Sunday, March 4, 2012

If it doesn't include red Solo cups and paper plates, it's not dinner at the Burmeisters

After 13 years in our existing house, we’re feeling the itch to move on to greener pastures, quite literally. That is, if by “greener pastures” you mean property that abuts someone else’s land, where THEY take care of the horses, cows and pigs. Yeah, that’s what we’re looking for.

We’re realizing that in order to continue to live the way we want to (i.e.: eating our cereal on the deck in our pajamas) we should really move somewhere with more privacy. That sound you hear? That’s our neighbors collectively cheering.

The day we moved into the neighborhood in 1999 our then 2-year-old son was newly potty trained. One of the less traditional methods I used to accomplish potty training was letting him go outside if he was outdoors at the time. Call me a horrible parent, but it got us out of Pull-Ups, and you can’t argue with that kind of cash savings.

So as Craig and I were busy unpacking our belongings into the house, our son was standing on the corner of our property waving to cars as they drove by. I was careful to make sure that he realized he wasn’t to go INTO the street, but stay safely in the grass. He nodded solemnly and went back to greeting our new neighbors.

However, on one of the many loads I noticed that he was standing waving to cars WHILE relieving himself in the rhododendron bush. Apparently I hadn’t verbalized that rule: No urinating in the front yard. Lesson learned.

I can only imagine what our neighbors were thinking as they drove by in that moment: “Well, there goes my property value now that the Beverly Hillbillies have arrived.” And with that, the Burmeisters moved into the ‘hood.

It’s bittersweet now to consider moving, especially since this is the only home our kids have known. But we’ve been feeling the draw to the country for some time and we’re ready.

First off, we have to sell the house. And that’s where things have gotten interesting. You see, we have to make sure the house is clean, the yard is pristine, and the rooms are all “show ready” on any given day.

For those of you who know my family, you know there’s nothing “show ready” about us. This has presented us with quite a dilemma: Do we continue to be true to ourselves and live the way we always have? Or do we pull ourselves together and fake it until it sells?

So, yeah, we’re faking it. And not very well.

Our realtor (bless her heart for she knows not what she’s gotten herself into) has encouraged us to see the house not as our own, but as a box of cereal on a grocery shelf that is being sold. So now, Craig will randomly yell out “cereal box” whenever we start to settle into our home at all. It’s his friendly reminder that we cannot be ourselves, for we are messy by default.

The realtor also suggested that we make up the dining room table “as if we were ready to sit down to a formal dinner.” My husband and I chuckled, looking at each other in a way that conveyed the same message: “That’ll be a first.” Later that day, Craig said, “If it doesn’t include red Solo cups and paper plates, it’s not dinner at the Burmeisters.” Sad, but true.

The good news? We did it. We purchased a table cloth, a centerpiece, a candle and even found matching flatware in our own drawers. I’m CAPABLE of keeping a house as fancy as a museum or a Pottery Barn showroom; it’s just that I’d rather take a nap instead. There’s really no competition.

Another recommendation was to eliminate any clutter. Bahahahahahaha. The only way the Burmeisters will eliminate clutter is to move to another home entirely.

So we’ll see what happens. We’ve come a long way in 13 years. Every room has been redecorated, a new roof was put on last summer, and (fingers crossed) we’ve all mastered using the indoor plumbing, so we just might pull this off.

Eileen Burmeister works and lives (for now) in Roseburg. She can be reached at or you can follow her on Twitter at EBurmeister.


  1. So did the rhododendron survive your son's attentions?

    Good luck with the move!


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