Monday, May 2, 2011

9 months ago

Warning, over-sharing ahead: I was sitting on the toilet looking at the ceramic tile floor in my bathroom when it hit me. Everything in my life is upside right down, and nine months ago it wasn't.

Why the ceramic tile? Well, I'll tell ya.

My dad and I put that tile down. The two of us. By ourselves. And it looks pretty darn good.

Before that I had carpet in my bathroom. Carpet. In the bathroom. Yuck.

But at the door leading from my bathroom to my bedroom, we couldn't find the right strip to put there. So we left it with just the tile meeting the carpet. No overlay, no nothing.

It was fine for me, but now that I'm trying to sell my house, I realize potential buyers won't know this story.

They won't know that my little girls were six months old and 17 months old when we moved here, which explains why there are chocolate milk spatters in various odd locations throughout the house. (Sippy cups leak when thrown.)

I've tried to wipe them all up, but I still find stray ones hidden in corners.

They won't know that nine months ago, I decided this less than two-thousand square-foot home was too small for us and started looking around Spanish Fort for a new one.

They won't know that I gave up after a week.

Because there aren't any other homes on corner lots that end in cul-de-sacs where I know all my neighbors and we all like each other.

Where the youngest had daughters old enough to babysit when we moved in, and where the oldest brought me an Easter lily and told me what all the flowers were in my yard.

And then she groused because the previous owner "didn't know when to stop" when it came to buying new flowering plants.

That neighbor and I had the same birthday. She died four years ago, and when we put the For Sale sign out in front of my house, I went for a run. When I got back, I went straight into the front yard of her now-empty house and held onto her satsuma tree and cried.

Some mornings when I'm in the kitchen making coffee, I can still see her 87 year-old self puttering around her over-planted yard. The people who buy this house won't remember her.

Nine months ago, I was active in the PTA. I volunteered in the cafeteria when budget cuts meant we lost a lunch lady, and I never missed a field trip.

Nine months ago I belonged here.

And now I don't. Now my friends talk about the kids joining soccer teams and school functions I won't be around to attend.

Wow. I'm sorry!

It's Monday, and I've turned into a depressing ninny-baby on you all! I've even picked up some new followers. Hello, new followers! I'm typically not such a dismal hostess...

Here's an incredible story:

We moved here in Feb. 2004. In March 2004, a couple came to the house and asked if it was still for sale. I told them that it wasn't anymore, we'd bought it. They asked if they could see the place anyway, and it was so odd, I said sure.

They were from south Louisiana, too. They'd been off living on a yacht--people do that around here--and had seen the house online and wanted to buy it. I apologized and said I guessed I'd beaten them to it.

They were very kind, and we shared some laughs. And I never heard from them again.

Yesterday, they drove past the house, stopped and got out. They've been wanting to move back to this area and had been driving around looking at houses. None of us could believe it. I wonder if they'll make an offer.

Finally, True Confession: I buried the lede. My MS is on submission right now. It has been for two weeks, and so far I haven't heard anything. I really thought I'd be cool during this part of the process...

I am so not cool during this part of the process.

I'm freaking out. This is so much worse than querying because this is IT. The last layer where I find out if I'm in or I'm out. I feel jumpy and sweaty and nauseous all at the same time if I think about it too much.

Nothing like everything happening at once.

Have any of you experienced any of these things? Any words of advice for me? I could sure use a bit of encouragement. Thanks, my reader- and writer-friends.

Have a great week, don't forget to sign up for the "Laughter is the Best Medicine" blogfest (link) to be held May 16. (I could use it today!)

Til Thursday~ <3


Laura Pauling said...

Best of luck to you. I've heard the wait on submission is way worse than the wait for queries, so you're not alone!!!! Has it been impossible to write?

And you weren't oversharing. :)

Jessica Bell said...

Oh dear ... I'm so sorry you're feeling like this. I haven't got any advice because I've never had the 'out on submission' thing going. Must be really stressful. I don't envy the position you are in at all. And gee, you're all nostalgic about your house :( I'm sorry for that too. If you need to rant or whine or electronically cry, you know where to email :o) XOXO

Stina said...

Yep, now you know why I like it on my side of the fence. I'm still facing a world of possibilities. No doors have been shut yet. :D

And maybe that's why I'm not in a big rush to query. I still get to hold onto some hope that maybe one day my WIP will be published. As soon as you start querying and going to submissions, that hope is ripped away from you.

