Packing and Planning

Packing Play

First we play, then we pack!

These past few weeks have honestly been equal amounts of unbelievably exciting and undeniably draining and frustrating. What a funny thing it is, to pack up a life. I had no idea just how deep our roots had grown here in this Oak Park condo.

Somehow, we’ve found ourselves with one week between the buyers’ finances being secured for the condo sale, and moving out. From what I understand, this is not cause for serious alarm. But for me, this is anxiety-inducing, to say the least. I don’t recommend this to anyone unless you’re willing to invest a significant amount of money in wine :).

A number of things have made our situation particularly precarious. First, our buyers asked for an extension. Not unheard of, but the extension they asked for was two weeks later, and at the same time, they were not willing to push the closing date. So, if we wanted to stick with the sale, we’d have to deal with the last-minute mayhem.

Claire signing it at preschool. I know this school is one of the things she will miss the most!

Claire signing it at preschool. I know this school is one of the things she will miss the most!

Also, I had no idea how difficult it was going to be to find short-term housing (or how truly expensive it is). Claire’s preschool runs through the first week of June, and Aaron is committed to transitioning and training his replacement at Talaske through early June. So, we need a place for the next two months – longer than a vacation rental, and shorter than a standard short-term lease. I’ve tried all avenues to find a place for us – you name it, I’ve tried it. And here’s a tip from me to you – many of the Craigslist short-term/sublet listings are either scams or the listers don’t want to bother with showing you the place before you send in your deposit.

Luckily, in the last week and a half, I was able to lock in two firm possibilities for us, and just this week, we settled on a two-bedroom rental here in Oak Park. Nothing like waiting until the last minute! BUT, this is all still contingent on the buyers’ finances being settled by this Friday’s extended deadline. All signs point to it being fine, but there is still the possibility of them pulling the plug before then.

(Pause for more wine consumption.)

Living in bins and boxes. This step has probably caused me the most heart palpitations. Seeing things in such disarray drives me crazy!

Living in bins and boxes. This step has probably caused me the most heart palpitations. Seeing things in such disarray drives me crazy! And this barely scratches the surfaces of “stuff.”

In the meantime, we’ve been moving forward with packing up the condo, organizing everything into three categories: For the temporary apartment, for the boat, and for deep storage. All of this strategizing has led to even more selling, donating, lending to friends and family, etc.

Oh, and why not throw in a trip to Florida to do some serious boat shopping?! Aaron’s mom, Penny, and her husband, Brian, stayed here in Oak Park with Claire (such a HUGE help!) so that we could focus our time there on seeing as many boats as possible. Though the timing of the trip wasn’t ideal with so much going on, we truly needed it to recharge our batteries and remind us of why we’re doing all of this.

Over the course of two full days and more than 300 miles on the road, Aaron and I saw six boats. Most we crossed off the list for various reasons that only become apparent when you see them in person, like minimal storage or rigging issues. But one boat in particular has left us absolutely smitten. It wasn’t even on our radar – it had only been hauled out of the water the day before we were at the yard – and the broker only thought to show it to us after a boat that we had planned on seeing turned out not to be a good fit for us. It’s a big decision; the boat has its own challenges and we’re still weighing our other options, making sure that we’ve truly considered everything. But I can’t help feel a little bit of kismet. More on that boat if/when we move forward.

Tink, reviewing our placemats and napkins to see if any are worth keeping. Such a big help, that kitty...

Tink, reviewing our place mats and napkins to see if any are worth keeping. Such a big help, that kitty…

To put it frankly, it’s been utter chaos. At times, I’ve been in tears, struggling with the weight and uncertainty of it all – and Aaron reminds me (politely), this is all by choice. And of course he’s right. Despite the hiccups, I wouldn’t change our decision for a minute, and I know I need to be better at focusing on the goal.

So, hopefully, with a few more glasses of wine (I probably should switch to water at this point), I’m letting go of what we cannot control with the condo and trusting that things will fall into place. I’m putting faith in the fact that when the dust settles, the right decision about the boat will present itself.

And above all, I’m embracing the fact that, even in this step of the process, we are living life to the absolute fullest. One more week (fingers crossed)! It will go by in a blink.

Two Out Of Three



“My clients would like to buy your place!” Sweeter words have never been heard – at least by three landlocked cruisers-at-heart.

At the beginning of March, about a month after we listed our place, we received an offer from a couple who had been through during our first open house. We were extremely excited, of course, but as any of you who have been on either end of a real estate deal knows, there were still quite a few steps to complete until it felt truly real: counteroffers, inspections, appraisals.

We crossed our fingers, held our breath, and here we are – closing and handing over our keys on April 29th! Even as we pack and prepare, it still seems surreal.

So where will we go? That has a lot to do with our other news: Aaron has found someone to take over his job! His replacement was previously employed with Talaske and has most recently been working out of state. He will be moving to Oak Park in June, so Aaron will stay on full-time until then, when he will begin to phase out of his role as principal consultant.  Aaron has been with the firm for 18 years, so the transition is a significant one.

Claire’s preschool also runs until the beginning of June, SO, we need a place to live for two months. Which is a tricky thing, since it’s longer than a week or two “vacation” rental, but shorter than a short-term lease agreement, which requires three months or more. Figuring out this rubik’s cube has become a full-time job. Add it to the list of full-time jobs we’re juggling at the moment – but as we keep telling ourselves, what wonderful problems to have! Luckily, I think I’ve found a few solutions.

Given the recent events, Aaron and I have also pushed our new boat shopping into overdrive and our short list is pretty well-solidified (more on that in a future post). We’ll be flying out early next week to look at several potentials on the east coast of Florida.  Big shout-out to Grandma Penny and Grandpa Brian for watching the the munchkin while we’re gone climbing ladders and running around boat yards! Our current boat, Clarity, is still for sale; we’ve had a few recent showings, but no offers yet. At this point, though, we’re ready to continue with our plans while leaving her for sale in Chicago. The hope is that we will find our new floating home in the next couple months.

So here’s the big-picture timeline:

End of April: We close on the condo.

May and June: Aaron transitions from principal to part time consultant, Claire finishes preschool and we find our boat.

Beginning of July: We throw the party to end all parties and head east.

Things are falling into place as fast as we could have hoped for! Before we move galloping forward, we are savoring these last few weeks in the first home that Aaron and I ever owned, the home where we spent our first years as a married couple, the home where Claire took her first steps. It will be bittersweet.

But then, full steam ahead! Or is it full sails? Either way, my heart is full.