“I won’t take a penny less than two million dollars,” I told our realtor.
She looked at me skeptically. The comps she showed us did not support my position. But this housing market is wild. And I need to buy a house for my family in Iowa City.
We haggled. Because that’s what you do when you buy and sell. You haggle.
I’m but a humble education professor. A teacher. The machinations of capitalism have mostly been lost to me. Or I’ve been lost to them. This is why I rely on realtors in times such as these. Times when I’m buying and selling houses. With a mind towards providing for my family. Because that’s mostly where my mind is right now. What can I do that is best for my family? That question guides most of what I’m trying to do these days.
We settled on a more reasonable price, and our beautiful little house in Central Pennsylvania went on the market.
God, I’m gonna miss this place.
The quiet. The horse farm at the end of the lane. The view of green mountains from our backyard. From our sunroom. A big backyard where the boys played in the sprinkler, bounced on the trampoline, and chased after me. It’s beautiful here, and I’m going to miss it.
Pennsylvania has been so good to me. Seven years, and it has come to feel like home. Katie and I have grown closer out here. We’ve started raising two boys. Happy Valley has, for the most part, been a very happy place for us. I’ve met so many close friends here. Opened an improv theatre for goodness sakes. I feel connected to this community. The schools. The people. There’s no way to avoid it. I’m sad about leaving.
I’ve cried a few times over the last week. During our weekly founder’s meeting for Happy Valley Improv. I’ve been doing improv with Andrea, James, and Nate for five years. And now our regular improv is coming to an end. We talked about the end of that. I wept.
I walked with Katie and the boys in Alan Seeger Nature Area last weekend. We stayed in an Airbnb while our house was on the market. So the boys wouldn’t disturb our realtor’s careful staging. The Airbnb was deep in the woods. Out towards Alan Seeger, so we went for a walk.
For those of you that don’t know, Alan Seeger is a state forest deep in the Central PA wilderness. Old trees. 500 years old. Quiet. We took the boys there soon after we moved here. We brought a stroller. Tried to take a hike. It was ridiculous. Turned back before we started. Returning there with the boys six years later hit me hard. The boys ran along the path, exploring the green wilderness. It was stunning. They’ve grown so much since we moved to Pennsylvania. So have I. I wept quietly as I walked along the path.
I’m not an emotional wreck. I’m just feeling my feelings. And it feels sad to be leaving this place right now.
I’m also looking forward to returning to the Midwest. A new chapter. In Iowa. I feel the same about Iowa that I felt about Pennsylvania when we moved out here. Ambivalent. Scared. Stressed out. The same question keeps coming to me: What the hell am I doing?
This move is a good thing. The position at The University of Iowa. The proximity to our family in Minnesota. Iowa City. There’s good things coming our way. I know it. I’m just in a place of transition.
“You know what would make this transition easier?” I asked my realtor.
She eyed me skeptically.
“Two million dollars.”
We’ll see. Offers come in soon. And then we move onto step five in the 10,000 step process of moving my family to Iowa. Send prayers.