I have a number of friends out on submission. It's definitely a bumpy ride with so many close calls.

vic caswell said...

ohman! i'm sorry you lost your older neighbor, but the place isn't what keeps her alive- it's your heart that does. i'm sure you'll remember her fondly after the move as well. whenever you see an over gardened yard or a floral magazine.
there is a beauty about the passing of time and change. your little house is yours as of yet, but it wasn't always. it used to belong to another family, and most likely another, and another. passed down through the generations. like an antique. those walls have seen first loves and first big fights, last diapers and last breaths... it's kinda a big thought. and it makes for an excellent story if that one yacht couple buys the house...
i don't know how to lift up your spirits, but i do think you hugging the tree and thinking about the lady and how much you'll miss all the people and the home you've come to love is a beautiful moment and something i hope you remember. and i wish you that kind of love as you settle into your new home!

Angela said...

Ah, Leigh. Sorry about the waiting, it must be so hard not knowing about your book.

Old Kitty said...

Oh LTM!!! What a mixture of emotions!! You need to move but are so torn by the history you've built up living there! Your neighbourhood sounds so lovely too! Somehow I think it's kismet that this family you beat to get this house has returned! GOOD LUCK!!! Letting go is always hard. Letting go of a place that you've made your home is even harder still. I do hope all will go well and smoothly!!

I don't know what to say about your ms that you've submitted!!!
Apart from not understanding what burying the lede means! LOL!! Oh but seriously!!! I have everything crossed that I can cross for your ms!!! GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And hang on in there!!!!

Take care

Hart Johnson said...

Sounds like you could use a hug, so I'm sending one... it's a tacklehug... that's just how I roll. I love the piece about your older neighbor and going to hug her tree (you big sap). That would be nuts to have that same couple buy your house--it seems that might make it feel like it was meant to be, which would help the sadness. it will all be good again. I promise. (sending mojo for your submission, too!)

Colene Murphy said...

Okay, you broke my heart into a million pieces by the old lady neighbor part. But it will be okay. And the next place you go, you will form some great ties there too. Just mourn your loss there, but also leave some room to be excited about the new adventure to come. Cause really, the new adventures are always a thrill!

Good luck with your submissions too! I'll be started to send my query out here the end of this week. So you won't be alone there(though I'm sure there are others querying right now with you too. Just sayin... tryin to help. ;)

Michelle Merrill said...

I'm sorry about everything going on. I don't have much advice but if you ever need to vent or complain, you can send me an email. I'll send many virtual hugs and treats your way :)

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I'm sad and happy and mixed up feeling for you! I know the sub process is gosh-awful ... but you're on submission!! This is a very good thing. I'm much more pained at the moving-loss. I can't imagine it and it feels like you've described my street.

Hang in there, hon!

Summer Ross said...

You know everything changes, and sometimes it is hard for us to face those changes, but when you look around, people, places, stuff changes. usually it is for the better. But remember those feelings your having are just for now, the chaos is just for now. Eventually you are going to make brand new memories to hold on to, new friends to have lunch with or plant flowers next to.

As for the writing side- waiting truly is the hardest part- I've been submitting work for years and it is the hardest part of writing for me, but I have found- if I keep myself busy and tell myself it will work out the way it is meant to be- then I can take a breath and keep moving forward. Sending happy thoughts your way!

Jennie Bailey said...

You always have such powerful blog posts when you write from the heart - which shows your talent. You made me tear up. I felt like I was leaving MY house (which may be happening, but that's for another time). Change is always so hard. You've now added the whole waiting game with the MS to it because you don't have enough stress at the moment. ;-) Okay, you didn't add it, your new agent (CONGRATS!!!) did, but you get what I mean. I can hardly wait to read your post nine months from now - when you are settled in your digs, the girls are settled in school, and you have a release date for your book. Hugs to you!

M Pax said...

Waiting is tough. It's hard not to hope yet we have to steel ourselves. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.

You will make new memories in the new house that are just as sweet.

I have my joke all ready to go. :D

Sophia said...

Man, I've lived in this house my whole life and I don't have half the connections you've written about in your post. Maybe it's because my neighbours tend to be temporary (we're next to a USAF base). I hope one day I live in a home as loved and lived in as yours has been. Good luck with the move and with the submission process, Leigh!
- Sophia.

