It was a Monday morning, June 13th, and I came home from seeing a condo with Kristen. I sat down in the living room and told my parents about the place--what I liked about it, what needed work. "It needs...a lot of work." They knew it wasn't their decision to make, but they offered some sage advice, coming from years of buying-selling-moving-wash-rinse-repeat, and left it for me to decide. A little while later, I emailed Kristen. "Let's do this."
So started the Wild and Absolutely True Adventure of Meg becoming a home owner. I might as well have told my parents I was buying a lemon, adding a ton of sugar, and making lemonade, because in the four weeks since the deal closed, that's pretty much what I have done...and I couldn't have done it without them.
For starters, they are on the front lines of what I refer to (in my head) as Anxiety Central, that foreboding territory in which a woman who ought to feel really excited instead feels completely overwhelmed and worried that she can't afford any of this, that this was the stupidest decision ever, and that maybe she should just get in a rowboat and paddle away, like, yesterday. I'm not particularly easy to live with when I'm anxious. The most benign suggestion can be met with a snappy reply and/or a really snotty eye roll, and I get really bloody moody.
Yet they have cleaned, installed, uninstalled, unstuck, and labored and sweated alongside me all so I can have a comfortable home. There has been some financial help, as well, with the flooring, and offers to help if I need it (I'm trying to do as much of it on my own dime as possible--it's a pride thing--but I'm not above taking some help to ensure I have clean floors instead of guinea pig poop-infested carpet to live on...plus, I had a birthday a couple weeks ago). They hired movers for me this weekend so I could get my furniture and boxes out of the storage unit in time to avoid paying another month's rent on it. I have borrowed their van to haul stuff, made them have to buy a new step-ladder because I dripped paint all over the one I'd borrowed from them (bonus, I have a great ladder now!), and probably helped Dad's power tools age about twenty years.
Mom scrubbed every kitchen and bathroom cabinet and drawer, inside and out, and rubbed Murphy's Oil on them until they gleamed. She sweated and toiled with me for days to get the grease and grime left by the former tenants, and has also been the first person who gets the worst of my snottiness when it shows up.
Four different times since I went back to work on August 17, my dad has taken his own personal time to be at my apartment at 8:00 to let someone in for painting or floor install. He has happily done this because he'd rather miss one of his twice-weekly coffee gatherings with his fellow veterans in Lincoln than have me take time off work, or have to be late for work.
Beyond the big things they've done, it's also the little things--like Dad going over while I met the movers at the storage unit this morning and putting every socket and switch cover back on before we stuck furniture in front of them (something I neglected to do after the place got painted last week because the new school year has me going ninety miles per hour and frankly, putting switch covers back on sounded like more than I could deal with).
Little by little, with each passing day, the Filthiest Condo in the World has turned around and become a clean, livable, and pretty place that I can be happy in--and will be, starting next weekend.
It's funny, because the closer I get to moving completely out of Mom and Dad's house, the more I think, "Damn, I'm going to miss them." I'll only be half an hour away, and it's likely they'll see me at least once a week and talk to me often via phone and Facebook--this is nothing like when I went to England. It will be an adjustment, living alone again, and that's why there will be two kittens joining me sometime in the next couple of months.
Meanwhile, Mom and Dad will get one of the crisper drawers back in the fridge, and will no longer have to wade through my smoothie mixes in the freezer. My tea-making stuff won't be prominently displayed on the kitchen counter and I won't grump and pout when I need the washing machine and it is in use--I'll have my own washing machine. When home ownership overwhelms me, they won't be on the front lines of my bad moods...but they'll still be a phone call away, ready to offer whatever help they can.
That's just what they do.