s tasting pretty sweet these days.

This column first appeared in The News and Observer, Oct. 28, 2005

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