Janet Johnson said...

What a great post. I still miss the house we moved from when I was 8. When you really get to know a place, it's so hard to leave. Best of luck with it!

And um, hello, very cool about being on submission! Best of luck . . . my fingers are crossed for you!

Julie Musil said...

It would be crazy if that couple bought your house. Good grief, you're going through a lot right now. I'm thinking about you while you're out on submission.

DEZMOND said...

back when I was buying my 2200 square foot house :) some nine years ago, it took me a year to find it. Fortunately my brother was working as a real estate agent back then, so we knew all the houses which were on the market. I think we saw and inspected around 100 houses before finding this one. When we found it we had just a month to leave and move the old house and to fix and refurbish the new one. It was kinda hellish :) especially since it was the very same time I was getting my MA at college so I had to study for exams while fighting the repairmen and construction workers :)
But we survived, and so will you ... ;)

Southpaw said...

You have lots of things going on right now, your emotions must be all over the place.

That last little bit is very exciting. Best of luck!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

The memories will always go with you...

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Great thoughts come to us while sitting on the loo...
I'm not a fan of waiting or moving, but in particular, waiting. Hope all goes well for you :)

Lydia Kang said...

So sorry about the freaking out part of the publishing process. I'm nervous for you too! I so want to hear good news...

Funny what secrets all houses have. I wrote a note under the window sill of my bedroom many years ago. I wonder if the future owners of that house will find it.

LTM said...

@Laura--I was mostly thinking of the toilet part... nice visual. But I've tried to do a little writing. I've got lots of ideas, but it's been hard to keep my brain focused. I'm very Doug right now... :D Thanks, honey~ ((hugs))

@Summer--it's true. If you're not changing, you're dead. And I like the thought of new neighbors planting flowers. It's true. If I can plant my butt int he chair and block out all the chaos, it is so nice. Thanks~ :o) <3

@Holly--true dat! (It's all true.) And the last bit is exciting, but nerve wracking at the same time~ :p Thanks!!! :o)

N. R. Williams said...

I'm sorry you have to move. We are moving too and I hate it. It could take six months or longer to hear about your ms. My advice, keep writing your next story. I wish you all the best my friend.
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium.

PK HREZO said...

Well, yes this was pretty depressing at first, but touching too. Sounds like such a great place to live. And how cute you were a lunchroom lady!! I've been wanting to write a story about lunchroom ladies. Yanno, like their secret real lives or something from four different POVs. But anyway, how exciting!!! You are here... where you've been trying to get all this time. I know it takes time sometimes.
I have an agented CP who has been on submission for almost a year with a YA contemp. I wish I had some words of wisdom for you, but this is out of my territory, girl. Me know nothing about this part. :s

But from what I've heard, it's best to start working on another project. Now that you already have an agent, you can always just send her a new story., right? No worries. Piece of cake. lol

Jemi Fraser said...

Wow - that really is burying the lead! Good luck to you - that must be a terrifying stage!!! I'll be crossing my fingers and sending good wishes your way :)

Hope that couple buys the house - sounds like a bit of kismet!

LTM said...

@PK--yep! I even wore a hair net... :D LOL! Our lunch ladies were actually very, very nice and so appreciative of the help. They were awesome. You should write that story~

This is the loneliest place I've been since I started writing in 2009 and didn't have a blog or know other writers. It's very... lonely. And quiet. :o\ Right! "Send me your next novel..." :D

Michael Di Gesu said...

First and foremost, here's a bear hug! Take a deep breath. You have so many emotions running through you right now. IT's ALL happening at once. IT's frightening and exciting at the same time.

Yes, life does come at you all at once. It likes to shock and surprise you, catch you off guard, and hit you below the belt.


It's sad leaving your friends and neighbors. But a new chapter is opening in your life. Embrace it, don't fight it.

Try to tackle ONE emotion at a time. It will be less overwhelming.

Two weeks is NOTHING to wait for an offer. BREATHE. Good things come to those who wait.

You just may get an offer on your house by that couple. If they liked it once ... they will again. And if real estate suffered there like everywhere else they will be getting a real bargain. I know I bought my condo in 2004 and it's worth $100,000 less than what I paid for it. Like I said life is full of surprises.

