If the mailman tells you to get a dog...

We closed on our house over the lunch hour on a beautiful warm day in February. After weeks of emails and one terrifying hour of signing documents, the owners slid the keys across the table and that was that.

Suddenly, we were on our own.

We honestly had no idea what to do next. Both realtors, the guy from the bank, the sellers, our leasing agent, and our family and friends asked when we were moving. We hadn't thought that far ahead, the very act of acquiring the house felt like accomplishment enough.

For awhile we had two homes. We hadn't begun packing so we started slow, packing a box here and there in the car, driving it over to the "new" house. On one of those trips we were outside staring at the front "yard" when a mailman emerged from the mass of overgrown shrubs and trees and introduced himself.

He commiserated with our first-time homeowner jitters, told us all about the renovation he and his wife are starting, and said three very helpful things: 1) prioritize, and 2) you have snakes.

The house has its own way of prioritizing things for us. Once Mom saw the kitchen she couldn't stand the thought of Geek #2 cooking on the dirty old stove (even though Geek #2 can barely boil an egg and Geek #1 does most of the cooking), so she bought a new stove. A week after we moved in, the fully-stocked refrigerator died and had to be repaired. Geek #2 spent every day for eight weeks just cleaning stuff: walls, floors, closets, bathrooms, cabinets, doors...and she's still not done.

It's just been like that. There is so much work to do and our focus shifts from hour to hour - everything seems urgent. So we finally made some lists, for now: House Tasks, Yard Tasks, and a Wish List. We hope these help keep us on track and motivated when we are feeling overwhelmed.

The second thing our mailman said was a really good tip. Otherwise, we would've been pretty freaked out at seeing this:

photo of snakes

And the third?

Geek #2 geeked out on him a little and started asking questions about mailboxes and whether he had any preferred mailbox styles, specifically, locking mailboxes. After years of communal mail stations, having mail delivered at right at our door still amazes us.

Ove the Mailman said that it's a good neighborhood and he hasn't seen any problems with mail delivery, and "when people are worried about security, I usually tell them to get a dog."

Maybe he's on to something.

Last built: Wed, Mar 5, 2014 at 6:32 PM

By Betsy Kimak, Thursday, August 22, 2013 at 10:38 AM. What a long strange trip it's been.