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Cheating on Minneapolis with Edina

If you’ve had a single-family house on the market in the last year or two, you know the attendant joy and lightheartedness that accompany such an endeavor. If by lighthearted you mean painful, and by joy, you mean ulcer.

As any Realtor worth their capital R will tell you, trying to sell a house these days is not easy.

When we decided to put our Minneapolis house on the market about a year ago, we sat the house down and tried to explain the situation.

“House, you’ve been just wonderful. It’s not you. It’s us. Only one child out of three still lives at home. Our needs have changed. It’s time to move on.”

The house creaked and groaned, as houses built in 1906 are prone to doing.

“No, don’t say that. It’s not about younger and better looking. It’s about being a better fit. Having more in common.”

We had to be honest
The house sprung a leak and the windows fogged up a bit. Then the house asked the question, and we had to be honest.

“Yes, yes it’s Edina. We thought we were being subtle. But Edina is so …  attractive. Edina makes us feel alive.”

Wrong tactic. The house gave us the cold shoulder as the radiators clanked in protest. We kept babbling.

“You don’t plan these things. They just happen. One day, you stop in at the Lunds at 50th and France instead of the one in Uptown. And the next thing you know, you’re running errands near the Galleria and buying buns at Breadsmith.”

The house was not amused. But we were firm. We had grown apart. We had changed while the house just sat there. We wanted to be carefree. Maybe have a new laundry room that didn’t look like multiple murders had taken place in it. Was that so much to ask?

We left that painful conversation with the clear understanding that the house would be up for sale.

Closets were cleaned, trim was painted, and open houses were held.

Seeing it through new eyes
No one actually put an offer on the house, but we began to see it through new eyes.

“The woodwork! You don’t see that kind of craftsmanship anymore,”  potential buyers would rave.

No. No you don’t, we had to admit.

“Such wonderful living spaces, and the neighborhood has everything,” we heard repeatedly.

We recognized that all of the things that had drawn us to the house in the first place were still true. The neighborhood was diverse and full of dining and shopping choices. And the house itself was charming and warm.

“Yeah, but it’s still not like Edina,” we thought defensively.

We began to act like visitors to the neighborhood
And then one day, we decided to act like visitors in our own neighborhood. We did errands on foot, then took a bike ride to the sculpture garden, and had a drink at a sidewalk café. When we came home at the end of the day, the house looked so welcoming and solid.

We knew right then that everything we needed was right here in this house and in this neighborhood.

Racing toward the house with open arms we embraced. Which was awkward because it’s well, an actual structure.

“Oh house, can you ever forgive us? We’re so sorry. We thought the grass was greener, but it’s not. We know that now.”

The house is very wise and so said nothing.

I told a friend about our decision, and she was pleased.

“I always knew you and the house would work things out.”

We’re meeting Edina for a drink later in the week. We’re sure it will understand.
Lucia Paul is a Minneapolis marketing professional, and a regular humor contributor to More magazine's online edition.

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Comments (6)

As someone who (a few years back) lived for four years in the neighborhood of 50th and Nicollet, and loved it, after living in the suburbs for the previous three, and hating it, I can easily understand your new found respect for your old neighborhood.

If I were to move back to the metro area, the LAST place I'd ever want to live is in one of the burbs. They're pathetic, first and foremost because you can't do ANYTHING without getting into a car.

Love your story Lucia!

Glad to hear you are settling back into your neighborhood; however, Edina will always welcome you if you ever change your mind again.

As for the person you commented on your page and said you cannot go anywhere without getting into a car, I live off Wooddale and France and I can walk to 50th and France and enjoy the shopping, restaurants, movie theater, post office, drug store, market, coffee, bank etc...

Lucia, are you convinced yet?

I moved back to this area after living in Portland, Oregon without a car for ten years.

One of my prime considerations in choosing a place to live was accessibility of shopping and services without needing to drive. For one thing, I work free-lance out of my home, so I need distinctive "escapes" within walking distance.

The 50th and France area is lovely, but out of my price range. I found an affordable apartment in Linden Hills instead, and when the sidewalks are less icy and I'm feeling more ambitious, I have been known to walk to 50th and France or even to Uptown.

To me, the suburbs combine the crowds and traffic of the city with the isolation and inconvenience of the country, the worst of both worlds.

What a great story.
It felt like I was an old employee being fired -
"Our needs have changed, "it's not about younger or better looking" - it's about a better fit."
Leaks and fogged windows, like tears
The cold shoulder during the remaining days, while HR blabs about slowing down, the "opportunity" to change careers, spend more time at home.
"These things just happened - not planned" - just accidental obsolescence.
The older one finds no pleasure in being prettied up for potential new occupant. But when no one applied for the job, the experience and collective memory of the oldster and the environment where she made a house into a home, made her oh so huggable.

Thanks everyone who has commented. I have had some wonderful emails about the piece too. My (understanding) Realtor loved it and has been sharing it with colleagues. We have no shortage of great neighborhoods in the Twin Cities and looking at a move just highlights that fact.

I guess it's the old "Bloom where you're planted," right?


Delightfully funny, wise writing!