Movin’ On Up

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALast week I mentioned I was up to my eyeballs in Mr. Clean’s Magic Erasers (they ARE magic, by the way) and said I’d tell more soon. So here it is: I am finally really, really close to getting my house ready to be listed for sale. Long-time readers will know I publicly declared selling my house as a goal in both 2013 and 2014.

But I didn’t pull it off.

This year I skipped my What’s on a Writer’s Bucket List post because, well, I was too embarrassed to drag that old promise out again. So I decided to just do it, and not talk about it. So far, so good. I’m down to the wire now, with an April 1 deadline for the sign to go up. April 1 was my dad’s birthday, and I swear he’s been shoring me up during this mad dash (um, crawl?) to embark on a new chapter in my life.

Because that’s what it represents for me.

For me, prepping a house for sale – this will be my sixth time – isn’t all about the sale, it’s just as much about moving. I’ve never been the type to say “If it’s supposed to happen, it’ll happen.” Ha! No way, baby, this place is going to sell or I’ll die trying. Anybody who’s lived in a home that’s on the market knows how tough it is to vacuum every day and follow the dog around to wipe up drool from the water bowl and Windex canine nose marks off the French doors. It takes commitment. To get through it, you have to visualize that SOLD sign.

And you have to get ready to reach the goal.

Frank managing the sale

Frank managing the sale

In the past couple of years I’ve had two garage sales, given away a ton of stuff, and carted that much more off to the thrift shops. I ditched every single unfinished project – like making pillows and beaded bracelets and who knows what else. And again this past six months I’ve rummaged through every single thing I own once again and put it through another “cut.” The question I asked was, “Do I care enough about this item to move it?” If the answer was no, well, you get the picture.

And now I’m scrubbing the scuff marks off walls and baseboards (hence the Magic Erasers) and vaccing up the Daddy Longlegs webs and cleaning tile grout. I’m exhausted. Sometimes at night I’m so tired I want to cry. And I know that every single person reading these words right now has been there before and will probably be in that place again. Not necessarily about moving, but about something.

I am not alone.

I’ve done a lot of things in my life that were beyond my skill set, and remodeling this property was one of them. But that’s an odd thing about taking on any overly-optimistic project: Once you’re committed, you can’t just give up. Well, you can, I suppose, but there’d be a huge financial loss involved if you walked away from a house. And as much as I’d like to think about giving up on certain projects, I decided a long time ago that if I let myself throw in the towel even once on something that really mattered, it might set an unfortunate precedent I couldn’t live with.

It’s sort of like – you got it! Writing books!

But you knew I was going to get here, didn’t you? Yeah, any big goal – like, for instance, writing books and self-publishing and learning to be a better writer AND learning the ins and outs of this crazy business – usually takes us beyond our current skill set. We’re forced to learn new things, to make mistakes and grow from them, and to work – HARD – to get where we want to go.

And sometimes it takes longer than we planned.

That’s right, but we don’t give up on our goals because we don’t reach them in the time frame we thought we would. No matter what kind of rollercoaster it puts our emotions through. Truth is, I’ve never done anything worth doing that didn’t have me feeling a bit sorry for myself at times, while it also brought huge satisfaction. I think the biggest challenge is to keep at it, day after day, one step at a time. That’s the way to keep from getting overwhelmed. That’s the way to keep moving forward.

This year I’ve honed my goals down to three major undertakings: Sell the house and find a wonderful, peaceful replacement residence, write three more books in my Gen Delacourt Mystery Series, and earn even a meager living wage from the sale of my books. Anybody got a little cabin the woods they want to lend me for the summer?

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38 Responses to Movin’ On Up

  1. elainepinkerton March 23, 2015 at 6:15 pm #

    Best of luck this time around, Molly! I’ve always heard that fresh flowers and some kind of home-baked aroma wafting through the air are good selling strategies. Well, maybe strategy is too strong a word, but you know what I mean. Hope just the right potential buyer appears — and that you find a perfect replacement abode, conducive to meeting your writing goals.

    • Molly Greene March 23, 2015 at 6:17 pm #

      Thank you, Elaine! Right now the aroma is eau-de-dog, and I can’t wait until I have to contemplate, “Where am I going to live?” What a great problem to have 🙂

  2. Laura Zera March 23, 2015 at 6:40 pm #

    You got there! Hurray! Wish you speedy great luck with selling and with finding your new abode. xo

  3. MM Jaye March 24, 2015 at 12:39 am #

    Oh my! I’m overwhelmed just by reading this. But it gave me a taste of freedom I’ve never really had. Here in Greece, one of the older generations’ goals (the main one) was to provide a house for their kids, especially if they were girls. In my family, we’re two girls, and each one has her own apartment (it’s small but we own it). While that’s great, especially in the recession (no mortgage, hello) it means that we’ll never move just for the sake of moving or changing scenery. After all, Greece is 1/4 the size of California. Unless you go to a Greek island, the scenery is pretty much the same.

    That aside, your writing analogy was awesome. Good luck!