Take care, we are all here for you.


Anonymous said...

What an uncomfortable feeling when your compass feels off. Remember, this too shall pass. Best of luck to you!

Ellie Garratt said...

Isn't it strange how things turn out right in the end - like with the couple coming back and seeing the house up for sale again?

Aggh. I've never sent a novel MS out before so I can't imagine the nerves whilst you're waiting. The closest I've come is the story I submitted five weeks ago to a publisher who normally respond pretty fast. I don't like waiting!

Ellie Garratt

Patti said...

We've grown up in our house with a wall that shows how tall the kids have grown and everything. It would be hard to move.

Good luck on submissions.

KM Nalle said...

Heavens to Betsy that's a lot to think about. (I just channeled my grandmother for you).

I'm sending virtual hugs your way. I don't think I'd handle the waiting on submissions well.

Your story about your neighbors and your neighborhood was so touching. I've always wanted to live in a place like that. When Beloved Husband and I built our first home, we put a time capsule in the wall. It's fun to think that a little piece of us is still there. Maybe you can bury one in the yard?

I'll be sending the good vibes and prayers your way.

LisaAnn said...

Hi Leigh! I wandered over here from Anita's blog, and I'm so glad I did. My husband and I just moved down to Colorado from Alaska after four years in that beautiful and amazing state, and I literally felt like hugging every spruce and birch tree in my front yard on the way out.

Best of luck with your submission and with your house--I'm in the process of submitting my first manuscript as well, and I'm SO not cool, either. Perhaps we can do a bit of the freaking out together? :)

LTM said...

Thanks, IBdiamond! You are a diamond, and it is an uncomfortable feeling. Thanks for that reminder~ :o) <3

Al said...

Waiting on tenterhooks is the hardest part of anything.
Good luck with the submission!

Creepy Query Girl said...

moving is so hard. Change in general is hard. I figure being out on submission with editors is probably doubly as exciting and nausia inducing as a full submission. Good luck! Read a lot of books! Drink a lot of wine!;)

Matthew MacNish said...

I was going to make a poop related joke about you sitting on the toilet, and then you made me cry. Mentioning Satsuma trees. That's not fair.

It's hard, having to leave a place you love, especially one that your family has grown up in, but change is part of life.

I'm not too worried about your submissions, everything is going to work out for you.

Now, where's this blogfest you coerced me into?

walk2write said...

I so understand what you're going through. It's really not the house you're leaving.

A couple of weeks ago when we had our moving sale, one of our neighbors stopped by to chat and told us her husband found out he has prostate cancer. I won't be there to encourage and comfort.

Another neighbor lost his wife to a heart attack a couple of years ago while they were in Las Vegas. Whenever we were out for a stroll, we made a point of stopping by to see how he was doing. I'll miss him.

My favorite neighbor is a feisty gal who once called us her sh**-head neighbors for temporarily moving to Illinois a few years ago. She came by to give us a hug, tell us how much she will miss us, and let us know that we're really not sh** at all!

You're gonna be okay, and your submission will be accepted. I'm sure of it.

Ella said...

I have felt like this, when I moved away for the first time. I still have moments, so many moves. You get settled, your toots spread out and it is difficult to untangle yourself and leave...I really do know!!! xXx

It is fate, they will buy the home. I mean just the thought of them returning is amazing; a miracle in the works! It reminds me of when I was finding my way around the base in Anchorage, Alaska. I drove up to where I would be going to shop and a woman comes out wearing a Maine sweatshirt. Huh?! Yeah, these are the kind of moments, we have to put in our books~
I think you just have to keep busy; I feel like this when my art is submitted, my only clue that someone has opened the box is a check is cashed. It winds me up, waiting and wondering. I'm sorry you are having these moments; hang in there!!! <3 555

Unknown said...

The first post I read of yours was about your neighbors, I believe. When we bought this house, the seller sat in on the closing and cried and cried about how much she would miss the neighbors. It was awkward but she was right. The people here are great. But our last neighbors were great too.

Just because you are moving away from them doesn't mean you will lose them. Friendship and memories can always live on. :)

Furniture Stores in Los Angeles said...

Carpet in the bathroom sounds as weird as carpet in the kitchen. Don't people realize that is a trap for bacteria and just asking for mold?