House Off

Before we owned it, my Colorado house was part of a time-share program. Chris was the offcare taker who helped visiting guests to figure things out.

Five years ago, we had just purchased the house and Chris was helping ME to figure things out.

At night in the mountains of Colorado it is dark enough outside you can see satellites with your naked eye. I’ve seen more falling stars there than the rest of my life put together. No streetlights. No ambient light. No background light. We had flashlights on every nightstand and nightlights in the bathrooms. Still, one time a guest didn’t turn on the light at three in the morning and broke her foot tripping on a stone step.

The lights are complicated. “I’d always tell visitors,” said Chris,  “’You can either enjoy your time here. Or you can learn the light system.’”

That made me smile. Seems more than silly to not really know how to use the lights in your own house, and over time I sort-of figured it out. The big black light switches are not part of the “system” and operate independently, the way any light switch might. You turn them on by hand. You turn them off by hand.

The “system”, though, works like a cross between a phone tree and a computer, with master keypads at the garage, upstairs hall, and master. You can operate any light in the house—any light on the system—from those keypads. Pick the sector and then pick the lights within the sector on the touch screen. Complicated, right? The music system operates through the same keypads, but that has always been beyond me.

In the you-wash-I’ll-dry division of labor, in our household, my ex-husband always did the music. No husband=no music. I could figure it out, of course, but other things have always been more pressing. Lights, for instance.

offYou can always turn a light on where you are, but if you are upstairs and realize that you left the garage light on downstairs, that keypad is handy.

“’House off’, is the most useful button,” said Chris. “If you get tangled up…or when you are leave, just hit ‘house off’.”

At night, I’d hit “Kitchen to Master” and I’d be safe on the way to the bedroom. The stairs are tricky, and the floor is polished, and I was happy to have that part of the system figured out. Once in the bedroom it was, “House Off.”

We purchased the house five years ago. It’s been was on the market two years. The divorce has been done three months. Two weeks ago I went to Colorado to pack up my clothes.

Lots of paperwork and details on any real estate transaction, always. Lots and lots. Some hullaballoo over the title while we were in escrow, but it got sorted out. I spent all of Monday dealing with paperwork.

I expected the paperwork. But somehow I didn’t expect the emotional wallop. That house is the last joint asset from my marriage, and at the UPS store dealing with the notary, I found myself rooting in my purse for tissues. Six signatures to notarize, and he had to fuss with the Colorado legal language and call in for approvals. And then faxing in 21 pages to the title company in Colorado, before hustling over to make the Fedex deadline with the actual papers.

Yesterday the house closed escrow.

Where is the ‘light system’ for life? The magic switch that gets you safely from one room to another when it is triple dark outside?

Still working on that.

But two weeks ago when I drove away for the last time at 5:15 in the morning–in the total dark—at least I knew what to do.

House Off.


About Karen Ray

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2 Responses to House Off

  1. Audrey says:

    I can understand how sad you must have felt; a new chapter is unfolding. I have some wonderful memories from that beautiful house, bananagrams & scrabble, lovely meals, walks, Cadence, etc.–thanks for sharing!

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