Sitting In My Backyard, Thinking About Shutters

Fact: When life gets tough, kittens help.

Weirdly enough, I haven’t been crying much about moving – the actual fact of leaving this house and going to another one. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve been crying about other things – oh god, so much, to the point where I wake up at 2 o’clock in the morning and have to mainline six glasses of water because my body is fresh out of fluid – but about the house itself, I’ve tried to be relatively all-business, all-the-time.

I mean, we’re in escrow. I have solar panel lease transfers to sign. Boxes to pack. Schools to notify. Children to keep safeguarded from everything that’s swirling around them. We have to be out of this house in three weeks.

I have to book a moving company. Except I don’t even know what date to book them for, because pieces are still moving. Every day, in directions I never saw coming.

Today, it was the shutters that knocked me flat on my back.

They’re cheap shutters; not those fancy custom real-wood ones. I ordered them online, hoping my measurements were accurate, and celebrated a little when they arrived and I discovered that they did, indeed, fit into the spots I’d intended. I nailed them into the stucco myself, and not especially well: I remember the day I did it, how I struggled with the level and couldn’t get the mollies in on the first couple of tries. I worried about the holes I left; wondered whether the shutters would end up covering my mistakes. They did, and I was relieved. I loved how they looked against the walls, painted in the color I’d chosen after hours spent sifting through swatches of dove-whites and cool-whites and white-whites. I love them still.

So now I sit here in my backyard, looking at my shutters, thinking about how I really should get around to packing the string lights hanging just above them. My kids are watching Big Hero 6 and eating macaroni and cheese in what used to be our garage, and is now a magical playspace that I made just for them, with a box of costumes in one corner and a hand-whittled ladder leading up to a lofted bedroom in the other. I joked about that ladder, and that loft, with my friends. When they’re teenagers, I’ll have to install security cameras up there to make sure they’re not getting into trouble. 

They will be teenagers, and they will get into trouble. But not in that loft.

I sit here, and I think about the people who bought our house, and who will live in it before my son turns seven next month. I know they’re excited, and that they love it. I’m happy for them.

But still: I wonder if they will notice the shutters. I wonder whether they might notice how they weren’t hung quite straight, and replace them.

I know that a house is just a house; a bunch of planks and nails and coats of paint. I know there are more planks and nails and coats of paint out there that I can make my own. I really do know that.

But I hung those shutters with my own two hands. And it hurts to let them go.

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