    • Molly Greene March 24, 2015 at 12:14 pm #

      Maria, what a wonderful position to be in – and that’s my goal, too, to own the next place (wherever it is, whenever I buy it) outright, what we call in the States “free and clear.” I suppose when that happens I won’t be moving again, and I am okay with that! The purging, however, has been a blessing in disguise.

  4. Sue Coletta March 24, 2015 at 5:19 am #

    You sound a lot like me. Once I set a goal I plow forward regardless whether my mind or body wants to cooperate at times. I find setting smaller goals– like keeping the nose prints off the glass, in your case– really helps to keep me from getting overwhelmed. Celebrate the fact that your baseboards have no scuff marks, something most of can’t say I’m betting. Moving is so stressful. We moved to this house three years ago and vowed it was our last move. Years back I moved seven times in one year. It was maddening but necessary. Yes, there’s a story there. Not one for public consumption. 🙂 Good luck with your sale. Do you plan to stay in the same area you live now? Because northern NH has plenty of cabins in the woods for rent. Besides, I’d love to have you as a neighbor.

    • Sue Coletta March 24, 2015 at 5:21 am #

      Frank is a good-looking boy!

      • Molly Greene March 24, 2015 at 12:20 pm #

        Frank is one of THE BEST dogs alive 🙂

    • Molly Greene March 24, 2015 at 12:18 pm #

      I’m right with you there, Sue, sometimes I tell myself “Since when does how you feel have anything to do with what needs to be done?” My house has never looked so good, and I am celebrating that. And yes, small goal. Little steps. A to-do list with just enough things to accomplish in a single day. It’s when we contemplate EVERYTHING that needs to be done that the project feels completely overwhelming. I don’t think I’m going to stay here; I have a huge hankering to go someplace “moist.” We’ll see!! Find me a little cabin, wouldn’t that be fun! … but only for the summer.

      • Sue Coletta March 25, 2015 at 11:55 am #

        We’re right next to the cleanest lake in the state. Spring fed by the mountains. Doesn’t get much more “moist” than that. LOL

  5. Kendra March 24, 2015 at 7:03 am #

    Good luck Molly! It sounds exhausting, and like it can be frustrating at times, but also incredibly worthwhile. Just like writing :-). I look forward to reading ‘Mark of the Loon’ which I’ve just downloaded for Kindle.

    • Molly Greene March 24, 2015 at 12:22 pm #

      Kendra, thank you so much! I hope you love the book, and I appreciate your lovely comment. I’ve found that most long journeys and difficult choices and challenging undertakings – like having a different life and writing – are worthwhile. Not always because circumstances are substantially better, but because of what we learn about ourselves along the way.

  6. Judy Nickles March 24, 2015 at 7:51 am #

    So many lessons here for me! I’m clearing out mostly due to age, but I have a feeling I’m going to move on from this location someday somwhere…you give me hope!

    • Molly Greene March 24, 2015 at 12:23 pm #

      You go, girl! We’re never too old to have a change of scenery 🙂

  7. Susan Jean Ricci March 24, 2015 at 8:50 am #

    Since we’ve previously been married, my hub has a house on the market, and mine just got out of attorney review. We want a house that belongs to ‘us’. So bought a smaller home that needs a ton of work, Long story short, I find the idea of packing and moving, while trying to write terribly daunting. We have a mover coming over today to give us an estimate on what it will cost if he and his crew pack our things. If they pack, they guarantee for breakage, if we pack they don’t guarantee. I hope I can afford them to do it all. This in the midst of trying to write book 2 of my new series and market the first. Life’s sure an adventure, Molly, isn’t it? Best wishes to you and thanks for the timely post.

    • Molly Greene March 24, 2015 at 12:25 pm #

      Yes, Susan, life IS an adventure. I’m fitting my writing in by putting it first. I have a goal to write 1000 words a day, and I sit down with my coffee first thing in the morning and attack it. Don’t always make the word count, but I move my mss forward nonetheless. Best of luck to you!!

  8. Kat Kennedy March 24, 2015 at 8:51 am #

    Hi Molly, I am in the same situation. We are downsizing and hoping to get a loft in downtown Mobile. There’s something freeing about purging all the stuff we’ve collected through the years. Good luck on the sale!

    • Molly Greene March 24, 2015 at 12:27 pm #

      Thanks, Kendra! There absolutely is freedom in unloading old stuff – supposed to be great for freeing up the energy in our lives, too. Huge congrats and best to you in all you do!

  9. Carrie Ann Lahain March 24, 2015 at 1:39 pm #

    I sympathize with you and have my fingers and toes crossed on your behalf. I understand, believe me, how it is to feel that your life has somehow moved beyond the place you are living. I am counting the months (weeks, days, hours) until Jan 2017. That’s when, hell or high water (actually NO water…not here in the desert!) we’re putting our Las Vegas house on the market. I need to live in a green place again. My hope is that there’s a little house or condo in the Pacific Northwest just waiting for us! In the meantime, I’m clearing out, cleaning up. I think of it as preparing someone else’s dream home for them!

