We have not had a good run with tenants in our U.S. house. The first was the Crazy Captain, whose family caused more damage than the security deposit covered, requiring legal intervention. The second set of tenants, the Nutty Navy Commander and his family, have thankfully been respectful to our house, but even that has come at a mental cost.

The Commander is passive-aggressive, and for the last 18 months we have played along. Periodically we will receive a multi-paragraph message from him about one issue or another. We respond with a list of repair or service call options, none of which he responds to. Then, several months later, we receive a missive demanding that we address said “longstanding” issue. Whatever. Commander Crazy departs the house in June, and the new owners take the keys in July.

Yes, we have decided to sell the house. Given that Tony’s detail has been extended to at least 2017, we do not see ourselves returning to 250m2 of housekeeping and yard work. And, the market is strong in our still over-priced postal code. Whenever we return to the U.S., well, we’ll just figure it out like we’ve been doing for the last two decades.

A little retrospective, if you will.

In 1996 Tony and (very expectant) I bought a little unrestored Cape Cod house in an (even-then) overpriced close-in D.C. suburb. Our families thought we were insane. There were days when we thought so, as well.

Over the next five years the little unrestored Cape underwent massive reconstruction and became home to our family of (now) four. There were still days when we thought we were insane, but for us it was a perfect home within which to raise our two perfect children.

(Oliver is the dog in the photo. He was with us for almost 16 years. Then Clayton Theodore assumed the role of Family Dog.)

“Neighbor Bob” lived adjacent to us in the house his parents purchased in 1954. We could not have asked for a better friend, neighbor, or “grandfather” to our children. Bob passed away a week before we learned we were moving to Austria.

The memories made in the house will never fade, thankfully. As for the rest, I will miss my garden, and have so since we left the U.S. Colonel Joseph’s Coat bloomed beautifully on the corner trellis, and I hope the new family will love him like I have.

Sir Thomas Lipton, reduced to twigs by the evil first tenants, though making a comeback. May your 1.200 blooms perfume the neighborhood always.

My peonies. Please keep the patio beautiful.

And, New Family? Take time to appreciate spring’s bounties behind our garage.

Oh. Oh. My kitchen. Serve the next family well, as you did ours.

May the Dining Room always be a place of joyful gathering.

And, New Family, may you always find time to appreciate a good soak in a cast-iron tub.

If there is one thing that will not be missed, though, it will be the Saturday afternoons Tony spent mowing the one-third acre of yard.
To the next phase, and whatever it may bring.