    • Molly Greene March 24, 2015 at 2:04 pm #

      Thank you, Carrie Ann! Time flies, and you’ll be in the PNW before you know it. Maybe I’ll head up there, too, and scout it out for us 🙂

  10. Kathryn Goldman March 24, 2015 at 3:08 pm #


    We’ve lived in the same house for over 25 years, raised the kids in it and now they’re gone. But their stuff isn’t! Basement, attic, sunroom . . . stuff just everywhere.

    We’re going to have to downsize at some point . . . but those two boys need to come home and get their stuff!

    Now I understand all those men who say, “I had a great baseball card [matchbox car, beanie babies, whatever] collection, but my Mom threw it out!”

    Well, guess why?


    • Molly Greene March 24, 2015 at 3:39 pm #

      Kathryn, I have a neighbor with a packed trailer sitting in her driveway. It’s been there for years. I has all of her son’s collections in it. He won’t “let” her get rid of it. I hate to be a downer, but he lives in Australia and he ain’t comin’ back for his stuff. I say set a deadline, or start shipping a box at a time.

      • Kathryn Goldman March 24, 2015 at 4:03 pm #

        Ha Ha! We shipped three boxes of “classic” t-shirts just last week!

        • Molly Greene March 24, 2015 at 4:10 pm #

          Maybe when my house sells I’ll come out there and help you pack it all up – I should be an expert by then!!

  11. Melinda March 25, 2015 at 3:54 pm #

    Hi Molly,
    I recently started reading your blog – I think this is the 3rd post I’ve read and I can relate to your house-selling stress. I’m pondering whether to put our small cabin on the market, and go back & forth between wanting to, then not!
    Anyway, good luck to you. I’m an author, too. I self – published after getting tired of the search to connect with an agent for a traditional deal. Now learning how daunting the market jamb can be! You are inspiring!
    I’ll read one of your books soon. Mine is The Flower Eater, under my pen name, M. LaRose. It’s on Amazon, too.
    Take care.

    • Molly Greene March 26, 2015 at 10:56 am #

      Hi Melinda, and welcome. I always know when I’m ready to move on, and I’ve never regretted it or looked back. Best of luck to you re: making your decision, and huge congrats on your self-published book! Yes, marketing is the tough part, but hang in there!

  12. Rowena May O'Sullivan March 26, 2015 at 11:31 am #

    Hi Molly – Good for you. I’m jealous. Kinda. What you’re doing is what I want to do. Get rid of that mortgage and free up my time so I can write. I find, the older I get and I’m not THAT old, but old enough, the tireder I get and find it really difficult to write at night let alone get up in time to head off to work each morning. I’m constantly scouring real-estate, but realize I would have to move out of the city to do what you are doing, and I’m not sure I can do that right now.

    • Molly Greene March 26, 2015 at 5:27 pm #

      Rowena, keep looking and thinking about it and you never know – something might come up that is simply PERFECT!!

  13. Barry Knister March 27, 2015 at 1:19 pm #

    Getting a house ready to sell is a lot like finishing a book for self-publishing: In neither case is the process EVER actually finished. In both instances, all that happens is that a tipping point is reached, a state of internal rebellion finally erupts, and you tell yourself “Enough already! This is over!”

    • Molly Greene March 27, 2015 at 3:51 pm #

      EXACTLY!! I figure it won’t be over until I drive away for the last time. Thanks, Barry!

  14. Juanita Rice March 27, 2015 at 4:32 pm #

    I hate moving! 🙁 Good luck.

  15. Susan Jennings March 28, 2015 at 5:40 am #

    Molly, selling a house is quite a chore, but rewarding. I often say I need to pretend I’m moving so I can turn out all my junk.

    • Molly Greene March 28, 2015 at 9:17 am #

      Exactly, Susan – that’s why I need to move every five years or so!

  16. Aya Walksfar March 28, 2015 at 11:39 pm #

    You go, woman! Selling a house is hard work and frustrating and challenging. But, it happens. Just like getting a book finished. Finally finished book 4 in my series just the other night. Like you, I have a goal of several books this year. Ambitious, aren’t we?
    Love your posts. Can so relate.
    I am a Cancer sign–don’t usually give a rip about signs–but it’s funny. Crabs carry their houses with them. I did that for a number of years–have house will travel. But my wife and I settled on this 12 acres that we turned into a wildlife/wild bird habitat and this crab has no intention of ever moving again. I just do the spring thing and go crazy and clear out anything we haven’t used in six months. It helps that I lived on the road for so long.
    Can’t imagine moving every five years or so! WOW! And writing! Enjoy your books.
    Remember to be kind and give yourself a break now and then.

    • Molly Greene March 29, 2015 at 2:17 pm #

      Thanks so much, Aya! You’re so kind to me, and I appreciate your lovely words. Although I’d love to find a “forever home” at some point, I think I’ll do the opposite of you and travel a bit. Maybe just six months here, six months there, or something like that. I plan to sell a TON of furniture after this sale and put the things I can’t part with into storage. We’ll have to wait and see how it all works out. And congrats to you on your 12 acres!!